Cerita rakyat from West Java
Prabu Tapa Agung had led a kingdom in West Java for a long time. He was getting old and therefore wanted to choose a successor. But unfortunately, he had no son. He thought of choosing one of his daughters, Purbararang and Purbasari. But it wasn’t an easy choice. They were both very pretty and smart. The only difference was their temperament. Purbararang was rude and dishonest, while Purbasari was kind and caring. With those considerations, Prabu Tapa Agung finally chose Purbasari to be his successor.
Purbararang didn’t agree with her father’s decision. “It’s supposed to be me, Father. I’m the eldest daughter!” Purbararang said. Prabu Tapa Agung smiled. “Purbararang, to be a queen takes more than age. There are many other qualities that one must possess,” explained Prabu Tapa Agung wisely. “What does Purbasari have that I don’t?” Purbararang pouted. “You’ll find out when Purbasari has replaced me,” Prabu Tapa Agung answered.
After the discussion, Purbararang went back to her room. “Is there something wrong?” asked Indrajaya. Indrajaya is Purbararang’s future husband. “I’m upset! Father chose Purbasari as his successor and not me! I have to do something!” Purbararang said. Driven mad by her anger, she came to a witch and asked her to send rash all over Purbasari’s body. Before going to bed, Purbasari started to feel itch all over her body. She tried applying powder to her body, but it’s no use. Instead, the itching grew even worse. She didn’t want to scratch it, but she just couldn’t help it. In the next morning, there were scratch mark all over Purbasari’s body. “What happened to you?” asked Purbararang, pretending to be concerned. “I don’t know, sis. Last night, my body suddenly felt very itchy. I scratched and scratched, and this is what happened,” Purbasari answered. Purbararang shook her head. “You must have done something really awful. You’ve been punished by the gods!”
That day, the whole kingdom was scandalized. “What have you done, Purbasari?” demanded Prabu Tapa Agung. Purbasari shook her head. “I didn’t do anything that would upset the gods, Father,” she answered. “Then how can you explain what happened to your body?” Prabu Tapa Agung asked again. “If you don’t confess, I’ll banish you to the woods.” Purbasari took a deep breath. “Like I said before, I didn’t do anything wrong. And I’d rather be thrown into the woods than to confess to a deed I didn’t commit.”
After a short discussion with his advisor, Prabu Tapa Agung ordered Purbasari to be moved to the woods. Purbasari was very sad, but she couldn’t do anything to defy her father’s order. She was accompanied to the woods by a messenger. He built a simple hut for Purbasari. After the messenger left, suddenly a black monkey came to Purbasari’s hut. He carried a bunch of bananas. From behind him, some animals looked on. “Are the bananas for me?’ Purbasari asked. The black monkey nodded, as if he understood what Purbasari said. Purbasari took the bananas with pleasure. She also said thanks. The other animals that were looking on also seemed to smile. “Are you willing to be my friend?” Purbasari asked them. All the animals nodded happily. Although she was living by herself in the woods, Purbasari never lacked of supplies. Everyday, there were always animals bringing her fruits and fish to eat.
A long time had passed since Purbasari was banished to the woods, but her body still itched. At some places, her skin was even ulcerating. What am I supposed to do?” Purbasari sighed. The monkey who was sitting next to her stayed still, there were tears in his eyes. He hoped Purbasari would remain patient and strong.
One night, on a full moon, the monkey took Purbasari to a valley. There is a pond with hot spring water. The monkey suddenly spoke, “The water of this pond will heal your skin,” he said. Purbasari was surprised, ”You can talk? Who are you?” she asked. “You’ll find out, in time,” the monkey said. Purbasari didn’t want to force the monkey. She then walked to the pond. She bathed there. After a few hours, Purbasari walked out of the pond. She was shocked to see her face reflected on the clear pond water. Her face was beautiful again, with smooth and clean skin. Purbasari observed her entire body. There were no traces of any skin ailments. “I’m cured! I’m cured!” Purbasari shouted in joy. She quickly offered thanks to the gods and also to the monkey.
