This is our translation of a legend from the Jambi Province.

Bukit Kancah

(Cooking Pot Hill)

A long time ago there lived three orphans in the Tanjung Kingdom. For their daily food they worked together, without the assistance of any others. Other people clearly did not care about them.

The oldest (for clarification, we’ve named him “Sulung”), the middle (we’ve named “Tengah”), and the youngest of them (7 year old girl, we’ve named “Bungsu”) were very kind to one another. They never fought and always agreed together as they worked to stay alive.

“Sulung,” exclaimed Bungsu to her older brother, “the people in our village don’t care about us. They even hate us and treat us poorly.

“It’s okay,” said Sulung, “the Most High and All-Knowing God isn’t blind. Bungsu, as you indicated, the people of our Kingdom aren’t concerned about us, maybe there are others that would be.

“It’s true Bungsu,” responded Tengah. “We must remember that we need to work together and never complain or grumble to other people about our difficulties. We don’t want to disturb them with our problems. Who knows, maybe there’s something else from God’s creation that will emerge in the future and defend us and help us with our needs. The Tanjung Kingdom isn’t the only place in the world we can live.”

And that is actually what happened, a siluman (an invisible creature) educated and raised them up. They had spent a long time with the siluman, and because of that they began to take on the abilities of the siluman. They desired to become invisible like the siluman and not be seen by anybody. And it happened, they eventually were able to become invisible, and as they walked around the Tanjung Kingdom nobody could see them.

The Tanjung Kingdom for a long time had been a safe place to live, but it was beginning to be threatened by those from the outside who wanted to exploit and take from the people of that peaceful village. The sovereignty of the village and their liberties were being threatened. Datuk Penghulu (a leader in the village) and other leaders conducted a meeting to decide what they should do about the threat that was looming.  They decided to call all the citizens to immediate action and build defenses that would defend and protect their Kingdom.

All the leaders of the Kingdom, including the military leaders, conducted a meeting. In the meeting one of the military leaders said, “I agree that we need to all work together and combine our strength and build a defensive fort. We must also call all our young people to bear arms as well. Now, about the three orphans, we have ignored them for as long as they have lived among us. Do you think we should include them in the call-to-arms?”

Others at the meeting replied, “What do you mean, Sir? Who are you referring to? Who are these orphans?”

“There are three orphans living among us who have the abilities, the same as a siluman. I’ve met with those three children one day, while the oldest was close to the rose water tree (pohon jambu air) in front of my home. When I saw him I called out with a loud voice, ‘Hey, what do you want?’ When he heard my voice he immediately disappeared and I could only hear his voice. I then told him, ‘You may not take property that doesn’t belong to you without permission from me.’”

“Really,” said Datuk Penghulu (the main leader). “If it’s really true that they can become invisible, couldn’t we really benefit from them?”

One of the other leaders responded, “It’s true, the three orphans really do have spiritual powers equal to a siluman. Maybe if they were armed they could easily move among the enemies forces undetected. They all agreed then that the three orphans should be called and enlisted into their efforts to expel the enemy from their Kingdom.

Since it was decided at the meeting to call the three orphans, it was the hope of Datuk Penghulu that they would assist the Kingdom in defending their sovereignty and independence. The two oldest orphans, both boys, were over the age of 15, so they were old enough to enter the military.

Since the three orphans understood that the Tanjung Kingdom was being threatened, and that the enemy had already had them surrounded, they felt deeply honored that they could be trusted with the responsibilities expected of them.

“We accept Tengah and Sulung into our military ranks! We don’t attack people that are good, only those that are bad, especially people who rob and attack the sovereignty and freedom of another country,” said Datuk Penghulu.

Sulung responded, “Our younger sister, Bungsu. What about her?”

Datuk Penghulu hadn’t called their younger sister into military service because she was still very young, and she was a girl. But Bungsu had the same desires as her two older brothers, and they had never been separated. It was then that Bungsu cried out with a loud shrieking voice, “I want to follow my brothers into battle! Can’t I also devote myself for our Kingdom?”

“No, you can’t follow us,” said Tengah.

Bungsu replied, “If I can’t follow you into battle, where do I go? And what am I going to do?”

“That’s something we’ll have to discuss,” said Sulung.

