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The Blowpiper

Bangka Belitung - Indonesia
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Bangka-Belitung Islands is one of provinces located in Sumatra Island, Indonesia. It is called so for having many islands, one of which is Bangka Island, located in East of Sumatra Island. Bangka Island, topographically, is a swampy area, with lower flat land, and some are hilly. Dense forests stretched over the hilly area while mangrove forest covers some of the swampy areas.  

It is told across generation of Bangka Island people, that once upon time in the hilly forest lands, lived a young orphan man. For meeting his daily need, the young man always went hunting for a boar. One day, he found a treasures of jewelries, gold, diamonds and other kinds of precious stones, making him the wealthiest man in the region. What did he do until became a widely known rich young man? Who did give him such trove of treasures? Do you want to know the answer, want to hear the whole story? Follow and read the story below Si Penyumpit (the Blowpiper) !

* * *

Once upon a time, long time ago, lived a young skilful man in Bangka Island. He was expert at using blowpipe, especially for hunting. He had never missed even a single shot, always pointing to the target, and catching to the prey directly. It was no wonder, then, the whole people called him as a blowpiper. Besides, he also could cure the sick, blending various proper plants for those who need medicines. Such skills are inherited and passed down by his beloved father.

One day, the head village Pak Raje came to the house of the blowpiper, asking him to chase away the fold of wild boars that entered and ruined his growing paddies. Pak Raje told the blowpiper that his father once owed him amount of money. Thus, to pay such money, the blowpiper should work for him voluntarily. Having run out of money, the blowpiper took the job, though he would not be paid after completing the job.

In the next day, the blowpiper prepared his tools, brought some foods, and went to the Pak Raja‘s field. Arriving at the location, the blowpiper spread his mat on which he put a box for burning incenses, praying to the Deities, and the Menternau (God of Boar). It was his usual ritual before commencing his hunt for the boar. In his prayer, the blowpiper asked the Menternau to stop the boars coming to the field, otherwise he would kill the boars. Afterwards, the blowpiper watched the field and did some patrols to every sides. He did this until mid night. Three days passed, he still not found any suspicious movements of attacks from the boars. Though such save situation, the blowpiper kept monitoring the field, making sure him-self that the boars would not ruined the field. He was known for his responsibility.   

Entering the seventh day of his work, the blowpiper noticed a suspicious movement from the far distance. He walked to the source of voice where he saw a fold of bier trying to enter to the field of Pak Raje. Those boars jumped the rocky fences made by Pak Raje. Seeing that, the blowpiper rushed to hide behind a big tree with a blowpipe in his hand. He noticed the boars, waiting the right time to blowpipe them. When the fold of boars ruined the paddies, the young man pointed his blowpipe toward one of the boars that was closest to him. Slowly, he blowpiped a boar, catching a left side of the boar. Soon after that, the fold of boars run outside the field and disappeared from the young man‘s view. He was wondered by what just happened.

“Hmmmm... I have blowpiped one of them, it must hurt it,” said the blowpiper curiously.

“Why they still can run?” asked the young man to himself.

When the day dawned, the young man went along the blood of the boar he shoot last night. The blood pointed to the middle of jungle. He kept following the sprinkling of the blood until it ended in front of a big cave covered with dense bushes. Slowly, the young man entered the cave, checking what would be inside. Full of surprise, the young man found a beautiful bloody lady laid on a soft bed, surrounded by some other good looking ladies. One of them was an old lady, the mother of the fainted woman.

“Hey young man! Who are you?” asked the old lady astoundingly.

“I am the blowpiper,” answered the young man friendly.

“What‘ve brought you here Young man?” asked the mother, wondering to the young man‘s answer.  

“I am looking for my lost needle. It was stuck to a wild boar,” explained the young man to the old lady, trying to convince her about the reason for coming to the cave.

“The stuff you are looking for is on my daughter,” said the old lady angrily.

“How come it is on your daughter?” asked the young man in full of surprise.

