60 of Jambi’s Legends

Alphabetically Arranged According to their Titles

We invested a tremendous amount of time in translating all of the below legends. We also took the time to compile them in the below list so they could easily be found…and read in the English language!


Air Hitam dan Jernih (The Villages of Black Water and Clear Water)

  • In the Sarolangun Region of the Jambi Province there are two villages that are named  Air Hitam (black water) and Jernih (clear; with the meaning of—clear water).  This legend tells how these villages got their names.

Anak Katak (The Little Frog)

  • This legend illustrates teamwork.

Anak Yatim Piatu (The Legend of the Orphan)

  • This legend shows a poor orphan whose life was dramatically transformed.

Angso Duo (Two Geese)

  • Though the information in this post isn’t in story form, we’ve included it to show how much influence these two geese still have in and around Jambi.

Asal Mula Nama Lempur (The Origin of the Village Named Lempur)

  • This legend tells the story about how three villages in Jambi got their names.
  • Indonesians use this legend to teach their children that they must honor and obey their mothers. This legend shows the mother allowing her daughter to die, all because her daughter didn’t honor her.

Asal Mula Nama Sungai Batanghari (The Origin of the Name of the Batanghari River)

  • This legend tells how the Batanghari River got its name.
  • This legend very much resembles a previous legend we translated, titled: Asal Usul Raja Negeri Jambi. The difference with this legend is that when the candidate to become Jambi’s king entered the mouth of the Batanghari River, he was asked if he knew the name of it. At that time the name of the river wasn’t known by the other travelers, and the candidate’s quick and witty response named the river.

Asal Usul Keris Sigenjei (Legend of Orang Kayo Hitam and the Magic Knife–Sigenjei)

  • Orang Kayo Hitam is a famous character in Jambi’s history. According to several different legends he is accredited with having been Jambi’s first king, although there are many accounts of kings reigning over Jambi prior to him. This is one legend of how this man, single-handedly, defeated the Mataram Kingdom.

Asal Usul Keris Sigenjei—short version (The Origin of the Magic Knife, Sigenjei)

  • This is a very brief version of the legend of this supernatural knife’s origin.

Asal Usul Negara Jambi (Legend of Jambi’s Origin)

  • This is a very brief account of the legend of Orang Kayo Hitam and his wife (Mayang Mengurai) and how they founded the Jambi Kingdom.

Asal Usul Raja Negeri Jambi (The Legend of Jambi’s First King—in this legend the king originated from India. Other legends have kings coming from Turkey.)

  • This legend illustrates the “stranger-king” theme that was common throughout Austronesian cultures. It’s as if they had the belief that outsiders were always more competent to lead than they themselves, thus legends illustrate them looking to other nations from which they would find their kings.

Asal Usul Suku Anak Dalam Batin IX (The Origin of the Anak Dalam Batin IX Ethnic Group–Two Versions)

Asal Usul Suku Melayu Timur (The Origin of the Melayu Timur Ethnic Group)

Asal Usul Suku Talang Mamak dan Anak Dalam (The Origin of the Talang Mamak and Anak Dalam Ethnic Groups)

  • 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.
  • Another legend that describes a different version of the Anak Dalam’s origin can be read by clicking this link.

Asal Usul Batin II (This legend describes the origin of the Batin II people.)

  • As in many Jambi legends, progenitors of Jambi tribes come from other kingdoms and countries.

Batin V (These are various legends associated with the Batin V people.)

Batu Pangjang (Long Stone)

  • This myth informs us why there is a face in the moon, and that it’s actually a girl, and not the face of a man.

Buah Galumpang or Buah Ajaib: (Miraculous Fruit). It can also be titled: Asul Usul Suku Anak Dalam (The Origin of the Anak Dalam Ethnic Group)

  • This legend gives a version of the Anak Dalam ethnic group’s origin. Another version of their legend can be read by clicking this link.

Bujang Selamat (The name of the main character in this legend.)

  • This story is about a young man, who though not very educated, was extremely honest and obedient towards his King. Through fortunate circumstances, this young man, without it ever having entered his mind, was raised up took the position as king.

