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

Origin of the Anak Dalam and

Talang Mamak Ethnic Groups

 (Putri Pinang Masak – Asal Usul Suku Talang Mamak)

This legend is yet another variation of the life of a famous Jambi legendary figure, the famous Putri Pinang Masak. Through this legend she is attributed with having given birth to two of the well-known ethnic groups living in Jambi.

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A long time ago there was a very small Kingdom in the village of Siambul, in the region now known as Batang Gangsal, in the Indragiri Hulu regency of the Riau Province. There were seven pairs of twins born. Each set of twins was a boy and girl. The twins’ names were as follows:

  • Marudum Sakti, and his sister Putri Pinang Masak (the oldest).
  • Buyung Selamat, with his sister Putri Mayang Mengurai.
  • Sampurago, with his siter Subang Bagelan.
  • Tonggak de Tonang, with his sister, Putri Pandan Bajelo.
  • Sapu Jagat, with his sister, Putri Loyang Bunga Emas.
  • Roger and his sister, Putri Setanggi.
  • Tuntun and his sister, Putri Bungsu (the youngest)

The 7 Twins

The seven boys grew and became strong and handsome young men, whereas their seven sisters grew to become very beautiful young ladies. From the seven pairs, Roger was the one that was the most handsome, as well as the bravest. While the most beautiful of the seven young ladies was Putri Pinang Masak.

One day news circulated that Putri Pinang Masak suddenly turned up missing. This caused a tremendous commotion among the entire population of the Kingdom. The seven brothers were busy looking all over for her, yet they weren’t able to find her. Roger, the one that was the bravest and strongest, during his efforts to find her ran into Datuk Motah. It was from Datuk Motah that he received the news that his older sister, Putri Pinang Masak, was kidnapped and was to be married to King Dewa Sikaraba Daik, the son of the current King of Jambi, Paduka Raja Telni Telanai.

After hearing the news about what had happened to his older sister, Roger immediately reported that news to all his family. They then gathered together to conduct a joint council meeting to decide what they should do.

“Hey, Roger! We already know that among us, you are the strongest and bravest. It’s only proper then that you should be the one selected to go and get our sister, Putri Pinang Masak, and bring her back from Jambi,” said Marudum Sakti to his younger brother. “Yes, we all agree with Marudum Sakti,” added Tuntun, the youngest of them all. “Yes, we all agree,” said all the other brothers in unison. Finally, it was decided that Roger would be delegated with the task to go to Jambi and safely bring their sister, Putri Pinang Masak back.

The next day Rover departed for Jambi all by himself. The country of Jambi was very carefully guarded, the reason was because there was currently conflict between the King Telni Telanai and the Dutch. After negotiating with the palace guards, Roger was given permission to meet with King Telni Telanai.

“Hey, Young Man! Who are you and where did you come from?” asked King Telni Telanai.

After Roger told him who he was and where he came from, the King asked, “What in the world did you come here for?

Roger replied, “Forgive me King! If you would be pleased, I would like to have permission to assist you in driving the Dutch out from Jambi.”

King Telni Telanai was very pleased and welcomed the offer, and he said, “Okay, Roger! You may stay here in the palace.”

Knowing that Roger was staying in the palace of the Jambi Kingdom, Putri Pinang Masak became aware of her younger brother’s arrival, but she didn’t say anything to anybody about their relationship to each other.

To test Roger’s courage and strength, King Telni Telanai assigned Roger the task of hunting down robbers that attacked along the rivers and streams of the Jambi Kingdom. Because Roger had great magical powers, Roger always was successful, and in the end he was raised to a position as a military commander. Not long after that, Roger was invited to join with them in the war against the Dutch.

One night, before they departed for the field of battle, very quietly, Putri Pinang Masak met with her younger brother and gave him a scarf which possessed a spirit with magical powers. Because of that scarf, Roger was successful in driving the Dutch away. Immediately the Jambi King welcomed him home and proclaimed him a hero. Because of his service to the Jambi Kingdom, King Telni Telanai gave him the title “Datuk” and appointed him as the first and foremost of all the commanding officers of the Jambi forces.

As time went along King Telni Telanai became very sick. Finally he turned his throne over to his son, the King Dewa Sikaraba Daik. When the governmental authority was held in the hands of King Dewa Sikaraba Daik, the Jambi Kingdom began to grow weak. Many traitorous acts were beginning to emerge among the peoples around the palace. The Dutch saw this as an opportunity in their favor and began to put great pressure on that young King.

The Dutch were successful in using very persuasive methods to force some of the Jambi military commanders to become spies for them. Finally, the weak King Dewa Sikaraba Daik desired to sign conditions of peace with the Dutch. Datuk Roger was captured, and with his hands tied, he was taken to a ship and was to be drowned in the middle of the sea.

While he was being taken onboard the ship, something miraculous happened. With  permission from God, Roger suddenly disappeared and didn’t leave a single trace. After a long period of time had elapsed, without anyone seeing him, everyone assumed he was dead.

