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Showing posts with label Narrative Text. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Narrative Text. Show all posts

August 20, 2022

Narrative Text: The Story Of Roro Jonggrang - The Legend Of Prambanan Temples (A Folktale From Central Java)

The Story Of Roro Jonggrang
nce upon a time, there was a kingdom in Central Java named Baka. It was named after the king, Prabu Baka, who was a man-eating giant. Despite being a giant, the king had a very beautiful daughter named Roro Jonggrang (The Slim Girl).

The time came when Prabu Baka wanted to expand his territory by conquering the neighboring kingdom, Pengging. The king of Pengging, Prabu Damar Maya, responded and sent his son, Raden Bandung Bandawasa, to defend their kingdom.

Raden Bandung Bandawasa, renowned for his supernatural power, won the war. He managed to kill Prabu Baka. Soon, Baka kingdom fell into the hands of Bandung Bandawasa.

In victory, Bandung Bandawasa entered the palace where Prabu Baka used to live. When he saw Roro Jonggrang, he fell in love. He wanted to marry her.

Of course, Roro Jonggrang didn't want to marry the man who had killed her beloved father. She refused. However, Bandung Bandawasa persuaded her to marry him. In the end, Roro Jonggrang accepted his marriage proposal with two conditions that seemed impossible to fulfil.

"I want you to make a well and a thousand temples in just one night. They must be ready before the sun rises tomorrow morning," she demanded. She felt sure that it would be impossible for Bandung Bandawasa to fulfil her requirement and marry her.

Bandung Bondowoso agreed. After a few hours, he was able to make a well with his great supernatural power.

"Done!" he said with satisfaction. "I've finished the well, now the temples. I will ask my genie soldiers and helpers to help me build them."

Bandung Bandawasa then summoned genies and ordered them to build one-thousand temples. The genies worked hard and soon, there were able to build nearly 999 temples.

Seeing that the job was almost completed, Roro Jonggrang panicked. “Marrying Bandung Bondowoso is the last thing I want to do in my life. I have to make him fail one way or another,” she thought.

Then she had a great idea. She gathered all her servants and village girls and asked them to help her. "Listen, the genies are building the temples and it's unfair! We have to collect a lot of straw. Come on! Hurry up!" said Roro Jonggrang to them.

"What are you going to do with the straw, Princess?" asked one of the women.

"We will fake the dawn by burning the straw and pounding rice pestles. When the sky gets red and the sound of people pounding rice pestles is heard, the genies will think that the sun is rising and they will stop working and run away." she added.

So they did. They burnt the straw and started pounding the rice pestles in their homes as if they had been grinding some rice.

It worked! Seeing the reddish sky and hearing the sound of people pounding rice pestles, the genies thought that the sun was rising. They fled, leaving the last temple unfinished. They did not know that they had been tricked by Roro Jonggrang and her women.

Seeing this, Bandung Bondowoso was angry. He knew that Roro Jonggrang was trying to trick him and fail his attempt to marry her.

Durga Mahisashuramardini Statue

"You cannot fool me, Roro Jonggrang. I have built 999 temples. I just need one more temple to fulfil your requirement. Now, you'll complete my task and be the one-thousandth temple!"

Suddenly, Roro Jonggrang's body became stiffer and stiffer. She could not move. The curse had made her become a statue.

It is believed that Ratu Baka's site near Prambanan area was the palace of Prabu Baka, whereas the 999 unfinished temples is now known as Candi Sewu (a thousand temples). Arca Durga (Durga Mahisashuramardini), a very beautiful statue in the north part of Prambanan's main temple, is believed to be a manifestation of the cursed princess. People name it the statue of Roro Jonggrang.

Go to the worksheet page and do some exercises for this narrative text HERE.

April 12, 2020

The White Dragon's Egg: The Legend Of Lok Si Naga

Narrative Text-The White Dragon's Egg

long time ago, there lived a humble fisherman's family near a big river in South Kalimantan. They were very hard-working. Every day, they would go to the river to catch fish using a big rattan scoop called "tangguk" and sold the fish they had caught in a nearby market. Every time they went fishing to the river, they would leave their only son at home as he was still too young to be taken to the big river.

One day, as usual, the fisherman and his wife were fishing in the river. They had been fishing for hours but unfortunately, they were hardly able to catch any fish. Time and time again, they lifted the tangguk only to find to their disappointment that the tangguk was still empty. The fisherman sighed and almost gave up in despair, "What's happening? Where are the fish?" "If we don't catch enough fish, what should we eat?" said his wife. The fisherman didn't say anything but kept on working with the tangguk.