Bukit Kancah (Cooking Pot Hill)

  • This is a very odd legend which has siblings displaying both tremendous loyalty and concern for one another, and at the same time absurd negligence.

Bukit Sanggar Puyuh (Hill to Study the Art of Catching Quail)

  • This legend gives a little insight into the practice of previous generations wherein pretty women (young girls) were kidnapped. It also shows the clout that could be obtained by having done so.

Buried Dutch Ship

Cerita Tan Talanai atau, Bujang Jambi (these two titles are the same legend with only slight variations: “The Legend of Tan Talanai.” “Bujang Jambi.”

  • Tan Talanai was a legendary king that (according to some legends) was said to have ruled the Jambi Kingdom in the middle part of the 1400s.
  • One version of this legend shows Bujang Jambi killing his father. Another vision shows them making peace and “living happily ever after.”

Datuk Darah Putih (The name of the main character in this legend: “White Blooded Father”.)

  • Datuk Darah Putih was a legendary military commander from the Jambi Kingdom.

Datuk Paduka Berhala (A title given to a man who, through legends, was said to have been the progenitor of all Jambi rulers).

  • Though not in story form, the article we wrote about this man has been included because most information about him is merely myths / legends.
  • Strangely, the various legends about this man are still upheld as being true.

Datuk Sintai (Name of a famous person.)

  • Though not in story form, the legend of this man still circulates orally in the area on the north side of the Batanghari River in the City of Jambi (Sebarang, or Sekoja).

Depati Sebelas (The name of the main character in this legend.)

  • This legend describes the courage and bravery of a single man which takes on the forces of the Dutch colonists single-highhandedly.

Desa Mudung Darat (The Village of Mudung Darat)

  • Though not in story form, this post tells what little is known about the origin of the village Mudung Darat.

Dongeng Hantu Pirau, or Cincin Cinta-Cinta (The Legend of the Dark Ghost…or  The Love Ring that Gives Wishes)

  • This legend shows the ancient beliefs that material objects, like rings, could contain magical powers.

Duaku (The name of the main character in this legend.)

  • This legend shows a theme that is common in other legends, and that theme is still commonly practiced in Indonesia, and that is arranged / forced marriages. In legends like these there is frequently a competition conducted to see which young man would be the best candidate to marry the King’s daughter.

Elang Sikat Elang Si Gonggong (The Eagle that Rescued Upik)

  • This story communicates a common theme found in other legends, and that theme is that children should always honor and obey their mothers.

Ibu Kandungku Seekor Kucing (The Legend of Sitiha and Sisiti—some versions of this legend have the girls names as Mimi and Mini, not Sitiha and Sisiti).

  • This legend teaches children that their mothers are to be honored, and we should never think that someone else would be able to replace her.

Kisah Pohon Apel (The Story of the Apple Tree)

  • This story is often told to Indonesian children. It reflects the parent’s willingness to give all they have for their children’s success in life.

Legenda-Legenda Dari Desa Kedotan (Legends from the Village of Kedotan)

  • The Magic Stone of Kedotan: This story is only around 20 years old, and many believe it to be true. The stone in this story, which originated from the above mentioned cannon, had the power to make a person become invisible.

Legenda Harimau Makan Durian (The Tiger That Ate Durian)

  • Just an interesting story to read about wild tigers that talk.

Legenda Kotojayo (The Legend of Kotojayo)

  • This legend tells of a small kingdom (village) in Jambi that had a conflict with the Dutch over trading rights.

Legenda Koto Rayo (The Legend of Kot0 Rayo, or, using modern Indonesian spelling: The Legend of Kota Raja)

Orang Kayo Hitam (The name of the legendary founder of Jambi.)

  • This legend describes one of Jambi’s legendary figures going through various tests to prove his supernatural powers, which would then qualify him to marry the princess Mayang Mengurai.

Pakubuwono III (The name of the legendary founder of the Village of Lubuk Landai).

  • This legend is linked with information about this man’s supposed burial site.

Pendekar Bujang Sanaya (The name of the main character in this legend.)

