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Legend of the Princess of Serpent

North Sumatra - Indonesia
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The word “Simalungun” refers to either the native tribe in North Sumatra, Indonesia or to the administrative region called Simalungun Municipality, whose capital is Pematangsiantar. In Singalungun Language, it originates from the root word “lungun”, meaning quiet. The local inhabitant named the region as such for having been settled only by sparse population, whose houses are in distant locations. The surrounding people of the region called “Simalungun” in various terms; the Batak Toba people called it as “Si Balungu”; and the Karo people called it as “Batak Timur” (East Batak), since it located in East of their settlement.

Rich in its traditional heritage, Simalungun Municipality constitutes the region known for maintaining its tradition. One of which is the oral tradition, such as folk strories. There is a popular legend that is being told across generations of Simalungun people namely “Kisah Putri Ular” (Legend of the Princess of Serpent). The legend narrates the failure of a beautiful princess to be the wife of a handsome prince, as she suddenly transformed into a serpent? What is the real story of the princess? What‘s happened with the engagement? Why she all of sudden becomes a serpent? Do you still want to know the whole story? Find out in the below story!.

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Once upon a time, in the Simalungun region, North Sumatra, established a big Kingdom ruled by a prudent and wise king. He had a very stunning daughter, whose beauty was heard to the every kingdoms and palaces. No single women had surpassed her popularity. Besides, she was also a skillful at riding horses, making her the most energetic women in the Simalungun Kingdom. News about her spread soon like wildfire, until a young king who ruled a Kingdom nearby the Simalungun heard about her.

Having heard the news of that beautiful woman, the young handsome King intended to ask her for marriage. He gathered all his advisers included Hulubalang (Commander) and his  treasurer, and  to conduct a meeting on his proposal.  

“All my advisers.....Have you known about the news about the beauty of the Princess? Have you heard about that?” the king asked his advisers.

“Yes we have My Majesty, we all have known about that from our intelligence, My Majesty!” answered the advisers altogether.

“What do you have in mind My Majesty?” asked one of the advisers softly.

“Hmmmm...,”mumbled the king. “I am carried away by overwhelming emotion of love. What do you think if I propose the princess for marriage?” added the King, asking to the advisers.

 “I don‘t see why not My Majesty. I completely agree with that,” answered one of the advisers, making the king very happy.

“Yes, I do. I personally think that both of you are the perfect match. My Majesty is the most handsome king, and the princess is undoubtedly a very beautiful woman,” added another adviser, commended the King and Princess.

“Well.....If you say so. Then, I should carry on, sticking to my arrangement,” said the king happily. “My advisers, prepare all wee need for proposing the beautiful princess!” commanded the king to his advisers.

“Yes, My Majesty!” answered all the advisers simultaneously.

In the next day, the special envoy of young king left the Kingdom for Simalungun. Arriving at the kingdom, the envoys were welcomed heartily by the father of the princess. After the formal introduction, the envoy expressed their intention for coming. 

“I am sorry My Majesty! Our coming here is to deliver a special message from our king. My king intends to propose your daughter as his wife,” explained the spokesman of the entourage.

“On behalf my daughter, I accept your King‘s proposal graciously. The marriage will unify My kingdom and yours. Our people can live happily in prosperous, peace and justice,” answered the King.

“Thank you My Majesty.... it will be a god news that we bring to our King. Soon, I will deliver your unconditional acceptance,‘‘ said the spokesman clearly.

“Hmm... but there is one thing My Majesty...... My king said that if the proposal is accepted, the marriage will be conducted in the two months” said the spokesman.

 “Why it‘s so long?” asked the King anxiously.

“Our King wants to have a bigger party for his marriage,” answered the spokesman.

“Ok. If it is so... we will wait for your second coming,” responded the King.

After the candid discussion ensued, the entourage went to their kingdom. Soon after they arrived, the spokesman of entourage extended the encouraging information to the young handsome king. They said that the father of beautiful princess accepted the proposal. Then, the king became very happy.

 “Well....... Today is my lucky day in whole my life,” expressed the King.

“We should prepare everything for the big day of marriage. Don‘t disappoint me!” uttered the king.

“Yes, My Majesty. All will be prepared soon. I will make a list of stuff needed for the day,” said one of advisers convincingly.

When the entourage went back to their kingdom, the king met his only daughter to inform her aboout the special news he received just now.

“My daughter, come here! Come closer to me! Do you know my lovely daughter, why did the special envoy and entourage come here?” asked the king to his daughter.

“No my father! What‘s matter my father?” asked the princess curiously.

“You know my lovely daughter....They came here for delivering the special proposal marriage of their young king who want to marry you. What do you think my daughter?” asked the King, holding her hand tightly.

“I will be happy if you are happy. I always follow your direction,” answered the princess honestly. “Your decision is my decision”, added the princess.

“I am very proud of having a smart daughter like you....smart, beautiful, and obedient...I am a lucky father,” repeated the King, appraising his only daughter. 