The news of Purbasari’s condition quickly spread to the kingdom, irritating Purbararang. She then accompanied by Indrajaya go to the woods to see Purbasari. Purbasari asked if she would be allowed to go home. Purbararang said she would let Purbasari return to the palace if Purbasari’s hair were longer than hers. Purbararang then let her hair down. It was so long, it almost touched the ground. But it turned out that Purbasari’s hair was twice longer than Purbararang’s hair.
“Fine, so your hair is longer than mine.” Purbararang admitted. “But there is one more condition you must fulfill, do you have a future husband who is handsomer than mine?” said Purbararang as she walked toward Indrajaya. Purbasari felt miserable. She didn’t have a future husband yet. So, without much thought, she pulled the black monkey beside her.
Purbararang and Indrajaya burst out, but their laughter didn’t last long. The monkey meditates and suddenly transformed into a very handsome young man, a lot more handsome than Indrajaya. “I’m a prince from a kingdom far away. I was cursed to be a monkey because of a mistake I committed. I could regain my true form only if there’s a girl who would be willing to be my wife,” said the young man.
Finally, Purbararang gave up. She accepted Purbasari as the queen, and also confessed everything she had done. “Please forgive me. Please don’t punish me,” Purbararang said, asking for forgiveness. Instead of being angry, Purbasari smiled. “I forgive you, sis,” she said. Soon after, Purbasari become queen. Beside her was the handsome prince, the former monkey known as Lutung Kasarung.***
Cerita rakyat from Central Java
Mouse Deer and Tiger
One upon a time, there was a mouse deer living in a forest. Although he was small, he wasn’t afraid of the other bigger animals who wanted to eat him. He was so smart; he always managed to ditch them. One day, a tiger was wandering around for food. He hadn’t been eating for days. He was really hungry. While he was walking in the forest, he saw Mouse Deer. The tiger wanted to eat him.
Tiger slowly ducked, crawled, approaching Mouse Deer, then…”Gotcha!” said Tiger. He caught Mouse Deer. “Hello, Mouse Deer! I’m really hungry right now. You’ll be my lunch!” said Tiger. Mouse Deer didn’t want to be his lunch. He tried to be calm. He looked around and saw some buffalo’s dung. He had an idea. “I’m sorry, Tiger. I can’t be your lunch now. The King has ordered me to guard his cake,” said Mouse Deer calmly. “His cake?” said Tiger curiously. “Yes, there it is. It’s very delicious. The King doesn’t want anyone else to eat it, so he ordered me to guard it,” Mouse Deer pointed the buffalo’s dung. “Can I taste it?” Tiger asked. “Of course you can’t. The King would be very angry,” said Mouse Deer refused. “Just one little bite, Mouse Deer! The King will never know,” said Tiger. “Well, okay, Tiger. But first let me run far away, so the King won’t blame me,” said Mouse Deer. “All right, Mouse deer. You can go now.” Mouse Deer ran quickly out of sight. Tiger then took a big mouthful of the ‘cake’. “Phoooey!” He spit it out. “Yuck, that’s not cake. That’s buffalo’s dung.”
Tiger ran through the forest. He caught up with Mouse Deer. “Mouse Deer, you tricked me. But now you will be my lunch.” Mouse Deer looked around and saw a wasp nest in a tree. “I’m sorry, Tiger. I can’t be your lunch now. The King has ordered me to guard his drum,” said Mouse Deer calmly. “His drum?” said Tiger curiously. “Yes, there it is. It has the best sound in the world. The King doesn’t want anyone else to hit it,” Mouse Deer pointed the wasp nest. “Can I hit the King’s drum?” Tiger asked. “Of course you can’t. The King would be very angry,” said Mouse Deer refused. “Just one little hit, Mouse Deer! The King will never know,” said Tiger. ”Well, all right, Tiger. But first let me run far away, so the King won’t blame me,” said Mouse Deer. “All right, Mouse Deer. You can go now.” Mouse Deer ran quickly out of sight. Tiger then reached up and hit the wasp nest. Bzzzzzzz…! “Ouch…ouch! That’s not a drum. That a wasp nests!”
