A long time ago, being invaded by an enemy kingdom, the people of Majapahit had to evacuate their kingdom. After Google-searching, they decided to move eastward, and so did their Gods. With their cars and motorcycles, the Majapahit people fled their homes and arrived on the slope of Mt. Bromo where they decided to settle down. Their gods, however, preferred more privacy and chose to live on the slope of Mt. Pananjakan, which was rather far from Mt. Bromo.
Several years later, a goddess assumed a human baby.
Mother: "She is very beautiful. But, she doesn’t cry like other babies do. I wonder if she can be admitted to a singing class."
Father: "Yes. It’s strange. But forget the singing lesson and think about a name to give her."
Mother: "What about Rara Anteng?"
Father: "What? Ganteng?? You mean, handsome? It's a baby girl."
Mother: "Anteng, you idiot. Rara Anteng. Anteng is Javanese for quiet."
Father: "Oh, I see. Yes, I think it's a beautiful name."
At the same time, at a local hospital, the wife of a vicar gave birth to a baby boy.
Mother: "Our baby is very handsome and his face is shiny. He is also strong. This morning he kicked me off the bed."
Father: "Yes, his hand grasp and kick are powerful. His cry is also louder than any other babies’. That’s why; let’s name him Jaka Seger. Seger is Javanese for physically fit or fresh."
Years passed, both Rara Anteng and Jaka Seger had now grown into a very goodlooking teenagers. Just like other teenagers, they joined a social network like Friendster or MySpace and soon became keypals. Their frequent contacts and chats had now brought their relationship into romance.
Jaka Seger: "Rara Anteng, I’ve never met a girl as lovely as you on any sites on the web. I think I love you. Would you be my wife someday?"
Rara Anteng: "Jaka Seger, I don’t know what to say, hunny. But I feel the same way, too. I would do anything to keep us together. I love you, too."
Meanwhile, the beauty of Rara Anteng attracted many other young men. Most of them would try to approach her either by sending her emails or text messages.
Man 1: "Oh, Rara Anteng. . . I do want you to be my wife. I’ll do anything just to have you beside me. I’ll cross the deepest ocean; I’ll climb the highest mountain just to be near you."
Man 2: "I love you, Rara. Please be my wife. I’ll give you everything you want. I’ll take the stars out of the sky if you want them."
Man 3: "Anteng, please marry me and live with me. You are the air that I breathe; you are my life, my soul. I won’t be able to live without you."
Rara Anteng: "I’m sorry, folks. But, I will never change my mind and I can’t lie to myself. Jaka Seger is my true love. I will love him forever. Please understand and stop wasting your account trying to impress me. You'll get nowhere."
One day, the leader of a group of robbers, who often hacked other people's sites, came to the village to propose marriage to Rara Anteng. He was mean, cruel, and famous for his supernatural power. No one had ever dared to fight the wicked robber. Rara Anteng was afraid to refuse the robber’s proposal directly, as he might be angry and would probably destroy the village. Therefore, after some Google-searching, Rara Anteng prepared a trick, and quickly sent an IM to the robber.
Rara Anteng: "Hey, robber. I'm online now. I've decided to marry you."
Robber: "Hey, are you serious"
Rara Anteng: "Why not? What's wrong with marrying a guy like you? But I have one condition."
Robber: "Just say it. I'm all ears."
Rara Anteng: "I will marry you if you can create a sea in the middle of this mountain."
Robber: "Sea? Why not ocean? That’s as easy as ABC’s, or 1 2 3. With the latest software that I've developed, it’s a piece of cake. I can create with only a few key-strokes; before you even finish typing, my queen."
Rara Anteng: "Don’t think it’s that easy. I just want to make sure that I'm going to marry a tough guy. You’ll have to accomplish the task in one single night. I repeat, one night. You may start only after sunset. When the first cock crows the next morning, you’d better make sure the ocean is completely ready. Otherwise, you should stop dreaming of marrying me. That’s the deal."
Robber: "You’ll get it, my queen. Now, if you’d excuse me, I have to prepare for the night. Tomorrow, you’re mine!"
Rara Anteng: "Wait. One more thing. No spamming, no cheats, and no cracks allowed."
Robber: "No problem at all. Gotta go now. Bye"
As soon as the sun set that evening, the robber leader started what seemed to be an impossible task; creating a sea in the middle of the mountain. With his great supernatural power, he had thousands of jinns help him. The jinns started digging the mountain ground using coconut shells which were as big as a hill due to their supernatural power. They worked hard, so hard that after midnight, the work was almost done.
When more than two third of the ocean had been formed, Rara Anteng panicked. She was not happy at all.
Rara Anteng: "What will I do if the robber can make it? What will I say to Jaka Seger if the robber succeeds? I want to marry Jaka, not the filthy scoundrel. I’m not going to marry him in any way. So, I can’t just sit here and let things happen. I have to do something to stop him, even it means chatting. I mean cheating."
That midnight, Rara Anteng went out of her house and soon woke all her chickens, hens and cocks up. “Cock a doodle..... cock a doodle”. Soon, cockcrows broke the air in that silent midnight, crept into the robber’s ears, and shattered his dreams into pieces.
Robber: "Oh, no. It can’t be true! It’s still early, too early for a cock to crow. It can’t be true. It must be a trick."
The jinns, who had also heard the cockcrows, did not want to continue working anymore.
Jinn 1: "Please, forgive me, my master. It’s time for us to leave now. We, the jinns, are supposed to sign out and go home when we hear a cockcrow."
Robber: "What on earth are you talking about?? No, no, you can’t go. You have to finish the job. Help me."
Jinn 2: "I’m sorry, my master. Remember, the deal is that we should stop when we hear the first cockcrow, right? So, we really have to go now. We wish we could help you."
Jinn 3: "I'm sorry. But we really have to go now. Look. I've just got a message from my wife, asking me to pick my kids up from school."
Robber: "Nooooooooooo! You're all useless!"
In spite of the latest software, the robber realized that it was impossible for him to finish before the sunrise without the help from the Jinns. He got really mad and threw the biggest coconut shell into the air. It flew high in the air before the gravity pulled it back to the ground. Boom! It fell on the ground. Dust and sand scattered in the air, so did the robber’s dream of marrying Rara Anteng.
Since then, the robber had been reported missing. His family had tried people-finder on the web, but ended up with no result. His friends had also searched every social network and other web communities, but the robber was nowhere to download.
Not long after that, Jaka Seger (hey, where has he been all the time??? lol) and Rara Anteng got married, and lived happily ever after.
Today, we can enjoy the breath-taking beauty of Mount Bromo panorama, with the sand sea surrounding it and Mount Batok nearby. The sand sea is believed to be the ocean that was never completed; whereas Mount Batok is said to be the upsidedown coconut shell used by the robber to dig the land.
In the picture below, you can see Mt. Batok surrounded by early morning fog on the Sand Sea, next to the smoldering crater of Mt. Bromo. Further behind is the highest peak in Java, Mt. Semeru (3,676m).
(East Java Folktale – Retold in English by Prast)