A Story of Klieng.

326 H. Ling Roth, — Natives of Sarawak and Brit. N. Borneo,

A Story of Klieng.

A Fragment from Mr. Brooke Low’s Notes.

” A number of the inhabitants of the spirit world went out to plant their
rice seed. (Nugal.J Says Klieng, * What is the good of nugal-ing, you
have no fish (lauk). Let us nuba the Sanggau River.’ ^ Bunga Noieng,
Klieng’s champion (manoh sabong) brings five armfuls of tuba root as his
contribution. At about 5 a.m. the whole expedition is ready to set out for
the fishing, when two strangers of handsome and noble appearance arrive.
Bunga Noieng, who is impatient to be off, is angry at the interruption
which the arrival of strangers implies, and would like to kill them. They
pass along the passage of the long house until they reach Klieng’s
department where they sit down. Bunga Noieng would now like to carry
into execution his plan for murdering the strangers, but is prevented by
Klieng. They chat with Klieng, and producing a thin rod they ask him to
point out which is its end and which is its beginning, demanding in case of
his failure to answer, that he should be deprived of his wife. Klieng is at
a loss for an answer but is released from his diflRculty by Laja, his brother,
who falls asleep and in a dream is informed that the white is the end of the
stick and the black is the beginning. This he whispers to Klieng, who
announces the answer as his own. The visitors next ask Klieng to name
the wood, but being unable to do so Laja again dreams and informs
Klieng that the wood is a ficus (kayu ara). They next ask of Klieng
their own names, and remind him that failure to answer will bring upon
him the loss of his wife Kumang, whom they will carry away. Laja again
dreams, and in his dream his father Sanghima tells him that the name of
the one is Sinjar bebaju guntur (Sinjar with the robe of thunder) and the
other is Nyang bebaju rambur (Nyang with the robe of the red glowing sunset

** The night is then spent in story telling, &c. In the morning Klieng
goes to nuba with all his people — men and boys, women and children, leaving
the visitors in the house with his wife Kumang and his brother’s wife Lulong.
After the people have all left for the tuba fishing, Kumang and Lulong
prepare the meal and call their visitors to partake of it. Afterwards the
visitors urge the women to leave their husbands and return with them to
their homes. (These visitors were inhabitants of that spirit world whence
Klieng and Laja originally brought their wives.) But they refuse. Says
Lulong, * Enggai ninggal ka Laja aka dara lantan sakumbang ‘ (I will not
leave Laja — aka dara lantan sakumbang — this latter part is a title added to
Laja’s name of which I cannot find the meaning). Kumang says, * Enggai
ninggal ka laki, ka Klieng aji ti biani tau sprang ‘ (I will not leave my husband

^ Rice is cultivated on swampy ground and on solid ground. In the swamp it is sown broad cast
(nuba) but in the solid ground it is sown by dibbling small holes into which the seed is thrown and
then a little earth scraped in with the foot. This is nugal. Anything eaten as a relish with rice,
whether fish, flesh or fowl, fruit or vegetables, is known generally as lauk, or amongst some tribes as
engkayu. But specifically lauk is fish. As ni^a/-ing demands a little extra physical exertion on the
part of the Dyoks, it is usual to provide fish or flesh with the rice at meal times. Hence Klieng’s
proposal to nuba (tuba root fishing) before setting out to plant the farm.

Legends — A Story of Klieng, 327

Klieng the wonderful, the brave leader in battle). The two women are
frightened and leaving the strangers sitting on the ruai they run into their
room. and fasten the door. The two men call to them and remonstrate with
them, and ask them to bring them out some betel nut and sirih, but the
women refuse to come out again, and the men finding persuasion vain break
open the door and seizing the two women they carry them off. Descending
from the house they pull up a jack-fruit tree, and enter the earth by the hole.

** Indai Karong Besi (Mother of the Iron Sheath) strikes the alarm bell
(gong sernogong — a heavenly gong which being struck once continues to sound
for ever unless it is given asi pulut — glutinous rice — when it stops). The
people all hurry back from their tuba-fishing, and ask who is dead? She
replies, * No one is dead, but the strangers have run away with your wives.’
* There you are,’ says Bunga Noieng (who is also named Simpurai), * you
would not kill them when I wanted you to.’ Simpurai (or Bunga Noieng)
then sets on foot to search up and down, but to no purpose. The whole
country was aroused, every house turned out, and the whole district disturbed,
but of course to nb purpose. No trace could be found and no tracks were
visible. All the people collect at Klieng’s house, and ask where they had
better search. Indai Karong Besi tells them to pull up the Nangka (jack-fruit
tree) and descend by the hole. Bunga Noieng asks if it is possible their
enemies can have used that way. He tries, and finds it the road used.
Bujang Tuai, Klieng’s uncle, prays them not to go — by no means to think of
descending to Sabayan — the world of the dead. He says he has been once to
Sabayan with Klieng’s father, and advises them to separate and provide
themselves with torches of dammar resin to light themselves on the way.
They do so and are prepared for the journey. Bunga Noieng leads the way,
and is followed by Sa Pungga, Sereganjang, Tutong of Gelong (Kumang’s
cousin) and Remuyan (Lulong’s brother). Each one has his torch fastened
upright on his head. They march along day after day until they come to a
temuda (farm land uncultivated for two or three years) in Sabayan, where
they see lights. Bujang Tuai (the old bachelor) calls a rest, but Bunga
Noieng is impatient, and does not see the use of halting to look for the
various kinds of fruit (senggang, banjang, upa, buah miah merindang anak
ampang). Bunga Noieng do^s not heed the old man’s counsel and goes on
by himself. Presently he is captured by the Anak Ampang (bastard children
— against whom the buah miah may have been a charm). These Anak
Ampang are carrying the lights which illuminate the temuda. Then comes
Bujang Tuai who recovers Bunga Noieng, and throws the fruit which they
have gathered at the Anak Ampang, putting them to flight. Bujang Tuai
then advises Bunga Noieng to listen to him and not to be so head-strong, as
he is an old man and has been this way before. They go on, and come to a
place where one side of the path is lined with those who have died virgins,
and the other side with a row of widows.

** Bujang Tuai calls upon the party (bala) to halt. Bunga Noieng wants to
go on and does so, and is seized upon by the widows fbalu) who claim him,
each one as her husband, just as before the anak ampang (bastard children)
claimed him as their father. They seize him by the feet, the ears, the head.

328 H. Ling Roth. — Natives of Sarawak and Brit, N. Borneo.

and other parts. Bujang Tuai tells his force to make a number of bobbins as
used in spinning, and coming up with Klieng and the rest of the force they
toss these bobbins (engkeluli mala gasing) among the widows, who scramble
for them and release Bunga Noieng. The widows then inform Bujang Tuai’s
company that they are on the road followed by Sinjar and Nyang, and urge
them to press on if they would overtake them.

** They go on and come to the foot of a hill where they hear yells and
shrieks. The ever-cautious Bujang Tuai calls a halt again, but impulsive
Bunga Noieng objects as usual and stalks on by himself. He again finds
himself a captive and has to undergo the infliction of being cut at with swords
as he lies flat on a bilian (iron-wood) log. Many a stroke is made at him but
he rises unwounded, and claims in his turn to deal in like manner with his
captors. One after another they are hacked to pieces by him until the
survivors call upon him to hold his hand, as they recognise his superiority.
They then inform him that the path he has been following is that made use
of by Sinjar and Nyang, and urge him to press on.”



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