Datu Mabrur and the Swordfish

Datu Mabrur dan Ikan Todak >> Edisi Bahasa Indonesia

Folklore from South Kalimantan

DATU Mabrur brought a big stone to the sea. He threw the stone to the sea, jumped, and landed on the stone.

He sat and started to meditate. Who was Datu Mabrur? Well, he was a holy man. He had an amazing supernatural power. He meditated in the sea because he wanted to ask God to give him an island for his descendants. He meditated days and nights.

He ignored the hot sun, the rain, and even the storm. Datu Mabrur did not know that while he was meditating, some swordfish swam surrounding the stone. The fish would attack him!

One swordfish was flying. It attacked Datu Mabrur. Although he meditated solemnly, he knew what happened surrounding him. When the swordfish was about to attack him, he moved his hand and hit the fish back.

The fish was thrown back to the sea. Unfortunately another fish was also ready to attack him. Again, Datu Mabrur hit back and the fish was back to the sea. Later, some swordfish flew and attacked him. This time Datu Mabrur opened his eyes, stood up, and busily defended his life. It repeated several times and finally all the fish gave up.

Datu Mabrur thought the attack would stop. Well, he was wrong. There was one big swordfish was waiting. Unlike any other swordfish this swordfish was different. He was the biggest swordfish. He was also able to talk with humans. He was the king of the swordfish.

"Hey old man! Your meditation is disturbing us! You have made all the fish here restless. You have to leave the sea now!" said the swordfish king.

"Well,l'm sorry if I disturb you. By the way, may I know who you are?"

"I'm the king of the swordfish. Your meditation has disturbed the whole kingdom. I will fight you if you don't want to leave," said the swordfish king.

"No! I'm not going to leave until I have an island for my descendants."

"You want an island? That's easy for me. Let's make a deal. We will fight. If you lose, you have to leave now. But if I lose, I will give you an island."

"You can give me an island? How?"

"That's easy for me. I will ask all the swordfish to make an island. How about that? Deal?'

"Deal!" said Datu Mabrur.

Then they were fighting. The swordfish king was flying. He tried to attack Datu Mabrur. But he was ready. He used his supernatural power to fight back. He succeeded! The swordfish was flying helplessly. He lost his balance and thrown back to the sea. He was trying to fly again, but he was too weak. He gave up!

"I surrender. As I promised I will help you make an island."

The swordfish king swam back to the sea. Later a lot of swordfish dug the land in the bottom of the sea and brought it to the surface. All the fish pushed the land and they all yelled,

"Sa-ijaan! Sa-ijaan ! Sa-ijaan!"

Sa-ijaan means one heart, one mind and one idea. Slowly, a new island was made. Datu Mabrur was really grateful.

He then named the island as Halimun Island which is later also named as The Sea Island or Pulau Laut because it appeared from the bottom of the sea. Now the local people use the image of swordfish and the word Sa-ijaan as the symbol and the slogan of Kotabaru Regency, South Kalimantan. ***

Kotabaru, South Kalimantan


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