Iban ancestry from Bejie Nangga Ari.

Bejie from Ketapang, Kalimantan who built the Bejie’s staircase to see God in heaven.   Before the construction of the ladder, Bejie had assigned his brother named Bada to lead his people. Bejie had also begot a son named Nisi whose praised name was “Bunga besi enda semaia makai tulang”. Nisi begot a son named Antu Berembayan Bulu Niti Berang who was the father of Telichu, Telichai and Ragam. Ragam was the mother of Manang Jarai (or Manang Tuai – the first Iban shaman). After the death of Bejie, their people moved to Kayung. The Ibans then moved further up the Kayung until they reached a place called Ulu Landak. After settling there for sometimes, some of them migrated up the Melawi River. After settling along the banks of Melawi River for three generations, their leaders, Raja Ningkan, Sagan-Agan, Bedali and Jugah called for a large meeting to discuss further migrations. From Melawi, they separated and moved to the Sintang River where the passed a large areas of farmland. From Nanga Sintang, the Iban went up the Kapuas where they meet other people. From the main Kapuas River, they went up the Sakayam tributary. From the mouth of this river, all lands on both banks are owned by the Mualang Dayaks. The Mualang further told the Iban that all the lands above their settlement belonged to the Chengkang Dayaks, and then further up to Balai Kerangan, the land belonged to the Sebaru Dayaks. All land beyond that belonged to the Remun Dayaks. After the Iban had greatly multiplied; they separated from the Mualang and moved to the Sanggau River. Here they lived much closed to the Bugau Dayaks. After some years of staying there, the moved to Semitau under their chiefs, Raja Ningkan, Jenua, Jugah, Rawing, Jimbun, Sagan-Agan and Jengkuan. All these chiefs were brave men. Due to their bravery and aggressiveness, all other Dayaks were afraid of them.

The Story of Chief Jimbun and the Spirit Crocodile

One day while the Iban were settled at Semitau under the leadership of various chiefs, a chief named Jimbun visited the abode of the crocodile spirits which prey on human, just as the man from Sungkong had visited the abode of the spirit tigers related later in this article.

Soon after Jimbun’s return, the chiefs named Sera Gindik and Empangai called for a grand conference to plan for a new migration from Semitau to the Batang Ai region in Sarawak border.

From the Kapuas, the Iban ascended the Ketungau River to a place called Bila Dua. Here they intended to settle for a time at Tapang Peraja.

The Story of Telichu becoming a demon huntsman (antu gerasi).

Telichai nervously asked his brother the cause of his strange appearance. He answered that he had turned into an Antu Gerasi, a type of demon that hunts the unfortunate souls of human beings who disobeyed the warnings revealed to them in dreams and omens. He also told them that he could no longer live with them. He also taught Telichai how to protect themselves from these demon huntsmen by burning the bark of a lukai tree during the night of full moon and during thunderstorm. It is during these nights that the demon would come out to roam the earth and feed on souls of the unfortunate human.

 

Before they went their separate ways, they divide their hunting dogs equally. Those that followed Telichu into the demons’ world turned into a type of lizard called Pasun. The Ibans believed that, if they hear this Pasun lizard nearby, a demon huntsman is not far away and they should quickly abandon their work activity and return home to burn lukai bark. It was because of this incident that the Iban people believe that the present day Antu Gerasi is the descendants of Telichu.

After losing his brother, Telichai married to Endu Dara Sia Bunsu Kamba, the inheritor of a Tajau Rusa Jar. She came from a marshy country full of maram palms. They begot Si Gundi, Berenai Sugi, Lalak Pala, Kurong Mayang and Retak Dai. Si Gundi also known as Gila Gundi, migrated to his wife’s family at Panggau Libau and begot a son named Keling who became the greatest hero of the Panggau Libau and the most legendary hero to the Iban people. Retak Dai married to Kelitak Darah Menyadi, a sister of Lemambang Sampang Gading, and begot a son named Serapoh, under whom the Iban cultural heritage developed further.

