Fairy Tales and Folk Tales from West Java: Sangkuriang

Fairy Tales and Folk Tales from West Java: Sangkuriang
An illustration from Sangkuriang Folklore by fafa-sama.deviantart.com
One of the famous fairy tales stories in Indonesia, Sangkuriang. This fairy tales and folktales come from West Java. The story is about the son (Sangkuriang) was falling in love with his mother (Dayang Sumbi).

Dayang Sumbi asked Sangkuriang to built a dam and a large boat. With his supra-natural power of Sangkuriang, the large boat almost finished, but he failed. He kicks the boat and now the boat known as the origins of one of the famous mountain in West Java.


The story begins in the jungle of the Kingdom of Padjadjaran. In this jungle, there was a woman named Dayang Sumbi has given birth to a son. The boy was handsome. Dayang Sumbi named his son Sangkuriang.

Time passed, and Sangkuriang became an adult. He was agile and an excellent hunter. Si Tumang, a dog, always accompanied Sangkuriang wherever he went hunting. Sangkuriang always brought the spoils of the hunt back to like food.

One day, Sangkuriang spotted a wild pig in the forest. The boar was his grandmother; Celeng Wayungyang. Si Tumang realized Sangkuriang, and he tried to prevent him from shooting the pig.

Sangkuriang tripped over Si Tumang, and the boar escaped. It's made Sangkuriang angry. Sangkuriang was furious with Si Tumang, and he decided to kill Si Tumang instead of the pig.

Sangkuriang had not caught any animals that day. He took a knife and cut out Si Tumang's heart and hurried home. He gave his mother the heart to be the cook.

Dayang Sumbi shocked when she realized that Si Tumang's heart was not that of a deer. 'She took a big wooden spoon. She was angry with Sangkuriang.

"Be gone, rebellious son! You do not know how to return a kindness! Si Tumang has looked after you since childhood! How dare you kill him and eat his heart!" Dayang Sumbi struck Sangkuriang with the spoon again and again.

The last blow tore his head, which begins to bleed. Sangkuriang fled into the forest, cradling his bleeding head. He climbed and over the mountain. He scared. He never saw his mother so angry.

Sangkuriang disappeared as if he had swallowed by the earth. Nothing heard of him.

From then on, Dayang Sumbi lived alone in the forest. She continued her weaving and meditation. She became a powerful wise-woman, skilled at healing. She helped many villagers who lived around the forest. She treated the sick and gave them gifts of her weaving. Her speciality was a mixture of leaves and herbs that kept her young and beautiful.

One day, a young man came to her. He asked for treatment. Every day, he came for treatment until his sickness was almost better. He began to fall in love with Dayang Sumbi. He approached her and said,

"Dayang Sumbi, you are so beautiful. Will you marry me?" Dayang Sumbi was uncomfortable with his touch on her shoulder, but she did not want to hurt his feelings. She moved away and said,

"Oh, I am too old for you, young man. I am old enough to be your mother."

"But, that's impossible! You are still young and beautiful, why do you say that you are the same age as my mother?"

"What is your name? And who is your mother?"

"I do not know. All I can remember frightened and running away as hard as I could until I passed out. When I came to, a robber was caring for the wound on my forehead. Later he adopted me as his son. He passed his supernatural powers onto me. But now my adopted father has died, and I live by myself.”

"Let me look at your head." Dayang Sumbi surprised when she recognised the scar on his head like a blow made by her big wooden spoon.

The young man did not believe that he was her son. Dayang Sumbi explained that she looked young because of her herbal medicine.

Later, she gave him two impossible conditions for marriage. First, she asked him to make a lake by damming the Citarum River. Second, she asked him to build a large boat for their house. And both of the tasks must complete before cocks crow.

When Dayang Sumbi realized that Sangkuriang had almost finished his work, she searched for a way to stop him. She took one of her weaving, a large white cloth, and hung it from her weaving platform while praying to the god. Then she asked the village girls to set fire to it. The dark sky became as bright as the dawn, and the roosters began to crow.

Dayang Sumbi went up to Sangkuriang.

"Sangkuriang, your time is up, you must give up now!"

Sangkuriang was furious. Now he would not able to marry Dayang Sumbi! And he had used many of his supra-natural powers, including calling on supra-natural beings for help. Sangkuriang was so angry that he kicked the almost-finish boat with all his might. The boat flew far into the air and landed upside down in one place.

In West Java, this legend believed to be the origin of Tangkuban Perahu Mountain. The Story of Sangkuriang has carved in relief on the walls of the crater of Tangkuban Perahu.

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