Sunday, 20 July 2008

Early Iban Migration 2

The Iban and The Spirit Tiger:

One day, an incident happens to a man from Sungkong, which would lead to a better understanding with nature and the development of poison as tools for hunting. While the children were playing and roaming over the ground around the village, a girl was caught and carried off by an unknown kind of animal. This incident troubled the Dayaks as non of them dared to pursue and kill the animal that had carried off the girl.

Next day, moved by sorrow for his missing daughter, the girl’s father went into the forest to track down the animal that had carried his daughter by following drops of blood left by his lost child. He brought along an ipoh plant poison with him. Ipoh latex is extracted from an upas tree and is usd by the Ibans to poison the tips of blowpipe darts. The trail of blood finally led to the mouth of a small cave. Standing there, he wondered how he was to get into a very narrow passageway. Finally, he crept in and moved painfully until he reached the other end of the tunnel where it came out into an open space. There he saw an open pathway which he followed until he reached a longhouse. In order not to be seen, he hid himself in the bushes in the bushes near the path waiting for nightfall. From his hiding place, he observed that the resident there behaved in a human like manner even though their appearances were like tigers.

After dusk, he crept slowly and carefully beneath the longhouse and hid inside a chicken coop. As he sat there, he overheard the conversation of a group of youth in the longhouse. They said that they would go again the next day to hunt the children of men.

“We need not worry,” they said. “Men can never find our whereabouts as they will never be able to come to our settlement”.

An old man spoke in reply, “You must not kill the children of men again. Be satisfied with the one you have slain”. He warned them further, “if you slay their children again, you will be made to account for your sin.”

The group of young men then argued with the old man. They said, “We still want to slay a man’s child again, for we are sure that they have no means to take revenge on us. Even if they happen to see us, we can easily flee away from one mountain to another. We are sure that men cannot chase after us, who are as fast as lightning in the forest.”

“You must not do it again,” insisted an old man, “for both human and us lived by the mercy of God. Perhaps they cannot harm us with their knives and spears, but we cannot escape death if they kill us with poisons which grow in a far away place as the upper Kembayan River.”

The young men replied, “We are much stronger than men, yet we cannot get this plant which grows on the steep hill at the source of Kembayan river.”

“You must not think that way,” warned the old man. “You cannot predict what will happen to you if you disobey what I said.”

The young men then laughed cynically and said, “if men can bring the ipoh poison to us here, it would be a very valuable present”. The old man stopped arguing with them, so they dispersed and went to bed.

At dawn, the men who had hidden in the chicken coop, took out the ipoh poison he had brought with him. He wiped it along the gallery of the longhouse and over anything that might be touched by hand. As daylight broke, the old man who had seen the soul of man through his batu ilau (magic crystal), shouted to all the people in the longhouse and warned them of the unavoidable death. Batu ilau and batu Karas (translucent stone) are used by Iban shamans (manang) to detect the conditions and whereabouts of the human soul (samengat).

“Now, where are all of you who have claimed to be brave? Come out and face death!!!”

But none of the young men could rise up as they were already dead caused by the ipoh poison placed by the man who had sought revenge for the death of his daughter.

After all the young people in the longhouse had died, the old man spoke to a pregnant woman who was the only other survivor. “Now all the young people of this longhouse have been killed by human poison except for you. In the future, if the children of me who do not first do wrong to us, we must not hurt them. You see what has happened to us because we had killed them first. All of our people had been killed in revenge”. After he had finished speaking these words, the old man committed suicide by touching the poison that had killed the young men. After all the tigers had been killed, except for the one who was pregnant, the man whose daughter had been killed by the tigers, returned home. The pregnant tiger gave birth to the last tiger found in Borneo and had lived a very solitary life. He is known as “Bujang Lembau” (literally meant “Reluctant Bachelor”) or “Bunsu Remaung” and was believed to have lived in the spiritual world amongst the spiritual heroes. He was also known to be a guardian spirit for some past Iban warriors.

The Land Dayak Separated From The Sea Dayak:

After these events, the Dayaks of Sungkong multiplied greatly. Due to their numbers, an urgent meeting was called by their leaders and it was agreed that they should divide into two groups. One group should migrate to Sungai Beduai and the other to Sungai Kembayan. But as they would leave their villages on different days, whoever arrived at Nanga Beduai first must erect a tall sign or marker to tell the others the direction they had taken.

A short while later, when the first group had reached Nanga Beduai, they erected a marker-sign pointing up-river and stayed there for a night. That evening a man had caught a huge snake which they cooked and eaten for food. Later that night, a heavy rain fell and the river rose in flood, which turned the marker-sign to point downriver. The next day the first group continues to move upriver as planned and forgot the marker-sign as it was still under water submerged by the flood water. Several weeks later, the second group arrived at Nanga Beduai. When they looked for the marker-sign, they found that it was pointing downriver which they unsuspectingly followed and believed to be the true direction that the first group had taken.

Because of this incident, the group that had gone upriver became Land Dayaks and the group that went downriver from Nanga Beduai, became the Sea Dayak. However, some studies suggest this separation came as early as their migration at the mouth of the Kapuas River.

The Sea Dayaks paddled down the Kembayan River to its mouth at the main Kapuas river. From there they went up the Kapuas River and enter the Labuyan River. There they settled at a place called Panchor Aji and another place they called Tapang Punti. At these two settlements, the Sea Dayaks felled the jungle and cleared land for planting rice and other crops. They lived there for many decades and some of them began to subdivide from one another and migrated elsewhere while many others remain settled there permanently. Those who migrated continued up the Labuyan river and on to Emperan to settle at Batang Embaloh. Other entered Sarawak via the Undup and Kumpang river.

Early Migrations Westward:
The Remun Dayak Migrated To the Sadong.

One of the earliest Iban groups to move into Sarawak was the Remun, who now lived east of Serian town along the upper Sadong River in the First division.

The Remun went up the Labuyan River on their way to the upper Batang Ai. They settled at Lubang Baya and at Tapang Peraja. After they had lived there for many years, they became restless and went down the Batang Ai until they reached Temudok hill, a few miles southeast of present Simanggang town. They lived at Temudok hill for many years led by their chiefs named Engkabi, Kekai, Bah and Banteh. They later migrated westward and those who were left behind became the peoples of Undup, Dau and Balau.

In their search for new territory, the Remun people walked along the foot of Kalingkang range for about 60 miles, until they came to a place they named Sungai Krang, a true left tributary of the Sungai Sadong, located in First Division, Sarawak. From the Sungai Krang settlement, Bah, Bateh and their followers split from the main group and moved to a place called Melikin. There they built a longhouse near a fruit groove known as Tembawai Munggang. On this fruit grove, they discovered an abundance of huge durian fruits so big that its skin could be used as a boat by their children. When the fruits fell at night, it would be a heavy task to dig them out of the ground due to their size and weight. If someone found the fruit, he simply blacken it with smoke from his torch, to mark his claim before coming back to dig it up.

After Bah and Bateh’s group had lived in Melikin for some years, their friends, Kekai and Engkabi and their followers, who they had parted with at the foot of Kalingkang range, joined them. When they arrived, they were invited by Bah and Banteh to live with them at Tembawai Munggang, which they did.

During one of the fruit seasons, the children of the first-comers were cheated by the children of the newcomers when they went to collect durian fruit. On hearing this, their parents were angered and cursed the children of the newcomers. This put strain in the relationship of the two groups and the council of elders decided that they should live separately from each other. Before that, Kekai and Engkabi decided to scout for suitable place to settle down. On their way to reconnoiter, they came to Nanga Kedup where they met Damu and Panjang, two men who lived by trapping animals and both were the followers of Bah and Banteh. Kekai and Engkabi asked them if anyone had ventured beyond that part of the country before. Damu and Panjang told them that no one had traveled into that part of Sadong before.

Leaving behind the trappers, they walked towards Bukit Semuja. When they reached Semuja hill, they heard the sound of waterfall. This waterfall, later known as Panchor Asu, is located in the upper Remun stream. Then they climbed up Remun hill and proceed to a grove known as Salapak, where fruit trees grown in abundance. Among the numerous fruit trees, they found a certain durian tree which bore fruits with skins of thirty different colours. After they had rested for a while, they began to clear the undergrowth around the base of these trees and at the same time claimed them as their everlasting possession.

