Author: Sri Yuniarti Suharni Editor: Veronica Widyastuti Illustrator: Maman Mantox & Rizky Adeliasari Translator: Agnes Bemoe Proofreader: Ratih Soe Origin: Riau

Once upon a time there was a tribe named Suku Laut. Suku Laut was one of highly respected tribes in Kepulauan Riau. It was lead by a batin  named Batin Legoi.

One day Batin Legoi was walking along the shore with his guards. Suddenly he heard a sound of baby’s crying. It seemed that the crying came from the pandan-bushes which grew along the sea shore.

“A crying baby?” wondered Batin Legoi.

The crying was getting louder and louder as Batin Legoi approached the pandan-bushes. Batin Legoi kept trying to find the source of the sound. And, how shocked Batin Legoi was, when he found a baby girl lying on the pandan leaves.

“Who did this?” asked Batin Legoi in a big surprise.

He immediately asked his guards to check the area near the pandan bushes to find the parents of the baby. It seemed that nobody lost a baby. Batin Legoi decided then to bring that beautiful baby home.

Batin Legoiloved and raised the baby with all his heart as if she were his own fleshandblood. Since she was found in thorny pandan-bushes, she was named Pandan Berduri, which means “thorny pandan”.

Princess Pandan Berduri grew as a beautiful girl. Not only beautiful, she was also gentle, polite, and graceful. That was why she was adored by people of Suku Laut.

The beauty and good behavior attracted many young men, princes, and even kings. However, none of them had the courage to propose her. They knew that they had to meet her father’s high standard. Batin Legoi himself wanted her daughter to marry a king or a batin.

Far away in an island named Pulau Galang lived a Megat who had two sons. They wereJulela and Jenang Perkasa. They were both raised to live in harmony and to watch each other. Unfortunately, Julela changed since he was appointed as the future leader of Pulau Galang by his father. Julela became proud and arrogant.  He even threatened his brother, Jenang Perkasa.

“I wouldexileyou from this island if you don’t follow all my orders,” said Julela.

This,of course,made Jenang Perkasa sad. He decided to leave Pulau Galang. During his journey with a merchant-ship, Jenang didn’t reveal who he really was. He worked as a humble merchantinstead.

Jenang Perkasa arrived in Pulau Bintan. He quickly got along well with people in Pulau Bintan. His great attitude made him well welcomed by the locals.

Soon, Batin Legoi heard about Jenang Perkasa. He was so curious that he wanted to know Jenang Perkasa by himself. In order to meet Jenang Perkasa, Batin Legoi arranged a banquet. All honorable pople in Pulau Bintan were invited. Jenang Perkasa was,too.

At firstJenang Perkasa hesitated to come to the banquet. Anyway, in order to honor the leader, Jenang Perkasa decided to go.

Batin Legoi had been watching Jenang Perkasa since the moment Jenang Perkasa came into the room. Batin Legoi put much attention to the way Jenang Perkasa talked, walked, and even ate.

Finally, it came to Batin Legoi’s mind to take Jenang Perkasa as his son-in-law. Batin Legoi then approached Jenang Perkasa.

“Young man, I’ve heard much about your great attitude. Obviously it is not a mere figment,” said Batin Legoi. Smiling, Jenang Perkasa bowed his head to the Pulau Bintan’s Leader.

“It will be an honor to me if you are willing to marry my daughter,” preceded Batin Legoi.

Jenang Perkasa couldn’t believe what he had just heard. Marrying Princess Pandan Berduri was all he ever wanted in his life. O course Jenang Perkasa agreed.

Few days later a big royal wedding party was held. Princess Pandan Berduri and Jenang Perkasa got married. All people of Pulau Bintan were invited.

Years after that big wedding party, Princes Pandan Berduri and Jenang Perkasa still lived happily together as a family.

Batin Legoi handed his thrown to Jenang Perkasa. This made Jenang Perkasa the new leader of Suku Laut.

People of Suku Laut honouredtheir new leader very much. It was because Jenang Perkasa had the ability to be a respected yet adored leader.

One day people of Pulau Galang, the island where Jenang Perkasa came from, asked him to be a batin in Pulau Galang, replacing his vicious brother. Jenang Perkasa rejected. He decided to stay in Pulau Bintan.

Meanwhile, Princes Pandan Berduri gave birth to three sons. All threewere namedin accordance withtribal customs: Mantang, Mapoi, and Kelong. They were all taught good manners.

As they grew up, they became leaders of the tribes. Batin Mantang became the leader in North Pulau Bintan. Batin Mapoi became leader in West Pulau Bintan. Batin Kelong became leader in the East Pulau Bintan.

Every time there were disputes in the tribes, they came to Suku Laut to find answers and solutions.

That was how beautiful the life in Suku Laut under Jenang Perkasa and Princes Pandan Berduri was.

Until today the tale of Jenang Perkasa and Princes Pandan Berduri from is still well embraced.

From these two great people came tribes in Teluk Bintan. Nowadays we can find Suku Laut or Tribes of Sea/Canoe in the shore of Pulau Bintan.

***

This post is also available in Bahasa Indonesia.

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