The Adventures of Mouse Deer

Mouse Deer and TigerI’m quick and smart as I can be.
Try and try, but you can’t catch me!

Mouse Deer sang his song as he walked through the forest. He was looking for tasty fruits and roots and shoots.

Though he was small, he was not afraid. He knew that many big animals wanted to eat him. But first they had to catch him!

Then he heard something. Rowr!

There was Tiger!

“Hello, Mouse Deer. I was just getting hungry. Now you can be my lunch.”

Mouse Deer didn’t want to be lunch. He looked around and thought fast. He saw a mud puddle.

“I’m sorry, Tiger. I can’t be your lunch. The King has ordered me to guard his pudding.”

“His pudding?” said Tiger.

“Yes. There it is.” Mouse Deer pointed to the mud puddle. “It has the best taste in the world. The King doesn’t want anyone else to eat it.”

Tiger looked longingly at the puddle. “I would like to taste the King’s pudding.”

“Oh, no, Tiger! The King would be very angry.”

“Just one little taste, Mouse Deer! The King will never know.”

“Well, all right, Tiger. But first let me run far away, so no one will blame me.”

“All right, Mouse Deer, you can go now.”

Mouse Deer ran quickly out of sight.

“Imagine!” said Tiger. “The King’s pudding!” He took a big mouthful.

Phooey! He spit it out.

“Yuck! Ugh! Bleck! That’s no pudding. That’s mud!”

Tiger ran through the forest. Rowr! He caught up with Mouse Deer.

“Mouse Deer, you tricked me once. But now you will be my lunch!”

Mouse Deer looked around and thought fast. He saw a wasp nest in a tree.

“I’m sorry, Tiger. I can’t be your lunch. The King has ordered me to guard his drum.”

“His drum?” said Tiger.

“Yes. There it is.” Mouse Deer pointed to the wasp nest. “It has the best sound in the world. The King doesn’t want anyone else to hit it.”

Tiger said, “I would like to hit the King’s drum.”

“Oh, no, Tiger! The King would be very angry.”

“Just one little hit, Mouse Deer! The King will never know.”

“Well, all right, Tiger. But first let me run far away, so no one will blame me.”

“All right, Mouse Deer, you can go now.”

Mouse Deer ran quickly out of sight.

“Imagine!” said Tiger. “The King’s drum!” He reached up and hit it. Pow.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz. The wasps all flew out. They started to sting Tiger.

“Ouch! Ooch! Eech! That’s no drum. That’s a wasp nest!”

Tiger ran away. But the wasps only followed him! Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

“Ouch! Ooch! Eech!”

Tiger came to a stream. He jumped in—splash!—and stayed underwater as long as he could. At last the wasps went away.

Then Tiger jumped out. Rowr! He ran through the forest till he found Mouse Deer.

“Mouse Deer, you tricked me once. You tricked me twice. But now you will be my lunch!”

Mouse Deer looked around and thought fast. He saw a cobra! The giant snake was coiled asleep on the ground.

“I’m sorry, Tiger. I can’t be your lunch. The King has ordered me to guard his belt.”

“His belt?” said Tiger.

“Yes. There it is.” Mouse Deer pointed to the cobra. “It’s the best belt in the world. The King doesn’t want anyone else to wear it.”

Tiger said, “I would like to wear the King’s belt.”

“Oh, no Tiger! The King would be very angry.”

“Just for one moment, Mouse Deer! The King will never know.”

“Well, all right, Tiger. But first let me run far away, so no one will blame me.”

“All right, Mouse Deer, you can go now.”

Mouse Deer ran quickly out of sight.

“Imagine!” said Tiger. “The King’s belt!” He started to wrap it around himself.

The cobra woke up. Ssssssssssssss. It didn’t wait for Tiger to finish wrapping. It wrapped itself around Tiger. Then it squeezed him and bit him. Sstt!

“Ooh! Ow! Yow! That’s no belt. That’s a cobra! Help! Mouse Deer! Help!”