Serapoh learn the correct rules of mourning:

It was while they settled at Bila Dua that a chief named Serapoh started a war with the Kantu tribe. Serapoh, as mentioned earlier was the son of Retak Dai and Kelitak Darah Menyadi. Retak Dai was a direct descendant of Bejie through Telichai, whose story was mentioned earlier. Serapoh was also a first cousin of Keling, whose father, Si Gundi or Gila Gundi married, settled and eventually became leader of the Panggau People.

He said that he was a spirit named Apai Puntang Raga, and he advised them of the proper way to pay respect to the dead and the rules which they should follow in future in connection with burial and mourning. These rules, attributed to Apai Puntang Raga, are as follows:

 

1. Immediately after death, the corpse must be properly washed and dressed in its best dress. After this its forehead is marked with three yellow spot of turmeric, and finally the corpse is moved to the gallery (ruai), where it is placed inside an enclosure of woven blanket called “sapat”.

 

2. On the next day, before the funeral takes place, food must be offered to the coffin before it is placed inside a coffin. At the cemetery, the coffin must be buried deep underneath the earth.

 

3. When people return from the burial ground, the windows in the deceased’s room must be kept close particularly at night; for it is said that while it is dark in this world, it is light in the after world and vice versa. At the same time, a sacred mourning jar is tied up by a senior lady of the longhouse, selected for this purpose.

 

4. That same evening, a ritual fire must be lit in a special hut where food is placed for each of three evenings. The reason for this is fear that the dead person might stray up to the longhouse and disturb the souls of the living.

 

5. For the same three days, an old woman will be appointed to eat black rice (asi chelum), for black rice in this world is white in the other world (sebayan).

 

6. The sacred mourning jar is not to be opened except by a warrior who has managed to obtain a head; or by any man who can present a human head which he obtained in a duel; or by a man who has returned from a sojourn in enemy country.

 

7. After the mourning period expires, a special feast known as the Gawai Rugan or Gawai Antu must be held as the last ritual for the dead.

 

8. During the whole period of mourning right up to the Gawai Antu festival, no widow or widower may remarry or anoint themselves with perfumes and colored powder, or dressed themselves with colored garments. If such things happen, the offender will be brought before their respective chief and fined of being disrespectful to the relatives of the deceased.

Finally, Serapoh reached a certain country belonging to the Kantu tribe, where he met a man and his son. He enquired from the father whether he would be willing to exchange his son for the jar. To this suggestion the man blindly agreed, and Serapoh happily returned to his country with the young boy on his back.

On his arrival, while still some distance from his longhouse, Serapoh killed the boy.

 

Dayak War with Kantu Tribe:

When the Kantu people heard of what Serapoh did to a Kantu boy he had adopted in exchange for a valuable menaga jar, they got very agitated by the act and at once gathered themselves to form a troop to invade the Iban country and take their revenge on Serapoh.

After the submission of the Kantu tribe, Rukok then started to teach Sampar on the proper conduct of war by a war leader as follows:

 

1. If a war leader leads a party on an expedition, he must not allow his warrior to fight a guiltless tribe which has no quarrel with them.

 

2. If the enemy surrenders he may not take their lives, lest his army be unsuccessful in future warfare, fighting empty handed war raids (balang kayau).

 

3. The first time that a warrior takes a head or captures a prisoner, he must present the head or captive to the war leader in acknowledgement of the latter’s leadership.

 

4. If a warrior takes two heads or two captives, or more, one of each must be given to the war leader; the remainder belongs to the killer or captor.

 

5. The war leader must be honest with his followers in order that in future wars he may not be defeated (alah bunoh)

 

When Rukok had finished giving those instructions to Sampar, he presented him with various charms for war expeditions.

