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Dohong and Tingang

Central Kalimantan - Indonesia
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Dohong was a handsome boy who earned his living from catching bird and selling them at market. He used to hunt for birds at dawn until the sun is going to set. One day, he was shocked to see there was a girl inside his house, several days after he caught up a beautiful bird. Who`s that girl? And what did he do towards the girl? Here is the story!


As the story goes, the kingdom of Kalang held the power over a land in Central Kalimantan Province, Indonesia. The reigning king had a charming girl named Putri Intan.

Putri Intan was not just charming physically, but also spiritually. She was kind and polite to everyone. That was why, she was highly respected by many, except for a lady-in-waiting named Dayang.

Dayang absolutely detested Putri Intan. Everything Putri Intan done, lured her hatred towards the Princess. It was clear that she got jealous of Putri Intan.

For that reason, Dayang thought hardly to find the way to expel Putri Intan from the palace. She kept thinking and thinking until one day she found the way.

“Just wait and see! Someday I`ll get you out of here,” said Dayang, “But, how?”

Then it was flashed on her mind to spread a slander about Putri Intan. This was the most possible way. She tried to ensure the king that Putri Intan had special relationship with a commoner. Another statement, she was going to tell the king a lie that Putri Intan had annoyed her and some people.

In the following day, Dayang started to carry out her plan. Just in a short, the slander came to ears of many royal officials and the commoners. They turned away from Putri Intan consequently.

When the first step of her plan was done, Dayang moved to another target; that was the king of Kalangan Kingdom. She tried to tell a lie about Putri Intan to the king.

“Oo… The Majesty! Your daughter has made shameful deed. I want you to know that she has a special relationship to a commoner outside there,” she said.

her poisonous words also worked well to the kingl. The king just believed it without any crosschecking to another source. Therefore, he acted differently towards Putri Intan.

One day, Putri Intan came to her father, the king of Kalangan Kingdom. “Daddy, would you please telling me about this?” she asked about the king about the commoner`s different behaviour towards her.

“I don`t know for sure about this, honey! Perhaps you`ve made unpleasant deed thus people dislike. It can be your words, your behaviour, or anything. So, recall and more careful about those things,” the king`s remarks.

Putri Intan got more confused. She felt everything was fine. She thought that there was nothing wrong with everything she had done. Then, she ran to some ladies-in-waiting. She asked them about this, but the same. They knew nothing.

On another corner of the palace, just like a cat-and-mouse game, Dayang came to the king soon after Putri Intan left him. She told another slander. She tried to provoke the king in order to get Putri Intan out of the palace.

With unreasonable reason, the king believed it. He expelled his daughter, Putri Intan, out of palace. Putri Intan got nothing to do. She knew nothing. She just could cry and left the palace.

“Dear God, show me the truth. I do believe that truth comes before lie,” she wished.

Since that time, Putri Intan was just a commoner. She lived at a forest because many denied her. She lived from gathering fruits and hunting for animals in the surroundings. She ran such a suffering life with all of her heart and soul because she did believe that the truth would come before lie.

Several weeks passed by. Putri Intan lived in such a way. She hunted for animals amidst the sturdy and big trees at the forest. She looked around, and all of sudden she was shocked. A loud and thundering laugh was around. She wondered who was able to laugh as such.

Putri Intan tried not to panic. But, deep inside her heart, she was afraid of this. Suddenly, a scary and dishevelled-hair old woman came after to her.

“Oo beautiful girl, who are you?” the old woman asked.

“I am Putri Intan. My father expelled me out of palace,” she said.

“Oow! That`s good! I found appropriate object to experiment with my magical power,” the old woman said.

Indeed, the old woman had just finished accomplishing asceticism. She looked for both divine inspiration and magical power so that she could make revenge against those who had discriminated her in the past.

When she found Putri Intan, the old woman thus implied her magical power to Putri Intan. She recited mantras and lifted up her stick. All of sudden, Putri Intan turned into a bird, which is called “Tigang” by the local inhabitant of Central Kalimantan.

“You can only escape away from my witchcraft only after a man comes to you, and bring you back to the palace. You won`t be back to be human if you told a lie to me that you`re from palace,” she said.

She stopped talking and went away somewhere. The Tigang Bird, likewise, started flying around the forest. She sang beautiful song everywhere she flew away.

One day, the Tigang Bird perched at a branch of a fruitful tree. Unfortunately, she perched at the wrong point. The branch she was perching had been glued with birdlime. A man named Dohong spread this sticky substance on to twigs to trap birds.