After a long time the two older brothers thought about what they were going to do with their younger sister, and it was finally decided that they would hide her under a large cooking pot. They obtained the cooking pot from Datuk Penghulu, who, without asking why the pot was needed, willingly offered the pot for them to use. Datuk Penghulu suspected that the two young soldiers would take the pot with them for the battle, so they could cook their food while they were living at their battle encampment.

Sulung said to his younger sister, “Bungsu, please remain calm and stay here! We will cover you with this cooking pot so that you will be protected from any dangers that could come. You will be able to sleep peacefully under it, and nobody will be able to see you. After we defeat the enemy we’ll take the cooking pot off you.”

Bungsu responded, “Okay Sulung! Don’t take too long. And don’t forget about me.”

The battle with the invading forces turned out well and the enemy was forced out of the Tanjung Kingdom. The soldiers, with bravery like and elephants, had conquered the invading army. The two orphan brothers, who had the spiritual powers like a siluman, were very successful in passing through the defenses of the enemy. When the enemy retreated they took heavy losses.

Now the Tanjung Kingdom was little by little returning to normal. The citizens spread out and returned to their jobs like what they were doing before the threat of war arose. Sulung was given a very important post in the military, with the title of Panglima Lasykar Negeri Tanjung (Tanjung Kingdom’s Military Commander). Tengah was given the title: Komandan Pasukan Pengawal Datuk Penghulu (commander of Datuk Penghulu’s personal bodyguards). Those two were becoming increasingly famous in the Kingdom.

The greatness of the two brothers didn’t last too long, however, because the jealousy of other leaders began to rise up. The two brothers were immediately faced with a revolt, as a group of the jealous leaders drew away people after them and started a separate Kingdom.

“What steps do we need to take to overcome this civil war and bring order back to our Kingdom?” asked Datuk Penghulu to Sulung and Tengah, after they were commanded to appear before him. “It’s evident that this rebellion will split our Kingdom if it’s allowed to go on much longer. The citizens won’t stand for this much longer. The rebels are stirring up all the farmers, fishermen, and all the remaining leaders in our Kingdom!”

“Have you attempted to bring peace through negotiations,” asked Sulung.

“Yes! The demands of the traitorous military leaders cannot be fulfilled,” said Datuk Penghulu.

“What demands did they make, Datuk Penghulu,” asked Tengah.

“You two must be stripped of your positions and titles. In addition to that, they will maintain their “break-away Kingdom,” and I must send them tribute money. And who knows, I may be required to send them a large sum of money every year to maintain peace. It’s all just too much!” said Datuk Penghulu.

“If their will is for us to be stripped of our positions, we think Datuk Penghulu should grant them their desires. But, if every year you must pay them, or give them property to show everyone that you are in submission to them, we think that would be an insult too large to accept. That’s no different than our Kingdom being colonized,” said Sulung.

Datuk Penghulu said, “I don’t agree with you two.”

“Datuk Penghulu, do you mean that we should reply with military force? If that’s the case, Tengah and I will prepare for the battle,” said Sulung.

“That’s what I mean, Sulung! You assemble all the strength you need, as well as the remaining loyal military leaders that will support you,” said Datuk Penghulu.

Receiving their orders, the two brothers did what was required to build their military’s strength. There were still many citizens who were loyal to the Tanjung Kingdom, and with that strength they destroyed the break off Kingdom in a battle that lasted three days. The cost of that battle was tremendous for the Kingdom, since many from both sides perished in the battle. Sulung himself died on the field of battle and became a hero to all the people. They memorialized him because of his loyalty to the Tanjung Kingdom.

The citizens didn’t celebrate the victory that reunited their Kingdom, they instead flew their flag at half-staff and mourned for seven days. This was done in honor of Sulung, the Commanding Officer whose bravery was said to resemble that of an elephant.

The loyalty of Tengah was also praised by Datuk Penghulu. As compensation for his services Datuk Penghulu gave Tengah a very honorable title, as well as his very own beautiful young daughter in marriage. Tengah became a son-in-law of Datuk Penghulu.

Three months after the marriage, Tengah said to his wife, “My wife, I’m very pleased to be able to live in the palace. But, there’s a person that’s almost the same age as you that I’ve almost forgotten about.”

“What do you mean?” replied Tengah’s wife.

