Patinggi Gurang of Kayong and Patinggi Ngadan


Patinggi Gurang of Kayong

Patinggi Gurang, a Sumatran ancestor, was a famous nobleman of Kayong. He lived not far from the present-day city of Pontianak in Indonesian Borneo and was a fisherman. One day when he returned from fishing, he discovered his golden mascot was stolen. He became worried and asked his young son, Patinggi Ngadan, to search for it at once.

One day he again went to fish in the sea. While fishing he found a kedundong fruit caught in his net. Since his arrival in Kalimantan he had never before seen such a fruit. So he picked it up and on arriving home that evening, instead of eating it, he threw the fruit to the ground below the house so that it might grow.

The kedundong tree sprouted and grew very fast so that it soon overshadowed the whole of the Kayong village. On seeing this the Kayongians decided to fell the tree. They cut at it but their adzes could not fell it. They tried again and again to cut it down using many kinds of iron axes. But none even scratched the tree’s bark. Finally one man thought of cutting it with an axe made of lead, and with it he felled the kedundong tree very easily.

After the tree had been felled, Patinggi Gurang again sent his young son Patinggi Ngadan to search for the lost golden mascot.12 Ngadan did so going from village to village up and down the great Kapuas river. But he could find no trace of the stolen mascot.

Having become discouraged in his search of the Kapuas region, Ngadan walked overland to Sadong (now in Sarawak) to find out whether anyone there had any knowledge of the theft of his father’s mascot. None knew of it, so he continued his wandering overland to the Batang Lupar River. There too he secretly enquired about the theft.

Failing to discover anything as to its whereabouts, Ngadan continued his wandering by boat from the Batang Lupar to the Saribas river. In the Saribas he stayed temporarily at Plassan. From there he again moved on and stayed the night at Tanjong Orang Taui, which is also known as Tanjong Rangka or Tanjong Pendam. From there, he paddled up to a place where he met a man named Talap making a canoe at the mouth of the Ban stream below the present town of Belong. Upon meeting Talap, Ngadan enquired the extent of land he owned up the river. Talap told him that all the lands passed by the wood chips he had cut from the boat he was fashioning belonged to him. Ngadan was pleased to hear this, and so he stopped paddling. His boat was only drifting up the river following the flowing tide.

When he reached a certain place called Bangai, the tide turned. Because of this Ngadan moored his boat and at the same time fixed his boundary with Talap at this point. It was and is still followed to this day by the peoples of Pasa and those of the Layar.

After mooring his boat, Ngadan took his flints to strike a fire. As he struck them, one of the flints fell into the river and at once miraculously became a huge boulder, still known to this day as Batu Api. This boulder still serves to remind all generations in the Layar that it was and is forever the boundary between the lands belonging to the descendants of Patinggi Ngadan and those belonging to the descendants of Talap.

Patinggi Ngadan built his house here. On the site of this house he planted a durian tree which is still growing on the spot to this day. Some seventy years ago, when the Dayaks and Malays quarrelled over farming lands along the Layar River, the latter claimed that this durian tree was theirs. They lost the case, as it was truly planted by Patinggi Ngadan, who was an ancestor of the Dayaks.

Some years afterward, Patinggi Ngadan left this house to live at Tanjong Berundang, which was and is still known as Kubur Lunyai, opposite the present Skuyat village. In the olden days this place was also called Lubok Binsang Pupong Langang. After living here for sometime, he moved upriver to settle at Batu Lintang.

While he was living here, life was very dangerous. No one dared bathe alone in the Layar River, due to the many crocodiles that lived in the river at that time. And no men dared to wander freely in the forests, due to the many tigers that roamed there. To overcome these difficulties Patinggi Ngadan and his followers made a safe bathing place slightly inside the Batu Lintang stream.

Some years after they had lived at Batu Lintang, one morning Patinggi Ngadan’s sister named Nara went to take her bath in the stream. On the way she saw a shell armlet (simpai rangki’) lying on the roadside. When she came home she told Patinggi about it. The latter strongly advised her not to touch it, for it was surely a tiger’s lure, or bait (taju remaung).

