Origin of Adat Iban Part 2 – Tangga Bejie

Adat Creation – Tangga Bejie

Kangau baum magang

Bejie called for a big meeting with his people and all animals in the forest to inform them of his plans to construct a ladder up the enchepong tree in order to meet Muslim god personally. Unfortunately, he forgot to invite the termites and honey bear to this meeting. They felt insulted for not being invited and planned to take revenge on Bejie. Before he started to build the stairway, he instructed his brother named Bada to lead his followers. As soon as the construction work started, the termites started to build tunnel unknowingly by Bejie and his men and other animals inside the roots and trunk of the enchepong tree. Just as his ladder reached the sky, the honey bear then started to dig out the root and trunk of the enchepong tree from the outside. The soft wooded enchepong tree collapsed. Bejie and his ladder fell to earth. The hero was killed and pieces of his ironwood ladder fell into various rivers and streams of central Borneo. Any pieces of ironwood found crossing streambeds are called “tangga Bejie” and should not be used to construct any part of the longhouse, as it is considered a taboo and would bring bad luck to the house owner as what happens to Bejie.

Antu gerasi ngau nunu selukai

Bejie bore a son named Nisi. He was a father of two sons, Telichu and Telichai and a daughter named Ragam. According to the oral narratives, Telichu turned into a cannibalistic demon huntsman during a hunting trip with his brother Telichai and became a founding ancestor of an antu race known as antu gerasi or demon huntsman. They are the most feared and dreaded of all the Iban supernatural beings. They are thought to roam the forest at dusk, during thunderstorms or at night, hunting soul of unfortunate human who appears before them in the invisible plane of the soul, which usually appears as wild pigs to them. These antu gerasi live apart from humankind, as forest ogres, and are said to hunt with spears, assisted by a small but fierce dog called Pasun. Most of them are living a solitary wandering life while others are said to live in an unseen longhouse on a fichus tree (kayu kara). That explains why Iban would not want to live near a fichus tree, as it is a domain for the antu gerasi.



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