Suddenly, he felt his bucket was much heavier. "Aha!" He shouted with delight, feeling sure that he had caught a very big fish, and quickly lifted the trap out of the water. His heart jumped when he saw what was inside the scoop. It was a huge egg instead of a fish! "What on earth is it? An egg?" Feeling scared, he quickly put the tangguk back into the water to return the egg. However, every time he lifted the tangguk out of the water the egg was still there. It seemed that the egg didn’t want to leave the scoop. This happened several times until the fisherman and his wife decided to take the egg home.

Their boy was asleep when they arrived. "I'm hungry, but we caught nothing except the big egg." said the fisherman softly to his wife, not wanting to disturb the little boy's sleep. Having no fish to eat or sell, they decided to boil the egg they had found in the river. They both ate it and spared some for their son to eat when he woke up.

However, as soon as they had finished eating the egg, they felt something strange. Their skin became scaly and their body grew longer and longer. Now they realized that they had been cursed by the white dragon, an evil dragon living in the big river. But it was too late! They had turned into two big dragons!

When the boy woke up, he was very frightened of what he saw. Much to his horror, two big dragons were lying next to him. He screamed and cried for help, "Daaad ... help!" The two dragons soon tried to soothe him. They convinced him that they were his parents. They hugged their beloved son and told him how they turned into dragons. They reminded him not to eat the egg on the dining table as it was cursed by the white dragon. Whoever ate the white dragon's egg, they would change into a dragon.

They told their son that they had to find the white dragon and kill him to stop the curse. Before disappearing into the river, the two dragons told him that when he saw red blood on the surface of the river, it would mean that they had lost the fight, whereas white blood would be a sign of the white dragon's defeat. The sign would appear on a rainy day with an arch of a rainbow in the sky.

From then on, the boy would go to the riverbank every day, and sat there looking at the surface of the water for hours, worrying about his parents. And so it happened that, one day, after a slight rain on a sunny day and a rainbow appeared in the sky, he saw milky white blood on the surface of the water. It was the sign of the white dragon's defeat! Feeling certain that the two dragons had won the fight, he waited for them to return, but they never did. Nevertheless, he kept waiting patiently his entire life, by the river which the locals call "Lok Si Naga" or "Lok Lua", the River of the Dragons.

This narrative text is a folktale from South Kalimantan, retold in English by Mister Guru. Click the arrow sign on the left to learn more about narrative texts.

What is a narrative text?
A narrative text is a genre of writing which aims to entertain its readers by telling a story with the text type that includes adventures, fairy tales, fantasies, historical fictions, mysteries, personal narratives, realistic fictions, and science fictions.

What is the purpose of a narrative text?
A narrative text serves the purpose of amusing, entertaining and dealing with actual or vicarious experience, or problematic events leading to a crisis or turning point which in turn often finds a resolution.

What is the generic structure of a narrative text like?
A narrative text mostly consists of:

  • The orientation, which is a setting of the scene to introduce the participants, the time and place the story happened (who/what, when, and where).
  • The complication, which talks about a crisis or problem(s) that occurred.
  • The resolution, which mostly talks about how the crisis is resolved, for better or worse.
  • The re-orientation (optional), which ends the story

What are the lexicogrammatical features of a narrative text?
A narrative text mostly;

  • focuses on specific and usually individualized participants,
  • uses verbs showing us what happened/happens,
  • uses verbs of relational and mental processes,
  • uses temporal conjunctions and circumstances.
  • use verbs in past tense.

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May 13, 2013

Narrative Text: The Origin of Reog Ponorogo ( Folktale from East Java)

Narrative Text - The Origin of Reog Ponorogo ( Folktale from East Java)

long time ago, there was a very beautiful princess named Dewi Sanggalangit. She was a daughter of a famous king of Kediri Kingdom. In spite of her beauty and elegance that had made her win the heart of many princes and kings, Dewi Sanggalangit had no interest in making a family. This worried her parents who had been hoping to have grandchildren.

One day, her father asked, "My Daughter, when will you get married?"

Dewi Sanggalangit replied, "Father, I never think about it. If you really want me to get married, then I will only marry a man who is able to fulfill my wishes."

"Then, what are your wishes?" asked her father.

"I still don't know. Please let me contemplate and seek for revelations from Gods. When I'm done, I will let you know," Dewi Sanggalangit made a request, which was agreed by his father.

On the fourth day of her contemplation, Dewi Sanggalangit, accompanied by Biyung Emban, the chief lady-in-waiting, went to meet the King in the audience hall. After bowing before him, she said, "Father, whoever wishes to be my husband must be able to perform an extraordinary show that has never existed before. It is a dance accompanied by musical hornets and gamelan, with a procession of one hundred forty twin horses. There must be a two-headed animal as well."

