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Legend of the origin of the Sebuyau people you might never heard of

Sebuyau is a small Sarawakian town located between Sri Aman and Simunjan.

The legend of Nensang Kanau and the Giant spirit

According to a legend, all Sebuyau people are descended from a woman called Nensang Kanau who lived near Bukit Semabang in Ulu Simunjan Kiri.

One day, she went to the forest to gather jungle produce for food.

After several days, Nensang Kanau did not return leaving her three brothers worried about her. So the brothers Bubu Batang, Kerongan Sarang and Pingai Makun set out to look for her, leaving their other sister Kumbang Bunga to look after the house.

They searched and searched for a few days but did not find her until they saw her sitting on a rock in the forest.

The brothers asked her to come home with them but Nensang Kanau refused, saying, “I cannot. I am stuck to this rock and cannot get off.”

Nensang Kanau was stuck to a rock, and she could not be removed from it no matter how hard she and others tried. Credits: Pixabay.

Each brother took turns trying to lift her from the rock, but she did not even move a budge.

Buku Batang asked how she ended up in her predicament. Nensang Kanau answered, “I do not know. A few days ago I met the spirit, Gergasi (giant) and married him. Perhaps that is the reason. Set a trap in the forest and catch him.”

Thus, the brother set up a trap of a simple rattan noose usually used to catch deer. After some time waiting, the giant was caught in the noose.

The brothers wanted to kill him but the Gergasi pleaded for his life, “Do not kill me. I have married your sister and now I am your brother in-law.”

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Upon hearing this, Bubu Batang said, “In that case you had better come home with us.”

After this, Nensang Kanau was released from the stone and the five of them went home together.

The Sebuyau people, the descendants of the giant and Nensang Kanau

Time passed and Nensang Kanau became pregnant with the giant’s child. The spirit then gathered his brothers-in-law telling them, “Now that my wife is pregnant I must go back to the forest because I am a spirit and cannot live for long in the company of human beings. If my child is born you must call him Tewa Tui and if he has son you must call him Tong Gigi. If Tong Gigi has a son you must call him ‘Sabut Wi’.

Then, the giant left them and returned to the jungle where he may still be living for all we know.

When Nensang Kanau’s son was born, they named him just as the father would have wanted, as did his son and his grandson.

This story was sent by a man named D.C. Walker from Serian to the Sarawak Gazette on Apr 7, 1949.

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.
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