Some days afterward, Remi gave birth to a son whom they named Menggin or Meng. Immediately after the birth of their son, Rukok told his family that he wished to return to his own homeland, because all of their enemies had surrendered. He told them that Sampar was old enough to become their leader in his place. Before he left them, he taught the Iban to observe strictly the following rules:

1. No one is allowed to commit adultery

2. If a man commits adultery with the wife of a war leader, he is to be fined fourteen jabir, which is equivalent to $14.00 and the woman is to be fined the same.

3. If a man commits adultery with a well known warrior’s wife (bini manok sabong) he and the woman are to be fined 12 jabir, which is equivalent to $12.00 each.

4. After a person’s death, the wife or husband of the deceased is to be known as balu, widow or widower.

5. If a person has sexual intercourse with a widow or widower it is a great sin called butang antu. The offenders are to be fined in accordance with customary law.

6. No widow ar widower may remarry until after his or her deceased spouse has been honoured by the payment of a small fine made to the relatives of the deceased, later given back, in a ritual called ngambi tebalu mata’ within about six months; or ngambi tebalu mansau after the feast of Gawai Rugan or Gawai Antu.

7. If a widow has sexual intercourse with a widower, it is a great sin, berangkat antu. The offenders are to be fined in accordance with customary law.

8. Any person marrying a widow or a widower is also committing a great sin, also called berangkat antu. They are to be fined heavily too.

9. If a widower marries a widow within the tungkun api period, that is within a week after the death of their partner, this union is called berangkat tulang, which is the greatest of all matrimonial sins. The offenders are to be fined heavily.

10. When a man marries a woman, her family must always demand a marriage fee from him, called the bunga pinang.

Before he finally left for his own homeland in the spiritual world, he then begged them to look after his son as he was growing up. Menggin grew up, half-human half-demon, during the peaceful era after the Kantu-Iban war. He was an adventurous person and known to be able to travel between human world and the domain of Iban God of War, Sengalang Burong, at Tansang Kenyalang, a daughter whom he met and married and begot a son named Sera Gunting. Their adventures will be told in another chapter of this article.

Story of Menggin or Meng

When Menggin, son of Remi and the spirit Rukok, was growing up, he never went on any war expeditions, since the enemy had all surrendered to his father and his uncle Sampar. He was very fond of playing and developed great skill in shooting with his blow pipe. This particular skill would soon changed his life forever; first, an adventure with his blowpipe led to his marriage to the eldest daughter of Sengalang Burong that is Endu Dara Tinchin Temaga; secondly, he enjoyed a long life span that lasted for seven generations after he won a blow pipe shooting contest with the spirit Antu Gayu that owned a stone charm with a power to make a person an immortal being so need for mourning.

During the farming season, Menggin observed that whenever Sengalang Burong slave met with an animal such as slow Loris (bengkang) or tarsier (ingkat) on the farm, they said that the animal was a slave of Raja Simpulang Gana, who had come to help them. When this happens, they stopped work for one day in honour of Raja Simpulang Gana, the deity of the earth and agriculture.

 

Sera Gunting Second Visit to Sengalang Burong Longhouse:

Soon Sera Gunting reached young manhood and learned to do various kind of man’s work. He also carries the burden of shouldering a title which was naturally being accorded to him as the grandson of God Sengalang Burong. Of course, he cannot perform the same feat in the human world as what he had easily done in the spiritual world. As time goes by, he found that in many ways he was unsuccessful in a lot of ventures that he pursued. Due to this, his fellow men began to criticize him and label him unworthy of being a grandson of Sengalang Burong.

As Sera Gunting pondered these criticisms, he began to believe that he had been unfortunate in all his ventures because he had not been given any charms by his grandfather, Sengalang Burong. One day he told his father, granduncle and grandmother that he wished to make another visit to Tansang Kenyalang and asked for those charms from his grandfather. Except for his father Menggin, who knew that only Sera Gunting can actually travel to Tansang Kenyalang from the human world, his grandfather Sampar and grandmother Remi, were reluctant to give their consent.