The request was announced publicly and soon became a contest for everyone who had been wishing to marry her. All of them failed, except two men, Raja Singabarong, the King of Lodaya kingdom, and Raja Kelanaswandana, the King of Bandarangin.

This worried Dewi Sanggalangit and her father for they knew who the two men were. Raja Singabarong was a cruel and vicious lion-headed man. He was big and tall, with a lion face and neck covered with fur. On the other hand, Raja Kelanaswandana was a handsome man. Yet, he had a strange behavior. He was so fond of boys that he treated them as beautiful girls. Now that the contest had run, there was no way to cancel it.

In spite of his many mistresses, Singabarong had long expected Dewi Sanggalangit to be his queen. In order to fulfill Dewi Sanggalangit's requests, he had ordered his servants to find twin horses. He had also had the best artists create an attractive show and find a two-headed animal. However, the last two requests proved to be difficult to meet.

One day, he told Iderkala, his vice regent, to go to Bandarangin and find out about Kelanaswandana's preparation. Five days later, Iderkala returned, reporting that Kelanaswandana was ahead in the contest. More than one hundred twin horses had been prepared. An attractive show had also been created. Kelanaswandana didn't have much difficulty due to the help and support of his loyal vice regent, Patih Pujanggeleng, and his people who loved him and wanted him to get married and stop his bad habit. The only thing they couldn't find was a two-headed animal.

Raja Singabarong got very upset and told Iderkala to prepare a well-armed troop and attack Bandarangin at any time. He sent spies to locate Kelanaswandana's route from Wengker to Kediri, where he would ambush Kelanaswandana and seize the procession.

Narrative Text - The Origin of Reog Ponorogo ( Folktale from East Java)Somehow, the spies were caught by Kelanaswandana's men. Kelanaswandana, who was now aware of Singabarong's plan to attack, alerted Patih Pujanggeleng and prepared a sudden invasion to Lodaya before Singabarong started his move.

Filled with anxiety as his spies had not returned, Singabarong sent Iderkala to find out what had happened. His furry head was itching from fleas, so he went back to his castle where his peacock would peck at the annoying insects. As the bird was perching on his shoulder eating the fleas on his head, he fell asleep. He was unaware of what was going on, but as usual no one was dare to disturb and wake him up.

Meanwhile, Kelanaswandana's troop had advanced far into Lodaya. They didn't meet heavy resistance as the enemy was totally unprepared. Iderkala and his troop had also been defeated near the border. Now, they were nearing Singabarong's castle.

The noise of the troop woke Singabarong up. He rushed furiously outside his castle to see what was going on. He saw most of his soldiers had been defeated by Bandarangin troop, but what surprised him most was the sight of Raja Kelanaswandana among his troop. He shouted in anger, "Hey, Kelanaswandana. What in the world are you doing here?"

Raja Kelanaswandana replied, "Stop acting like a fool! I know you've been planning to seize what I've prepared for Dewi Sanggalangit. You must be punished!" As he said that, he directed his magical power towards Singabarong, whose head suddenly changed. The lion head had merged with the peacock perching on his shoulder. It made Singabarong look like a two-headed animal.

Blazing in anger, Singabarong drew his keris and charged at Kelanaswandana. He moved so fast that Kelanaswandana could not evade the attack. His left shoulder was scratched. The scar soon blistered, blackened, and fumed.

Kelanaswandana barely had time to make a stance when Singabarong charged at him with another attack. This time, he managed to block it with his hand, making Singabarong stagger a few steps back. Kelanaswandana didn't waste the chance. He launched a powerful kick which dropped the keris in Singabarong's hand.

Singabarong roared and sprang to Kelanaswandana as if he had been his prey. His claws, punches, and kicks landed on Kelanaswandana mercilessly. He obviously overpowered Kelanaswandana in that fight.

Narrative Text - The Origin of Reog Ponorogo ( Folktale from East Java)On the verge of his defeat, Kelanaswandana got up and removed a rope-like belt from his waist. It was his secret weapon, the magical whip of Kyai Pecut Samandiman. He slashed it at Singabarong. The whiplash sounded like an explosion, leaving a trail of fume in the air, and tossed Singabarong's body as if it had been a coin. Singabarong fell to the ground. As he tried to get up, he felt so weak that he tottered.

