This is a legend we translated from the Jambi Province

The Batin II’s Legendary Origin

By: M. Saleh Hafiz and A. Mutalib

Translated by: C.S.

Swinging bridge in the Village of Teluk Kecimbung, where parts of this legend took place.

Swinging bridge in the Village of Teluk Kecimbung, where parts of this legend took place.

During the age of the ancient Mataram Kingdom, the king sent four of his children to the Island of Sumatra in an effort to extend the size of his realm. His four children were composed of three sons and one daughter. The names of the sons were:

  • Raja Shili
  • Raja Ipang
  • Raja Alip

The name of the one daughter was:

  • Puti Seliput Alam

Having received their father’s command, the four siblings set off on a boat to cross over to the Island of Sumatra. After arriving on Sumatra they all divided up and went off to possess a region and put it under their control. These are the areas they colonized:

  1. Raja Ipang colonized the area now known as Jangkat.
  2. Raja Alip set up his rule in Hiyang Kerinci.
  3. The daughter, Puti Seliput Alam choose to posses Pagaruyung (Periang Pandang Panjang).
  4. The oldest of the siblings, Raja Shili, who at this time had begun to be called Nenek Raja Belang, or Muneng, had as yet to take possession of a region on the island.

Raja Shili continued his journey in search of the region he wanted to colonize. As he was traveling down the Merangin River he came to its mouth, which flowed into the Tembesi   River (The Mouth of the Merangin River, just 5 km south west of the Village of Pauh). It was here that Raja Shili saw a munam floating down it. This munam was like a soap dish, on which you place your soap while bathing. The munam had lemon powder in it, as well as a fragrant cream for the skin. This special cream was usually used by princesses while they bathed.

Entry to the Village of Teluk Kecimbung

Entry to the Village of Teluk Kecimbung

Raja Shili began to question within himself, “maybe there are people that live upstream on this river.” Using his sword, he started walking along the river heading upstream, chopping through the thick dense brush. Day and night he traveled upstream, chopping through the jungle. The thick jungles, with its many thorny bushes and vines would often cut his legs and arms, but he continued on, traveling all by himself. He never saw a sparrows nest. He never saw a pen for a water buffalo. Wherever he grew tired, that was in that place he would go to sleep. When the sun would rise the next day, he got up and continued on his journey of exploration to find something he had never been seen before.

When he got totally worn out he stopped and rested in Ujung Tanjung, now known as Lidung.  (There is a “Tanjung Rambai” 4 km south of Sarolangun. There is a “Lindung Dalam,” 5 km south of Sarolangun). After resting, and looking up into the trees, he saw two birds perched on a branch very high up in a tree. Even though he was very tired, he got up and continued his journey upstream.

During his journey he noticed that wherever there was water that wasn’t flowing, like along a bend in the river, there was always a munam floating there. It was then that he found the mouth of the Asai River (this is the mouth of the Limun River, next to the Village of Pulau Pandan, just under 20 km to the south of Sarolangun),  and there he looked upstream on that river, but he didn’t see any munam floating down on it, so he knew there wasn’t anybody upstream on that river.

Road sign in the Village of Teluk Kecimbung. The names of the roads are taken from characters in the legend.

Road sign in the Village of Teluk Kecimbung. The names of the roads are taken from characters in the legend.

He then continued on his journey, and day after day and month after month, but he had yet to see a single person. Realizing that his body was very tired, he knew he needed to rest, so he sat down on a small clump of dirt on the edge of the river. While seated, and looking down, he saw two tapah (a type of fish) that looked tame, and they weren’t afraid of him, but they were very hard to catch. Even so, he didn’t give up on his efforts and he kept trying to catch them. During the entire time he was trying to catch those fish, his mind kept thinking about the question that had been haunting him these many months, “where are those munam coming from?”

As Raja Shili continued on his journey he never was restricted due to weakness, hunger, or thirst. It wasn’t much longer until he found a location that would have been ideal for bathing. The location was in a bend in the river and the water was very still in that spot. The water was also very clean and clear (the location is now called Teluk Kecimbung Tuo). At the side of that bathing location Raja Shili noticed seven branches all in a row. He was confused and wondered why they were arranged like that, but at that time he didn’t see anybody, he only heard the singing of two birds as they tweeted back and forth.

Raja Shili then continued on his journey until he reached the Gelanggang River, and there he stopped and rested on a large rock, that is now called the Village of Batu Penyabung (25 km west of Sarolangun, just above Tembesi River). After seriously considering his situation, he realized that there weren’t any more munam floating down the river, so he decided to spend the night there and get refreshed. The next day, very early in the morning, he departed in the direction he had come from, towards the bathing location where he had previously found the seven branches.

When he arrived at that bathing location it appeared as if someone had recently bathed there. He then rested there a while on Suka Menanti, which is the name of the island located in the middle of the river. This island wasn’t located too far downstream from where the bathing location was.

