Prince Inderawangsa – Footprints in History (5/5)

Outcast and outlawed, Inderawangsa drifted dejectedly away from the citadel, following the Muda River upstream and then further inland into the wilderness. His shoulders slump downcast and his steps were leaden. O how the mighty Inderawangsa had fallen! He hid during daytime and wandered only at night to avoid detection the Cholans as he fled further and further upstream the Muda River away from the citadel. He moved around hooded even in the dark of night to hide his prominent incisors and slept fitfully out of sight cowering under his cloak during day time.

Map 5

Inderawangsa’s Final Journey

In the hot and humid jungle, his resplendent cloak and armour rotted into disheveled filthy rags. His once shiny, well-oiled  and plaited hair, moustache and beard were dirty, entangled, matted and unkempt. He was hungry all the time. His craving for blood was maddening. He started to lose weight, looking haggard, anemic and gaunt, and his mind, often suffering from feverish bouts of delirium. He was like a walking undead, and he stank death.

His skin had lost its healthy radiance turning translucent pale and inexplicably developing hyper sensitivity to sunlight. When exposed to light severe rashes would break out which quickly metastasize into putrid pustules and boils when the exposure was prolonged. His eyes had lost their intensity and seemed dead, unseeing. His skin around his mouth seemed to tighten giving him mouth a cruel appearance while his receded gums gave his prominent incisors a more menacing vampire like appearance. Interestingly, he did have an uncanny resemblance to the famous Hollywood’s Count Dracula from Transylvania and both were obviously just suffering from Porphyria.

In desperation or delirium, he had somehow managed to wrench out his incisors. The pain was so acute that his piercing painful howls could freeze the very soul of those who happenstance heard him. He was then in the vicinity of Merbau Pulas. The local word for wrenching out is “Pulas”. He stumbled aimlessly in pain for hours stumbling through bushes, tripping over fallen branches before slamming into a Tualang tree and gratefully passed out. He woke up a few days later somehow in Tawar with the both incisors still in his grip, covered in dried blood.  He felt wobbly and dizzy, weak but relief and knew that he had been miraculously cured of his blood lust. Interestingly, the local word for cured is “Tawar”.

Revitalized Inderawangsa continued to journey eastward towards the rising sun and soon arrived at Baling which means to throw where he decided to rid himself of his incisors. He threw them into the winds and they seemed to whistle “Wing” forlornly into the distant wilderness, today’s Wing District, and disappear into distant memory. He then turned and trekked south for months living off the jungle, wild berries, insects and occasionally rodents and meagre handouts from the few sympathetic strangers and villagers he met along the way. His troubles grew faint and soon faded away the further he traveled.

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Fanged Prince Inderawangsa

He trudged his last mile to arrive at the outskirt of Kota Raja Bersiong. There he laid down on the grass and looked up at the heavenly night canvass. Serenaded by the critters of the night, his weary eye lids grew heavy. He turned to his side, curled up and covered himself with his tattered cloak against the cold breeze and he fell asleep. His cloak rose and fell in rhythm with the misting of his breath which gradually slowed to a stop and Inderawangsa went over to the great beyond that night alone, hungry and exhausted but finally at peace with himself.

Upon finding a dead destitute vagabond stranger on their doorstep, wary suspicious villagers hurriedly buried him at the fringes of the jungle. However, almost immediately following his burial, disease and pestilence broke out in the village. At the same time, a few virgin maidens mysteriously disappeared into the night, probably dragged away by man eating tigers. Anyway, frightened and superstitious, they divined the outbreak and disappearance to some black magic or evil mischief. They had heard rumors about the stranger’s dark, evil and bloody past and putting two and two together, they conveniently blamed him for the calamities and devilry

To verify their suspicions, they dug up his grave. When they opened his coffin, they were both shocked and intrigued to find the shroud covering his mouth blood stained and his abdomen bloated as if he had just had his bloody meal. Both their observations are normal post-mortem decompositions accordingly to today’s forensic science. Anyway, they villagers hastily concluded that he must have risen his grave in the dead of night and kidnapped the maidens for their blood. He must be the culprit behind the recent calamities and devilry.

They consulted the village’s shamans who advised that they should drive a wooden stake into his heart and replace his treasured tusk necklace with a string of garlic around his neck to ensure that he could never rise to terrorize the village again. As an added precaution, they needed to hack off his head and send it together with the tusk necklace back to from whence he came. That was how Inderawangsa’s body is believed to be buried in Kampong Raja Bersiong, Perak while his head and necklace came to be interred at the very spot from where he threw his incisors at Kampong Siong in Baling, Kedah.

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Famous Sayak Beach Prawn Noodles

And so ends my tale of the legendary cruel fanged King Inderawangsa or better known as Raja Bersiong, Kedah’s very own “Count Dracula” who was most likely the historical 5th Indian Prince to rule the realm. He did perhaps wear his prized necklace made from the longest wild boar tusks as mark of supreme kingship but he was most definitely not fanged. He was most likely not benevolent, a tyrant like many kings of old and did surely terrorize and brutalize his subjects. His rule was cruel, tyrannical and may be even bloodthirsty but having an addiction or craving for human blood was mere stuff of fantasy which he was not. He probably preferred his bacon raw and bloody and his favorite food may be boar’s blood curd. I mean who would in their right frame of mind turn down a tasty bowl of curry egg noodles with extra blood curd and bloody cockles or the authentic crimson Sayak Beach Prawn noodles with pink ice Bandung. Anyway, in the end, his subjects did rise up and overthrow him, casting him out into the hinterland to journey into legend only to die alone and unknown in oblivion.

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