After they had cleared the undergrowth, they decided that they would settle permanently at the place. The scouting group then returned homeward to Tembawai Munggang. As they passed by the Panchor Asu waterfall on their homeward journey, they stopped by and cut many pieces of light pundang tree so that its chips would drift along the stream and they could find out where its mouth was located. Having done this, they let drift along the same stream, a very precious knife, the handle which was inlaid with gold.

A few days after they had returned to their longhouse at Tembawai Munggang, they held a meeting and informed their followers and friends that they now wished to move to another place not very far away.

Some days later, when all the preparations were finished, Kekai and Engkabi led their followers by boat to the new land. They proceeded down the Melikin and Krang streams. As they reached Nanga Engkuan, they found a few pieces of pundang tree chips that had drifted downriver. On seeing this, they went up the Engkuan stream until they reach Nanga Remun. As they reached the Nanga Remun, they saw that a creeper, which was lying across the stream, was shaking in the flowing water. As they looked at the shaking creeper, one of them saw that their precious knife with gold inlaid handle was caught in it. Engkabi and Kekai were very happy as this confirmed that they have come up the right stream.

As they paddled up the Remun stream, they found more pieces of pundang wood. They continue to track them until they reached the landing place at the foot of the Remun hill where they halted. As they rested there, they heard the sound of a bird on the tree top, saying: “Remun, Remun, Remun”. When the children heard this, they scared the bird away. It flew away, but returned to the same spot again on top of the tree shortly afterwards. It was for the call of the this bird that the stream and the hill was named Sungai Remun and Bukit Remun respectively. Ultimately, they called themselves Dayak Remun to this day. Even the type of tree on which the bird perched was called Remun tree. From this place, the Remun Dayak walked to the spot that the reconnoitering party had identified for their longhouse site and built their longhouse there.

After having lived for some years at that place, Kekai and Engkabi journeyed in the direction of the Samarahan area to examine the land. After returning from this trip, Kekai died on the top of Kekai hill and was buried there. Subsequently, the hill was named after him in his honour.

As the Remun Dayak had already owned this land, the Bukar Land Dayaks, whenever they wanted to make use of the land, had first to ask the Remun Dayak Chiefs permission. This custom continued for quite sometimes until the times of Orang Kaya Baga.

Some years after the death of Kekai, Bah and Banteh migrated with their followers from Tembawai Munggang to a place called Salapak, where they lived together with Engkabi. Years later, they moved down the Sadong to look for new country to occupy. At the end of this journey, they settled at a place called Ensika. Some took their followers to live at Tebelu, an area between the mouth of Sadong and the Batang Lupar Rivers. After they had lived at Tebelu for some time, many of them returned to settle along the Batang Sadong. Those who settled permanently at Tebelu married with Sebuyaus and became Sebuyau Dayaks.

Those who left Ensika once again migrated with some who had returned from Tebelu up the Sadong. For some years, they lived at Sejanggil and Empadai, above the modern town of Simunjan. It was from these places that they moved upriver and settled again around Remun hill.

Story Of Remun Chief Named Numpi:

One famous Remun Iban Chief named Numpi, was one person who settled permanently at Tebelu. He owned 30 slaves, who worked for him when he was left an orphan after his parent died while he was still very young. Only two of these slaves were good to him, while the rest plotted to kill him as his parents had been cruel to them.

One day, when Numpi’s two favorite slaves went out to fish for him, the rest of the slaves held a secret meeting to discuss ways of killing the boy. They decided to do it during the burning season of the padi planting cycle. Eventually, when the burning season came, they took Numpi with them to the farm. At the same time, they had requested Numpi’s two favorite slaves to go out fishing at the nearby river. As they reached the farm, they quickly placed Numpi in the middle of the farm near the foot of an ijok palm. The set the field on fire and ran to the edge of the farm to stay away a safe distance from the raging fire that burn the dry trees and bushes they cut earlier. The burning fire created a strong wind, which make the Ijok palm leaves to swing violently, splashing water from the nearby pool into Numpi’s tiny body, which saved him from being burnt or hurt by the flames and heat.

The ijok palm (Arenga pinnata) is a plant capable of yielding a small amount of edible flour (tepong mulong). Its trunk is covered with a coarse hair-like fiber (bulu) which serves as a valuable source of cordage, particularly for rope making. This useful palm also yields sugar and occasionally toddy (tuak ijok).

At the river side, while casting their net, the two loyal slaves saw a thick smoke in the direction of their farm from their boat. Sensing something wrong, they rushed home and found Numpi was not there. Worried about his safety in the hands of the other slaves who dislike their young master, the two loyal slaves immediately rushed to their farm. When they reached the paddy field, they found that the fire had already burned itself out. They also notice that Numpi was not together with them at their temporary hut on the edge of the field. They began to search for Numpi while mentioning that they would kill the other slaves personally if Numpi is found dead. Fearing for their lives, the other slaves left the field immediately while the two loyal slaves searched for their master.

As the two men searched for the child at the centre of the burnt out field, they heard a faint weeping sound of their master. Thus they knew that their master is still alive. When they saw him, they found that he had been miraculously cooled by the water splashed by the ijok palm leaves. Seeing the miracle, the two slaves made a vow, “since this ijok palm has saved our master, the people of our race must no longer eats its shoot, forever and ever”. It was and is because of this that the Remun Dayak does not eat the shoot of the ijok palm even to this very day. It is thought that anyone who eats it by mistake will be afflicted with boils (pisa).

The two slaves took their young master back to the house where they scented him with perfumed mambong leaves and the bark of the lukai tree in order to restore his health. They also urged him, when he was grown up, to kill all the disloyal slaves who had plotted to kill him. These words were overheard by some of the slaves, who still live close by, and they held an urgent meeting. Desiring to escape from their master’s retaliation, they secretly fled to the Batang Ai, Skrang and Saribas Rivers.

Mambong plant (blumea balsamifera) is a flowering shrub; commonly grow on newly abandoned farms (jerami). It is an important ritual and medicinal plant. Dried mambong leaves are burned, particularly at sunset, to repel malevolent spirits. Lukai is a small tree and its dried bark is also burnt to drive away both spirits and insect.

When Numpi had grown up, the two slaves had died of old age. So he lived alone and became very sad. There were a lot of other people living up and the Sadong River not very far from him, but as a man of very high rank, he felt ashamed of leaving his house and lived with them. Due to his loneliness, one day he decided to leave his house and settled on the sea coast. Here he lived by fishing. One day, while fishing, his net caught a bamboo. After he took the bamboo out of his net, he threw it back to the sea again. He paddled to another spot to cast his net. This time his net caught the bamboo again. He threw the bamboo back into the sea again and paddled to another spot to cast his net. At the new spot, he cast his net again. When he drew it out of the water, it has again caught a bamboo piece again. Seeing this repeated occurrence, he became puzzled and he decided to place a mark on the bamboo before he threw the bamboo piece towards the shore.

He paddled to another spot where he cast his net for the fourth time. This time it again caught on something. As he drew it up, he was surprised to see the same bamboo get caught in his net. This time, he placed it on his canoe. Numpi continued to fish and after some time, he caught enough fish for his food. As he reached his landing place, he brought the fish and bamboo to his house. As he carried the bamboo to his house, he heard strange noise coming from inside the bamboo node. At his home, he carefully split open the bamboo and found an egg inside. He placed the egg on a chupai basket and took it inside his room. He then went outside to dress himself on the gallery.

After he had dressed, he again heard a noise in the room, which he completely ignored. Shortly afterwards as he was looking towards the room, he saw a lovely young lady cleaning the fish which he had left in the basket. He thought to himself, “Maybe the egg has miraculously turned into this woman”.

Numpi then went back to the room. Before he could ask a question, the lady spoke to him. “Numpi, I have been asked by my brothers and sisters to follow you, in order to marry you, if you agree to become my husband”.

“Of course I want to marry you, if you agree and your family gives their consent”, replied Numpi.

The lady then told Numpi that she had tried many times to come to him when he fished in the sea. “It was I who was caught by your net in the sea. My name is Rambia Bunsu Betong. If you threw me away as you had so often done, my brothers and sisters might not agree to my marriage with you.”

They were married that evening and after a year had passed, they begot a son who they named Maar.