He thought for a moment about who could possibly be bathing in this location all the time. As he continued deep in thought, half the day quickly passed away, then around noon he heard a noise like thunder which came from the direction of the sun. He then looked up, and being a little startled, he saw seven creatures that looked like humans coming down from the sky. In his heart he thought, “Maybe these are goddesses that come down and bathe in the river.

He then hurried to the bathing location, and from there he quietly observed what was going on. It was true! There were seven goddesses that were preparing to bathe. They were currently undressing and were placing their clothing on the seven poles that were lined up in a row. The small goddesses splashed around cheerfully and used the lemon powder in the munam to wash with. After they finished bathing they took their clothing that was hanging on the poles, got dressed, and immediately flew back to heaven.

Raja Shili thought about how he could get the clothing from one of those goddesses when they come down to bathe. To accomplish his objective, he took a long rattan pole which had long thorns on one end. He exchanged that pole with one of the poles which were used by the goddesses to hang their clothes on. He also got some roots from bamboo trees and used it as string and tied it to the rattan pole. When the goddess would put her clothes on the pole, he would be in hiding, and would carefully pull the rattan pole towards himself with the string, and at the same time get the goddesses clothes.

Knowing he would have to speak with the goddesses, he made a disguise from fur, which made his face look like an old man. He then went into hiding and waited for the goddesses to return. That whole day Raja Shili sat quietly and laid in wait for the goddesses to come down, but they never arrived. It was the same on the second day, no luck. But on the third day, as he got up very early in the morning, and while looking up into the sky, he heard the sound of thunder coming from the direction of the rising sun. The excitement of the moment filled Raja Shili with renewed strength and he ran to the bathing location and he saw the goddesses splashing around in the water as they bathed, and as usual, they were using the lemon powder with which to wash. He also noticed that their clothing were all neatly hanging on their respective poles.

While hiding in the bushes he slowly pulled the string that was attached to the rattan pole that he had previously exchanged. As he pulled, the pole was drawn up into the dense jungle, along with the clothing of one of the goddesses. He took the clothing and hid it in the grass around a large clump of bamboo. He then took the fur he had designed to make him look like an old man and put it on his head. He then began pretending as though he was nonchalantly fishing along the edge of the river.

After bathing, six of the goddesses took their clothing and flew back to heaven. The youngest of them was confused, because she was looking for her clothes but they weren’t where she had placed them. As she continued to look for them, she thought that maybe they fell into the water and were floating downstream. So she began floating downstream in search of them. It was then that she noticed Raja Shili (who was pretending to be an old man) fishing on the bank of the river.

The goddess asked, “Hey, have you seen my clothes?” Raja Shili responded, “I have been fishing a long time and I haven’t seen them.” The goddess was suspicious and kept asking this old man about the clothes. It was then that Raja Shili said, “If you marry me, I will give you your clothes back, but only after we have two children together.” The goddess said, “I’ll marry you and we’ll have just one child together. Raja Shili agreed and they were immediately married.

Immediately after the marriage they built a simple hut in which to live. The roof of their new home was made of palm leaves. The walls were made from cinnamon tree bark, and the floors were made from bamboo. Raja Shili went and got his new wife’s clothing without her knowing about it and inserted them into a piece of bamboo and hid it in the palm leaves in the upper part of their home. The two of them then started their life together in their new home. This is the origin of the Village of Teluk Kecimbung.

  • The name “Teluk Kecimbung” is taken from the bathing location which was frequented by the goddesses from heaven.
    • Teluk—gulf; bay; curve; bend (in the river).
    • Kecimpung—splash around; plunge into an activity.

After a period of time the goddess became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter, who they named Puti Gading Cempako. She was a very healthy child and grew as fast as a cucumber plant.

When Puti Gading Cempako reached five or six years of age, the goddess (her mother) said to her, “My child, please ask your father where he has hidden my clothes.” Her daughter immediately went to her father and asked him that question. Not thinking anything would come of it, Raja Shili responded, “Your mother’s clothes are stuffed into a piece of bamboo which I have hidden among the palm tree roofing of our home. After obtaining the information, the child returned to her mother and told her what her father had said.

The next day continued on as normal, with Raja Shili going into the jungle to look for their food for the day. While he was gone his wife quietly climbed up into the roof inside their home and found her clothes. She then went outside into the yard and called her daughter. Puti Gading Cempako came running to her and her mother said, “My daughter, if your father misses me, say to him that I’ve returned to my home in heaven.” The goddess then placed Puti Gading Cempako in a hammock that was located below their home, next to the ladder leading up to the front door, and covered her with a piece of cloth to serve as a blanket. Just as Puti Gading Cempako was drifting off to sleep, and her eyes were closed, she immediately awoke with a jerk and jumped out of her hammock and stood in the yard in front of their home. As she stood there she was looking up into the sky and she saw her mother leaving her, flying back to her place in heaven.

This is the reason the goddess was named: Putri Bungsu Hilang Dilaman.