Raja Kelanaswandana approached Singabarong, who was now unable to move. "Be a two-headed animal!" he said. Suddenly, Singabarong turned into a strange animal. It had two heads, one was that of a lion, the other was a peacock's right above the lion's head. Kelanaswandana immediately asked his men to capture the animal and bring it home to Bandarangin.

Several days later, Raja Kelanaswandana came to Kediri to propose a marriage to Dewi Sanggalangit. One hundred forty twin horses were tailing behind him, accompanied by a strange two-headed animal which was dancing in excitement to the music of gamelan and hornet. Everyone was happy to see the show.

Dewi Sanggalangit accepted his proposal and became the Queen of Bandarangin in Wengker. Raja Kelanaswandana had managed to stop his bad habit and ruled Bandarangin in peace and harmony.

The show itself is still very popular today, known as Reog Ponorogo. It takes the name of its origin, Ponorogo, which is another name of Wengker, in East Java, Indonesia.

Narrative Text - The Origin of Reog Ponorogo ( Folktale from East Java)

Retold in English by Mister Guru

May 01, 2013

Narrative Text: Three Brothers, One Wish (Tale from the Philippines)

Narrative Text: Three Brothers, One Wish - Tale from the Philippines

nce upon a time, there lived a woman named Ana whose husband was a farmer. They had three sons who, unlike other young men in the village, disliked farming.

After her husband had passed away, Ana had to work alone on the farmland. Her sons were unwilling to help. Tasyo, the oldest son, said, "No one gets rich from farming." Bindoy, the second son, said, "Farming is hard work. The yield is unequal to the amount of time we spend." Castor, the last son, said, "The land is difficult to cultivate. The plants will die if it's dry, and sink if it's wet."

One night, after having dinner, Ana spoke to her sons, "I'm getting older and I feel tired. Since none of you is willing to help me on the farmland, I think you should leave and seek your destiny. After seven years, you may go home and tell me what you have done. Let's see whether you can make your dreams come true without cultivating the land."

On the following day, determining to follow their mother's advice, the three brothers left their home. They were sad to leave their mother, but they had no choice.

After a long hours of walk, they arrived at a junction. Tasyo suggested, "From now on, we should split here and take our own way. At the end of the seventh year, let's meet here on our way home." His brothers agreed, and so, they separated.

The wet and dry season came one after the other. Seven years had passed. The three brothers went home and met at the junction. Tasyo, who had worked in a mirror factory, had mastered the art of making mirrors. Bindoy, having worked at a shipyard, had been an expert in building ships. Castor, having been acquainted with a group of robbers, had become a thief.

Their mother cried in happiness to have them back home. Years of hard work under the sun and rain had made her look older and weaker than before. However, her sons' return had made her very happy.

Three Brothers, One WishSeveral days later, one of the King's messengers arrived in that village with a very important announcement. The beautiful Perlita Princess had been kidnapped by a cruel and wicked wizard. No one knew where she had been kept and what might have happened to her. The announcement said that the King would honor a noble rank to anyone who could locate and bring the princess back safely, and would ask him to marry Perlita Princess.

Hearing the announcement, the three brothers arranged a plan to save the princess. They thought it might be the perfect chance to apply what they had learnt in order to achieve their dream of becoming rich.

Tasyo said, "I have a secret mirror through which we can see anything that bare eyes can't see. With it, we can find where the princess is."

Bindoy said, "I can build a ship to take us wherever the princess is."

Castor added, "I can kidnap the princess wherever she's kept."

The three brothers appeared in front of the King on the following day. the King's grief soon disappeared once he heard that Tasyo knew where the princess was. Through the magic mirror, they could see that the princess was being kept on a tall tower in a faraway island.

"How can we save her?" said the King.

"Let's see what we can do," said Bindoy and Castor. Then, Bindoy soon built a sailing ship. It was not long before the ship was ready and they sailed to the faraway island.

Arriving there, they found that the tower was guarded by many kinds of giants, including the fierce tikbalang and kapre. They gathered around the tower to prevent anyone from saving the princess.

Shaking their heads in despair, Tasyo and Bindoy said, "It's impossible for us to get past the giants and enter the tower."

Tale from the Philippines"I'll try," said Castor. As a thief, he had learnt how to break into any kinds of buildings. Therefore, he could enter the tower easily and save the Princess before the giants knew what had happened. He took her aboard the awaiting ship and they managed to escape safely.

When the ship arrived at the port, celebration began to start allover the kingdom. The King was very pleased. He threw big dancing parties at his own expense.

Then, a new problem arose. Which of the three brothers was more eligible to marry the Princess since all of them had played an important part in saving her? Then, he conducted a meeting with his ministers and advisers to discuss the matter. Finally, they came out with a decision.