Eventually, when the child was growing into boyhood, his mother told Numpi that she must return to her spiritual world and could no longer live as husband and wife. However, she advised Numpi not to worry about the divorce as she promised to give Numpi another woman for his wife. After she had finished spoken, she disappeared from the sight of Numpi and their son.

One day, Numpi went out fishing in the sea again. This time he caught a huge patin catfish. He then started off to take his catch back to his home. As he paddled homeward, he happened to pass by a Sebuyau Dayak longhouse where a feast was being celebrated. When some of these people saw Numpi, they begged him to join them. He, at first refused their invitation as he is in a hurry to bring back the fish he had caught to his son at home. The Sebuyaus urged him to come in for a short time in order to taste their tuak (rice wine) and the delicious food they had prepared. On hearing this, and knowing that it is a taboo (puni) to refuse an invitation to taste the food, Numpi went up to the longhouse after securing his boat on their landing place. At the longhouse, he was served food and drinks by the host and joined in their merry makings. Very soon afterward, he began to forget about the patin fish he had left on the boat. Quite sometime later, when he remembers about the fish he left on the boat, he asked a boy to fetch it from his boat to be cooked for the feast. The boy then went out to fetch the fish from the boat and saw a young lady sitting there. When the boy asked the lady for the fish, she ignored him completely. Seeing this, the boy returned to the house and told Numpi what happens and what he saw on the boat.

On hearing the boy’s story, Numpi became suspicious and returned instantly to his boat at the landing place. As soon as he reached the landing place, he saw a beautiful lady sitting inside the boat. He quietly untie the boat and paddled away, too shy to speak to the young lady at the time.

As Numpi paddled the boat, the lady spoke to him. She said, “You are a strange man, Numpi. Why should you leave your son alone at home without anyone to look after him?” Numpi then guiltily asked the lady where she had come from. The lady told him that she was the patin fish that he had caught and her name is Rambia Bunsu Patin. Knowing that she was the lady his first wife had promised to send him before, they were married that evening.

They lived together as husband and wife and soon she gave birth to a son, whom they named Lau Moa. One day after the boy had grown to boyhood, his wife told Numpi that she cannot live with them in the human world any longer as she had come from their spiritual world. She advised Numpi that none of their descendants should eat the patin fish (heliocophagus). She too disappeared from their sight and Numpi was heartbroken again. He was happy that he was blessed with the two sons from the two marriages he had.

His sons grew up to be the leaders of their people. Maar was married to a woman named Riu, a daughter of Orang Kaya Saja of the Remun country. The descendent of Maar became chief of the Remun Dayaks, who lived between the other Sea Dayak (Sebuyaus) and the Land Dayak in the First Division, Sarawak. His brother, Lau Moa, moved to Batang Skrang, a tributary of Batang Lupar, and lived with his wife’s family there. He is most remembered as the first Iban pioneer to settle at Nanga Skrang. He was the father of the famous Iban bards Geringu, Sumbang, Sudok and Malang, who were believed to have been taught the correct wording of the Gawai Burong chants (Pengap Gawai Burong), by Sengalang Burong’s own bard, Sampang Gading. Most of his descendent still live in Skrang, Saribas and Kalaka region to this day.

Gupi’s marriage to Belang Pinggang:

After the death of Sera Gunting, he was succeeded as chief by his son Sera Kempat, who, according to Iban genealogies, begot Ridoh, who married Bada and begot Gupi.

When Gupi reached the age of fourteen her parents ceremonially secluded her in a special place in the loft, a practice called the ngumbong anak. Here she was attended by a band of female slaves. No male above the age of ten was permitted to see her; and the girl herself was not allowed to come down to the floor below, to prevent her from seeing any man. She was required to stay in the loft until the day of her marriage. All her wishes during her seclusion were attended to by her slaves.

After Gupi had been secluded in the loft for many months, her mother noticed that the girl was pregnant. On seeing this, she became exceedingly worried. She informed her husband, Bada, who was also very worried, as this had never before happened to a daughter kept in seclusion.

In their ignorance, they inquired from the slaves whether they had ever seen a man come to visit Gupi. All of the slaves replied that they had not. They asked Gupi herself. She told them that she had never spoken to any man since her stay in the loft. Being unable to ascertain what had happened, they ordered Gupi to come down to live with them as an ordinary child. She packed all her belongings and came to live with her parents like an ordinary girl of her age.

As time went on, Gupi’s pregnancy grew bigger and her parents observed the custom called bepenti to safeguard her life during delivery. She was forbidden to see any dying animal, or to eat tortoise, nor was she allowed to tie anything.

It happened that in the eighth month of Gupi’s pregnancy that her father woke up early one morning. In stepping out onto the communal gallery, he saw that someone had left a pile of logs in front of his family’s apartment. He and his family could not guess who had put them there. That morning he asked everyone in the house, whether any of them had put the logs on his gallery. But no one admitted they had. Bada was very puzzled, but kept quiet. A few nights later, ginger and smoked fish were placed by an unknown person inside the family room. Still Gupi’s parents kept quiet, because they could not guess who had put them there.

Early in the morning after Gupi had delivered her child, a man was seen sitting at Bada’s gallery. He was a very handsome young man and Bada asked where he came from. The young man said that he had come from a far country to be with Gupi when she gave birth to her child. Besides telling Bada this, he said that it was he who had sent them the ginger, fish and logs for Gupi’s use during her confinement. Bada in turn told him that he and his wife had gotten a bad reputation because of their daughter’s pregnancy and their ignorance of the man responsible.

“You need not worry about that”, said the stranger, “for the child is mine, and accordingly Gupi is my wife, for she has made use of the things I sent her”.

“This is very good news to us,” said Bada, “for if you are really the child’s father, we are indeed very much relieved and happy”.

Bada straightaway asked the young man if the marriage feast (melah pinang) could be held as soon as possible. The young man agreed to marry Gupi in the proper way provided that they present him the following articles:

1. Bunga pinang, literally the “areca flower”.

2. A brass cannon, which represents a bridge to cross the many rivers from his far country to that of his wife.

3. A blowpipe which represents the rail of the bridge.

He explained to Bada and his wife why he requested these articles:

1. The marriage feast will be known as melah pinang which means to split the areca-nut. If the areca-tree has no flowers, the marriage will not be successful.

2. A bridge is needed, because a young man coming from a far country must cross many rivers. Without a bridge he cannot cross them and his guiding spirit will not be with him.

3. The bridge must be railed because without it, his guiding spirit will be afraid to cross.

After his explanation, Bada and Ridoh agreed to give the young man the things he requested. Next day Bada gathered the people together in order to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Gupi with the young stranger.

After the marriage, Gupi’s husband became a popular man among his father-in-law’s people. He liked to work, play and joke with his friends. The only thing which puzzled them was that he carefully avoided being seen by anyone when he bathed.

At the bathing place, it was his custom to bathe alone behind a huge boulder just below the others in the river. This boulder was called the “Batu Belang Pinggang” and is situated in the Skrang River, a branch of Batang Lupar.

After Gupi’s husband had lived for many years with her family, a certain person spoke to Gupi, asking her why her husband bathed secretly. Gupi said that she knew nothing about it and would not bother her husband to ask such a thing.

“If you want to know”, she said, “Speak to him yourself.”

But after this Gupi became curious. One afternoon at bathing time, she hid herself fairly close to the place where he usually took his bath. Eventually when he bathed, Gupi saw that the skin round his waist was quite white. She kept still and when he had finished bathing he returned to the house.

That night after the evening meal, the stranger told Gupi and her parents that he could no longer live with them since his secret had been discovered by Gupi. She strongly denied this. But her husband through the inspiration of his guiding spirits, knew that Gupi had seen the very thing on his body which should not be seen by any person born of human parents. Gupi and her family tried hard to stop him from returning to his country. Gupi apologized for the wrong she had committed, but her husband told them it would no longer be possible for him to stay, since the hour had come for him to return to his father’s house.

They spoke long that night. He thanked them for the kindness they had shown him all the years he had lived among them. At last be told them that his name was Gerasi Belang Pinggang and that he belonged to a demon family whose dwelling place is far away at the edge of the sky.

