Myth of Batu Gading Quarry: Villagers cursed into stone formation as part of grief-stricken mother’s revenge

Dennis at a dinner gathering at his house in Long Bedian on March 13, 2024.

By D’Drift Team/Ling Hui

ULU BARAM, March 14: Telang Usan assemblyman Dato Dennis Ngau has unveiled the mythical origins of the Batu Gading Quarry, attributing its stone formations to a tragic tale of revenge and sorrow within the Orang Ulu community of Baram.

According to Ngau, the legend recounts the transformation of an entire village into stone, a consequence of a grief-stricken mother’s retaliation against the villagers who killed her son as a sacrifice to the late village chief.

“Back then, the people believed that when someone of aristocratic status passed away, a child must be sacrificed to accompany the dead.

“So, one day, this mother went out to find fish, and the son was outside of the house when the village folks caught him, killed him and put him in the coffin of the ‘ketua kampung’ (village chief) who just passed away,” he said.

Jau speaks to the D’Drift Team at his Rehat Cafe at Long Bedian on March 14, 2024.

When the mother returned and could not find the child anywhere, she suspected that he had been sacrificed.

Devastated and furious, she began her revenge plan by dressing up a frog before placing it inside a box used to store betel.

“At that time, when people of status pass away, the funeral would last for seven days. That was the custom.

“While the village people were all at the funeral, the woman went in with the box and passed it to the men, saying that it held ‘pinang’ (betel).

“They opened the box, and the frog hopped out. Looking at the frog being funnily dressed, they laughed, and instantly the whole village turned into stone,” Dennis told DayakDaily at Long Bedian yesterday (March 13).

From then on, he added, the Orang Ulu have cautioned their kin to never to laugh at a frog or else they would turn into stone like the village folks back then.

Meanwhile, Long Bedian coffeeshop owner Jau Wan, 76, said the Batu Gading stone structure which resembles a human head originates from a man named Kading.

Another folktale says that Kading opened a roof and stuck his head out because he was trying to fight disasters, but he eventually failed due to limited power and was turned into stone. — DayakDaily