"Instead of marrying my daughter to her savior," the King announced, "I will give half of my kingdom to the three brothers, to be shared equally among them."

That was exactly what the three brothers had dreamed of. They would soon be rich and able to help their old mother. They returned to their village bringing abundant wealth. Soon, they bought a vast farming land and hired a lot of workers to cultivate it. Their mother now could rest after a long years of hard work. She lived happily with her sons beside her till the day she passed away.

The three brothers had become very rich, but the most valuable thing they learned was that the land will be a very valuable resource only when it is managed with wisdom, consistency, and devotion.

The Asian Cultural Center for Unesco, Dongeng-Dongeng Asia Untuk Anak-Anak jilid lima, Tiga Saudara Satu Cita-cita. Jakarta, PT. Dunia Pustaka Jaya, 1976.
Retold in English by Mister Guru.

April 25, 2013

Narrative Text: A Young Brahmin and A Ghost (Folktale from India)

Narrative Text: A Young Brahmin and A Ghost - Folktale from IndiaA long time ago, there lived a young man with his old mother in a village. In spite of the Brahman caste they belonged to, they lived in poverty and all they had was a little hut and a piece of land on which they planted vegetables for a living.

The old woman wanted her son to marry a woman, so that she would have a daughter in law who would help her with the house chores. However, the young Brahmin was too poor to afford even the most humble wedding. He was sad because of this.

One day he made a decision. He would go to the city and only return home when he had enough money to marry a woman. He wanted to make his mother happy. "I'll go to the city," said the young man to his mother. "I'll raise some money. When I return, I'll get married and we'll live happily." His mother disagreed because she didn't want her son to be away from her. She tried to hold him back and change his mind, but her son was determined to leave.

Meanwhile, a ghost who lived on an old tree near the hut heard their conversation. He thought, "It's a golden opportunity to live in the hut. As soon as the Brahmin leaves, I'll assume his shape and pretend to be him. I'll live comfortably in the hut and have my meals prepared everyday. I'm tired of living on this cold old tree. I'm tired of being a ghost."

One night, not long after the young man had left for the city, the ghost took the shape of the young Brahmin and went to the hut. While knocking at the door, he said in a loud voice, "Mother, it's me. I'm back."

The old woman was surprised to hear what she thought to be her son's voice and immediately opened the door. She asked, "You said you would be away for quite long. What has happened? Are you sick?"

Pretending to be her son, the ghost answered, "I've changed my mind, Mother. I just can't leave you alone. I will stay and take care of you." The old woman cried. She was happy to have her son back. Then, she prepared a nice dinner for him. Since then, the ghost lived in the hut as the old woman's son. It was much more comfortable than living on the cold old tree.

A year later, the young Brahmin went home. He knocked at the door happily. To his surprise, when the door opened, he saw a young man who looked exactly like him. The young man stood at the door and looked at him with furious eyes. "Who are you? What are you doing here?" he asked rudely.

The young Brahmin was shocked, and asked back, "Hey, who are you? What are you doing here in my house?" He called his mother, "Mother, what has happened? Who is this young man?"

However, his mother didn't seem to recognize him. She said angrily, "What do you mean? He is my son. Who are you?" The young Brahmin tried to convince her that he was her true son. It was all in vain. His mother and the ghost slammed the door and left him outside.

Not knowing what to do, the young Brahmin went to the King and told him about what had happened. The King listened attentively, then ordered both young men to appear before him. The King looked at them carefully, one after the other. He was confused since they looked exactly the same. The King then asked them questions. However, he was still unable to tell which of the two young men was the old woman's true son.

One day, while he was on his way home from the King’s castle trying to convince the King, he met a boy who was playing near a field. The boy asked him, “Why do you look so sad?”

The young Brahmin replied in a desperate voice, “No one can help me. I’m homeless. A stranger has lived in my home and my mother believes that he is me, her true son. There’s no justice in this kingdom.”

“Come and meet our King,” said the boy. “Tell him about your problem. I’m sure he can help you.”

“I have met the King. He can’t help me,” replied the young Brahmin.

“No, not that King. Let me take you to our King,” said the boy.

“Who’s your King? There could be no other king in this kingdom,” said the young Brahmin. However, the boy soon took the Brahmin’s hand and led him to his friends who were gathering in the field. They were sitting in circle, surrounding a boy with a bright face who was sitting on a mound in the middle of the field. The boy bowed before him and said, “Your Majesty, this young man wishes to tell you about his strange problem. He is seeking for justice.”