Just before he returned home, Gerasi Belang Pinggang bestowed on his son Geraman the affectionate nickname of “Ensoh”, because Geraman breathed hard whenever he spoke, an action called ngesoh in Iban. He also urged his wife and her parents to look after the boy properly. He wanted him to be well-versed in the rules given by Puntang Raga to Serapoh, by Sengalang Burong to Sera Gunting, as well as by himself to all of those who had heard him. He wished his son to follow his advice. Thus, from this time onward, an Iban wishing to marry a woman from another river should demand from his bride’s parents the articles representing the spiritual rail and bridge.

Later, after his father had gone, Geraman succeeded his grandfather as chief of the Iban community. He memorized all the customs and family trees of his people, so that the observances connected with them could be properly followed.

How Jelenggai married Bintang Banyak:

Long ago, during the generations that followed Sera Gunting, there lived an ancestor named Jelenggai. In those days everyone believed that a man would enjoy luck, should he obtain a certain fruit called the “Pauh Laba”. The tree on which this fruit appeared was said to grow from the navel of the waters, somewhere far away in the wide seas.

Jelenggai was anxious to get this fruit. So one day he built for himself a sailing boat of considerable size. When he had completed it, he sailed aimlessly over the waters.

After he had been sailing for some months his boat was suddenly wrecked. It was swallowed by the great whirlpool at the navel of the waters. Jelenggai looked here and there and at last saw a huge tree growing from the very centre of the whirlpool. As his boat sank he jumped into the water and swam against the strong current to the tree trunk. Having reached it, he climbed the tree until he came to a low branch. There he sat. After sometime he saw a huge bird perched on the top of the tree. Its curved spurs were as big around as one’s thigh. So he climbed again in order to take hold of one of the bird’s spurs. He thought that if he held onto it and the bird flew away, it would eventually alight somewhere on land.

The bird felt nothing as he held onto its spur. After some time the bird flew across the sea until it came to a field of grazing land. As it came it swooped on a cow. Jelenggai jumped free and landed safely on the ground.

Immediately after landing, he started to walk along a cleared track without knowing where he was going. He walked on and on, until eventually he came to a house. On arrival, he was politely invited by a girl to come in. He entered and was given food by the girl. The girl told him that she had six sisters, who were then planting rice on their farm. Jelenggai stayed in the house with the girl and chatted about the miraculous way he had arrived. In the evening the six sisters came home from the farm. After they had taken their food, they all talked with Jelenggai. They told him that they were seven sisters.

“The youngest,” they said, “stays at home to look after the house, while the rest of us plant rice on our farm”.

Early the next day, they asked Jelenggai to stay with their youngest sister in the house, while they themselves went to work in the field. Jelenggai stayed at home with the girl as her sisters requested.

After they had lived that way for some time the girl came to tell Jelenggai that she loved him dearly. She told Jelenggai that if he wanted to marry her, he could. At first Jelenggai could not give her a decision. He simply said he would think the matter over.

Later in the evening, after the family had eaten, the youngest sister publicly informed the others of her feelings towards the stranger. Upon hearing what their youngest sister said, the other sisters asked Jelenggai if he intended to marry her. Jelenggai said he would, if they approved. The rest of the sisters said that they would be very pleased if he would marry their sister in order to produce a child for the family.

Jelenggai thus agreed and a marriage ceremony was held. Afterwards, the sisters told him that his wife’s name was Bunsu Bintang Banyak, the youngest of the Pleiades.

Three years after he had married Bunsu Bintang Banyak, the latter bore Jelenggai a son, whom they named Selamuda. As he was the only child of the family, they were all very fond of him. They arranged that he be looked after by his father during the day, while the rest of the family went out to work in their padi field. From that day onward the father looked after his son during the absence of the other members of the family. Each day the child’s mother warned Jelenggai not to open the lid of their only jar, called tajau pengajih.

Jelenggai obeyed her. He never attempted to open the jar’s lid. But after her repeated warnings, he became curious. He thought that there must be something inside the jar to cause his wife to forbid him to open it.

One day while he and his son were alone in the house, he opened the lid of the jar. It was then the season in which farmers plant their padi. When he opened the lid, he saw through the mouth of the jar that there were thousands of men on the earth below planting their rice. Upon seeing this, he realized that he was in heaven, for all the men he saw appeared far below him. Unfortunately after this he became very worried. He kept on thinking of his own people on the earth below. Through worry, his face turned pale. As usual, late in the evening, his wife and sisters-in-law came home. When the meal was ready they invited Jelenggai and his son to eat together with them. Both Jelenggai and his son took very little food and Jelenggai looked sad and worried. Upon seeing them in this state, Bunsu Bintang Banyak asked Jelenggai whether he had opened the lid of the forbidden jar. He replied that he had, because he was anxious to see what was inside which she had forbidden him to see.

Hearing this Bunsu Bintang Banyak wept sorrowfully. “Because of what you have done, Jelenggai”, she said, “You and our son will no longer be able to live with us”. She held her son and wept loudly as if she mourned the dead. “I never thought that we would be separated from each other; the more I think of it the more sorrowful I shall be when I am separated from you, my dearest child.” She wept inconsolably.

The next day all the sisters wept. They eventually lowered Jelenggai and his son down from heaven to the earth below. Immediately, before they lowered them, Bunsu Bintang Banyak said, “Jelenggai, we are the seven stars who must be heeded by farmers on earth. If you see us sitting at the centre of the sky, you must at once start to plant your padi. If we have passed the centre of the sky when you plant your padi, your farm will be useless. Since the first day you came to stay with us, you have seen that, not for one day, have we remained at home without work to do. This is because we must move according to the season, so that men below may look to us for guidance in their farming.”

Bunsu Bintang Banyak commanded Jelenggai to remember her advice, and to tell thek son Selamuda that the location of the Pleiades should forever be an example to the sons of men as they farm on earth.

After Jelenggai and his son had returned to earth, all marveled at them, for they knew not who they were. Jelenggai related to them the story of how he had started his adventure beginning with the time he had sailed in search of the “Pauh Laba” fruit, to the time when he came to the sky and married the youngest of the Pleiades.

They believed him and from that time onwards all Dayak farmers have commenced planting padi when the Pleiades are sitting in the middle of the sky, following Bunsu Bintang Banyak’s advice to Jelenggai.

Eventually, after the death of Jelenggai, Selamuda, his son, married the daughter of Bunsu Landak. Through this marriage, Selamuda left his father’s house to live with his wife and her parents.

In the year that followed his marriage, Selamuda’s father-in-law’s farm was constantly despoiled by troops of wild boars. In the end, Selamuda and his wife were compelled by his wife’s parents to guard the farm day and night. Even so, the wild boars took no notice of their shouts or the things they beat upon to frighten them away. Even while they ate their meals at night, the boars came to feed upon the crops around them.

One night Selamuda speared the boars with sharp bamboo spears. He killed a few, but even this did not frighten the others. Though he did this night after night, still more wild boars came. One day he decided to fetch his father-in-law’s only iron spear. He did not tell him, for he knew if he told him, his father-in-law would surely have stopped him.

Selamuda and his wife ate their food early that night, for they had heard the grunts of pigs coming towards their farm from the nearby woods. Having finished, Selamuda went outside the hut to wait for the boars with the spear in his hand. A very large boar, leading his followers, came out of the forest and entered the farm. Selamuda stood quietly behind a tree stump. As the pig leader approached to pass him, he struck it with his spear. The pig immediately fled with Selamuda’s spear stuck into his body. Selamuda followed the wounded boar. After a time he could no longer see the trail of blood as the night grew very dark. At last he gave up following the pig. The rest of the night he slept in the woods, and early the next morning he followed the trail again until he came to the junction of seven main ways.

He was puzzled. He did not know which path he should take. After a while, he heard the sound of voices coming towards him. When they reached him, Selamuda asked the travelers their destination. They told him that they were seven wizards who had been invited by the Bunsu Babi to cure his father who was very sick. As he followed them, the trail of blood could still be seen along the path. When they came to a house the seven wizards warned him not to go with them into the house. So he waited outside.

After sometime, a person came from the house and asked Selamuda whether be had any knowledge of curing. Selamuda replied that he would try, “for in the past”, he said, “I was invited several times to cure sick persons”.

Upon hearing his words, the man invited Selamuda to enter the house at once, in order that he might do something for the sick man.