“My daughter, please take care your self! Don‘t let anything ruin or spoil your marriage. It will be a big day four the two kingdoms. It is not about our kingdom only,” added the king.

“Yes My father!” responded the princess.

Few days to the big day, as usual, the princess took bath in a pool behind the palace. Accompanied by some ladies, she went to the pool where laid a big rock. It was used by the princess to sit on and sang while cleaning her body. She put her dresses off, plunged to the pool, remained there while chilling out her body.

On the water, she imagined the happiness of being a wife of young and handsome king. While doing so, the fierce wind blew, making branches of trees scaled off. A medium branch dropped, hitting the nose of princess.

“Oh.....my nose!” screamed the princess, holding her bleeding nose.

In a while, the princess‘s hand became red as her nose‘s blood dribbled. She choked on his own blood after being shot by the medium branch. Bearing the pain, the princess ordered the ladies to bring her a mirror. The princess was so shocked after seeing her nose. “Oh....My nose,” cried the princess. Her once sharp nose suddenly became snub for the branch. She was no longer beautiful like she was. She was so sad, cried, shed angry tears for the incident.   

“Oh.... woe to me! My plan for marriage will fail. It should be canceled. And.....he must have looked for another woman who is more beautiful than me. If I delayed this marriage, My father and Mother will be very disappointed and embarrassed. They have told the people about the plan. But if I continue with the plan.....will the king marry me with this broken nose,” thought the princess, confused about the situation. 

The princess became so sad. She continued thinking about the marriage. It was like a nightmare for her, ruining the big day, when all people attended, watching her sitting with her broken nose. He didn‘t want to embarrass her parents. She couldn‘t bear the problem she faced. “oh...it was my fault...it was my destiny,” said the princess, crying. She could do nothing except regretting what had been passed through.

 She became more desperate. While crying, the princess held up her palm and prayed:

“My God! Punish me...punish your sinful slave who have embarrassed and disappointed his parents!” prayed the princess with her watery eyes.

Soon after the prayer sent up from her mouth, a lighting thunderbolt struck the kingdom, signing that her prayer was heard by the God. In the next few moments, the body of princess experienced major changes, making the ladies shocked. His flawless skin transformed suddenly to scaly, from her leg, creeping upside until her whole body was completely different. She changed into a big serpent. The ladies who always waited and assisted her run, trying to avoid the serpent. The serpent still could talk, ordered the ladies to inform her father about what happened to her.

Some ladies, still waited the princess, while other rushed informing the king. 

“I am sorry My Majesty!” said the lady softly, while paying a respect to the King.

“What‘s happened my lady?” asked the King wonderingly.

“I am sorry My Majesty! Your daughter‘s skin becomes scaly like serpent‘s skin,” reported the lady to the King.

“What did you say? My daughter‘ skin becomes scaly?....” said the King in startled.

“Yes My Majesty. It‘s all Greek to me why such frightening occurrence happen?” responded the lady.

After receiving the report, the King and Queen rushed walking to the pool. There, both didn‘t see their daughter, but a big serpent was coiling up the rock on which the princess usually sat.

“My lady!” said the king to the serpent.

The serpent could do nothing, only moved its head and hissed in front of the king and queen. It slithered across them as if it wanted to say something, but nothing heard from the serpent.

“My princess! What‘s happened to you?” asked the Queen apprehensively.

Many times the Queen called her, but the serpent could not answer her. The serpent then left them and slithered to the bushes. The King and Queen only watched them, crying on what had happened to their beloved daughter.

The frightening transformation of the daughter into a big serpent was the punishment imposed by the God for her own demand, for her despair. He felt helpless after making her parent embarrassed. He couldn‘t keep the promise to take care her self, avoiding anything that could spoil the arrangement of marriage between her and the young king.

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As such is the story of the princess of serpent from Simalungun, South Sumatra, Indonesia. The above story constitutes the moral story conveying several important messages for us. Those can be used as an everyday guide. One of which is the bad consequence of desperation and hopelessness. This character is reflected clearly from the princess who asked the God to punish her, transforming her into a big serpent. This is one of the bad character avoided in the Malayans‘ life.

(HQ/ter/107/04-08)

References :

  • The content of story is adapted from Syamsuri, Maulana. t.t. Danau Toba dan Pulau Samosir dengan Beberapa Dongeng Sumatra Utara. Surabaya: Greisinda Press.
  • Anonymous. “Kabupaten Simalungun”, (http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabupaten_Simalungun, retrieved at January 10th  2008).
  • Anonymous. “Sejarah Ringkas GKPS”, (http://www.gkps.or.id/?go=tampilkan&kat=10&gr=5&id=151, retrieved at January 10th  2008).
  • Anonymous. “Suku Simalungun”, (http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suku_Simalungun, retrieved at January 10th 2008).
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Comments for "Legend of the Princess of Serpent"

???? August 10th, 2015

"new balance ????"

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