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.***
Long time ago, there was a kingdom named Prambanan. All the people of Prambanan lived peacefully. But then, Prambanan kingdom was attacked and occupied by the Pengging kingdom. Prambanan then was ruled by Bandung Bondowoso of Pengging kingdom. He was a mean king. He also had great supernatural power. His soldiers were not only humans, but also genies.
The king of Prambanan had a beautiful daughter named Loro Jonggrang. Bandung Bondowoso fell in love with her and wanted to marry her. “You’re very beautiful. Would you be my queen?” asked Bandung Bondowoso. Loro Jonggrang was shocked. She didn’t like Bandung Bondowoso because he was a mean person. She wanted to refuse, but she afraid that Bandung Bondowoso would be angry and endangered the people of Prambanan. Then, she came up with a plan. “If you want to marry me, you have to build a thousand temples for me in just one night," said Loro Jonggrang. “What? That’s impossible!” said Bandung Bondowoso. But he did not give up. He consulted with his advisor. “Your Majesty can asked the genies to help built the temples,” said the advisor.
So, Bandung Bondowoso summoned his entire genies soldier and commanded them to help him built a thousand temples. The genies worked in unbelievable speed. Meanwhile, Loro Jonggrang heard from her servant that the building of a thousand temples was almost finished. She was so worried. But again, she came up with a great idea. She asked all of her servants to help her. "Please prepare a lot of straw and mortar. Please hurry up!" said Loro Jonggrang. “Burn the straw and make some noise pounding the mortar, quickly.” All those servants did what Loro Jonggrang ordered them; burning straw and pounding the mortar, making the genies think that the sun is going to rise.
“It’s already dawn. We have to go,” said the leader of the genies to Bandung Bondowoso. All the genies immediately stopped their work and ran for cover from the sun, which they afraid of. They didn’t know that the light was from the fire that burning the straw, not from the sun.
Bandung Bondowoso can’t stop the genies from leaving. He was angry. He knew Loro Jonggrang had just tricked him. "You cannot fool me, Loro Jonggrang. I already have 999 temples. I just need one more temple. Now, I will make you the one-thousandth temple." He pointed his finger to Loro Jonggrang and said some mantras. Magically, Loro Jonggrang’s body turned into stone. Until now, the temple is still standing in Prambanan area, Central Java. And the temple is called Loro Jonggrang temple.***
Long time ago, lived an old women named Mbok Sirni. She lived by herself because her husband had long passed away and she had no children. Every day, she prayed so God would give her a child. One night, when she was praying, a giant passed her house and heard her pray. “I can give you a child on one condition,” the giant said to Mbok Sirni, “You must give the child back to me when it is six years old.” Mbok Sirni was so happy; she did not think about the risk of losing the child later and agreed to take the giant’s offer. The giant then gave her a bunch of cucumber seeds. “Plant it around your house.” The giant then left without saying anything else. In the morning, Mbok Sirni planted the seeds. The seeds grew within mere days, and blossomed plentifully.Not longer after that, a big golden cucumber grew from plants. Carefully, Mbok Sirni plucked the golden cucumber and carried it home. With caution and care, she sliced the cucumber. She was very surprised to see a beautiful baby girl inside the cucumber. She then named the baby Timun Emas (it means Golden Cucumber).
Years passed by and Timun Emas has grew to become a lovely and beautiful little girl. She was also smart and kind. Mbok Sirni loved her very much. But she kept thinking about the time the giant would take Timun Emas away from her. One night, Mbok Sirni had a dream. In order to save Timun Emas from the giant, she had to meet the holy man who lived in Mount Gundul. The next morning, Mbok Sirni took leave of Timun Emas to go to Mount Gundul. The holy man then gave her four little bags, each one containing cucumber seeds, needles, salt, and shrimp paste. “Timun Emas can use these to protect herself,” said the holy man to Mbok Sirni.
A few days later, the giant came to see Mbok Sirni about her promise. “Mbok Sirni! Where is Timun Emas?” shouted the giant. "My daughter, take these bag with you. It can save you from the giant. Now, run through the back door," said Mbok Sirni. But the giant saw Timun Emas running to the woods. The giant was angry. Starved and enraged, he rushed toward Timun Emas. Mbok Sirni tried to stop him, but the giant was unstoppable.
The giant was getting closer and closer, so Timun Emas opened the first bag she got from Mbok Sirni. Inside the bag were cucumber seeds. She threw the seeds, and instantly they grew into large cucumber field. But the giant ate them all, giving him more strength. As the giant was getting close, Timun Emas took the second bag with needles inside and spilled the content behind her. The needles turned into bamboo trees, sharp and thorny. The giant’s body was scratched and bled. “Aaargh, I’ll get you, Timun Emas!” shouted the giant as he tried to get himself out from the bamboo field. He made it and still chasing Timun Emas.