On his arrival, the sick man declared that if any of the medicine men could cure him, he would allow the man to marry any one of his seven daughters. The seven medicine men then started to perform their pelian over the sick man. But their incantations brought no improvement; instead the sick man cried louder and louder from his pain.

Finally, Selamuda came into the room from the communal gallery outside. He saw at once that all in the room were pigs. He also saw a spear, invisible to the pigs, stuck into the sick man’s chest. Its shaft was brushed from time to time by the wizards, causing the wounded boar to scream loudly.

Upon seeing this, Selamuda knew that the spear was his. He reasoned that the wounded boar must be the one he had speared when it led its followers to despoil his father-in-law’s farm. He also realized that these were the boars who frequented the farms of men in human world.

Before he pulled the spear out of the boar’s wound, he asked that entemut (turmeric) be pounded into pulp. When this was done, he pulled the spear out of the boar’s chest, and at the same time applied the entemut pulp to the wound. When he pulled the spear out of the wound, the boar screamed, “adoh mak”, as it was very painful indeed.

After this he advised the boar to rest. In the morning when he came into the room, the boar smiled and told him that he was very much better. Selamuda was pleased when he heard this and again advised him to rest further until he was fully recovered.

After his recovery, the boar asked Selamuda to choose for his wife one of his seven daughters. He chose the youngest, named Dayang Manis Muka.

Some years after their marriage, Dayang Manis Muka bore a son whom she and Selamuda named Begeri. While Begeri was still a child, his grandfather held a great feast. He invited all the beasts, birds and creeping things. After they had drank so much wine that everyone was drunk, the python who was the longest of the serpents vomited. His vomit was licked up by other serpents which made them poisonous. The poor ular bunga, who came later, was left nothing to lick up, which left it non-poisonous to this day. In this way, too, the python lost its venom.

During the feast, the flying fox (semawa’), also vomited. In his vomit all sorts of seeds could be seen. Upon seeing these, the animals realized that the fruit trees in the world were bearing fruit. After the feast was over, the boars announced that now they must go in search of fruit. They agreed to invite an old lady named Ini’ Manang to be their guide. They walked for days and nights. During the day they used their ordinary eyes, but at night they changed to their night eyes. In this way they walked throughout the forests. As they roamed they finally came to a place called Tanjong Munong. At this place they all changed their mouths in order to wear munong, or bristles. From here they roamed again until they reached a place called Tunjing. At Tunjing they all donned hooves.

Leaving Tunjing they came to a place where they found abundant durian fruit. As they ate, Ini Manang was struck by the buloh menangkin, a trap set by men to spear boars. She died in due course, and after her death all the pigs, except for Dayang Manis Muka, fled away.

Selamuda and his son Begeri now wished to return to this world. Before she fled Dayang Manis Muka told Selamuda that she and her family and all the rest of the people in her house were pigs. She explained that she could no longer live with him, but must go home to her father’s house. She advised Selamuda that in the future whenever men wish to see their fate, either during sickness or in hopes of obtaining riches, they should kill a pig in order to divine with its liver. She also advised him to see that their son Begeri was brought up to be a good man and to remember the tradition of liver divination.

After she had finished her advice, she left them to follow the rest of the pigs who fled home before her.

Discovery of Derris poison (Tubai):

Around this time, after the belated, long-delayed death of Menggin, there lived a man named Rakup Beliang. This man was also very fond of shooting the blowpipe. One day in the forest he was seized from behind by a female maias (orang-utan) and though he fought bard to escape, the maias succeeded in carrying him off to her nest at the top of a tall bee tree (tapang). Here she kept a close and constant watch over him. In time, the maias and Rakup Beliang had sexual relations and she bore him a daughter. Some three years after his capture, while the maias was one day taking her bath in a nearby river, he managed to escape from the nest by lowering himself to the ground by a vine. He grabbed the child and ran off, pursued by the maias who had seen his escape. But she could not overtake them. When Rakup Beliang and his daughter reached the river they found an over¬hanging bank and hid themselves under it. Just afterwards along came the maias, who started to search for them, but without success. Eventually, from his hiding place Rakup Beliang saw her collecting the root of a tree which she pounded on a stone in the water. She then dipped the remains of the root into the river and he heard her call out, “If you are still living, Rakup Beliang, you must come out of the water now.” But as his head was above the water he felt nothing. After waiting for some time the maias again called loudly, begging Rakup Beliang, if he could hear her, to care well for the child and to name her Suri. She then went away weeping.

In due course Rakup Beliang came out from under the bank with his daughter and crossed the river, but on looking back he was puzzled to see many dead fish floating on the surface of the water. He therefore examined the remains of the root and found that it was a tubai (Denis) vine. Thus he realised that these roots could be used to poison fish, a method which is still used to this day. Tubai fishing is now a well-known practice and is regulated by the Government.

The healing of Bunyau:

In the days of Geraman, Sera Gunting’s great-great-great grandson Ambau migrated eastward from the Tiang Laju range and built his longhouse at Pangkalan Tabau, two miles above the present town of Lubok Antu. Ambau was one of the chiefs who had participated in discussions to settle amicably the strife between Kanyong of Rantau Merarang and Semalanjat of Bungkap. For his fairness and bravery in war, his name survives to this day in Dayak songs. At this time there also lived a man named Buyau who suffered from open sores which covered his body. He was shunned by all and was confined to a hut adjoining his family’s open verandah.

One day the people of Bunyau’s house were invited to a nearby longhouse to attend a feast. As Bunyau sat alone in his hut he heard the sound of someone approaching, and looking through a hole in the wall, he saw two young men who had just sat down on the deserted communal gallery. He was too ashamed because of his sores to go out to welcome the visitors. Soon one of them called him to come out and talk to them, but he refused, saying “I am here because I am sick, and I cannot sit with you.”

He suggested that the strangers should help themselves to his family’s rice wine (tuak) in the room, but they only agreed to this on the condition that he himself would fetch the tuak for them.

“No,” replied Bunyau, “if I touched the wine with my diseased hands, I am sure you wouldn’t drink it.” But the visitors reassured him that they certainly would if only he would fetch the wine himself.

At last Bunyau emerged, trembling, and brought a jar full of wine which he offered to them. After they had drunk all the wine, Bunyau’s sores began to disappear and after he fetched another jar, which the young men consumed, he found that his sores had completely healed. The strangers then told Bunyau that they had come to invite him to their father-in-law’s feast which was to be celebrated the following day, but Bunyau was reluctant to go, being still sick and weak.

“Your sickness will be healed if you come with us,” they said.

He finally agreed when they told that their father-in-law’s feast would not be held unless he came with them. They also urged him not to worry about dress, as their father-in-law would lend him clothes for the occasion.

As Bunyau walked with them, he felt himself growing stronger, and finally bathing at his host’s landing stage he found that even the marks of his sores had completely disappeared.

Arriving in the house, Bunyau sat down at the end of the communal gallery in front of the second room (bilek), where he was politely entertained by his host, and in due course was invited by a man carrying a cock to come and sit on the verandah of his father-in-law, Sengalang Burong. This man was Ketupong, Sengalang Burong’s eldest son-in-law. Bunyau agreed to go, but continued to converse with his host, until another son-in-law named Beragai came carrying a cock and repeated the invitation, at the same time waving the cock over Bunyau’s head, as was the custom when receiving guests. Bunyau finally accompanied Beragai to Sengalang Burong’s gallery in the middle of the longhouse. There he was again saluted with a cock waved over his head and was invited to sit close to Sengalang Burong himself at the outer-most section of the gallery. When he was seated, the feast began. From the outset he was accorded by Sengalang Burong the honour of sitting close to a decorated platform full of human heads and offerings at the centre of the communal gallery, this being the traditional honour paid to the most esteemed of all guests present. At the conclusion of the feast, Sengalang Burong taught Bunyau many things concerning the Bird Festival traditions supplementing the information he had given Sera Gunting. He also commanded Bunyau that, immediately after he returned to his own house, he must celebrate exactly the same feast with another man also named Bunyau.