The bird tried to break free, but she could not. She tried again and again, but all the efforts ended in failure. No longer, Dohong got closer to the tree. The bird warbled as beautiful as possible, just to attract Dohong`s attention. Dohong came closer to the tree to check if his trap worked well.

It worked very well finally. Dohong was happy of this. He got a beautiful bird whose chirp was quite awesome. In his mind, he could earn lot of moneys from selling the bird.

“What an awesome bird! I`ve just seen bird like you today,” Dohong uttered to himself.

Dohong took it home happily. He put it inside a rattan-made cage and bred it very carefully. He was never late for feeding the bird before and after hunting for birds at forest.

Dohong went to the forest as another day. He inspected birdlimes set out in many trees in the forest. Unfortunately, he found nothing. No bird was trapped on birdlime he set out. He went back home for lunch.

And what a shocked, Dohong found so many foods and drinks on the table inside his house. They were all delicious. He began eating them in rush, but not knowing who served them.

The same wonder occurred for the second time in the following five days. Foods and drinks were ready to eat on a table inside Dohong`s house. Sure, Dohong wondered who did these all.

Dohong planed something. He was going to act as if he went out of home for hunting; in fact, he just looked out from the outside. He was eager to know who served those foods and drinks so far.

No longer after this, Dohong saw a girl within the house. Speechless, he starred at the charming girl who came to real from the bird. He woke up from unconsciousness and walked towards the house.

Opened the door, Dohong asked, “Who are you? And where are you from?”

Shocked, Putri Intan said, “Forgive me, Sir! I am Putri Intan from Kalang Kingdom. Something bad happened to me as my father chased me away from palace.”

“Pardon me, Princess! May I know why the Majesty got you out of palace, Princess?” Dohong quizzed.

Putri Intan started telling her background. She shared to Dohong about the situation in the palace. She also told him about an old woman cursing her with a bird. Finally, she asked Dohong for help to bring her back to the palace because that was the only way to break the witchcraft.

“Well, I`m going to take you to the palace, Princess!” Dohong promised.

In the following day, both walked to the palace. Putri Intan was in her normal appearance, no longer as a bird because she had met the requirement to break the old woman`s witchcraft. She had totally escaped away from it.

Both arrived at the palace gate. They soon got inside the palace and were welcomed directly by the king. However, the king was still not looking at his daughter. Dohong then attempted to make a conversation with the king. He told everything about Putri Intan.

The king then realized that he had made a mistake. He had just been conscious that he did not cover both sides of information. He heard only information from Dayang and discerned it as what it looked like.

The king ran to Putri Intan and embraced her, apologizing. “I`m so sorry, Sweetheart!” whispered the king to Putri Intan.

Now the royal family reaccepted Putri Intan. Dohong then married Putri Intan. Dayang, the provocateur, was jailed. She was accused of slandering a royal family member. Dohong and Putri Intan then lived in happy and harmony.


Here is the story of Dohong and Tigang from Central Kalimantan Province, Indonesia. The story is categorized legend. The story also bears at least two messages within.

First, the story has indirectly suggested us to help each other. It appears at the figure Dohong. He saved Putri Intan and brought her back to the palace. In the Tunjuk Ajar Melayu written by Tenas Effendy (2006), it is said:

Wahai ananda dengarlah manta
Tulus dan ikhlas jadikan azimat
Berkorban menolong sesama umat
Semoga hidupmu beroleh rahmat

Another message is the urgency of covering both sides of information. The king did not crosscheck the gossip about his daughter, Putri Intan, when he knew that the information was only from Dayang. Consequently, he felt guilty to know the reality. Still from Tunjuk Ajar Melayu, there is a saying:

Kalau suka fitnah memfitnah
Diri hina marwah pun punah
Kalau suka memfitnah orang
Alamat hidup menjadi arang

Samsuni (sas/136/04-09)

Translated by Irfan Nugroho (ter/121/06-09)


  • Adapted from Setiawati, Nani. 2003. Cerita Rakyat dari Kalimantan Tengah 2. Jakarta: Grasindo.
  • Anonym. “Kalimantan Tengah,” available online on http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalimantan_Tengah, retrieved on April 13th, 2009.
  • Tenas Effendy, 2006. Tunjuk Ajar Melayu. Yogyakarta: Center for Research and Development of Malay Culture in cooperation with AdiCita Karya Nusa Publisher.
  • ------, 1994/1995. “Ejekan” Terhadap Orang Melayu Riau dan Pantangan Orang Melayu Riau. Pekanbaru. BAPPEDA Tingkat I Riau.


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