From thence he walked again. Presently he met the spirit of a senior sister of the seven stars known as the Bunsu Bintang Banyak (Pleiades). She begged him to stay for a while. While there, she asked Sera Gunting the purpose of his travel. He said, “I am visiting my grandfather, Sengalang Burong”, he said, “to seek answers to my luckless life. When I farm, I am unable to obtain enough rice grain to feed myself, and when I go to an expedition, I never succeed in taking an enemy’s head. This has brought shame to me for I failed to live up to my name”.

Hearing his plight, the spirit of the Bunsu Bintang Banyak began to teach Sera Gunting how to observe the celestial sign and recognize the correct timing to start padi farming season. She taught Sera Gunting how to be guided by the location of the Pleiades stars as it travels in the sky. “If you see that our position is inside the centre of the sky in the early dawn, human must start sowing immediately. If you start later when we are located outside the central halo in the sky, your farm will not grow properly.” Sera Gunting was happy to have learned the star sign to guide their farming season and will bring this knowledge to humankind when he returned to earth.

Sera Gunting then came to a dwelling place of the spirit Bintang Tiga (The Orion). Sera Gunting stayed there for a while. In their conversation, Sera Gunting again told the Spirit of Bintang Tiga the purpose of his travel as he had done at Bunsu Bintang Banyak place. There the spirit of the Bintang Tiga told him that if humankind cannot follow the location of Bintang Banyak due to various reasons, they could still start their farming season when Bintang Tiga is at the central halo in the sky. This is because Bintang Tiga is always traveling fifteen days after Bintang Banyak. Sera Gunting was again very pleased with the knowledge imparted by the Bintang Tiga spirit to him.

From the place of Bintang Tiga, Sera Gunting traveled on until he reached the dwelling place of the spirit moon. During his short stay there, Sera Gunting similarly relate the purpose of his travel and what he had learned previously from other celestial spirits to the spirit of the moon. The spirit of the moon then gave Sera Gunting another piece of celestial advice that humankind must learn about the moon. He said, “The moon lived and die temporarily every month. If the moon dies during a start of your planting season, you must stop work for two days in honour of the moon’s death. But if it is full moon, you only need to stay away from work for one day only. This observance is known as pernama rerak rumpang. Should anyone not cease their work during these time, a member of their family will die, which is known as berumpang ruang bilik”. Due to this injunction, Iban to this day still observe these edicts.

In their private conversation, Sengalang Burong asked Sera Gunting what he intended to learn from him this time. Sera Gunting then related all his misfortunes and troubles he faced in the human world. “Grandfather, if I joined a war expedition,” he said, “I’m unable to take an enemy head. During farming season, I failed to obtain enough rice grain to feed our family. Because of all these, I’m ridiculed by everyone. They say that I am your grandson for nothing. I am ashamed as I have not lived up to your name. It is my hope that this visit would enlighten me with all the knowledge I hope to learn so as to live a successful and respected life in human world”.

 

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.

 

Sera Gunting Joins a War Expedition:

Sometime during his stay at Sengalang Burong’s longhouse, his uncle Ketupong held a meeting to plan a foray. After it had been agreed that an expedition would take place, Sengalang Burong told Sera Gunting to join his uncles in order to study the omens that warriors observed while on an expedition. In addition to that, Sengalang Burong lent Sera Gunting his own charms called Pengaroh Mali Balang Kayau, the most effective charms for a war expedition. Besides this, he also gave him a boar tusk charm (taring babi), a sugar cane shoot stone (batu tebu) and a deer horn (rajut tandok). Having equipped Sera Gunting with these charms, Sengalang Burong gave him his most ancient “nyabor” sword of which he said, “no one who has ever used this sword before has failed to obtain an enemy head”.

So with these charms, and his grandfather’s weapon, the young Sera Gunting joined his uncles to learn the proper conduct of a war expedition. A short time after they have left the house, he saw his uncle Beragai step off to the right side of the path, where he laughed and return. Responding to this, Ketupong commanded their warriors to halt and perform ngusok rituals (chewing betel nut). This omen is called sandik belantan chawit and signifies that enemies will be struck with a sword from the left hand side to the right hand side of the body similar to the manner fine clothes are worn over a left shoulder.