But Mouse Deer was far away. And as he went, he sang his song.I’m quick and smart as I can be.
Try and try, but you can’t catch me!


Source: The Adventure of Mouse Deer by Aaron Shepard (To contiune reading the other adventures click here!)


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 to 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 drank 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 in 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 stories 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 picked up the spool and brought it to Dayang Sumbi. Tumang was in fact a cursed god too, like the she-pig. Seeing the dog with the spool in his mouth, Dayang Sumbi fainted. The gods had decided her for her to undergo the same fate as her mother, the she-pig. She too become 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 pig. 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 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 fat 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 recognize it any longer. There he 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, unaware 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 the moment she realized 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 why 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 she was ashamed to reveal her secret.

“What is to be done?” she pondered. She had an idea and said to him: “All right then, you shall marry me only on condition that you fulfill 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 rose and overflowed its banks, dragging everything in its way. Sangkuriang himself had no chance of escape and with all his workers he was driven away. Sometime later the lake dried up. The mountain of Tangkuban Prahu 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 benefits for all the people.


Bawang Merah and Bawang Putih

The story takes place in a simple village household. The head of this family has two wives, and each wife has their own daughter. Bawang Merah and her mother are jealous of the attention the father gives Bawang Putih and her mother. When the father dies, Bawang Merah and her mother take charge of the household and bully both Bawang Putih and her mother into servitude. Bawang Putih’s mother stands up for her daughter but she soon dies prematurely, in some versions due to sickness and in some versions due to the intentional malice of Bawang Merah’s mother.

With her biological mother and father dead, the gentle and obedient Bawang Putih is left alone to be tortured by her cruel stepmother and half-sister. Though Bawang Putih suffers, she is patient. One day, when she is out in the woods, she sees a pond containing a life fish. The fish is able to speak, and tells her that it is her mother who has came back to comfort her. Bawang Putih is overjoyed to be able to speak with her mother again, and secretly visits the pond whenever she can.

One day Bawang Merah sees Bawang Putih sneaking off and secretly follows her to the pond, where she witnesses Bawang Putih talking to the fish. After Bawang Putih leaves, Bawang Merah lures the fish to the surface of the pond and catches it. Bawang Merah and her mother kill the fish, cook it and feed it to Bawang Putih without telling her where it came from. Once Bawang Putih finishes eating, her stepmother and stepsister reveal where they obtained the fish. Bawang Putih is repulsed and filled with remorse over this revelation.

Bawang Putih gathers the fish bones and bury them in a small grave underneath a tree. When she visits the grave the next day, she is surprised to see that a beautiful swing has appeared from one of the tree’s branches. When Bawang Putih sits in the swing and sings an old lullaby, it magically swings back and forth.

Bawang Putih continues to visit the magic swing whenever she can. One day, while she is on the magic swing, a Prince who is hunting nearby hears her song. He follows the sound of her voice, but before he approaches her, Bawang Putih realizes that she is not alone, she quickly runs back home.

The Prince and his advisors eventually find the home of Bawang Putih and Bawang Merah. (In some versions this happens immediately after the Prince’s first sighting of Bawang Putih, but in other versions it happens after a long search made by the Prince’s advisors). Bawang Merah’s mother, seeing the opportunity, orders Bawang Putih to stay hidden in the kitchen. The Prince asks about the swing and the girl who sat in it. Bawang Merah’s mother says that the girl he heard is her beautiful and talented daughter Bawang Merah. Though the Prince agrees that Bawang Merah is beautiful, he requests that she show him how she sang in the magical swing.

Bawang Merah and mother reluctantly follow the Prince and his advisors back to the magic swing. Bawang Merah sits in the swing and attempts to sing so that it will move, but she cannot. The Prince, now angry, ordered Bawang Merah’s mother to tell the truth. Bawang Merah’s mother is forced to confess that she has another daughter hidden in her house.