  • In this story the main character is guided by the spirit of his deceased grandmother who would appear to him in dreams.

Pohon Cempaka Putih (White Cempaka Tree)

  • Though this legend isn’t written in story form, we’ve included it to give interesting information about some of the local beliefs.

Putri Ayu also known as Nyi Mas Rahima (The name of the main character in this legend.)

  • This woman was said to have been the wife of a Jambi sultan. She is honored because the story has her being faithful and loyal to her husband.

Putri Cermin Cina atau, Tuan Muda Senaning (The Legend of Putri Cermin Cina—a main character in this story. A second title that is often used is “Tuan Muda Senaning,” which is also a main character in this story.)

  • This legend gives a little background information on the formation of a few villages that can still be found in Jambi. The Sultan (king) in this story, Sultan Mambang Matahari, is not found on any list of Jambi’s rulers.

Putri Kesumba (The name of the main character in this legend.)

  • One moral contained in this story is that momentary negligence can bring great tragedy. There is also another cultural truth communicated, and that is when one has a party, like a wedding or thanksgiving event, the invited guests should not leave without having had sufficient food to eat.

Putri Rainun dan Rajo Mudo (Princess Rainun and King Mudo, the two main characters in this legend.)

  • This legend gives a little insight into the custom of forced marriages. Through this story the reader learns about the dangers that could be involved with this practice. This legend also has elements of witchcraft.

Putri Reno Pinang Masak (The name of the main character in this legend.)

  • In the village of Pasir Mayang, located in the Bungo-Tebo regency of the Jambi Province, there is said to be a famous grave named “Makam Upih Jatuh” (literal translation of the 3 words: grave; pinang tree bark; fall). The name is used in reference to the main character in this story, who was said to have died, and when she did, “she floated to and fro as she fell to the earth, just like the thin pinang tree bark falls.”

Putri Selera Pinang Masak (The name of the main character in this legend.)

  • There are several legends which have this woman as the main character. In this version she is shown as being a queen, and is being proposed to by a man. She gives him conditions he must fulfill before she will agree to marry him. Some say the man proposing to her was Tan Talanai.
  • This legend is remarkably similar to the legend of Tangkuban Perahu, from the City of Bandung. Evidently different ethnic groups have modified some of these stories to fit their own region and history.

Putri Serubut Tali Nyawa (The name of the main character in this legend.)

  • This legend shows the cruelty that can be displayed by adoptive parents.

Putri Tangguk (The name of the main character in this legend.)

  • One moral that is passed along to children through this story is that children should not waste rice.
  • Another moral learned is the problems associated with pride and arrogance. These negative character traits can create permanent damage to a person and to everyone they are associated with.

Sejarah Asal Usul Teluk Kecimbung Bathin II  (The History of Teluk Kecimbung: Bathin II)

  • This legend gives information about the Batin II, as well as the Batin V, which reside in the southern part of the Jambi Province, to the south and west of the major City of Sarolangun.

Si Kelingking (Little Finger—the name of the main character in this story)

  • Though born the size of a little finger and having had stayed that size, this little man went on to do miraculous things.
  • One moral that can be derived from this legend is that the size of a person’s body, whether large or small, should never limit them from doing great things.

Si Mata Empat dan Si Pahit Lidah (Four Eyes and Bitter Tongue)

  • This legend has many variations with ethnic groups from different areas claiming it originated with them.
  • The story is used to teach that boasting of one’s special or unique abilities will bring about tragedy. Whatever strengths one has, they should be used to help many people. They are not for the purpose of lifting ourselves up in pride, and in the end destroy others or ourselves because of them.

Suku Bangsa Dua Belas / Bangsa XII (The Twelve Batin Tribes)

  • This is legendary information about Jambi’s governmental structure of ages past.

Tapah Melenggang (The Tapah Fish Named Melenggang)

  • This legend has a character with a name similar to the name of a person in a previous legend we translated. However, the two characters are quite different. The previous legend was titled: Princess Kesumba (Putri Kesumba).  The character in this legend is named Princess Kesumba Ampai (Putri Kesumba Ampai).

Nov. 15, 2012