“You know my young man.....the boar that you blowpiped last night is in fact my daughter‘s manifestation,” explained the old woman sadly.

The old woman‘s explanation surprised the blowpiper.

“So....., all of you are the boars that I saw last night?” asked the young man.

“What you have said is right young man,” answered the old woman softly.

“I did not mean to…. I am so sorry to hear that. I would not do that if I knew that the  boars were you”, apologized the young woman. 

“Never mind,” said the old woman. “Forget all about that. The most important thing right now is how to release the needle from my daughter‘s body,” added the old woman sadly. 

“Yes. I will try to take the needle, stop the bleeding and cure your daughter immediately. But…..I need your help. Can you find for me some leaves of keremunting[1] and pound it until soft,” explained the blowpiper politely.  

In a few moment, the old woman ordered the ladies to search for the leaves of keremunting which could be found surrounding the cave. Soon after that, the ladies came back, bringing some leaves asked by the blowpiper.

“These are the leaves that you have asked,” said the old woman to the blowpiper, handing over the leaves of keremunting.

The blowpiper prepared everything for the medicine. He took some stuff from his pocket, and started compounding the leaves with other plants. Then, he came closer to the beautiful lady, uncovered the blanket, found the needle in her body. Saying some praying and mantras, the young man took the needle slowly, removed it from the body. Then, he covered the wounded skin with his medicine made of keremunting leaves to stop the bleeding.  

In a short time, the wound of beautiful woman recovered, leaving no traces. 

“Now, she has recovered. Let me go home now. Later may be we can meet again,” said the young man politely.

“Yes my young man.... I have something to you, as my expression to thank you. You have done the best for my lovely daughter. This encasement contains turmeric, nyatoh fruit[2], leaves of simpur[3], and jering fruit[4]. All of this is for you. But, don‘t open it until you are in home. Remember that my young man, said the old woman while giving the encasement.

“Yes. I will remember that,” said the young man convincingly, leaving the cave. 

Arriving at his home, the blowpiper quickly opened the encasement. What a surprise, the young man found anything else, other than what the old woman described. The encasement contained some jewelries like gold, diamonds, and other precious stones.

“Wow..... what a precious stuff!” expressed the young man. 

“I will be a very rich man in this region,” murmured the young man happily. 

In the next tomorrow morning, the blowpiper sold all his precious stuff to a rich merchant in his village. He used all the money he got from the selling to purchase a field, garden, house, and paid all debt his father had owed to Pak Raje. 

Since then, the whole people in the region knew that news, that the blowpiper became a very rich man. This news was also heard by Pak Raje. He intended to be like the blowpiper.

One day, Pak Raje borrowed the blowpipe from the young man to hunt a boar in his own field. On the way, he met with a boar, then shoot it with the blowpipe. Like the young man, Pak Raje followed the blood left by the bloody boar until he entered the cave. It was like what happened with the young man. Pak Raje was asked to cure the bleeding woman, but he could do that as he had no skill at medicine like the young man. As he could not do that, tens of boars attacked him, making him bleeding and seriously wounded. He attempted to find the way to home. Walking lamently, he finally could arrive at his home  and felt fainted as he could not bear the paint.

The oldest daughter of Pak Raje informed what happened to her father to the blowpiper. Hearing the bad news, the young man rushed walking to Pak Raje‘s house to help him. With seven leaves of different trees, the young man tried to compound a special medicine and stop the bleeding of Pak Raje. He burnt an incense, mentioned the whole body of Pak Raje like his hand, body, and foot. When the incense smoked, he mentioned the name of Pak Raje. Suddenly, Pak Raje could move his body, hand, and foot. The Young man wipe Pak Raje‘s face with his hand. Finally, Pak Raje could make it and recovered from the serious injury he had.

After thinking about what he had been through, Pak Raje realized the bad intention that he thought. He was forced by the greedy to be a richer than before. 

