6/20/2019

Mr. Belalang

Apero Fublic.- Was his name and there was no one who did not know him. He was the man in the village who time after time deceived his fellow villagers, counting it a good joke. He was helped by his magic book. whenever there was someone in his neightbourhood. he was always seen consulting it.

He knew quite accurately to say whether there was something in trap, or who had stolen a goat, and so on. Therefore people believed him very much. One day he said to his son. 'Belalang, go and fetch my book, he turned over the leaves, and read and read. Then he shouted. son! let's look there. the trap has caught an Ayam Mua.

‘Ibu. He said to his wife. Prepare the coconut-milk. We are having fine food today. He was right. An Ayam Mua was indeed in his trap.
‘How clever Pak Belalang is. People thought.

Another time, after having consulted his magic book. He said. ‘Out trap has caught an Ayam Ratih. ‘But was he indeed a seer? Certainly not, for early in the morning before dawn, while other people were still asleep, he slipped out to his trap to see whether there was something there. On coming home, he let his son fetch his magic book, pretending to consult it, this he did every time, as if he could foretell what the day would bring. Nobody was aware of this trick.

One day a laundryman from the palace asked for his help to tell to him where the clothes for the wash were hidden; while being dried on the clothesline  they had vanished.  Of course Pak Belalang knew. After having looked into his book, he said. Not far away, they are hidden in hole under the tree near the palace.

The Laundryman went to the spot, and true enough, the washing was there, still neatly packed. The man was very happy to escape punishment from court. and why was Pak Belalang able to tell him all this ? simply, because his own son had stolen the things and had told him where he had hidden them. Indeed Pak Belalang was a clever man!.

Pak Belalang fame's spread everywhere. No wonder that one day, when seven precious boxes were stolen from the palace, the king sent for him. This time Pak Belalang really did not know the thieves were, as his son had not taken part in it. He therefore turned pale as he knew what could happen to him if he could not tell the king who had stolen the boxes. the punishment was death.

Poor head of mine! he lamented. won't you belong to me any longer? caressing his head again and again. he heart was pounding.
What is to become of me ? My hours are numbered! The culprit was not his son. So how was he to know him?.

'Might God! he prayed. help me! what have I gained by deceiving people? woe is me! as he was grieving and lamenting. a thought struck him.

Your majesty, please give me seven days' time. he asked the king. This was granted but Pak Belalang kept saying to himself. a bad omen that my head should no longer belong to my body.

The first day passed; nothing happened. The second passed, still no news, the third, the fourth, the fifth and at last the sixth. the thieves were still not discovered. Pak Belalang grew worried. The whole family gathered in great sadness for the forthcoming farewell. his wife had prepared for him the food he most liked.
‘Perhaps this is the last time. she thought.

Outside it was dark and raining hard. All of a sudden Pak Belalang said to his wife; please prepare some Pancakes. when the first was ready, Pak Belalang said. wife this one is wonderful, it is yellow, please, prepare another. every time he said. took dark, too fat, too thin and so on.

Pak Belalang did not know that the thieves had hidden under his house just to overheard whether Pak Belalang would say something about them. they had heard that Pak Belalang had been consulted by the king and that Pak Belalang always knew exactly what as asked of him. they therefore feared this man.

On hearing the words; yellow, brown, dark, too fat and so on, they grew alarmed as that was what they looked like.

What could they do? fly away? hide? where? wherever they went, they could not escape Pak Belalang; he always knew everything. that was what they thought and therefore there was nothing left for them but to ask the king for mercy.

A moment later Pak Belalang heard a knock at his door. when the door was opened, seven men prostrated themselves at his feet and asked; Please help us, Pak Belalang, ask the king for mercy. Pak Belalang himself was surprised and at the same time glad.

'well. he said. you are asking for mercy, and when it is granted to you, are you going to steal again?
No, Pak Belalang, no more! they answered in union. we promised.
Who could say who was happier, Pak Belalang or the seven thieves!

Rescued! Pak Belalang cried for joy to himself. The next morning the eight of them marched to the palace, the thieves carrying the boxes on their shoulders. Arriving in the king's presence, all of them knelt down and Pak Belalang said; your majesty, here are the thieves. the boxes are safe but I beseech your mercy for them as they already regret their behaviour.

As the king was glad to have his boxes back and the thieves promised not to steal again mercy was granted to them. everyone went home with a thankful heart.

Oleh. Drs. S.D.B. Aban.
Rewrite. Apero Fublic.
Editor. Selita. S.Pd.
Fotografer. Dadang Saputra.
Source : Dra. S. D. B. Aman. Folk Tales From Indonesia. Djambatan. Jakarta, 1995.

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