The Legend of Batu Jelapi

While Manggi was living at the mouth of the Tisak River, it happened one day that his daughter fell sick.  He summoned Jelapi, a Balau medicine man from Stirau near Lingga to cure her.  When Jelapi arrived, Manggi swore that if he can cure his sick daughter, he would not hesitate to give consent for the marriage between his daughter and Jelapi’s son.

Jelapi was pleased to hear that since Manggi was a famous leader.  He began the curing ceremony and by the next morning she was cured.  Before Jelapi depart for his home, he asked Manggi when he might return to discuss the proposed marriage.  Manggi denied his former agreement.  After a long argument Jelapi returned home ashamed and furious.

A week later Manggi daughter was taken ill again.  Manggi immediately suspected that the angered Jelapi must have her under charm.  Eventually the girl died.  In his grief, Manggi sent two of his men to Stirau to persuade Jelapi to pay him another visit.  If Jelapi refuses due to his recent dispute, Manggi told them to snatch away his lupong1 by force.  Then if he follow you, kill him in revenge for my daughter’s death.

When Manggi’s men reached Stirau, one of them went to Jelapi’s house while the other waited at the landing stage.  The first man told Jelapi that he had been sent to fetch him back because Manggi’s daughter was ill again.  Jelapi refused to go.  Manggi deceived him once and that was enough.

At this point Manggi’s messenger seized Jelapi’s medicine bag and ran away towards the landing stage.  Jelapi pursued him and he reached the landing stage where Manggi’s envoy that was hiding there killed Jelapi.  It was believed that the horizon began to turn dark and the wind started to blow fiercely.  There was a great storm and Jelapi’s body was turned into a huge boulder, which is still visible at Stirau in the lower Batang Lupar River.  The boulder is known as Batu Jelapi.
It was after the death of his daughter that Manggi moved again to the middle Tisak.  There were many tapah fish in the stream.  Manggi and his people often caught them in a kind of fish trap called abau.  One morning, Manggi found that one of his traps had caught two big fish.  While cleaning the fish at home, he found in its belly three beautiful plates, which remain the prized possession of his descendants to this day.  Since then, it has been a practice to give a male child his first bath from one of these sacred plates.

Footnotes

  1. Lupong is a bag where the medicine man puts his traditional medicine. []

Private Journal of James Joshua