“I mean my younger sister! She was around 7 years old when we hid her under a cooking pot at the edge of our Kingdom. I wonder if she’s still alive? If so, how? I desire to go where we put her. I will ask Datuk Penghulu for provisions for the trip, and I’ll need to be gone for one week” responded Tengah with deep regret.

“Okay, I understand, my husband,” replied the wife of Tengah.

“I need to go there alone because you are pregnant and can’t make such a journey,” said Tengah.

After receiving permission from Datuk Penghulu to make the trip, and after obtaining his necessary supplies, he said goodbye to his wife and departed. During his travels he was very nervous about what he would find when he got to the place where he left his sister, Bungsu. Was she still alive? Did she already pass-away, and enter eternity before Sulung? All of these thoughts were passing through Tengah’s mind as he traveled.

He finally reached the place where he and Sulung had left her. The area had already been overgrown with tall grass and other vegetation. Tengah cried out, “Bungsu, Bungsu! I’m here. Tengah’s arrived! Can you hear me?”

Tengah standing in front of the large cooking pot, under which Bungsu was hid.

“I hear you Tengah! Get me out from under this cooking pot,” said Bungsu.

“Pray, Bungsu! I’ll try to lift this pot, but I doubt I have the ability. I’ll use all the spiritual powers I have,” said Tengah.

Bungsu replied, “Okay, I’ll pray, but hurry Tengah, it’s already been years that I’ve been under this pot, and I don’t know if I can endure it any longer.

Tengah began to sob when he realized that, although he tried to lift the pot, he didn’t have the ability. He failed in all his attempt to free his younger sister.  When Tengah and Sulung placed the huge cooking pot on their sister, they both had the strength and spiritual powers to accomplish it, but alone, Tengah wasn’t able to do it by himself. All hope that he would be able to free his sister was lost.

He then returned to the palace in a very weakened state. His wife cried after hearing the story told of what had taken place.

“Please pray, my wife, so that we can be given directions by the All-Knowing God about how we can free my sister,” said Tengah.

That evening while they were praying, Tengah saw a vision in which his sister was becoming extremely thin. It was as if she was a skeleton, yet still alive. In the vision he saw that his sister was able to express a smile for a few moments. After that she immediately hugged him. It was as if she didn’t want to be separated from him any longer. In a deep hoarse voice, Bungsu said, “Tengah, you will free me, although our older brother Sulung isn’t here anymore.”

“How, Bungsu? The spiritual powers needed to get you out from under that cooking pot is only known by Sulung,” said Tengah.

In the vision Bungsu responded to Tengah, “Listen to me my brother! Ask others to help you. If you attempt the task by yourself you won’t have enough energy for the job.”

“Please explain what you mean, Bungsu! Can I get the cooking pot off you if I get many people from the Kingdom of Tanjung to help? asked Tengah.

In the vision Bungsu again responded, “My brother, the first thing is that you must read the Al Quran from beginning to end 30 times in one night. The second thing is that you must offer 3 sacred white water buffalos.  The meat must be given to all the citizens of the Tanjung Kingdom. After that, request the people to pray together with you. If it’s the will of God, then I will be freed.”

The vision then ended and Tengah told his wife and Datuk Penghulu everything he saw. His wife was elated upon hearing of the vision because she believed that she would soon be able to meet her sister-in-law. But, the happiness of Tengah’s wife was quickly extinguished when Datuk Penghulu said, “To read the Al Quran 30 times in one night won’t be very difficult. We will need to gather 30 people who can read and make it happen. But to obtain 3 sacred white water buffalos in a short time is near impossible.

“Yes, it will be hard. But let’s at least try!” said Tengah.

Immediately there were a number of people who were sent to neighboring Kingdoms to search for the sacred white water buffalos. After several months had passed and not a single white water buffalo was found, Tengah, his wife, and all the people grew apprehensive that they would ever obtain what was required. They then decided to surrender themselves to their fate. At that time they could only pray that Bungsu would be received by the Most Glorious God into paradise.

The cooking pot that once covered Bungsu, over a long period of time changed its form and became a hill. The metal of the pot transformed into rocks. That hill is now called Bukit Kancah (cooking pot hill), and today it is said that that hill originated from the cooking pot that was used to cover and protect Bungsu.

Advertisements