The Prince brings Bawang Putih back to the swing, and as she had done many times before, the magic swing starts moving as soon as she begins singing. The Prince is overjoyed and asks Bawang Putih to marry him. She agrees and they live happily ever after.




Manik Angkeran

A long time ago, lived a rich man named Begawan Sidi Mantra. He was very famous for his kindness and also for his supernatural power. He had a son named Manik Angkeran who liked to gamble. Because of Manik Angkeran’s bad habit, his father soon bankrupt. Begawan Sidi Mantra had spent all of his money to pay his son‘s debts. But, Manik Angkeran still liked to gamble and he still owed some people a lot of money.

Begawan Sidi Mantra wanted to help his son to pay the remaining debts. He meditated for days, and finally he got a clue from the gods to go to Agung Mountain. He went to the mountain. There, he met with a dragon named Naga Besukih. It is said that Naga Besukih could provide gold and jewelries to those who could say a certain prayer and ring the sacred bell. Fortunately, Begawan Sidi Mantra had the bell, and he also knew the prayer from his meditation. “My name is Sidi Mantra. I have a problem. My son likes to gamble. I’ve spent all of my money to pay his debts, but it’s still not enough. I came here to ask for your help,” explained Begawan Sidi Mantra after he met with Naga Besukih. “I’ll help you, but you have to advise your son so he would not gamble again,” said Naga Besukih. The dragon then shakes his body and cause some of his scales fall of. Magically, the scales turn into gold and diamonds.

Begawan Sidi Mantra took the gold and diamonds and return home. He paid all the remaining debt and advised his son about his gambling habit. Manik Angkeran promised to stop gambling, but soon he broke the promise. Bagawan Sidi Mantra had to go to the dragon for help once again. “What brought you here again?” asked Naga Besukih. “I’m very sorry, Naga Besukih. My son had disappointed me; he broke his promise to me. I beg for your help once again,” said Begawan Sidi Mantra to the dragon. “I’ll help you, but this is the last time,” said Naga Besukih.

Begawan Sidi Mantra once again paid Manik Angkeran’s debts and advised him not to gamble again. Manik Angkeran promised and soon he broke his promise again. This time, Begawan Sidi Mantra didn’t want to help him anymore. He was too ashamed to meet with the dragon.

Manik Angkeran knew that his father got the jewelries from the dragon. So, he stole his father’s sacred bell and went to Agung Mountain. After he arrived, Manik Angkeran rang the bell. Naga Besukih heard the bell but there’s no prayer. He decided to see who was calling him. “Hey, Manik Angkeran. What are you doing here with your father’s bell? Did you steal it?” asked Naga Besukih angrily when he saw Manik Angkeran. “Please help me, Naga Besukih. I really need the money to pay my debts. Those people would kill me if I don’t pay them in time. Please, I beg for your mercy,” said Manik Angkeran to the dragon. “Okay, I’ll help you. But this is the last time, and you have to promise to stop gambling,” Naga Besukih then give him the jewelries.

But suddenly, Manik Angkeran had a bad idea. He wanted to kill the dragon and take all the jewelries. So he drew his keris and attacked Naga Besukih. He managed to cut the dragon’s tail, but he was no match for Naga Besukih. With his great power, Naga Besukih burned Manik Angkeran and killed him instantly.

In his home, Begawan Sidi Mantra couldn’t find his sacred bell. He knew that his son had stolen it, so he went to Agung Mountain. He was so sad when he found out what happened in the mountain. “I’m very sorry, Naga Besukih. But he was my only son. I beg you, please bring him back to life,” Begawan Sidi Mantra begged the dragon for mercy. Naga Besukih agreed with one condition, Manik Angkeran had to stay at Agung Mountain. Naga Besukih said some prayer and after few moments, Manik Angkeran lived again. Begawan Sidi Mantra then used a stick to make a big line between them on the ground. From the line, water flowed. Soon it became a river. Finally it became a strait. It separated Java and Bali. People then named the strait as Bali Strait.***

Source: Manik Angkeran story