From there they walked rapidly until they reached a place where they would spend the first night of their expedition. This practiced is called langsi malam diau sahari, literally means “vigilant by night, silent by day”.

On the third day, they walked on again until they reached a place where they would spend the night and waited another two days to observe langsi dua hari. After the two days halt, Pangkas went to the right side of the path where he uttered a war cry. The warriors said that Pangkas is respecting the langsi. After he had shouted, the warriors were very happy as it signifies that their expedition would be a successful one. With this assurance, the warriors marched on rapidly to the enemy country.

Near the enemy country, Bejampong stepped to the left side of the path to give a war cry and returned to the main. Sera Gunting was told that this is a very good omen as it weakens the enemy.

They then continued their march into the enemy territory and at about noon, Embuas stepped to the left path and started to weep and returned to the main path again. Sera Gunting was again told that this is a very good omen as it signifies the weeping cry of the enemies over their dead warriors.

From there they journeyed again until Kelabu Papau jumped to the left side of the path and coughed and rejoined the warriors again. Sera Gunting was told that this omen signifies that the enemies would not be able to see them when they attacked, because Kelabu action would blind them, which is called madam ka suloh mata munsoh (literally means, switching off the visions of the enemies).

Early in the evening, they reached the enemy longhouse where they halted and observed their enemies until midnight. At midnight they moved in and surrounded the enemy longhouse. Finally, at dawn they attacked, while most of the inhabitants were still sleeping. Sera Gunting killed three enemies within a very short time. After the enemies had surrendered, the warriors looted the house and returned home victorious.

After Sera Gunting had returned from this successful expedition, Sengalang Burong told him that it was not necessary to teach him about the omens of war. “You have seen and learnt enough about these omens used in war expeditions,” he said. This war omens which Sera Gunting learned have been observed by successive generations of Dayak war leaders.

Sera Gunting learned the Incest Law:

During this second visit by Sera Gunting to his grandfather Sengalang Burong longhouse, he stayed with his grandfather and his youngest aunt, Endu Dara Chempaka Tempurong Alang, and not with his mother. As they were of the same age, they played, ate and worked together. Living in this manner, they began to have strong affection for each other and began to fall in love. Sengalang Burong warned them that, as they were aunt and nephew, they must not live as man and wife, which they appeared to be doing in the old man’s eyes and which they strongly denied. A month later, Endu Dara Chempaka Tempurong Alang was found to be pregnant which alarmed the whole of Sengalang Burong’s household.

On hearing this, Sengalang Burong summoned a large meeting in order to enquire into the case. At the meeting, he told those present that his daughter had conceived and that the man responsible was his grandson, Sera Gunting. He told his audience that this is a serious misconduct and strictly forbidden by the rule of Iban law called Pemali Ngudi Menoa.

He asked everyone’s opinion as to what would be a just decision. All present replied that it was for him to judge, because he had settled all similar matters in the past. Sengalang Burong said that according to the law, both transgressors should be put to death.

“But in this case”, he continued, “As Sera Gunting was a complete stranger to us, their lives may be spared. But the child to be born must be killed in order to wipe away the wrath (kudi) of God and the universal spirits.”

Sengalang Burong went on to explain the reason why we would not have them killed by “pantang enggau aur”, or impalement by bamboo spikes, which is the prescribed punishment. This was because, “if they were killed, Sera Gunting would not be able to pass on to mankind how a future crime of this kind should be settled.”

He then went on to explain the rules of incest and marriage as stated below:

1) First cousins are permitted to marry, and so are cousins of same generation.

2) Any sexual intercourse between father and daughter, nephew and aunt, niece and uncle, mother and son, brother and sister, grandchildren and in-laws is in an incestuous relationship which is totally forbidden.