Tiger ran away. But the wasps keep following him. He came to the river. He jumped in and stayed underwater as long as he could. At last the wasps went away. Then he jumped out. He ran through the forest till he found Mouse Deer. “Mouse Deer, you tricked me again. But now you will be my lunch.” Mouse Deer looked around and saw a cobra. The snake was coiled asleep on the ground. “I’m sorry, Tiger. I can’t be your lunch now. The King has ordered me to guard his belt,” said Mouse Deer calmly. “His belt?” said Tiger curiously. “Yes. There it is. It’s the best belt in the world. The King doesn’t want anyone else to wear it,” Mouse Deer pointed the cobra. “Can I wear it?” Tiger asked. “Of course you can’t. The King would be very angry,” said Mouse Deer refused. “Just for one moment, Mouse Deer! The King will never know,” said Tiger. ”Well, all right, Tiger. But first let me run far away, so the King won’t blame me,” said Mouse Deer. “All right, Mouse Deer. You can go now.” Mouse Deer ran quickly out of sight. Tiger then took the snake and started to warp it around himself. The cobra woke up. It squeezed Tiger and bit him. SSssssstt! “Oouch! Ow! Ooow! That’s not a belt! That’s a cobra! Help! Mouse Deer! Help!” But Mouse Deer was already far away. He laughed aloud. Mouse Deer was safe from Tiger now.***
Cerita rakyat from West Sumatra
Once upon a time, on the north coast of Sumatra lived a poor woman and his son. The boy was called Malin Kundang. They didn’t earn much as fishing was their only source of income. Malin Kundang grew up as a skillful young boy. He always helps his mother to earn some money. However, as they were only fisherman’s helper, they still lived in poverty. “Mother, what if I sail overseas?” asked Malin Kundang one day to his mother. Her mother didn’t agree but Malin Kundang had made up his mind. “Mother, if I stay here, I’ll always be a poor man. I want to be a successful person,” urged Malin kundang. His mother wiped her tears, “If you really want to go, I can’t stop you. I could only pray to God for you to gain success in life,” said his mother wisely. “But, promise me, you’ll come home.”
In the next morning, Malin Kundang was ready to go. Three days ago, he met one of the successful ship’s crew. Malin was offered to join him. “Take a good care of yourself, son,” said Malin Kundang’s mother as she gave him some food supplies. “Yes, Mother,” Malin Kundang said. “You too have to take a good care of yourself. I’ll keep in touch with you,” he continued before kissing his mother’s hand. Before Malin stepped onto the ship, Malin’s mother hugged him tight as if she didn’t want to let him go.
It had been three months since Malin Kundang left his mother. As his mother had predicted before, he hadn’t contacted her yet. Every morning, she stood on the pier. She wished to see the ship that brought Malin kundang home. Every day and night, she prayed to the God for her son’s safety. There was so much prayer that had been said due to her deep love for Malin Kundang. Even though it’s been a year she had not heard any news from Malin Kundang, she kept waiting and praying for him.
After several years waiting without any news, Malin Kundang’s mother was suddenly surprised by the arrival of a big ship in the pier where she usually stood to wait for her son. When the ship finally pulled over, Malin Kundang’s mother saw a man who looked wealthy stepping down a ladder along with a beautiful woman. She could not be wrong. Her blurry eyes still easily recognized him. The man was Malin Kundang, her son.
Malin Kundang’s mother quickly went to see her beloved son. “Malin, you’re back, son!” said Malin Kundang’s mother and without hesitation, she came running to hug Malin Kundang, “I miss you so much.” But, Malin Kundang didn’t show any respond. He was ashamed to admit his own mother in front of his beautiful wife. “You’re not my Mother. I don’t know you. My mother would never wear such ragged and ugly clothes,” said Malin Kundang as he release his mother embrace.
Malin Kundang’s mother take a step back, “Malin…You don’t recognize me? I’m your mother!” she said sadly. Malin Kundang’s face was as cold as ice. “Guard, take this old women out of here,” Malin Kundang ordered his bodyguard. “Give her some money so she won’t disturb me again!” Malin Kundang’s mother cried as she was dragged by the bodyguard, ”Malin… my son. Why do you treat your own mother like this?”
