Iban-Kantu enmity is resolved by marriage of Jelian with Tiong

Iban-Kantu enmity is resolved by marriage of Jelian with Tiong:

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.

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.

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 given to Jelian by the kitchen spirit (antu dapur):

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.

 

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

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