This is our translation of a legend from the Jambi Province.
(Buah Galumpang or Buah Ajaib)
The Origin of the Anak Dalam Ethnic Group
(Asul Usul Suku Anak Dalam)
This legend shows yet another version of the Anak Dalam ethnic group’s origin. It’s also a reflection on Jambi’s original inhabitant’s beliefs in being led by spirit guides, as well as the belief in reincarnation (Hinduism). There’s also clear references made to how marriages were often forced upon young women.
Clicking this link will take you to another legendary version of the Anak Dalam’s origin.
A long, long time ago there were three orphans, two brothers and one sister. The three of them worked together on their inherited land, which was a rice field and a large garden. The three siblings were very close and got along well with each other, and the two brothers, Idin and Adin, especially loved their sister (Dina) and because of their attention to her needs, she never had to ask for anything.
Idin and Adin always took the produce from their fields to the market to be sold. Sometimes vendors at the market would travel to their fields to purchase the produce right after it was harvested. When merchants would arrive at their home, Dina would wait on them and provide them with refreshments.
Occasionally a certain young merchant would come straight to their fields, and having seen Dina several times, he proposed to her. Several times Dina rejected his proposal because of her love for her two older brothers. “If I would marry that young man,” she thought, “who would then help my brothers with cooking, cleaning, and with other needs in our home?”
Several times Idin and Adin encouraged her to get married because she was already old enough and it was appropriate for her to marry. But that young lady didn’t want to. She wanted to see her two older brothers marry before she did.
One day the two brothers encouraged Dina to marry the young merchant that proposed. One reason they wanted her to marry him was because he was quite wealthy.
“Dina,” said Idin, “You are already fully grown, and it’s appropriate for you to marry. Several times people have come here and have proposed to marry you, but you always reject their proposals. If you really love us, please accept a proposal and get married.”
Dina replied to them, “I love you two so much that I don’t want to be separated from you. If I get married, we will be separated from one another. Who will then help you with the household chores?”
With a stern and threatening voice, Adin said, “Dina, we can take care of our parent’s fields alone. You don’t need to continually trouble yourself about us. If the opportunity arises, we’ll also marry.”
“No, I don’t want to be separated from you two!” Dina said firmly.
Idin and Adin responded, “If you don’t want to marry, then we are going to leave you. You can stay her by yourself. We will go somewhere else and you can forget all about us and there’s no need for you to think about us any longer. We will go wherever we want and you just stay here and the wild animals can become your only friends.
“Okay, according to your words… I’ll stay here by myself. I don’t want to leave our inheritance. I’ll stay here forever. I’ll become friends with the deer and I’ll merely have a mattress of moss. If you two want to go, then feel free to go, but I’m going to stay here,” said Dina reluctantly.
Considering that there was no backing out on what they were saying and that they weren’t making progress in softening Dina’s heart, the two brothers threatened a little harsher. “If you are going to remain that determined and resistant then we are going to take full authority over our inheritance, and if you won’t marry that young merchant, then you have to leave this place. Go on, get out, and don’t come back.”
The words of her brothers were so harsh that she started crying, and as the tears streamed down her face, she said, “If it has to be this way and you are going to force me to leave, I’ll obey you. It’s clear that you two don’t love me anymore, goodbye my brothers.” With that Dina stood up and began to leave.
“Wait a minute,” said Idin. “We will not permit you to travel by land or with a boat. You must travel with wood that’s already waterlogged and is resting on the bottom of the river. With that kind of wood you must make yourself a raft. You aren’t allowed to travel with anything other than a raft made with waterlogged wood. With that raft you can go wherever you want.”
“Goodbye my brothers,” said Dina, and she left their home and walked toward the river to look for wood that was submerged and laying on the bottom of the river, being obedient to what her brothers commanded.
Since the river was quite deep she couldn’t tell if there was wood resting on the bottom. With that Dina began to pray for help from Allah. While praying she heard a sound like thunder from the river floor. Suddenly, with great force, a huge log shot up out of the river and then rested calmly on the surface of the river. Dina was astonished to see this happen. She sensed that it was as if there was something in the river that pushed that huge log up.
The log slowly floated over to the edge of the river and Dina stepped out and got on it. The log already had oars, and with that she began to paddle her raft upstream.
Dina merely rowed, not really knowing where she was going. That afternoon she arrived at a place that had a very large tree with thousands of leaves. She made her way to the bank of the river and tied her raft up to a stump. She then rested for a while, leaning against a tree. She thought this place would be an ideal location to sleep, since the roots of the tree were dry and it would lift her up a little off the ground, which was too damp to sleep on. While taking her break she began to think about where she should go. As she began looking around she realized that she was standing on the roots of a tree that produced two types of fruit. She then climbed the tree and picked one of each type of the fruit that was growing on the tree. She thought that if she would get hungry she would be able to eat them later on.