Three days later Bunyau returned home, and went directly to the other Bunyau’s gallery at the opposite end of his longhouse, instead of returning to his own gallery as was customary. He sat telling his friends the whole stories of his visit to Singalang Burong’s longhouse, where he had witnessed a Bird Festival and of how he had been advised to hold the same kind of feast as soon as possible in their own longhouse, and how the second Bunyau must follow exactly the same procedure for this feast. Then they were interrupted by the entry of Bunyau’s youngest child, who rushed in weeping to his father and embraced him, calling him “father”. Bunyau took his son to comfort him on his lap while the child continued to weep and called him father. Hearing her son crying, Bunyau’s wife left her cooking and came out to fetch the child. She teased him for daring to approach the stranger in such a manner.

“Aren’t you ashamed,” she said, “to claim the visitor as your father?”

But her son continued to cry bitterly, until his mother slapped him, scolding him for his behavior towards a stranger.

“Your father is sick and we are ashamed of him,” she said, and took the child with her to her room, where he continued to cry.

Bunyau then returned to sit on his own gallery, still unrecognized by his wife who had not been to see whether her husband was in his hut.

That night, as a matter of course, Bunyau went to the room to sleep with his wife, but as he opened the mosquito net his wife protested saying that a stranger should not behave in such a way to a married woman, and that however ill her husband might be she must remain faithful to him.

“Although he is now sick,” she said, “he is as good and devoted as any husband.”

When Bunyau heard this assurance of his wife’s devotion, he declared that he was indeed Bunyau, but she still would not believe him and ran out to the hut to see whether Bunyau was there.

Finding the hut empty, she returned to her room very worried and puzzled. Again Bunyau gently reassured her and told her how he had attended Sengalang Burong’s feast and been miraculously healed. As he finished his story his wife wept for joy, and embraced him marveling at his cure. He then told her of Sengalang Burong’s instructions and asked her to prepare as much glutinous rice as possible for the festival. Joyfully she agreed, as she was naturally most anxious to thank the gods and spirits for curing him.

Accordingly, a few days later when all was ready Bunyau celebrated his Bird Festival. When his many guests had arrived, Bunyau greeted them by waving a cock over their heads. He then called loudly three times for Sengalang Burong and his people to come to his feast, and immediately after this a number of those present, both hosts and guests, fell unconscious as the spirit of Sengalang Burong arrived among them.

From that day onwards, Bunyau grew mightier and became a skilled and vigorous leader in war. The other Bunyau also became one of his bravest warriors, and did much to assist the progress of his people in their new country in the Batang Ai.

Iban-Kantu enmity is resolved:

Jelian was born at Merakai in West Kalimantan. He was descended from the famous ancestor, Serapoh, whose story we have already told, and was a very tall and handsome man. From his boyhood days he was restless. He was fond of visiting people and of talking about wars with the older warriors.

One day Jelian told his mother that he wanted her to look for a girl for him to marry. His mother said that she wanted him to marry Tiong, the daughter of a Kantu chief named Beti, whose praise-name was “Merebai”. She said that Tiong was very fair and was a secluded girl, anak umbong, attended by her family’s female slaves.

“The only difficulty about your winning her,” she said, “is that her people have not yet made peace with us. They became our enemies in the days of our ancestor Serapoh.”

Jelian was anxious to meet Tiong personally. So he went to her house. When he reached the house, he hesitated to go up to it; therefore he climbed a jack-fruit tree which grew at the back of Tiong’s family room. From its branches he hoped to see Tiong when she came out to bathe in the nearby river.

That night after the people had gone to sleep, Jelian crept into Tiong’s room from a tree branch to the hole in the roof which lighted the sleeping section. From there he walked carefully towards Tiong’s bed in the loft.

When he entered he woke Tiong and she asked him who he was. He told her that he was Jelian who had been asked by his mother to court her for his wife. Tiong told him that her mother too had spoken of him to her.

“But your people are demons, antu gerasi and tuak tuie, so how can I bring myself to discuss marriage with you,” said Tiong.

She could not forget that Jelian was the worst enemy of her people, so she gave him the name of the cannibal spirits. Jelian told her again that his visit was according to the wish of his mother, who wanted him to marry her.

Hearing this, Tiong woke her father and informed him that Jelian was with her in her bed. She told him all that Jelian had said to her. Her father Merebai approved Jelian’s suit, for Jelian’s mother had often spoken to him secretly, proposing the union of her son Jelian with his daughter Tiong, ever since the girl was in her mother’s womb. After approval had been granted, Merebai invited the people of the Batang Empanang, Kantu, Merakai and Kedumpai rivers, to attend the marriage ceremony of Jelian and his daughter Tiong which would be held in three days’ time. Over a hundred people were invited to the wedding and two large pigs were slaughtered for the occasion.

When the time came for Merebai to speak to those who had gathered for the wedding, he said, “I must tell you that I have caught a demon, an antu gerasi, tuak tuie, who I have placed inside a cage. I disliked him most as it was he who killed my nephew Numpang quite some time ago in an attack against the Kantu of Merakai.”

When the Kantu heard this, they demanded that the man be brought to them instantly, so that they might kill him. But Beti said, “Nevertheless I have approved in your presence the marriage of my beloved daughter Tiong and Jelian, a chief and my enemy of yesterday.”

On hearing this wise decision of Beti, all his friends were happy to see that the enmity between the Kantu and Iban, which had lasted so long, was now to be put aside by marriage.

The longhouse kitchen rules:

Shortly after their marriage, Jelian migrated westward and settled at Wong Empangu on the Undup river. Other Iban who moved there were Gelungan at Bukit Balau Ulu, and Langkup in the middle Undup. While Jelian lived at Wong Empangu, he and his people farmed lands far from their longhouse. Due to this, they lived in farm huts to make it easier for them to look after their fields.

One day while all the fanners were busy weeding, some of the women went to the longhouse to pound rice. As they approached the house, they heard strange noises which frightened them so much that they ran back to the padi fields to inform their husbands.

When Jelian and the others heard this, they went without hesitation to the house. As they came near to the building they heard noises from everywhere. But once they were in the house, the noises were heard coming from the loft. While looking for the source of the noise, they heard a spirit’s voice telling them that these noises were coming from the cold kitchens of the house. Jelian asked why this had happened, and the spirit told him that this was because Jelian and his people had not cooked for a long time in their kitchens. The spirit further advised Jelian that from that day onwards, he and his people must make use of their longhouse kitchens for cooking at least twice a month, at full moon and before the appearance of the new moon.

“If you fail to do this,” said the spirit, “the spirit of the kitchen (antu dapor) will harm the lives of the inhabitants of this longhouse.”

Continuing, the spirit instruct Jelian of the following rules.

1. If a man has completed building his house kitchen, and does not cook food on the hearth he has made, he must produce one knife, an adze and two chickens. Beside these, he must pay a fine of one Jabir, which is equivalent to a dollar, and one jarlet.

2. If a man has completed his house, but has not yet made a kitchen according to customary law, his negligence may cause the members of the longhouse ill-fortune. He will be fined one panding, which is equivalent to two dollars, plus one knife, one chicken and one jarlet.

3. All kitchens in the longhouse must be used for cooking rice at least twice a month, at full moon and at the appearance of the new moon.

4. If any member of the longhouse does not obey the kitchen rules, he or she shall be fined two chickens, one knife and one adze.

5. Should anyone in the longhouse fall sick because someone has not cooked in his or her kitchen, as required by customary law, the offender must kill a sow that has once given birth to piglets, and must produce one nyabor knife and one jarlet.

Having heard the kitchen spirit’s advice, the men returned to their padi fields. The following night, Jelian called the farmers and their families to an emergency meeting at his farm hut. There he explained to them the rules which they must follow. After Jelian had related to his people all of the kitchen rules that the spirit had commanded them to observe, all solemnly swore to abide by these rules, and they are still observed by the Iban in their longhouses to the present-day.

Padang is cursed by the Pleiades:

Sagan-Agan, a well known leader in the time of Sera Gunting, lived with his followers in the upper Ketungau. His son Jenua departed from the upper Ketungau and migrated to the slope of Kenyandang hill, between the headwaters of the Sanggau and the Ulu Strap Rivers. Jenua’s son, Ratih, lived separately at Longgong Kumpang hill, at the headwaters of the Kumpang River.