“We will listen to you. Now tell us about your problem, good young Man,” said the boy who seemed to be their king. The young Brahmin thought it was a joke and started to get angry. However, the little king's words convinced the Brahmin and he was now willing to tell him about his problem.

"I will help you," said the little 'King', "I will solve it tomorrow. However, the King, his ministers, and the whole village must be present here."

The Brahmin had no other choice but to go to the King and ask him to come. Fortunately, instead of becoming offended with the request, the King was curious about how the little "King" would solve the problem.

On the following day, the King, his ministers, his escorts, and the whole village gathered on the field. So did the young Brahmin, his mother, and the ghost, who was still confident that the little "King" would not be able to solve a mystery that the King could not solve.

As the boy bowed before him, the King said in a stern voice, "I'm here because you've promised us to solve this young Brahmin's problem. If you fail, I will give you a severe punishment."

"Alright, Your Majesty," said the boy calmly. Everybody was waiting anxiously. The King who ruled the kingdom only stood there and watched him as he sat down on the mound. Then, the boy showed a bottle with a long and narrow neck, and said, "Whichever of the two young men who is able to enter the bottle is the true son of the old woman. He is also the rightful owner of the hut."

The Brahmin was shocked to hear what seemed to be an unfair judgment. However, before he could say a word of protest, the ghost, who at that time was sure that he would win, suddenly made himself smaller and smaller. He turned into a small insect, and flew into the bottle. As soon as he entered the bottle, the young "King" closed the bottle tightly.

He said to the audience, "He is a ghost who has assumed the young man's shape. He has convinced everyone, even the young man's mother. In fact, this young man is the true son of the old woman." Then he asked the young Brahmin to take the bottle and throw it away into the sea.

The King, who was pleased with the brilliant solution, asked, "How can you be so wise at your age?"

"We are not more than cowherds, Your Majesty. We come here to let our cows graze. One day, we found this mound, which seemed to be a perfect place for us to play on. Then, we built our own little castle here. We believe that he who sits on the mound will gain the wisdom and ability to solve even the most complicated problem. We sit on it in turn, and today it happens to be mine. I don't have such power, Your Majesty. It is all due to this magical mound," the little boy explained.

Filled with curiosity, the King ordered his men to dig the mound. What they found below was a beautiful throne which looked like a stage, decorated with pearls and jewelry and held up by thirty-two sculptures of beautiful goddesses.

The King wanted to sit on the throne. Suddenly, before he could even touch the throne, a voice was heard. "No, don't," it said. "The throne belongs to Raja Wikrama. Before you can sit on it, prove us that you have the same courage and wisdom as Raja Wikrama's. Now listen, we will tell you how wise Raja Wikrama is."

Then, in turn, the thirty-two goddesses told the tales about the courage and wisdom of Raja Wikrama. Soon after the last story was told, the thirty-two goddesses lifted the throne high up in the air, then flew and disappeared.

* * *
The thirty two tales told by the goddesses are popular in India, known as the Simhasana Battisi, 'the thirty two tales of the Throne.'


The Asian Cultural Center for Unesco, Dongeng-Dongeng Asia Untuk Anak-Anak jilid lima. Jakarta, PT. Dunia Pustaka Jaya, 1976.
Retold in English by Mister Guru.

July 01, 2010

The Spell of Longing - An Elegy for Rose

English short story - The Spell of Longing

t still feels like yesterday when I first saw you. You were late on your first day in campus! The class was having a lecture when you came. You stood there at the classroom door, smiled and nodded to the lecturer, asking for her permission to join in. The whole French class seemed to be hypnotized by your beautiful smile and so did I. At the right back corner of the classroom, I watched as you walked in and sat down next to Eva, right in front of my seat!

Although the lecturer continued with her lesson, I just could not focus anymore. Sitting alone behind you, I was forcing myself to listen to and digest the lecturer’s explanation, instead of thinking about you. I agreed with most boys in the class at that time. You were a complete distraction!

From then on, you would start asking questions about English lessons to me, and I was always more than willing to explain anything to you. After some time, you moved over and sat next to me. Discussing lectures or common things, we would seem to isolate ourselves from the rest of the class.

Days passed, filled with togetherness. You would patiently accompany me to read in the library, or just to sit in the classroom waiting for the next lecturer to come. There was absolutely no day in campus that I didn’t spend with you. Even when the lecture was over, we used to spend some more time together to do our assignments or just to chat and listen to some music in my boarding house which was within a walking distance from the campus.

However, I didn’t want to misinterpret our closeness as anything more than friendship. I just told myself that it was due to our fondness of reading, soft music, and English. We did have much in common. We could discuss those things for hours without getting bored. What I liked most from being together with you was that you never tried to change me. You seemed to enjoy being with me as myself, not as anyone else. You could move me without having to touch me, and change me without having to teach me.