Because she had been rowing a long time her body had grown tired. She then laid down and closed her eyes and fell sound asleep. Being sound asleep she began to dream, and in her dream she saw an elderly woman, and it was as if that woman woke her from her sleep. That grandmotherly woman had white clothing, white hair, and she held a white walking stick. The woman then said to Dina:
“Hey, my child, I’m an ancestor of yours from hundreds of years ago. The galumpang fruit that you have are my two breasts. A long time ago when I was alive I was the prettiest lady in our village. The other women were jealous of me. Because of their jealousy they used supernatural powers and removed my breasts. They then laid them on the ground expecting wild animals to come and eat them. But Allah didn’t will it to happen. My breasts were not eaten, they became fruit that was special and extraordinary. My two breasts were called ‘Buah Galumpang,’ or ‘Buah Ajaib’ (miraculous fruit). My breasts are uniquely extraordinary because:
- Although the flesh is hundreds of years old, they had the ability to endure without decaying.
- They can’t be destroyed.
- They can’t become rotten.
- They won’t ever disturb, nor be disturb by any creature.
- One final miraculous feature is, they will become human again and they will become your friend. They are my flesh and blood. If later on they grow and become adults, the two breasts of mine will marry and this area will become filled with their descendants.
And you, later on you will meet a young man who will come from upstream. He will become your husband.”
That elderly woman spoke a long time and Dina understood everything she said. Dina wanted to ask her questions about some of the things that were prophesied, but after the elderly woman said that a young man will come and will become her husband, the elderly woman disappeared. Dina then wasn’t able to ask questions or respond to her.
When Dina woke the next morning it was still quite dim. When she yawned, the two fruits she had picked the previous day transformed into a little boy and girl. The two looked very sweet. Was it true what she was seeing? She wiped her eyes and thought, “Is the dream I had coming true?” She immediately looked into the handkerchief, in which she had stored the two fruits the previous day, but the handkerchief was empty. The dream she had of that elderly woman was coming true! The two miraculous fruits had already become human! The two children just stood there smiling, and Dina smiled right back at them. She then hugged them both while saying:
“We are all friends. You two are going to take the place of my two older brothers who drove me out of my home. We will clear the forest and plant rice and many other fruits and vegetables.” The two children only responded with bright smiles.
The day was still young and it was still a little dark. There seemed to be lightning that came from upstream and it was if it shot right toward the place they were standing. The thunder that followed the lightning was so loud and powerful that it seemed as if it would rip apart the entire universe.
The lightning struck the tree that was behind Dina and it started a fire which spread throughout the entire area. The fire was raging and it reached to the tops of the trees. After that an explosion was heard. The fire then disappeared and transformed into people; male and female, old and young, and even babies. The entire area was filled will people of all ages and were all wearing different types of clothing.
There was a young man standing close to Dina who merely smiled at her, and he never once blinked. Dina was clearly confused seeing this entire event take place right before her eyes, and she didn’t know what she should do next. She just looked around at all the people while they all smiled at her.
The young man greeted her by saying her name, “Dina!”
Confused, Dina thought in her heart, “He knows my name!” She didn’t respond to his greeting and the young man continued, “My name is Aligetas, which means thunder. I’ve come here together with my huge extended family. All the people around you will become the citizens together with us here in this place. Together we’ll transform this jungle into a wonderful village.”
Dina responded, “I’m so overwhelmed having seen such a thing take place that I don’t know what to think. Where did you all come from?”
Aligetas replied, “We come from Minangkabau. We lived hundreds of years ago. Many of us were killed in natural disasters. A flood destroyed our village and not a single person survived. And now, it’s as if we’ve all been summoned to come back to life and live here. While we were still dead there was a woman with us who was called; “grandmother that can’t breastfeed.” While we were still dead she came to us and ordered us to come here, to meet with you, and together we are to build our village again. It was through the miraculous lightning and thunder that we arrived.
Dina thought to herself, “That was the same elderly woman that came to me in my dream last night.”
“Yes, Yes. These two children and I are very happy to have the opportunity to receive you, to become close friends with you all, and to build this village together with you.
Aligetas replied to her, “These two children are part of our huge extended family. We are all from a country that existed hundreds of years ago. These two children with you, though they are at this time still small, were actually were born hundreds of years ago.” Aligetas then went over to those two children and hugged them.
Dina then thought within herself, “This is that young man the elderly woman told me I was going to marry!”
“We are happy to receive all of you from Minangkabau. Let’s together build this place to become a warm loving village,” said Dina to all that were present.
Not long after that Dina married Aligetar. Eleven years later the two children that came from the “buah galumpang” (miraculous fruit) also married. As time continued and many centuries passed since the days of Dina and Aligetar, their descendants multiplied and they became the Anak Dalam ethnic group. There are some that call these people the Kubu ethnic group, and yet others call them the Terasing ethnic group. The river that Dina travelled up in this story is the Batanghari River. This ethnic group has now spread out to many different locations, like Mersam, Tabir, and Sungai Bengkal.
The original story was poorly written. We preferred leaving it as original as possible, but to join together some disjointed sections of the legend we had to modify it in a couple of places to make the story flow. There are still a few places that aren’t easy to follow.