Malin Kundang ignored his mother and ordered the ship crews to set sail. Malin Kundang’s mother sat alone in the pier. Her heart was so hurt, she cried and cried. “Dear God, if he isn’t my son, please let him have a save journey. But if he is, I cursed him to become a stone,” she prayed to the God.
In the quiet sea, suddenly the wind blew so hard and a thunderstorm came. Malin Kundang’s huge ship was wrecked. He was thrown by the wave out of his ship, and fell on a small island. Suddenly, his whole body turned into stone. He was punished for not admitting his own mother.***
Cerita rakyat from West Java
Long time ago in West Java, lived a beautiful girl named Dayang Sumbi. She was also smart and clever. Her beauty and intelligence made a prince from the heavenly kingdom of Kahyangan desire her as his wife. The prince asked permission from his father to marry Dayang Sumbi. People from Kahyangan could never live side by side with humans, but his father approved on one condition, when they had a child, the prince would transform into a dog. The prince accepted the condition.
They get married and lived happily in the woods until Dayang Sumbi gave birth to a baby boy. The prince then changed into a dog named Tumang. Their son is named Sangkuriang. He was very smart and handsome like his father. Everyday, he hunted animals and looked for fruits to eat. One day, when he was hunting, Sangkuriang accidentally killed Tumang. His arrow missed the deer he was targeting and hit Tumang instead. He went home and tells her mother about the dog. “What?” Dayang Sumbi was appalled. Driven by sadness and anger, she grabbed a weaving tool and hit Sangkuriang’s head with it. Dayang Sumbi was so sad; she didn’t pay any attention to Sangkuriang and started to cry.
Sangkuriang feel sad and also confused. How can his mother love a dog more than him? Sangkuriang then decided to go away from their home and went on a journey. In the morning, Dayang Sumbi finally stopped crying. She started to feel better, so she went to find Sangkuriang. But her son was no where to be found. She looked everywhere but still couldn’t find him. Finally, she went home with nothing. She was exhausted. She fell asleep, and in her dream, she meets her husband. “Dayang Sumbi, don’t be sad. Go look for my body in the woods and get the heart. Soak it with water, and use the water to bathe, and you will look young forever,” said the prince in her dream. After bathing with the water used to soak the dog’s heart, Dayang Sumbi looked more beautiful and even younger.
And time passed by. Sangkuriang on his journey stopped at a village and met and fell in love with a beautiful girl.He didn’t realize that the village was his homeland and the beautiful girl was his own mother, Dayang Sumbi. Their love grew naturally and he asked the girl to marry him. One day, Sangkuriang was going on a hunt. He asked Dayang Sumbi to fix the turban on his head. Dayang Sumbi was startled when she saw a scar on his head at the same place where she, years ago, hit Sangkuriang on the head.
After the young man left, Dayang Sumbi prayed for guidance. After praying, she became convinced that the young man was indeed her missing son. She realized that she had to do something to prevent Sangkuriang from marrying her. But she did not wish to disappoint him by cancelling the wedding. So, although she agreed to marry Sangkuriang, she would do so only on the condition that he provides her with a lake and built a beautiful boat, all in one night.
Sangkuriang accepted this condition without a doubt. He had spent his youth studying magical arts. After the sun went down, Sangkuriang went to the hill. Then he called a group of genie to build a dam around Citarum River. Then, he commands the genies to cut down trees and build a boat. A few moments before dawn, Sangkuriang and his genie servants almost finished the boat.
Dayang Sumbi, who had been spying on him, realised that Sangkuriang would fulfill the condition she had set. Dayang Sumbi immediately woke all the women in the village and asked them to wave a long red scarf. All the women in the village were waving red scarf, making it look as if dawn was breaking. Deceived by false dawn, the cock crowed and farmers rose for the new day.
