Asal Iban nemu adat beburung

Having been told all these things, Sera Gunting then asked his grandfather for charms to ensure success in all his future undertakings. Sengalang Burong did not reply, but instead, asked Sera Gunting whether his people observed the calls of the omen birds. “If you never listen to the call of omen birds, no amount of charms will make your work prosper”, said Sengalang Burong, “and these omen birds are all my son-in-laws; Ketupong (Rufous Piculet), Bejampong (Crested Jay), Embuas (Banded Kingfisher), Pangkas (Maroon Woodpecker), Beragai (Scarlet-Rumped Trogon), Kelabu Papau (Diards Trogon), Burong Malam (literally means night bird but is actually a cricket) and Nendak (White-Rumped Shama).


Only when you draw water from the river (nyauk), you need not harkens to the omen birds – because the river will never dry up”, he said.


Then Sengalang Burong explains the system of augury to Sera Gunting. “Look!” said his grandfather, “that gallery on the right closest to mine belongs to your uncle Ketupong, the next belongs to your uncle Beragai and next is that of your uncle Pangkas. On my left side, closest to mine is the gallery of your uncle Bejampong, followed by your uncle Embuas and your uncle Kelabu Papau. Attached to Kelabu Papau’s apartment is your uncle Nendak’s dwelling place. The call of your uncle Nendak is not as effective as your other uncles. His call is only good as traveling omen and need not be observed unless this bird flies across the road”. Nendak is a poor client who lives in a room without a verandah attached to Kelabu Papau’s apartment.


“Before you start farming”, continued Sengalang Burong, “you must go out to seek a tambak burong. This is a twig or plant you plucked out with your hand the moment you hear the call of an omen bird. This plant is then brought to the land where you wish to farm that season to be used in a ritual like manggol”.


Sengalang Burong then relate the basic guidelines on how to apply omen birds in farming, as below:


1. When you start to farm, listen to the call of Ketupong, which must be followed by the call of Beragai. This omen foretells that you will obtain a plentiful harvest that farming season and great happiness will ensue.


2. If you start to farm with the call of Embuas and followed by Bejampong, it foretells that your farm that season will be undisturbed and its results plentiful.


3. If you start to farm with the call of Bejampong, it must be followed by the call of Embuas, it signifies that your farm will be properly burnt.


4. If you start to farm with a call of Ketupong and later followed by a call from Bejampong, it foretells a very bad luck for that season and it is called burong busong, as my son in laws have disrespectfully spoken across my gallery.


5. If you start to farm with a call of Beragai and later you hear a call from Bejampong, it also signifies bad luck as it brings sorrow to your family in that season.


6. If you start with a call of Embuas and later you hear a call of Pangkas, this is known as dua matahari (two suns), which means death will occur within the family.


7. If you start to farm with a call of Beragai, and later you hear a call of Kelabu Papau, it also signifies that death will soon come to your family.


8. After you have finished your work of ngundang panggol (visiting the offering made at the preliminary clearing stage of a farming season) you may hear a call of Kelabu Papau which signifies that evil spirit will not bring you bad luck; rather your farm will be safe from their attack.


9. Within the period of seven days during ngundang panggol, you must not hear the call of any omen birds, other than Nendak, which is not very harmful.


10. If during the nebas and nebang (clearing and felling) you hear or meet a mouse deer, barking deer, ingkat, bengkang or belengkiang (lizard), it means that the slaves of Simpulang Gana will assist you in your work.


11. Any animal seen approaching from the front, while a person is working his land is called a laba, which means good luck is coming. But if any animal approach from behind, it is known as burong nyubok and it brings bad omen most unexpectedly.


Sengalang Burong also told Sera Gunting that all omens observed during a farming season would also signify future success in war, marriages, obtaining wealth and reputation. He adjured Sera Gunting to remember all the auguries he had explained.


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