3) The following persons of different generations (see table below) are NOT permitted to marry unless they undergo the besapat ka ai, bekalih di darat and other related ceremonies depending on seriousness of the offence:

1. A and P are first cousin
2. B and Q are children of A and P
3. C and R are children of B and Q
4. D and S are children of C and R
5. E and T are children of S and S
6. F and U are children of E and T

4) If a man and woman in categories 1 and 2 wish to marry (e.g A marry Q or P marry B), they must each produce half of the following items:

1. Eight pigs of medium size
2. Eight nyabor sword
3. A fine of sigi rusa – equivalent to eight ringgit
4. Eight beads, axes, plates, bowl.
5. One woven blanket (pua kumbu)
6. One fathom of calico for a spiritual rail
7. Eight ranki (shell armlets)
8. One kebok (jar) known as a cage for the soul of the bride and bridegroom.

5) If the man and woman have lived together before paying the above fines due to poverty, they are not permitted to marry. But if they continue to live together, they will incur the penalty of death by bamboo spikes. If, however, the fines are subsequently paid, they must partake in a ceremony known as besapat ka ai, in which they are dipped in the river, which has been spilt with the blood of four of the eight pigs. These four pigs are killed immediately upstream from where the couple is dipped. The blood of the remaining four pigs is for pelasi menoa, purification of the land.

6) When a man and woman in categories 2 and 3 wish to marry (e.g. B marry R or Q marry C), they are ordered to produce one each of the items mentioned for categories 1 and 2 above. One of the pigs is to be killed as an offering to the water spirit (antu ai), while the other is to be killed on land as offering to the spirits of the earth, hills and sky. This ceremony is known as bekalih di darat.

7) When a man and woman in categories 3 and 4 wish to marry (i.e. C marry S or R marry D), they must produce one fowl and two knives. During the marriage ceremony, after the fowl is killed, the bride and her groom must bite a piece of iron to strengthen their souls.

8) When a man and woman in categories 4 and 5 wish to marry (i.e. D marry T or S marry E), each must bite a piece of salt during the ceremony to strengthen their soul.

9) For categories 5 and 6, the man and woman at their marriage must each fell a fruit tree in order to wipe away the bad fortune that might otherwise disturb their future lives.

10) For category 6, the child of a man or woman belonging to this category at the ceremony, both must have a fighting cock waved over their heads and bite a piece of steel to strengthen their souls. This is the least and the last of the taboos of incest for inter-generational marriage.

11) Sengalang Burong went on to warn Sera Gunting that if the incestuous persons are not dealt with according to these rules, very heavy rain will fall, the rivers flood, and pests will destroy the farms and plantation and landslides will occur.

12) Before he pronounced his final judgment on Sera Gunting and his aunt, Sengalang Burong ruled that no one should mention the proper names of his or her parents-in-law (busong tauka tulah). “Anyone guilty of this,” he said, “will be cursed and be unfortunate in all his deeds, all the days of his life”.

13) After he had finished teaching Sera Gunting the laws of incest, Sengalang Burong demanded that the child born of Endu Dara Chempaka Tempurong Alang be killed at birth and that Sera Gunting must return to the world of men in order to tell his people what they should do in cases of incest.

Sengalang Burong also told Sera Gunting about the various stages of the Gawai Burong festival which war leaders should hold in order to invite him and his people to attend.

When Sera Gunting arrived home, all were surprised to see him carrying laden with a jar and a gong. His family was very happy to see that he has returned home safely from Sengalang Burong longhouse. That night they summoned everyone to come to their gallery to hear what he had to tell them. After they had gathered together, he told them his journey to his grandfather longhouse, what he encountered and what he had learned from the Spirit of the Bintang Banyak (Pleiades), the spirit of the Bintang Tiga (The Orion) and the spirit of the moon. He also told them the commandment of his grandfather, the system of augury and omen birds used for farming and used in war expedition, the incest law and the procedure of conducting the bird festival.