“Thank you young man. You have cured my wound. I am so sorry to force you to take care my field. To redeem my fault, would you marry my youngest daughter. After that, I will appoint you to be the next head village. Would you accept my offering?” asked Pak Raje to the blowpiper. 

“Pak Raje, Thank you for the offering. I would like to accept that. It is my pleasure to be your son in law,” answered the young man happily.

“Well then we should inform this happy news to the people in this region. I will tell all my staff to bring the news to the people,” said Pak Raje.   

A week after that, the marriage between the blowpiper and the daughter of Pak Raje was held lavishly. Many art performances were played to enliven the day. Pak Raje, his family, and all people were happy with the marriage. The blowpiper was a very polite and kind person, and the daughter of Pak Raje was a beautiful woman. At the end of ceremony, Pak Raje installed the blowpiper as the next head village, replacing him who had become older. The newly wed live happily ever after, and the people lived in prosperous, harmony  and justice under the rule of the new head village, the blowpiper. 

* * *

As such is the whole story of Si Penyumpit (The Blowpiper), from Bangka Island, Bangka-Belitung Islands. The story above delivers a very important message for us which can be a valuable guide in daily life. At least, there are two messages conveyed throughout this story: to help other and to requite

First, to help other. This characteristic is reflected through the Blowpiper who cured the lady and Pak Raje. This is a very wise character and is suggested by the Malayans, like what has been said and poem below: . 

wahai ananda dengarlah manat,
tulus dan ikhlas jadikan
berkorban menolong sesama umat
semoga hidupmu beroleh rahmat

Second, to requite. This character is shown by the behavior of old woman who had given the young man the encasement containing some jewelries, gold, diamonds, and other precious stones since he had cured her daughter. It is also shown by Pak Raje who married his daughter to the Blowpiper after being cured. Like the first characteristic, this is also very suggested by the Malayans and said clearly in the below poem: 

apa tanda melayu pilihan,
membalas budi ia utamakan



  • The content of story is adapted from the story, “Putri Malam: Cerita Rakyat Bangka”, (http://merito.wordpress.com/category/budaya/, retrieved at January 15th, 2008).
  • Anonymous. “Nyatoh Vs Orangutan”, Kompas. (, retrieved at January 15th, 2008).
  • Anonymous. “Perubatan Tradisional,” (http://radiniz.com/radiniz_info_community/perubatan_tradisional_(R).htm, retrieved at January 15th, 2008).
  • Anonymous. “Pulau Banka”, (http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulau_Bangka, retrieved at January 15th, 2008).
  • Effendy, Tenas. 2006. Tunjuk Ajar Melayu. Yogyakarta: Balai Kajian dan Pengembangan Budaya Melayu in Cooperation with Penerbit AdiCita Karya Nusa.
  • Norwahida Binti Ramli. “Tumbuhan dan Perubatan Tradisional”, (http://pkukmweb.ukm.my/~ahmad/tugasan/s2_99/a72854.htm, retrieved at January 15th, 2008).

[1] Keremunting (myrtaceae) is a kind of plant with sweet purple fruit. Besides for eating, kerementing fruit can be used as a medicine for stomachache and diarrhea. Its root can be mixed used as a mixture of medicine for a mother who bears a child. The leaves of keremunting can be easily found in Bangka Island.

[2] Buah nyatoh (palaquium spp) has sweet taste like sapodilla. It can grow in any lands, its height reaches 30 meters with 50-100 cm in diameter. In India, nyatoh is known amongst people as pohon pali, while the Malaysian named it as mayang, nyatoh and taban. The British called it as nyatoh.

[3] Daun simpur is special plant only grows in Bangka Island. It leaves are wide, clean, and soft. The local people usually use it for wrapping foods and cakes, as the leaveas are wide like banana leaves.

[4] Buah jering (pithecellobium jiringa) is a kind of plant that grow in around the forest. This plant produces fruits in all seasons, can be used to cure diabetes by poaching its shell until cooked, and its water is filtered to drink.


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