As time went by, there was absolutely too much for me to avoid a strange feeling for you to grow in my heart, a feeling that I had never felt before. The more often we got together, the stronger that feeling grew. Yet, for the sake of our friendship, it was never said and I decided to remain as a friend to you.

It was 5.30 pm. The class was free and noisy as the lecturer hadn’t come. At our desk, you told me, “Anto, the next lecture is French, right? What a bore! I want to skip it. Let’s go out for some fresh air.”

I had never expected you to give this kind of invitation. Hesitatingly, I asked, “Where to, Rose?”

“Anywhere. Just go with me and leave the class,” you answered.

I was still in doubt. “I won’t go unless we know where to go. Tell me.”

“How can I tell you? I myself don’t know where to go. Just go out with me and we can decide later on the way. I just want to have something to eat and spend this nice evening outside, rather than sit the evening away here to hear a boring lecture from a bored lecturer,” you replied with your sparkling beautiful eyes looking straight at me, begging me to agree with you.

Ten minutes later, we were riding on your motorcycle along the streets of downtown Malang to go window-shopping at the Plaza, and then uptown to eat at a nice and small Soto restaurant.

While eating, you told me that you actually had a boyfriend who was now studying in Surabaya, and that you would introduce me to him someday. It hurt me deep inside and I wanted to tell you it would not be necessary. Whoever that lucky guy was, he was blessed to have you. But I didn’t want to look silly in front of you. So, I decided to be nice and pretended to be happy with your plan. You also asked me whether I had a girlfriend. I had to tell you that there had been a girl in the past that I had loved very much, until she left without enough reasons for me to understand, and it had taken me long enough to get over her. I made it clear to you that I didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

That night, I realized that I shouldn’t have hoped much from our relationship. I had to forget all my dreams before they ever had a chance to grow. I would not be prepared to see my dreams fall apart just like what had happened years before. I just didn’t want to take a chance anymore!

One fine morning, you showed up at my boarding house. Your red eyes told me you had been weeping. Sitting next to me and crying, you told me that you had just broken up with your boyfriend. It did hurt to see you in that shape and I really didn’t have much to say. I just couldn’t understand how on earth a man could hurt such a sweet girl as you.

“What can I do for you?” I asked hesitatingly, not knowing what else to do.

You wiped your tears and sighed. “Nothing. Just be as you are now. Don’t change. Be my friend forever. OK?” You said in an uncertain voice. Your sad eyes stabbed mine, searching for a shelter. You smiled then, but it was a bitter smile. It was clear that you were just pretending to be strong.

I nodded, “You could always count on me, Rose. I’ll always be your friend.”

I could not describe how I wanted to comfort you at that time. If you had been a cute and lovely bird, you had surely been wounded. Your wings had broken for some reason, and I had never seen you as helpless as you were at that time. I took your hands softly and held them tight, hoping that I could give you a little strength to carry on.

A year of a beautiful friendship passed. It was drizzling when the lecture was over. The class had planned to throw a small party at Ray’s place that evening.

“Are we going to the party?” Your cheerful voice demanded my decision as we strolled along the lonely street. The rain was not hard enough to get us drenched walking home.

“In this kind of weather? I don’t think so. Besides, there are many assignments to do,” I replied, thinking that I always disliked staying among a crowd.

“You don’t like parties, crowds, and things like that,” you said.

I felt the conversation sounded more personal than usual, so I gave you a puzzled look. You looked back at me. Your beautiful black hair hanging loosely past your shoulder glistened with raindrops under the dim street lights.

“What do you mean?” I asked, pursuing an explanation of your directness.

“You seem different from other boys; reticent, remote and untouched. But I like you that way,” you replied.

You were almost right about that. But you were wrong about my being untouched, because you had actually touched inside me more than you thought you did. However, I decided to say nothing about it, and kept watching our feet stepping slowly on that dark and clammy asphalt.

“I like being together with you, Anto. You’re a nice person to be with,” you added softly.

“I like you, too, Rose,“ I said awkwardly. You didn’t know how I had to force myself to say it.

“Really? What do you like from me?” you asked. I could see your eyebrows raised in curiosity.

“Your personality maybe. You are so kind that I always feel comfortable around you,” I answered, trying to figure out why I liked her.

“We have been best friends for more than a year, Anto. I like you and I know much about you. But, I really don’t know what you actually feel for me.” My heart jumped at what you had just said.