After he finished propounding all the laws and regulations he had received from Sengalang Burong, he asked everyone present whether they accepted these commandment. Everyone all consented to live harmoniously under these laws. “If you agree to obey the laws of my grandfather, I will lead you accordingly,” said Sera Gunting.

Shortly after this, Sera Gunting married to his fourth cousin, Seri Ngiang, the daughter of Laja and Endu Tali Bunga. They begot a son they named Sera Kempat.

Soon after the birth of his son, Sera Gunting celebrated the first stage of Gawai Burong, or Bird Festival, called Enchaboh Arong. Enchaboh arong is an initial festival used by Iban to celebrate the newly acquired head trophies, the spoils of wars or profits from business ventures. As the years went on, he celebrated various stages of the Bird Festival. The detail articles of the Iban Bird Festival Procedures are written separately in an article named Gawai Burong and Pengap Gawai Burong.

Sera Gunting became the most notable leader of Iban adat, religious practices, pioneering and migration activities. After celebrating the last stage of Gawai Burong, the Gerasi Papa stage, the house in which the feast was held must be abandoned after the festival is over and before the leaves decorations used in the festival had withered. The reason for this was for fear of evil spirit which might haunt the soul of the living. For this reason, this last stage of Gawai Burong must be held in an old longhouse. The statue of the Gerasi papa demon must be removed from the open air verandah to the ground immediately after the feast is over. Failure to do so, will results in a massacre of the inhabitants by the Gerasi Papa demon.

Sera Gunting began to lead his followers to migrate to the Batang Lupar territory. He left Merakai and build his commanding longhouse on the spine of Tiang Laju mountain, between the head waters of Undup and Kumpang rivers, a few miles south of present-day Engkelili town. Sera Gunting died here in the ripeness of old age and was succeeded as chief by his son Sera Kempat.

 

Menggin Meets the Antu Gayu:

While his son Sera Gunting was away at Sengalang Burong’s house, Menggin often went to hunt in the forest, with his favorite blow pipe.

Menggin then asked the stranger what his name was. He told Menggin that he is the spirit of longevity, Antu Gayu. On hearing this, Menggin said that he would only spare the stranger his life if he would give him his prized possession, a charm that possessed the power of longevity. The stranger at first protested that he does not possess such a charm, but Menggin threatened to kill the stranger first and search his belonging later. Hearing this, the stranger finally agreed to hand over his prized possession to him to save his own life. The stranger then told Menggin that the charm is called ubat buah dilah tanah, literally means a “charm of the fruit of the land tongue”.

After receiving the charm, which was as big as a hen’s egg, Menggin tasted it and found that it was very bitter, so he spat it out. He tasted it for the second time, and found it to be very sweet and spat it out again. The third time he tasted it, he found the taste to be sour. The stranger then told Menggin that as long as he never reveals to anybody the reason for his longevity, he will never die. The Antu Gayu then disappeared into the forest with his blowpipe.

Menggin continued his hunt for game in the forest to be brought home with his favorite blowpipe. He knows very well that he will still be alive to see his son’s return from the house of Sengalang Burong. His favorite blowpipe will always be with him as long as he lives.

Menggin lived to such a great age that span seven generations. Every generation consistently asked him the reason for his longevity, but he refused to satisfy their curiosity. Finally, he told them the story. As he spoke, he grew weaker and weaker, appeared to be aging quickly and his body became smaller and smaller.

Before he disappeared, he decreed that when he died, no mourning period need to be observed for anybody who lived exceeding fourth generations of living descendant.

The stone which the Antu Gayu gave to Menggin is still in the possession of Santap’s grand-children in Bugau territory to this day.

At the time of his death, Menggin was living with Berdai family, the wife of another famous Iban Chief and War leader named Betie “Bujang Brauh Gumbang”.

Source: http://gnmawar.wordpress.com/jerita-lama/iban-migration-peturun-iban/early-iban-migration-part-1/

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