Sangkuriang’s genie servants immediately dropped their work and ran for cover from the sun, which they feared. Sangkuriang grew furious. With all his anger, he kicked the unfinished boat. The boat flew and landed on a valley. The boat then became a mountain, called Mount Tangkuban Perahu (Tangkuban means upturned or upside down, and Perahu means boat). With his power, he destroyed the dam. The water drained from the lake becoming a wide plain and nowadays became a city called Bandung (from the word Bendung, which means Dam).***
Cerita rakyat from East Java
Raden Putra was the king of Jenggala kingdom. He had a beautiful queen and concubine. Unlike the queen, the concubine had bad personalities. She was envious and jealous with the queen, so she planned to make the queen leave the palace. The concubine then asked the royal healer to help her in her plan. One day, the concubine pretended to be ill. Raden Putra called the royal healer to give the concubine treatments. “What is her disease?” Raden Putra asked the royal healer. “I’m very sorry, My Majesty. She is sick because the queen put poison in her meal,” the royal healer lied.
Raden Putra was shock and angry to hear the explanation. He called the queen and asked her if the story was true. Of course the queen denied, but Raden Putra won’t listen. “Please Your Majesty, have mercy. I really didn’t do anything,” cried the queen in her tears. Raden Putra’s anger ended in a decision. The queen should be banished to the woods and terminated. He did not know that the queen was already pregnant. Raden Putra commanded one of his general to do the punishment. The queen was banished to the woods, but the wise general didn’t have the heart to kill her. He built a simple house in the woods for her. On his way back to the palace, he smeared his sword with rabbit blood, so Raden Putra would believe that he had killed the queen.
After the general left, the queen lived by herself in the woods. Several months later, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. The baby was named Cindelaras. He grew up as a nice, healthy, and handsome boy. One day, while Cindelaras helped her mother to collect some fire woods, an eagle dropped an egg. Cindelaras brought the egg to be brooded by a chicken behind their house. The egg hatched into a chick and then it slowly became a strong rooster. The rooster is no ordinary rooster. The rooster could sing. Every morning, the rooster woke Cindelaras up with its beautiful song, “My master is Cindelaras. His house is in the woods. He’s the son of Raden Putra.” The rooster often sang that song.
Cindelaras always woke up early in the morning and listen happily to his rooster’s song. He didn’t realize the meaning of the song until one day, he started to think. “Who is Raden Putra?” he asked his mother. The queen then told him the whole story. She also told him why they were banned from the kingdom and lived in the woods. Cindelaras was very surprised. He decided to go to the palace to meet the king, his father. Cindelaras asked her mother’s permission to go to the kingdom and to tell the king what really happened. He also brought his rooster that grew bigger and stronger each day.
On his way, Cindelaras stopped at a village. There, he met some people who were involved in cockfighting. They challenge him to see how strong his rooster was. “If your rooster wins, you’ll get a reward,” said the man who challenged him. Cindelaras accepted the challenge. In a few minutes, his rooster defeated the opponent’s rooster. He was challenged again by other man, and one more time, his rooster won. He won again and again.
The news about Cindelaras’ rooster quickly spread to the whole Jenggala kingdom and made Raden Putra curious. So, he invited Cindelaras to the palace. “What is your name, boy?” Raden Putra asked as Cindelaras arrived in the palace. “My name is Cindelaras, Your Majesty,” Cindelaras answered. He felt both thrilled and happy to see Raden Putra.
Raden Putra challenged Cindelaras with one condition. If Raden Putra’s rooster won, Cindelaras’ head would be cut off. But if Cindelaras’ rooster won, Raden Putra would share half of his wealth. Cindelaras accepted the condition. The competition was held in the front yard of the palace. The two roosters fought bravely. But in just a few minutes, Cindelaras’ rooster won the fight! Raden Putra shook his head and stared at Cindelaras from his seat, “That rooster is no ordinary rooster, and the boy is not an ordinaty boy either. Who is he exactly?” he thought. Raden Putra was about to asked when suddenly Cindelaras’ rooster sang the song, “My master is Cindelaras. His house is in the woods. He’s the son of Raden Putra.”
Raden Putra was surprised. “Is it true?” he asked. “Yes, My Majesty. My name is Cindelaras and my mother was the queen,” said Cindelaras. Raden putra called the general who had banished the queen. The general then confessed that he never killed the queen. Later, the royal healer also admitted his mistake. Raden Putra was so shocked. He immediately went to the woods to pick up the queen. Ever since, Cindelaras and his parents lived happily together. As for the concubine, she was sent to the jail as punishment.***