I hoped I had not misunderstood you. I looked at you as I wanted to make sure that I was not dreaming. Your beautiful eyes stared back at me, waiting or maybe searching for a reply. Those starry eyes were sparkling.

“What do you hope from me, Anto?” This time you paraphrased the question.

“This is it!” I thought. “If I ever want to let her know my feelings, I should let her know now. Now, or I’ll have to wait until God knows when.” My mind urged me. My heart throbbed, and I suddenly felt difficult to breathe.

“Do I need to say it to you? Couldn’t you see it in my eyes all this time, Rose?” But those questions were never asked, and remained unsaid when your soft voice reminded me that you needed an answer.

“Tell me. I’m waiting”, you said.

“I don’t know what I feel for you. I’m not sure and I don’t really care about it. All that matters to me is that you’re always around and never leave me. That’s all I want to say.” I said in a trembling voice.

“Do you love me?” You asked. This time I felt you were either interrogating or teasing me.

“I don’t know, Rose. But, I know I care for you,” I said, still awkwardly.

“It means you love me,” you concluded, glancing and smiling at me teasingly. What a shy fool I was!

"Maybe. Now it’s your turn to tell me your feelings,” I replied, trying to escape from your further questions. Honestly, I was also relieved because now you knew about what I had always felt for you this far.

“You know it, Anto. I’ve never been as close to anyone as I am to you now, so close that I think you’re a part of me,” you added.

“But, does it seem right, Rose? Still remember our promise to be friends?” I wanted to tease her back.

Your lips formed another beautiful smile before you answered my question.

“Even a fool knows that friends can be lovers. We can be both friends and lovers at the same time, right?”

I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. I had never expected you would say those words to me. I wanted to hear more in order to be sure. “I have to say it that I have many dreams about us, Rose. But, I’m afraid. I just don’t want my dreams to shatter again. You have to understand that.”

You stopped walking and took my hand. You stared right at me and said, “Anto, let’s promise, we will be together and love each other as long as the stars burn in the sky. Promise me that you’ll never leave me.”

“I promise you, Rose. I will always love you,” my eyes pierced back into yours so that you knew that I meant what I had just said.

Then you hugged me. I could smell the sweet scent of your hair when you laid your head on my shoulder. I put my arms around you and held you tight, so that you knew I would never let you go. I didn’t want to lose you, Rose.

“I love you, Anto. You’ve always given me strength. I’d be a fool to leave you,” you whispered softly. From your voice, I could tell that you were crying.

I couldn’t describe how I felt at that moment. It was the happiness and comfort that I had been dreaming of for so long. It was too good to be true. I looked up to the sky, and I felt like flying among thousands of raindrops, leaving the dark clouds beneath us, into a new horizon of tomorrow which was painted with dreams and hopes of togetherness.

Since then, you and I would always be together. Days were filled with laughter and joy. We had it all and we were as happy as we could be, weaving every dream we had. Until that sad morning, a year after the moment we pledged our love, when a friend came rushing into my room, telling me that you had just had a traffic accident on your way to my boarding house. In a bitter voice, he said that you had been taken to the hospital. I was panicking and soon we hurried there on his motorcycle.

I was more than shocked to see you lying motionless on the bed in the hospital. It was a sight that I had never expected to see. Those beautiful eyes of yours that I had always adored were now closed. Those young lips which used to paint your lovely smile now shut and looked cold. There were no signs of life. And from the sorry eyes of the nurses there, I knew what had happened. You had lost too much blood, and it was too late. You had gone away. And I stood there alone. Why did it have to end so soon? Why did you leave me, Rose? Those questions were ripping my brain. I felt my world was falling apart, and the earth beneath me felt shaking. Everything around me seemed moving. My blood stopped flowing. My mouth was bitter. Then, everything went dark.

Rose, it’s drizzling tonight, just like five years ago before you went away. Yes, five long and lonely years have passed aimlessly without you. And I’m here alone, drowned helplessly in my longing for you. The glittering needles of rain only spell out our memories, one by one. At one time, they witnessed our happiness. But now they seem unfriendly and dumb. The sky they are falling from is jet black and saddened. There is no more color there to paint and add to my horizon. They're all cold and empty without you.

Rose, five long years have passed, but every piece of your memory still remains deeply engraved at a hollow of my heart. Let them live there forever. If there’s a missing piece in me, only you can make it complete.

But Rose, where can I find you?

(by PI - for an everlasting "Flower", 18 years ago)

September 26, 2008

The Story of Tengger (Funny Version)

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).

The Story of Tengger - Funny Version

(East Java Folktale – Retold in English by Prast)