With Datuk Roger being gone, the Dutch immediately attacked the Jambi Kingdom. Many Jambi soldiers fell in battle. Jambi was being increasingly pressured by the Dutch. At a very critical moment, suddenly Roger appeared. He again obtained permission from the King to attack the Dutch, and with his great magical powers, succeeded in forcing them back. All of the Jambi traitors were captured and executed. The Jambi Kingdom then went back to a state of peace and security. King Dewa Sikaraba Daik then lead the Kingdom with great wisdom and tact.

Seeing that conditions had returned to be safe and peaceful again, Datuk Roger decided to return to Indragiri. He immediately went before King Dewa Sikaraba Daik and said, “Forgive me my King! I want to return home now. If you need me again, please send messengers to the village of Siambul, Indragiri Hulu” (Kabupaten) said Datuk Roger.

Knowing that her younger brother was making plans to return to Indragiri, Putri Pinang Masak immediately fell before her husband, King Dewa Sikaraba Daik and said, “Please forgive me my husband! Actually I am the older sister of Datuk Roger. Please give me permission to return home to Indragiri together with him. I’m pregnant, and will soon return and will give birth to our son here at the palace.” King Dewa Sikaraba Daik was shocked to hear what Putri Pinang Masak said. “Is it true, Datuk Roger?” asked the King. “It’s true my King!” Roger briefly replied.

King Dewa Sikaraba Daik, Putri Pinang Masak, and Datuk Roger

Finally, King Dewa Sikaraba Daik understood and realized that they were indeed brother and sister, and all that time they kept it a secret. Realizing that Datuk Roger had served his Kingdom faithfully, he wanted to honor that service, so with a heavy heart King Dewa Sikaraba Daik gave his wife, Putri Pinang Masak, permission to return home to Indragiri with her younger brother.

The next day, before the two departed, King Dewa Sikaraba Daik gave a guarantee, with his own official seal, that he had relinquished the jungles of Jambi to the descendants of Putri Pinang Masak forever.

After the long journey home Roger and his sister arrived at Indragiri. They were welcomed by all the people of the village of Siambul with great rejoicing. To express their feelings of great happiness, the people conducted a community meal to celebrate together. In the middle of all that excitement, Datuk Marudum Sakti said, “Our family is complete again. This situation should be a lesson to us, that we should deeply value our family members, and always protect and defend them.”

Because King Dewa Sikaraba Daik gave the descendants of Putri Pinang Masak lots of land on which they could flourish, those people blossomed and became the ethnic groups today that are known as the Anak Dalam, and Talang Mamak, both of which, still to this day, live deep in the Jambi and Indragiri jungles.

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In the original legend we translated from, it said that the seven sets of twins were conjoined / siamese twins (kembar siam). For us to translate that information as is, the rest of the story wouldn’t have made sense. We took off the singular instance in which the word “siam” (conjoined) was used, and merely said that there were “seven sets of twins.”

In other Jambi legends it was Telni Telanai that wanted to marry Putri Pinang Masak, not Telni Telanai’s son. In those legends Putri Pinang Masak had the additional name of “Selaras” added to her full name (Putri Pinang Selaras Masak). Another variation is the spelling of Telni Telanai. The above legend is the only place we’ve seen his name spelled this way. The common spelling is “Tan,” or “Tun” Telanai.

Below are links to similar posts and legends we’ve translated.

**Legend of Tan Talanai (In this legend his son attempted to, or did kill him–depending on which version you read.)

**Tan Talanai Mystery (This post illustrates the mystery behind this man. There is little documentation about him.)

**Putri Selaras Pinang Masak (In this legend Tan Talanai wanted to marry Putri Selaras Pinang Masak, not the son of Tan Talanai.)

**Grave of Putri Selaras Pinang Masak  (This post gives descriptive information about how to locate her grave, as well as other information about her family.)

In the main legend we translated above, the son of Telni Telanai was Dewa Sikaraba Daik. There are other legends / information that shows a Dewa Sekerabah (The God Sekerabah) as being the ruler of Jambi. Today the name “Sekerabah” is used to refer to the community of people living in the area (kelurahan) of Solok Sipin, or, “Candi Situs Solok Sipin.” The Jambi historian and cultural expert, H. Junaidi T. Noor, wrote in his book Mencari Jejak Sangkala, that “Dewa Sekerabah” was the same person as “Si Pahit Lidah.”  Noor derived that information from the book Undang-undang Piagam Negeri Jambi (1937), (which is mostly filled with folklore, myths, and legends).  In his book, Noor goes on to explain that after “Si Pahit Lidah” died, a Hindu king from the Mataram kingdom came to Jambi and became the king over Jambi. That legend can be read with this link. That king was said to have built statues of worship in the eastern portion of the Jambi Province (Tanjung Jabung). Just off the coast, on the island of Pulau Berhala (Statue Island), he also was to have built places of worship. None of the statues are still in existence, though the people of Pulau Berhala indicate that a Hindu statue was unearth around 1998.  An Arabic Islamic missionary, who carries the title of Datuk Paduka Berhala, is accredited with having had the statues all destroyed.

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