Tuesday Tales #17: Menggin & Dara Tinchin Temaga

Reading Time: 5 minutes

(This is Tuesday Tales, where we highlight folklores and personal stories from indigenous peoples from all across Borneo. These are stories shared with us. We strive to edit it to the best of our capabilities for your enjoyment. We welcome your feedback at hello@thetuyang.com)


Menggin & Dara Tinchin Temaga


Origin : Iban Community, Sarawak

Translated by : Kedung Ballang (Bahasa Melayu), Adrian Jo Milang (English)

Edited by : Adrian Jo Milang & Juvita Tatan Wan

Sketch by : Loretta Livan Milang 


The story begins with Menggin, a skillful hunter who’s well versed in using a blowpipe. As any other days, he went to the forest looking for games. He felt a little weird as the forest that he was going through was unusually silent, not even the sounds of a bird’s chirping was heard.

Refusing to return to his longhouse empty handed, he kept on venturing the forest. After almost a whole day of scouring he arrived at a small river stream to rest and quench his thirst. 


While he was washing his face, he saw a hornbill watching him nearby. 


He quickly planned his footsteps towards the bird so to not scare the bird away. When he was in the right position he blew his blowpipe, hitting the bird and it fell to the ground. 


When the bird fell, Menggin rushed towards it. But to his surprised the bird was not there, instead he heard a woman crying in pain. He turned around and saw a woman lying in agony with a dart mark on her being.


He was baffled if he accidentally shot the woman instead of the bird. So he quickly gathered some herbs around to ease the woman’s wound.


Realising the day was getting darker, Menggin decided to bring the woman back with her permission. The woman then told him, not to ask her about her lineage or background and as a gesture of gratitude she would do what he wishes.


When they arrived at the longhouse, Menggin introduced her to his family, whom happen to be the chief family of the longhouse. Her name was then revealed as Tinchin, a lady of exquisite beauty, in fact her beauty caught the eye of and heart of Menggin. So he asked her hand in marriage. 


To Menggin family’s agreement the preparation for their wedding began. A wedding that would be in accordance with the Iban communities custom and cultural traditions. Two days before the wedding, Tinchin whispered to Menggin she will only agree to the marriage if he does not ask her what her doings and her lineage.


Menggin agreed to her request and so they were married. Their life as husband and wife began. Nine months later they were blessed with an adorable baby boy.


Not long after the child’s birth, Menggin starts to notice as his wife was feeding the child she would always look up to the sky. When asked she simply answer her husband with a smile, adding to Menggin’s curiosity.


At the same time, he kept on noticing Tinchin intricately weaving two shirts of exceptional craft. Once more he asked her who those shirts were for and once more she answered him with a smile.


After having been asked by her husband so often, Tinchin asked Menggin for a private conversation. Thus, Tinchin finally reveals her true identity. Her actual name is Tinchin Temaga, the daughter of the Iban God Singalang Burong. 


He was taken completely by surprise, all this while his wife was the child of the Iban community’s highly respected god.


Tinchin then asked for her husband’s permission to allow her to return to her father as she misses him, her family and her community. For the love of his wife, Menggin gave him his permission but with the condition of leaving their child with him.


Although feeling reluctant to leave her only child on earth, she agreed to her husband’s wish. Tinchin also told her husband if he and their child longs for her, she told him to wear the shirt she had woven so that they can visit her in her realm. 


The day for Tinchin to return to the heavens came, she turnt into a huge hornbill and flew up the skies.


As days went by, Menggin waited loyally for his wife to return, but that does not seem to be happening. After several months passed and because he was raising the child by himself, he reluctantly married again due to his family’s wish.

 As days went by, Menggin waited loyally for his wife to return, but that does not seem to be happening. After several months passed and because he was raising the child by himself, he reluctantly married again due to his family’s wish.


Whilst so, as his first born child had grew he started to ask about his mother, Tinchin. So one day Menggin put on the shirt that Tinchin had woven back then on him and his son. They then turnt into hornbills and managed to fly their way up to the heavens to meet his longed and beloved wife.

When they arrived, they were greeted with warmth by a well built Iban warrior in his full regalia. Menggin was in awe whence the  majestic deity introduced himself as Singalang Burong, he who is the father of Dara Tinchin Temaga as well as the grandfather of his child. 


He was astonished to be in the presence of this deity that has been talked highly of by the elders and to know that this deity is his father in law!

Menggin was delighted to finally be together with his beloved wife once more as well as Tinchin with him and their child. But unfortunately, Tinchin had to refuse Menggin as she respected Menggin’s new wife back on earth.


So, with the utmost humility and respect she asked her husband to return to his family on earth and his second wife and requested that Menggin left their child in her and her father’s care instead.


Before Menggin returned, Singalang Burong told him not to worry about his child, for he is his only grandchild. He promised Menggin that he would guide the child in the ways of the warrior and his own powers.

He also told him to tell the Iban community to never worry be there anything that would befall upon them. When prayed and called upon he will descend to their assistance.


Menggin then flew back to earth, leaving his wife and child.


Upon arriving, he passed the message that Singalang Burong told him to the Iban community. Since then, they would call upon him when they are faced with adversity. As he had promised, Singalang Burong would put the Iban community in his utmost priority. 



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