The Montain Legend Tangkuban Perahu

Apero Fublic.- In the time when West Java was still thickly covered with woods and undergrowth and wonders existed, there reigned a king, named Raden Sungging Pebangkara. he was a good ruler and to convince himself of the welfare of his subjects, he used visit them. but the thing he liked most was hunting in the forest.

It happened that in one of the forests the king often  visited there lived a she-pig, actually a cursed goddess. one day, as it was very warm, she came out of her hiding place looking for water. there she saw a coconut-shell, filled with water.

Glad to have found something and expecting it to be coconut-milk, she drang to it at a draught, having no suspicions whatsoever that it was the king's urine, left there the day before when hunting. the consequence was very strange. she became pregnant. in a few months she gave birth to a very pretty girl. When the king was once again hunting the forest, he saw the girl and, attracted by her beauty, he took her to his palace, called her Dayang Sumbi and treated her as his own daughter.

Time passed and Dayang Sumbi grew up into a fine young girl. she was fond of weaving and thus passed her time. one bright morning, as she was absorbed in weaving, her weaving-spool suddenly got loose. before  she could prevent it, it flew out of the window to the field below. it was out of her reach, as her room was about three storeys high.

Furthermore she was very tired and had no wish to descend the stairs to fetch the spool. quite at ease, she mumbled. 'whoever is willing to help me pick up the spool, I'll treat as my sister, if she is a girl. if he is a man, I'll take him as my husband. these words were overheard by a dog, called Tumang, who happened to come along.

He immediately piked up the spool and brought it to Dayang Sumbi. Tumang was in fact a cursed god too. like the she-pid. seeing the dog with the spool in his mouth, Dayang Sumbi fainted. the gods had decided for her to undergo the same fate as her mother, the she-pig. she too became pregnant and a short time afterwards she gave birth to a strong healthy son, whom she called Sangkuriang.

Sangkuriang became a handsome young man, as time went by, like his grandfather, he was fond of hunting in the forest and Tumang was his faithful friend when roaming the woods. he loved this creature very much, having no idea at all that it was his own father. one day while hunting, they came across a fat big. Sangkuriang strung his bow and z-z-z-z-z-z-z ! the arrow hissed towards the she-pig, and hit but did not kill her. wounded, she vanished into the undergrowth.

"come on, Tumang, run after her !. Sangkuriang shouted, eager to taste the pork. Tumang, however, did not move. whatever Sangkuriang said to urge Tumang to pursue the pig, it left him unmoved. Sangkuriang lost his self control. in his anger he killed Tumang, cut up his flesh into pieces and took it home to his mother. she prepared a tasty dish of it and after the meal she asked. Sangkuriang, what kind of flesh is this? it is delicious!

'This is Tumang's, mother. Sangkuriang responded. I killed him, as he did not obey my command to pursue a fit pig. for one moment Dayang Sumbi was speechless. then in rage she took a spool and flung it at him. it struck his forehead and blood dropped out of the wound. this left later on a scar on the spot. then Dayang Sumbi sent him away.

Deeply grieved, Sangkuriang left and wandered through the woods. he walked for years. finally he returned to his native place, but did not recognise it any longer. there his stood, looking around him, all alone, musing about the past. at the end of a vast rice-field, which stretched in front of him, he noticed a house on stilts. looking closely, he saw a young girl sitting at her weaving-loom.

He approached her and, charmed by her beauty, he immediately proposed to her, unware that she was his own mother. the girl looked at him and, noticing his good looks, she promised to marry him. for some time they loved each other tenderly, making plans for their wedding day, but one day she discovered the scar on his forehead.

"That wound! she whispered, and at that moment she realised that he was no other than her own son who had come back to his village. after being left by Sangkuriang, Dayang Sumbi had been given eternal beauty by the gods, which was way she looked so young and Sangkuriang did not recognize her as his mother.

She made efforts to make him understand that a marriage between them was impossible and withdrew her promise  to marry him. but Sangkuriang refused to accept the truth and was determined to get his own way. Dayang Sumbi was very sad, as he was ashamed to reveal her secret.

“What to be done ? she pondered. she had and idea and said to him. all right then, you shall marry me only on condition that you fulfil a wish of mine. dam up the citarum river and build a big vessel, which we shall use after being married. But you have only one night to complete the work. Sangkuriang agreed and started to work. Only at daybreak did he approach the end, in spite of his magic powers and his prayers to the gods for help. Noticing this, Dayang Sumbi got alarmed and hit upon another plan to prevent the marriage.

She stretched the red woven veil which covered her head over the eastern side of the plain. through her magic powers, red light spread over the landscape, giving the impression that the sun was rising, which meant that time was up for Sangkuriang. he was astonished.

'In vain ! he shouted in despair and at the same time, filled with rage, he kicked the vessel, which was almost finished, upside-down. then he made for the south, for the Indian Ocean. He had not gone very far when the water of the lake dried up. the mountain of Tangkuban Perahu on the northern side of Bandung is thought to be the overturned vessel of Sangkuriang. in time it became covered with trees and the lake became the present fertile rice-fields around Bandung area, every year yielding great benefit for all the people.

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