Timun Emas then reached the third bag and spilled the salt inside. The ground which the salt touched turned into a deep sea. The giant almost drown and had to swim to cross the sea. After some time, he managed to get out from the water. Timun Emas saw the giant coming, so she reached for the last bag. She took the shrimp paste and threw it. The shrimp paste became a big swamp of boiling mud. The giant was trapped in the middle of the swamp. The mud slowly but surely drowned him. Helpless, he roared out, “Help! Heeeeelp…!” Then the giant drown and died. Timun Mas then immediately went home. Since then, Timun Emas and Mbok Sirni live happily ever after.***
Jaka Tarub was a handsome and diligent young man. He lived in a village near a lake. One day, when Jaka Tarub passed the lake, he heard some giggles and laughs of some girls who were bathing in the lake. He was curious, so he peeped through the bushes. There were seven beautiful girls in the lake. They’re fairies from the heavenly kingdom of kahyangan. Jaka Tarub saw a scarf near the bushes. It belonged to one of the fairies. Jaka Tarub then took it and hid it.
Crack!!! Accidentally, Jaka Tarub stepped on a twig. “There’s someone!” said one of the fairies. “Let’s get back. Hurry!” she said. They pulled over and wear their scarf. “Where is my scarf?” one of the fairies couldn’t find her scarf. She was the youngest fairy called Nawang Wulan. They tried to search for it, but it was no where to be found. “We’re sorry, Wulan. We have to go back to kahyangan,” said the eldest fairy. “You’ll have to find it by yourself. We’ll wait for you in kahyangan,” she said in empathy. The other fairies then flew to the sky leaving Nawang Wulan behind. Nawang Wulan saw them leaving in tears. She was so sad.
“Excuse me …,” said Jaka Tarub, startling Nawang Wulan. “Are you okay?” he asked. Nawang Wulan moved backward, “Who are you?” she asked. “My name is Jaka Tarub. I was passing by and I heard you crying, so I came to see what happen,” Jaka Tarub lied. Nawang Wulan then told him about her problem. “I can’t fly without my scarf,” she said. Jaka Tarub then asked Nawang Wulan to come home with him. At first, Nawang Wulan refused the offer. But since she didn’t have anywhere else to go, Nawang Wulan then decided to follow Jaka Tarub.
Nawang Wulan stayed with Jaka Tarub in the village. A month passed, and they decided to get married. Nawang Wulan was willing to marry a human because she fell in love with Jaka Tarub. After a year, they had a beautiful daughter. They named her Kumalasari. They lived happily.
Jaka Tarub was also happy to live with Nawang Wulan and Kumalasari. Especially because he always got a lot of harvest since he married Nawang Wulan. He couldn’t even keep all of his harvest in the barn because it was always full. “It’s so weird. Nawang Wulan cooked everyday, but why is my barn always full,” Jaka Tarub mumbled to himself. He was so curious. One day, Jaka Tarub stayed at home. “I want to stay home today. I’d like to play with Kumalasari,” he said to his wife. “Well, I’ll go to the river to wash the clothes. Please keep an eye on Kumalasari,” asked Nawang Wulan. “I’m cooking rice now. Please do not open the pan cover before it’s done,” she said just before she left. “Could this be the secret?” Jaka Tarub thought. After Nawang Wulan left, he curiously opened the pan cover. He found only one single paddy. “How come?” he wondered.
Before lunch, Nawang Wulan came home. She headed to the kitchen to see the rice she had cooked. She found that the rice turned into only a few grains. “Did you open the pan cover?” she asked her husband. “I… I’m sorry. I was curious,” Jaka Tarub said as he realized his fault.
Ever since, Nawang Wulan had lost her power. She couldn’t cook rice with only a single paddy. Their paddy supply was slowly lessened. Their barn was almost empty. One day, Nawang Wulan went to the barn to get some paddy. When she took one of them, she found a scarf. “What’s this? This is my scarf,” said Nawang Wulan startled.
That night, Nawang Wulan asked her husband about the scarf. Jaka Tarub’s eyes widened, “You found it?” he asked. Jaka Tarub looked down and asked for her forgiveness. “Because I’ve found my scarf, it’s time for me to go back to where I belong,” Nawang Wulan said. Jaka Tarub tried to stop her, but Nawang Wulan had made up her mind. “Please take good care of Kumalasari,” she said. “If she wanted to see me, take seven grains of candlenut and put it into a basket. Shake it as you play the bamboo flute. I’ll come to see her,” she explained.
Jaka Tarub promised to take good care of their daughter. He once again asked for forgiveness for all of his mistakes. “I’ve forgiven you, so you don’t have to feel guilty. I must go now. Take care,” said Nawang Wulan as she flew to the bright full moon.***
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.***