While Jenua lived at Kenyandang hill, a chief from the lower Ketungau named Jengkuan, with Padang and his father Ligam, came to live with their followers in the upper Bayan rivers. From this place they moved again to the mouth of the Merakai river. At this settlement they lived miserably. The land was not fertile enough to produce sufficient food for them. During their stay, one of them was caught by a crocodile and as a result they moved to Bukit Tapang Peraja which was situated between Saih and the main Ketungau River.

After staying there for quite some time, they observed the calls of “Pangkas Kanan” (right-hand calls of the Pangkas bird) for seven days and seven nights, as required by tradition, before they moved to Kenyandang hill, which is situated south of the Kalingkang range on the modern boundary between Sarawak and Kalimantan. The Pangkas was believed to have the effect of weakening all the enemies they might encounter along their migration route to the country of the Sebaru Dayaks.

Padang and his people were very satisfied with the lands they farmed at Kenyandang hill and they made their stay there a permanent one.

At this time a man of Padang’s house named Jengkuan and his wife Genali went to work on their farm. When they reached their farm hut, they found a lot of ripe pingan fruit lying on the floor. They ate some of these fruit and later went to weed grass in their padi field.

As he was weeding, Jengkuan’s eye was blinded by the ashes he stirred up. So he told his wife that he was going to the stream to clean his eye with water. After he had washed his eye, Jengkuan returned to weed the grass again.

But when he came to the spot where he had left his wife, he was surprised to find blood stains both on the ground and on the padi leaves. He called for his wife but she was nowhere to be found. He then followed the drops of blood which led him to the mouth of a great cave, and he entered it. After he had been in the cave for two nights looking for his wife, he came to a bathing place where he met a lovely girl who was bathing in the river. On seeing him, the girl told him to follow her to her longhouse. As they walked along the path, the girl told Jengkuan that the people of her house were celebrating an enchaboh arong festival in order to receive the fresh head of an enemy who had been killed by her brother, a punishment for eating his pingan fruit-bait.

As they entered the house, Jengkuan saw many people holding a skull, singing their songs for it. Seeing his arrival, a man called out loudly and said, “Welcome Balu Pingan,” which meant the one made a widower by pingan fruit. He handed to him the skull so that Jengkuan could sing his song to it. Jengkuan took it and sang his song. After this he was invited to perform the rayah dance around a group of ritual cordyline plants which were placed at the middle of the open gallery. He danced round and round, and when a man waved a cock to terminate the ceremony, Jengkuan returned to the main building and slipped into the room to see the girl whom he had met at the bathing place.

As they talked, she told him that it was her brother who had killed his wife. She informed him that this longhouse was the home of tigers and all its inhabitants were tigers. She told him that his wife had eaten the pingan fruit which had been used as bait (taju) by her brother, and that this was why she had been slain by him.

The girl said to Jengkuan that he had the right to avenge his wife’s death. “If you want to kill my brother, you must not slash him with your knife, but with his own knife instead, so that he cannot easily cut you down,” she said.

On hearing this, Jengkuan went out of the room to the communal gallery and mingled with the people gathered there. After he had sat a long time with the people, he invited the girl’s brother to bathe with him in the river. He agreed and took his knife. Jengkuan who followed him also took his own knife.

On the way to the river they passed a sugar cane plantation, and the tiger asked Jengkuan whether he would like to drink sugar cane juice. Jengkuan said that he would, as he was very thirsty. So they stopped to collect cane. When Jengkuan removed the sheath of the cane, he cut it with the blunt side of his knife. When the tiger saw that it took him so long to skin the cane, he lent him his knife, as Jengkuan received the tiger’s knife, he struck him with it and killed him with a single blow. He took the tiger’s head and immediately carried it home.

When he came to his own house at Kenyandang hill, he showed to the people the head of the tiger that had killed his wife while they were weeding in their padi field. Padang and all the people were very pleased to receive the head.

In order to thank the gods and universal spirits for Jengkuan’s victory over the slayer of his wife, Padang and his people held an enchaboh arong festival. A great number of guests came and at the height of the celebration, one of Padang’s men killed a guest who claimed to be the son of Bunsu Bintang Banyak, youngest of the Pleiades sisters. During the night after the feast was over, Padang had a dream in which he met Bunsu Bintang Banyak who warned him that due to the death of her son, Padang and his people and their descendants down to seven generations would hardly eat any rice.

Padang’s migration to the Strap River:

Padang informed the people of his dream, which made them all very sad. From that year onwards none of them could get enough rice for food. Due to this they divided up and Padang went to Ulu Strap and settled at Munggu Embawang, while others either joined the Sebarus or lived elsewhere along the foot of the Kalingkang range on both sides of the modern Sarawak-Kalimantan border.

Here Padang and his people suffered miserably. They ate only wild leaves for a number of years, later they gradually moved down to Strap and farmed at temporary settlements in various places. Finally they reached the main Lingga River where they stayed and farmed for many years. Despite their hard work they still could not get sufficient rice for food.

Finally they left the Lingga to live at a place called Pinang Mirah, midway to the Sebuyau River. Here they also found insufficient rice. One night in his sleep, Padang dreamed that he met the Swine Goddess who advised him to leave the Batang Lupar and migrate to the Saribas River; there he should find in the Rimbas sago palm groves at Tanjong Banan. In the morning Padang told the people about his dream. They all agreed to go to the Saribas.

After they had found the sago palms at Tanjong Banan they lived and farmed at Paloh and Pusa. They did not dare to go to the upper Rimbas, for fear of the Seru and Bukitan people. It was at Pusa that Jenua and his son Ratih died. After their death, Padang sent his son Gunggu accompanied by Pajih to the Skrang and Undup rivers to consult Jelian about the way and time to plant padi and other things in the farm. At this time Padang and his people explored the Undai stream, a right tributary of the Rimbas near Pusa. They found that this stream was full of large tree trunks which obstructed its passage. Due to this difficulty, he could only go up as far as a big pool called Letong Beluchok, where they went to live a month later.

There were then abundant fish in the Undai stream, including a number of huge catfish (tapah). According to old sayings, the size of these catfish varied from as long as a wooden mortar to as long as a medium-sized boat. While living there they often met friendly Serus who gave them padi seed to plant in their small clearings. At this time they depended only on sago and fish for food.

The Seru were a Melanau tribe. The Melanaus depended on sago for food and it was due to this that sago palms had been planted at Tanjong Banan in the Rimbas River.

One day when the water in the Undai stream was low, Padang and his people poisoned fish with tubai roots. Padang saw a huge catfish whose whiskers were yellow as gold and speared it with a spear which was tied to his wrist. The wounded catfish leaped away dragging Padang into the river and drowned him. His body was drawn by the fish down the Undai to the Rimbas and from there down to the main Saribas River; then up the Saribas to Lubok Sedebu, and finally down¬river again to the end of Lilin cape near the modern town of Beladin. Because of this the people of the Rimbas claimed as theirs all land on both banks of the Saribas from Tanjong Lilin to Lubok Sedebu. The yellow whiskers of the catfish which drowned Padang are also mentioned in the ritual chants:

Padang apai Duyah pen udah datai ditu,
Parai ditaban ka dungan ikan tapah,
Bejanggut mirah ka jadam mau gempanang.

(Padang the father of Duyah has also come here,
Dragged to his death by a catfish,
Whose whiskers were yellow like gold. )

After Padang’s death, his son Gunggu led his friends to meet a Seru chief at Nanga Tawai. They told the chief that the Iban would like to live near him and his people. The Seru chief said that he would accept the Iban but ordered them to live apart on the bank of the Rimbas river opposite Nanga Tawai. He asked the Iban to come as soon as possible, so that they could plant padi at the same time as the Seru.

Gunggu returned to Letong Beluok, and told his people that the Seru had agreed to allow them to live near them. All the Iban were happy and Gunggu arranged that his son Garrai with most of the Iban would live with the Seru at Tawai, while he (Gunggu) and his followers would settle at Nanga Jerai.

When the Iban population had multiplied, the Rimbas Seru began to move to the Krian and settled round the foot of Tengalat hill below the mouth of the Melupa tributary.

Munan left the land in the lower Rimbas and went up that river to live at Nanga Luop. The first year he lived there, he and his followers farmed a large piece of land at the mouth of the Babu stream. One evening when Munan had finished his day’s work he returned to his longhouse. On the way home he encountered a large python which had uprooted many medium-sized trees, showing its great strength. Munan asked his friends to kill the snake, but none of them had sufficient courage to do so alone. So it was that Munan ordered all of them as a group, to kill the snake.