  • Putri Bungsu means: The youngest of the seven goddesses.
  • Hilang Dilaman means: She went out of sight (hilang) while flying to heaven, as she was being watched from the yard (di halaman).

Because she felt pity for the daughter she was leaving behind, the goddess left several other heirlooms for her daughter. Besides the cloth she was covered with in the hammock, there was also seven long strands of her hair, as well as a gold sheath used for covering fingers during dances (canggai).

Puti Gading Cempako cried almost nonstop when her mother left. The crying of his daughter was heard by Raja Shili who was deep in the jungle. When he heard the crying he hurriedly rushed home and asked his daughter why she was crying. She then told him that her mother had flown back to heaven.  Raja Shili immediately rushed back into the home and climbed up into the top of their home looking for his wife’s clothing, but it was obvious that she had found them and that she had left.

Puti Gading Cempako was then raised by her father, and when she became old enough to marry, she was given in marriage to a young man named Raden Sati Beramok Sati, who was from Seliput Alam. (The name of Raja Shili’s sister was Putri Seliput Alam, so maybe this “Raden” came from her location—in the Padang, West Sumatra area?) The two remained in the village of Teluk Kecimbung along with Puti Gading’s father. From this marriage two children were born, a son whom they named Raden Gumarang and a daughter who they named Puti Sisila Panun (Puti Cempako Puti).

Puti Sisila Panun (Cempako Puti) stayed in Teluk Kecimbung and married with a son of the king from Hiang Kerinci. From this marriage two children were born. The son was named Prabo Dani. Prabo Dani married a daughter of the King from Karang Panggung. From this union there were also two children born. The son moved to Lidung, which is now called Batin Lima, because there were five children. The daughter continued living in Teluk Kecimbung. These are the ones who are considered the ancestors of Teluk Kecimbung.

While Raden Gumarang was searching for a new area which to pioneer, he travelled far upstream on the Batang Asai River. In his journey he met a very old person in a basket. It was in this location that the Village of Sebakul was started (There is a Dusun Sebakul 4-8km to the west of Pulau Pandan, just after Lubuk Resam). As he continued upstream on the same river he never saw a single person. He then stopped in Tangkui Sekeladi Bathin Pengambang (In a straight line on the map, Tangkai is 12.6km south of the Village of Pondok Delapan, and Sekaladi is 16.8km south of the same village). After spending a period of time there, he turned and travelled back downstream on the Batang Asai River. In the middle of his travels he noticed bubbles floating up from the middle of a lake. The bubbles were floating close to him as they left the water, and one of the bubbles appeared as if there was a woman inside of it. Raden Gumarang took that woman and immediately married her. His wife was named Puti Setangkai Buih (tangkai means stalk, stem. Setangkai—a single stem. Buih means bubble, froth). This husband and wife became the ancestors of the people who live in Lubuk Resam (which is located 5km to the west of Pulau Pandan), and the people are referred to as Bathin Tunggal Cerminan Gedang (the Kecematan is named Cermin Nan Gadang).

  • Bathin tunggal means: Raden Gumarang is the first child (sulung).
  • Cerminan Gedang means: Raden Gumarang often traveled to do business (memantau) with his sister in Teluk Kecimbung.

The area that has been controlled by the Batin II is between Lubuk Sikumbang in Muara Siau (there is a Desa Teluk Sikumbang, 2km south of the Village of Mura Siau, 33km southwest of Bangko, in a straight line), and over to Lubuk Sikumbung in Muara Jambi. (Lubuk Sikumbang, or Teluk Kecimbung is in the Batin VIII district/kecematan, along with Tanjung, Dusun Dalam, Batu Penyabung, etc., but Teluk Kecimbung is not on the map.)

  • The above mentioned area has been divided into three sections:
    • Batin II between Lubuk Sikumbang and over to Muara Selembau Mati.
    • Batin Tunggal Lubuk Resam Cerminan Gedang controls the area from Luak Lurah Batang Asai and over to Limun.
    • Batin V from Muara Selembau Mati and over to the downstream area of the Tembesi River.

Before the Dutch colonized Jambi, the Batin II had 2 men in government positions:

  1. Rio Pemuncak Kerto Cano oversaw the area of Tanjung Gagak.
  2. Rio Pemarap Kerto Pati oversaw the area of Penarun.

This was the system of government while it was still in the control of the Batin II. The people in these areas were formed into marga (groupings of villages, clan, groups of people in an association, in a given area) under the Dutch governmental system.

CONCLUSION

The hair and canggai (gold finger sheath) that was left by the goddess in this story was discarded by the Islamic teachers in the 1950s, because they feared that the objects could become an object of worship and the people would become idol worshippers / polytheists.

The pusaka (heirlooms) that are still on hand are the cloth that the goddess covered her daughter with, a gun, and a knife. The knife has special qualities, because sometimes it can be seen, and sometimes it disappears.

Family Tree from the Batin II Legend

Family Tree from the Batin II Legend
The men’s names are with bold letters.

Advertisements