Padang is cursed by the Pleiades by killing her son

Padang is cursed by the Pleiades:


Sagan-Agan, a well known leader in the time of Sera Gunting, lived with his followers in the upper Ketungau. His son Jenua departed from the upper Ketungau and migrated to the slope of Kenyandang hill, between the headwaters of the Sanggau and the Ulu Strap Rivers. Jenua’s son, Ratih, lived separately at Longgong Kumpang hill, at the headwaters of the Kumpang River.


While Jenua lived at Kenyandang hill, a chief from the lower Ketungau named Jengkuan, with Padang and his father Ligam, came to live with their followers in the upper Bayan rivers. From this place they moved again to the mouth of the Merakai river. At this settlement they lived miserably. The land was not fertile enough to produce sufficient food for them. During their stay, one of them was caught by a crocodile and as a result they moved to Bukit Tapang Peraja which was situated between Saih and the main Ketungau River.


After staying there for quite some time, they observed the calls of “Pangkas Kanan” (right-hand calls of the Pangkas bird) for seven days and seven nights, as required by tradition, before they moved to Kenyandang hill, which is situated south of the Kalingkang range on the modern boundary between Sarawak and Kalimantan. The Pangkas was believed to have the effect of weakening all the enemies they might encounter along their migration route to the country of the Sebaru Dayaks.


Padang and his people were very satisfied with the lands they farmed at Kenyandang hill and they made their stay there a permanent one.


At this time a man of Padang’s house named Jengkuan and his wife Genali went to work on their farm. When they reached their farm hut, they found a lot of ripe pingan fruit lying on the floor. They ate some of these fruit and later went to weed grass in their padi field.


When he came to his own house at Kenyandang hill, he showed to the people the head of the tiger that had killed his wife while they were weeding in their padi field. Padang and all the people were very pleased to receive the head.


In order to thank the gods and universal spirits for Jengkuan’s victory over the slayer of his wife, Padang and his people held an enchaboh arong festival. A great number of guests came and at the height of the celebration, one of Padang’s men killed a guest who claimed to be the son of Bunsu Bintang Banyak, youngest of the Pleiades sisters. During the night after the feast was over, Padang had a dream in which he met Bunsu Bintang Banyak who warned him that due to the death of her son, Padang and his people and their descendants down to seven generations would hardly eat any rice.


Padang’s migration to the Strap River onwards to Tanjong Danan, Saribas:


Padang informed the people of his dream, which made them all very sad. From that year onwards none of them could get enough rice for food. Due to this they divided up and Padang went to Ulu Strap and settled at Munggu Embawang, while others either joined the Sebarus or lived elsewhere along the foot of the Kalingkang range on both sides of the modern Sarawak-Kalimantan border.


Here Padang and his people suffered miserably. They ate only wild leaves for a number of years, later they gradually moved down to Strap and farmed at temporary settlements in various places. Finally they reached the main Lingga River where they stayed and farmed for many years. Despite their hard work they still could not get sufficient rice for food.


Finally they left the Lingga to live at a place called Pinang Mirah, midway to the Sebuyau River. Here they also found insufficient rice. One night in his sleep, Padang dreamed that he met the Swine Goddess who advised him to leave the Batang Lupar and migrate to the Saribas River; there he should find in the Rimbas sago palm groves at Tanjong Banan. In the morning Padang told the people about his dream. They all agreed to go to the Saribas.


After they had found the sago palms at Tanjong Banan they lived and farmed at Paloh and Pusa. They did not dare to go to the upper Rimbas, for fear of the Seru and Bukitan people. It was at Pusa that Jenua and his son Ratih died. After their death, Padang sent his son Gunggu accompanied by Pajih to the Skrang and Undup rivers to consult Jelian about the way and time to plant padi and other things in the farm. At this time Padang and his people explored the Undai stream, a right tributary of the Rimbas near Pusa. They found that this stream was full of large tree trunks which obstructed its passage. Due to this difficulty, he could only go up as far as a big pool called Letong Beluchok, where they went to live a month later.


There were then abundant fish in the Undai stream, including a number of huge catfish (tapah). According to old sayings, the size of these catfish varied from as long as a wooden mortar to as long as a medium-sized boat. While living there they often met friendly Serus who gave them padi seed to plant in their small clearings. At this time they depended only on sago and fish for food.


The Seru were a Melanau tribe. The Melanaus depended on sago for food and it was due to this that sago palms had been planted at Tanjong Banan in the Rimbas River.

One day when the water in the Undai stream was low, Padang and his people poisoned fish with tubai roots. Padang saw a huge catfish whose whiskers were yellow as gold and speared it with a spear which was tied to his wrist. The wounded catfish leaped away dragging Padang into the river and drowned him. His body was drawn by the fish down the Undai to the Rimbas and from there down to the main Saribas River; then up the Saribas to Lubok Sedebu, and finally down¬river again to the end of Lilin cape near the modern town of Beladin. Because of this the people of the Rimbas claimed as theirs all land on both banks of the Saribas from Tanjong Lilin to Lubok Sedebu.

After Padang’s death, his son Gunggu led his friends to meet a Seru chief at Nanga Tawai. They told the chief that the Iban would like to live near him and his people. The Seru chief said that he would accept the Iban but ordered them to live apart on the bank of the Rimbas river opposite Nanga Tawai. He asked the Iban to come as soon as possible, so that they could plant padi at the same time as the Seru.


Gunggu returned to Letong Beluchok, and told his people that the Seru had agreed to allow them to live near them. All the Iban were happy and Gunggu arranged that his son Garrai with most of the Iban would live with the Seru at Tawai, while he (Gunggu) and his followers would settle at Nanga Jerai.


When the Iban population had multiplied, the Rimbas Seru began to move to the Krian and settled round the foot of Tengalat hill below the mouth of the Melupa tributary.


Munan left the land in the lower Rimbas and went up that river to live at Nanga Luop. The first year he lived there, he and his followers farmed a large piece of land at the mouth of the Babu stream. One evening when Munan had finished his day’s work he returned to his longhouse. On the way home he encountered a large python which had uprooted many medium-sized trees, showing its great strength. Munan asked his friends to kill the snake, but none of them had sufficient courage to do so alone. So it was that Munan ordered all of them as a group, to kill the snake.


After they had killed the huge python, Munan and the others became worried, for they did not know what this strange sign might predict. They had heard that a man named Apai Paau of upper Skrang was very good at explaining omens. So Munan asked two of his men to consult Apai Paau in order to find out the omen’s meaning. While these men were still away in Skrang Munan ordered that no one should work his farm.


After Munan’s men had told Apai Paau the story of the huge python they had killed on their way home from their farms, Apai Paau said that this omen was not dangerous.


“It will not take your life; it is to redeem you from the curse of the Pleiades, whose son your people killed and which has caused you to suffer hunger these past six generations,” he said.


He taught them to honour the omen with seven days of abstention from work and, at the same time, with seven trays of offering to the gods, which were to be smeared with the blood of seven sows who had seven times given birth to piglets.


“After Munan had done these things, your people will lead a prosperous life,” Apai Paau said.


The two men returned to the Rimbas and told Munan what Apai Paau had directed him to do to respect the omen.


After Munan had offered these sacrifices to the gods according to the direction of Apai Paau of the Skrang, he and all his people became very prosperous in their farming. But later they quarreled with the Krian Seru and took their land. Munan and all his people then moved to the northwest and settled at Melupa, a left tributary of the Krian River.



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