On the next morning as she was again going to bathe, she saw a different kind of armlet lying at the same spot. Again, she told her brother. On the next day, when she passed the same spot to bathe, she saw a long type of pelaga and other kinds of beads left lying in the same place. The armlets she saw the previous days were no longer there. She again related the story to her brother.

Finally on the fourth day, as she passed the same spot, instead of seeing beads and armlets as before, she saw lensat and sibau fruits lying on the roadside. She moved them with her foot, in order that children would not see and carry them away. When she told Patinggi Ngadan about this, he scolded her.

“You should not touch nor have anything to do with these fruit”, said her brother angrily.

“It was merely because I was afraid that the children might come and attempt to carry them away”, replied Nara sadly.

“If you really have touched them”, answered Patinggi, “You are now exposed to misfortune (puni), because you have had contact with a lure”.

Due to this, Patinggi Ngadan presently called for his slaves to cut down all of the banana plants at Emperan Tabau which was situated slightly below the village landing place. From their stalks Patinggi’s slaves erected a stockade in which Nara was hidden. The fence of the stockade was strongly lined with seven rows of stalks stacked on one another. It was then fully covered with seven layers of Iban woven blankets (pua’ kumbu’).

After Nara had been secured inside the stockade, at dark there came a tiger from the direction of Bangat Hills. Its roars were heard by all the people of the region. After it had stopped roaring, the ground around the stockade was shaken and the stockade broken. Those who stood guard nearby stabbed the tiger with their spears and shot it with their blowpipe, until the tiger was killed.

A tiny scratch made by the tiger on Nara’s body became an incurable wound, which caused her to remain unmarriageable all the days of her life.

Soon after this happening, Patinggi Ngadan went to inspect his lands up the Layar river. As he sprinkled the river banks, the gravel-beds, the mumban and the meruju trees with holy water, he said, “If any person, who is not of my descent, poisons the fish in this river, let no fish be stupefied and die.”

It was due to this prayer of Patinggi Ngadan that whenever tuba-fishing is performed in the Layar River, a man of his direct line is called to spill the poisonous tuba into the river to make it effective.

Patinggi Ngadan went upriver as far as Kerangan Patinggi (Patinggi’s gravel-bed) where he cut notches in a belian tree trunk. This belian trunk still remains there to this day and is known as Tras Tangkal Patinggi.

Sometime afterwards Patinggi Ngadan heard the news that Sampar of Penebak in the Ulu Layar wanted to migrate down to live in his land. Being certain of this, he arranged his slaves to hang one ringka and one selabit basket from poles at the mouth of a stream opposite the Tras Tangkal Patinggi. It is due to this that this stream is known as Sungai Ringka. Patinggi made clear to Sampar in this way that if he attempted to settle in his land downriver, he would either fight or fine him for migrating there without his consent. When Sampar heard this, he dismissed the idea of migrating. As a matter of fact, Patinggi moved down from Batu Lintang to live at Nanga Jaloh or Lupa which was about five miles down the river.

In the tusut genealogies it is remembered that Patinggi Ngadan married Lamentan and they begot a daughter Bata and a son Labun. Labun married Sansi and begot a son Jegera. After his marriage, Labun separated from his followers in his father’s house and found a new settlement at Lupa which was situated seven hundred yards down¬river.

Eventually, the people of these two villages started their traditional game of cock-fighting at a place between their longhouses. They held these cock-fights day after day. After the cocks had all been killed, they fought the hens, and after the hens had all died, they fought their eggs. In his sleep one night, Patinggi dreamed of meeting a spirit of a cock who told him that as they had been excessively cruel to the fowls, they too would suffer the same fate by dying disastrously.

A few days after this dream, a large kite was seen flying and swooping over the roofs of their two longhouses. The inhabitants became sick and died in due course, until there were not enough able-bodied survivors left to bury the corpses of those who had perished. Due to this disastrous epidemic, the survivors fled away and the villages became rotten. Their sites in later years became two large burial grounds called Pendam Lupa and Pendam Jaloh respectively.



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