As retold by Samsuni
Timun Mas is a beautiful girl who is kind-hearted, smart, and brave. She is very dear to his mother, Mbok Srini. One day, an evil giant comes to eat Timun Mas. Why? And do the mother and daughter survive? You had better read the following story.
There was a kampong in Central Java wherein a widow lived. She was Mbok Srini. She was childless and after the death of her husband, she lived alone. The hope to have a child faded away with time. She only prayed for a miracle, that someday she could be a mother.
One night, she had a dream. A giant creature told her to go to the jungle where she usually collected firewood. There she would find a package under a big tree. In the morning the widow woke up, not believing what she just dreamt.
“Could it really happen to me?” she asked to herself.
The widow decided to give it a go. Full of hope, she rushed to a place as pointed in her dream. In the jungle, she sought the package and, surprisingly, found it under an enormous tree. It contained a cucumber seed.
“What is this?” murmured her.
She was still in confusion when suddenly a loud laughter broke out behind her. She just realized that there was a giant standing there.
Mbok Srini was taken aback. It was the giant she met in his dream! So frightened she became.
“Have mercy, Mister Giant. Don’t eat me,” begged Mbok Srini with a pale face.
“I won’t, old woman, I won’t. Don’t you want a child?” asked the giant.
“You… You are right, Mister Giant,” answered Mbok Srini.
“Grow that seed and you will have a daughter. But remember this. I will come to you when she grows up and take her. I’m going to taste her delicious flesh,” said the giant.
“That is fine, Mister Giant. I will give her back to you when it’s time.”
The giant vanished. The woman planted the cucumber seed in her yard. Full of hope, she took care of the plant very carefully. Two months later, the cucumber was ripening. It weirdly yielded only one fruit, but it was much bigger than usual cucumbers. Its color was golden and it was very heavy. Mbok Srini cut it off and took it inside her hut. There she cut the cucumber in halves and sound a baby girl so adorable.
“Aaaaa! Aaaaa! Aaaaa!” the baby cried once she was taken out.
Mbok Srini was so happy to hear a baby’s cry she had been wishing for. She named the baby Timun Mas.
“There there… Don’t cry my sweet baby,” Mbok Srini tried to comfort Timun Mas.
The old widow could not be happier. Tears run down on her wrinkled cheeks. She raised Timun Mas with the affection of a real mother. The baby grew up a beautiful girl. She was kind-hearted too. Mbok Srini loved her so much. She forgot her vow that someday the giant would come up to take the girl back.
One night, Mbok Srini dreamed of the giant coming up to her. The dream reminded her of her vow. Since then, she often sat on the porch alone, mourning all day long. She might soon lose her beloved daughter but was bent on to keep her. She just did not know what to do.
Timun Mas noticed that something had been concerning her mother. That day, she chose to spend the afternoon at home and sat beside her.
“Mother, why do you often look sad recently?” asked Timun Mas.
Reluctantly, Mbok Srini revealed everything to her. She told her that she was not really her daughter, that a giant gave her to her and would take her once she grew up.
“I’m sorry, my daughter. All this time I kept this for myself.”
Timun Mas could not speak a word. She was speechless, not believing what she just heard. She looked down for a while, then up again, as if she had taken a decision.
“I don’t want to go with the giant. Whatever happens, I’m staying here with you, mother,” said Timun Mas firmly.
The day finally came. From afar, Mbok Srini and Timun Mas could hear the giant’s steps. In panic, Mbok Srini told Timun Mas to act ill.
“Hey, old widow! Where’s the girl? I suppose she looks very tasty by now. It’s been years. Haha!” said the giant.
The widow came out of her hut. Timidly, she came closer to the giant.
“I’m sorry. She is severely ill at the moment. Her flesh will not be fresh. What if you come back in three days? Let her recover first,” coaxed Mbok Srini. She tried to get more time to find a way to save Timun Mas.
“Is she really? Well, all right then. I will come again in three days. You’d better make sure she is ready,” answered the giant.
After the giant left, Mbok Srini walked out to see a hermit who lived in a mountain. She just recalled about him and wanted to know if he could help.
“I’m going to the mountain. There is a hermit, a friend of my late husband, who probably can help us out. You stay here and don’t go out,” Mbok Srini said to Timun Mas.
“But be careful mother,” said the girl.
Mbok Srini headed for the mountain right away. There, she met the hermit and let him know what she came for.
“Wait a moment. I’ll get you something that might help,” said the hermit.
Not long after, he showed up with four little bundles of things and gave them to Mbok Srini.
“Take these for your daughter. They contain cucumber seeds, needles, salts, and shrimp paste. Use them one at a time while in danger. Let’s hope we could defeat the giant, Mbok Srini,” explained the hermit.
Mbok Srini felt a bit relieved. She came home and handed the bundles to Timun Mas.
Two days later, the giant turned up. He looked so hungry and raring to eat the girl.
“Well, well, old widow. Where’s my girl now?” asked him.
“You again, giant. I believe you are very hungry now,” Mbok Srini answered. Timun Mas came out fearfully and stood beside her mother.
“Don’t be afraid. If he comes to you, you should run. Run as fast as you can. Open the bundles to protect yourself,” Mbok Srini whispered to her daughter.
“Yes, mother,” answered Timun Mas.
The giant could not wait anymore. He was drooling already. But when he stuck out his hand to grab the girl, she ran away. He chased her with far longer steps. Slowly, he could catch up with the girl. Realizing the situation, Timun took one of the bundles and opened it.
She untied a bundle, which turned out to contain cucumber seeds. She poured the seeds on the ground and in a very short time the area became a cucumber garden. The plants grew thickly, wrapping around the giant. Timun took her time to take off. The giant could free himself of the plants shortly. He had not given up.
The giant forced Timun to open another bundle, containing needles. She scattered it everywhere and they magically turned into tall and sharp bamboo. They wounded the giant’s feet but he did not stop his run.
Timun opened a bundle for the third time. It was salt inside. The girl spread the salt out, turning the ground into a lake. The giant stepped in it and roared as his wounds touched the salt water. It held him back, but only for a while. The giant forced his way across the lake. Timun Mas began to be very anxious. She had only one bundle left. Knowing that the giant had reached the land, she opened the bundle. Shrimp paste spread all over the ground and formed a muddy quicksand. The giant stepped on it and got trapped. He vainly struggled to get up. A moment later, he lost his strength. He was sucked down and died. Timun had made it. She got rid of the giant forever.
With all her strength left, Timun walked home. Mbok Srini hugged her right away. She cried in happiness to see her sole daughter safe. They were so grateful to God the Almighty. There was no giant anymore. From then on, they lived together peacefully and happily.
The above story shows us that bad intentions lead to misfortunes. The giant character conveys this message. Besides, Timun Mas holds that one must work hard and be fearless and optimistic to get through the obstacles and problems of life. Mbok Srini and Timun Mas need to take the risk and put aside their fear to free themselves from the giant.