The Foundling. Toraja

Apero Fublic.- Her father did not want her. When her mother was with child, he had hoped for a son; thus he was disappointed when a daughter was born to him instead of a son.

He did not wait long. Soon after her birth, her father packed her up in some rags, took her to the forest and left her there to her fate. After some time, she grew thirsty and began to cry. Her mother was far away, of course, so she just kept on crying. Unexpectedly a creature approached the place where the child had been place, perhaps attracted by her cries.

"Poor child! he said. Have you been left her to die? Come, I'll take you with me; I'll make you a home. Then the ape - For that was what the creature was - took the baby to the tree where he lived. First he looked for some fruit to quench her thirst, then from leaves he made a kind of shed that gave the child some protection against the weather.

Time went by. By the time the baby had grown up into a fine young girl, the ape had already made a hut for her out of tree branches. He had also taught her how to prepare food from the fruit, leaves and roots he found in the forest. But one day he went away.

He walked through the forest from village to village in search of the girl's parents; However she could not find them. Finally he arrived at the forge of a blacksmith, she climbed onto the roof and shouted; If you see my granddaughter you will be pleased. The blacksmith and his men were absorbed in their work in the forge and they could not hear him with all the noise.

Disappointed, the ape left the roof and made for home. The next morning he did the same, sitting on the roof and shouting to the people below. Once again, he was not heard and again he went home. feeling rather sad that nobody had taken any notice of him.

However, he did not lose courage again and again he came to the same place, and again and again he was not notice until one day one of the youngest caught sight of him. This young man said to his companion; "Look over there; an ape is sitting on the roof. I have been watching him for a long time, Listen carefully; he is speaking about his granddaughter. Perhaps he wants us to know her.

The apprentice, whose name was Sanepa, finished his work as quickly as he could. He was about what the ape was trying to say. Then, when his work was done, he stealthily followed the ape as the creature made for home.

Sanepa had to go through thick undergrowth in order not to be seen. The ape sometimes swung from branch to branch, finding his way home. At last, when they had journeyed for two days, they arrived at the ape's hut. The ape climbed into it immediately . But there was no ladder and, in trying to climb up, Sanepa made so much noise that the ape asked; who is there?.

"Me, Sanepa, the blacksmith's apprentice. I heard what you said on the roof and that's why I have followed you.

"All right. please come in.
"But how? shouted Sanepa. There's no ladder.
"Girl. said the ape to the girl. Open and lower the ladder.
"No. cried the girl. I don't dare; I have never seen a man.

"If you don't obey me, I'll go away and leave you alone. Out of fear of being left alone, the girl did what she was told. She opened the door and lowered a ladder made of rattan. Senepa climbed up and was soon in the hut.

"Child. said the ape again. prepare some food. Again the girl was reluctant to do what the ape ordered.

"No, Grandfather. she said. not for this man. Again the ape threatened her and there was nothing the girl could do but obey. From that day on, Sanepa remained with the ape and the girl. His fellow-villagers wondered where he had gone and what had happened to him.

His mother cried and cried for him, but no Sanepa appeared and finally she lost hope of seeing him again. One day the ape married the girl to Sanepa. Sanepa lived happily with them at first but, after a while he felt homesick and made it known to the ape.

"Well. said the ape. I'll take your parents. Then he whistled and a rainbow appeared, which led them the village where Sanepa's parent's lived. The ape was not an ordinary ape; in reality he was a magicia, which explains why he could summon a rainbow to take them to Sanepa's parents.

It was not long before they were standing in fron of the door of Sanepa's old home.  One seeing the rainbow, Sanepa's mother thought that people from heaven had landed on the earth and she felt very afraid. She plucked up her courage and looked carefully.

"Why! she exclaimed. Isn't that Sanepa? We all thought was dead. Great was her joy when she found that her son had come home again. She welcomed her daughter-in-law and the ape heartily.

Then she immediately prepared a great feast for all of them but after the meal Sanepa said that they would not stay long with her. They would set off for their home in the forest again after one night. That night everybody sleep on a mat on the floor except the ape, who hung under the roof of the house. The next morning they left for the forest. But four day after their return the ape said. I'm leaving you now. Don't with for me. Then he left without saying where he was going.

When after three days the ape had not returned, Sanepa's wife set off to look for him. Under a big tree she found his dead body. The ape legs had changed into weapons and his head into an iron helmet, while his bones had become pure gold. Another part of his body had become earthenware utensils for the kitchen and the remaining part were pearls.

The ape had thought of everything that the foundling and her husband would need for their married life. Full of gratitude the girl carried all the articles home and fut them in the right places. Husband and wife lived happily together after that, but never did the wife forget her beloved grandfather, without whom she would have died when left alone in the forest by her own father.

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

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