After they had killed the huge python, Munan and the others became worried, for they did not know what this strange sign might predict. They had heard that a man named Apai Paau of upper Skrang was very good at explaining omens. So Munan asked two of his men to consult Apai Paau in order to find out the omen’s meaning. While these men were still away in Skrang Munan ordered that no one should work his farm.

After Munan’s men had told Apai Paau the story of the huge python they had killed on their way home from their farms, Apai Paau said that this omen was not dangerous.

“It will not take your life; it is to redeem you from the curse of the Pleiades, whose son your people killed and which has caused you to suffer hunger these past six generations,” he said.

He taught them to honour the omen with seven days of abstention from work and, at the same time, with seven trays of offering to the gods, which were to be smeared with the blood of seven sows who had seven times given birth to piglets.

“After Munan had done these things, your people will lead a prosperous life,” Apai Paau said.

The two men returned to the Rimbas and told Munan what Apai Paau had directed him to do to respect the omen.

After Munan had offered these sacrifices to the gods according to the direction of Apai Paau of the Skrang, he and all his people became very prosperous in their farming. But later they quarreled with the Krian Seru and took their land. Munan and all his people then moved to the northwest and settled at Melupa, a left tributary of the Krian River.

The Incest Laws are modified:

Geraman, son of Gupi married Tebari and begot a son Chundau, who married Beragai. The latter begot a son named Beti, who was also called Berauh Ngumbang.

In the days of Beti “Berauh Ngumbang”, a man named Abang committed incest with Tali Bunga, who was his first cousin’s daughter. In due course, Beti ordered the couple to pay a fine, as fixed by Sengalang Burong, but as the couples were very poor, they could not afford to do so. Beti and the other leaders therefore ordered that they should be put to death by impalement on bamboo spikes.

On the next day, after a special place had been prepared for the execution, Beti assembled all the people to witness the killing. Immediately before the execution, Beti called loudly in prayer the names of the gods and the spirits to witness how he would deal justly with the malefactors in accordance with the teachings of Sengalang Burong.

Suddenly, when the executioners were about to lay hands on the transgressors, a voice was heard calling, “Beti! Beti! Why would you kill these human beings in such a cruel manner?”

Beti explained the reason why he was about to do this. “If they cannot pay such heavy fines, you must not kill them in this way,” the voice continued.

“What must I do then?” asked Beti.

“In future, if such a case should occur, you must ask the guilty parties to wash in the blood of a medium-sized pig, which you have killed in the river. Another pig should be killed on land in order to wipe away the wrath of the spirits who will otherwise destroy your farms and plantations.”

This is known as besapat ka ai’, a modification of Sengalang Burong’s original code of law. Besides killing two pigs, the voice asked that the following things be produced by the parties to be used during the ceremony of besapat ka ai’:

1. Pedang panjang kena ngerandang remang rarat.
2. Beliong lajong kena mungga urat lensat.
3. Sumpit tapang kena ngerejang lubang kilat.
4. Kumbu rayong kena nyerayong tekuyong dalam ungkap.
5. Kain beragi kena miau moa-hari sarat bebuat.
6. Pinggai besai kena nyekat tanah rarat.
7. Besi panti landi ke alai kaki betakat.
8. Rangki siti kena nasih ai ngambi enda beriap.
9. Tepayan endor nyimpan samengat.

This means:
1. A long sword to separate the moving clouds.
2. An adze used for cutting the root of the lensat tree.
3. A blow-pipe of tapang wood for blocking the holes of lightning.
4. A kumbu rayong blanket for covering the overhanging banks of the river to prevent snails from emerging.
5. A coloured cloth for wiping away thick clouds.
6. A large bowl for obstructing erosion.
7. An iron step for the legs to stand fast.
8. A shell armlet as a fee to prevent the water of the river from rippling.
9. A jar in which to keep the souls safely.

So Beti “Berauh Ngumbang” and his companions did not kill Abang and Tali Bunga. Instead the couples were ordered to undergo the besapat ka ai ceremony. The voice said that incest of a brother and sister was still punishable according to the law given by Sengalang Burong to Sera Gunting. The new law starts with first cousins. The sons and daughters of first cousins committing incest with members of the adjacent generation should incur fines of ten jabir (now equivalent to ten dollars). The fine is to be divided amongst all persons attending the ceremony.

In the next category, the fine was eight jabir. The parties involved in this category must undergo the ceremony of being washed in the blood of a pig, besapat ka ai’. In the last category the fine is two Jabir, but only one pig is to be killed on land and the ceremony of kalih di darat performed. Those who have taken part in the kalih di darat ceremony must continue to follow the laws of Sengalang Burong.

It happened that in the days of Kaya, a descendant five generations after Beti, a man named Bukol committed incest with his classificatory aunt, Brenyan, in a manner similar to that of Abang and Tali Bunga.

Kaya ordered them put to death according to the old laws of Sengalang Burong. The night after they were killed, heavy rain fell and a great wind blew, destroying Kaya’s house at Sungai Letong in the Paku. The remaining bamboos (buloh aur) used for this impaling are still growing at the present-day, at Nanga Selamoi, opposite Kaya’s longhouse site not far from the modern longhouse at Sungai Pelandok. Kaya’s longhouse was destroyed because he disobeyed the law given by the spirits to Beti.

The Dau Iban:

Migrations of Iban from the Kapuas into Sarawak have continued down to relatively recent times. Nine generations ago a group of Iban under Chief Telu Aur lived near the mouth of the Kapuas. From there Telu Aur led his people further upriver. They settled at the middle of the Kapuas where Telu Aur died.

He was succeeded by his son Demong Suran, who took his people to live in the upper Kapuas River where he in his turn died of old age. After Demong Suran had passed away, his son Ambau (not Pateh Ambau) became chief. While he was the leader of his group, Ambau took his followers from the Kapuas basin to the Batang Ai and settled at Seram. Later he moved to Pangkalan Tabau, above the present town of Lubok Antu.

From Pangkalan Tabau, Ambau moved upriver and lived temporarily at Lubang Baya. From there he returned again to Pangkalan Tabau, where he died, murdered by his slaves who purposely capsized his boat at the Wong Mutan rapids.

At the death of Ambau, his son Liang became chief. Liang lived at Lubang Baya tributary near the source of the Batang Ai. He was a brave warrior who fought the Punans in the upper river.

When Liang died he was succeeded as chief by his son Bayang. It was this chief who led his people from Lubang Baya down the Batang Ai and up the Undup tributary in the Batang Lupar to settle at Klasin. After Bayang and his people had lived at Klasin for many years, they moved westward to Sungai Raya, a left tributary of the Undup. From this locality they moved to Rijang not far away from the present town of Simanggang, east of the Undup region. Bayang died at Rijang and was succeeded as chief by his son Nyanggau.

When he was chief, Nyanggau moved his longhouse to Lemas where he and his followers settled for several years, till they were attacked and defeated by Indra Lela and his forces from the Skrang. Due to this defeat, Nyanggau and his people fled away to settle at Dau, in Indonesian Borneo.

After they had lived at Dau in what was then Dutch territory for about a decade, Nyanggau and his followers were called back to Sarawak by Mr. Brereton, then the Resident at Skrang. When they returned, they settled at Embawang in the Dor stream, instead of resetting at Lemas. But because they had lived at Dau in Dutch Borneo after their defeat by Indra Lela of Skrang, they have continued to be called the Dau Iban to the present-day. On their arrival in Sarawak from Dau, the Dau Iban community divided up and settled at Embawang, Klauh, Melugu, Gua, Nyelan, Engkeramut, Selepong and Puak Ai where their descendants still live to the present-day.

After some years at Embawang, Nyanggau and his people moved to Lemas as previously arranged by Mr. Brereton. Nyanggau died at this settlement and was succeeded as chief by his son Gaong. When Gaong was chief, he led his followers from Lemas to Klauh where they settled for many decades. After Gaong had died he was succeeded by his son Lansam who also died at Klauh. After Lansam, his son Gendang became chief. At Gendang’s death, succession passed to his nephew Junau, who, at the time of writing, continues to live at Klauh.