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The Origin of Pond Sampuraga

North Sumatra - Indonesia
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Some folktales relating to rebellious sons had been already published on this portal. Si Loncang and Batu Tuaka from Riau and Putmaraga from South Kalimantan were pieces of them. In the Si Loncang edition, the figure was cursed with a lake otherwise, the figure of Tuaka folktale was cursed with a hawk while Putmaraga was cursed with a pigeon.  The origin of Pond Sampuraga folktale narrates the drawn history of Pond Sampuraga that is located in Padang Bolak, Madina district (another name of Mandailing Natal), North Sumatera province.

Based on the inhabitants` information, Pond Sampuraga is an incarnation of a man named Sampuraga that was cursed by his mother. How come he was cursed? What are the motives? Find out more in the story of Pond Sampuraga.


As the story goes, lived a widow with her son named Sampuraga in a decrepit hut. They were full of affection even though they lived in poor. To fulfill their daily needs, they worked hard as employees in a farm owned by a rich man. Both of them were diligent and honest; thus, many rich men loved using them as workers.

One day, Sampuraga and his boss took a rest, leaning on a leafy tree after working all day. Enjoying their lunch, they talked in a close relationship as if there were no gap each other.

“Sampuraga, you`re too young. I suggest you move to a prosperous land where the inhabitants live in prosperity.” The boss said.

“Where is it Sir?” Asked Sampuraga questioningly.

Mandailing. Most of the inhabitants have farms and fields. They seek for living by panning for gold in the river since it has high level of gold content,” Explained the boss.

This explanation made his dream stronger.

“Actually I`ve been dreaming to move to search for a better life. I wonder to make my mother happier.” He said seriously.

“You have a lofty dream son, you`re real obedient boy.” Adored the boss.

After going home, he told his mother about his will.  

“Mom, I`m eager to move to look for a better life. I want to be in control of my own destiny after being a long time in poor.” Sampuraga said to his mother.

“Where will you go son?” His mother asked.

“Mandailing. The boss told me that the inhabitants in Mandailing live in prosperity because of its fertile soil.” Sapuraga said.

“Alright son! Though I`m afraid of being separated with you, as I get older, but I have no reason to forbid you. I`m sorry I never make you happy, son.” His mother said.

“Thank you Mom! I promise I`ll be back soon if I were success. Pray for me Mom.” Asking for his Mom`s blessing.

“Of course son! Just prepare your provisions.”   Asked his mother.

After being blessed by his mother, he prepared everything for his stocks during the trip to Mandailing. In the next day

“Mom, I`m going now. Take care yourself. Don`t work too hard!” He suggested his mother.

“Alright, son, be careful. Don`t forget to come back soon when you`re success.” She said.

He shook and kissed his mother`s hands asking for permission before leaving his decrepit hut. Sadness situation covered their hearts then tears fell down from his mother`s eyes. Sampuraga couldn`t also check his tears anymore then embraced his mother replied by his mother with tight embracing.

“Don`t worry son! If God permits, we will be together someday.” His mother said.

He left his mother alone, started to go to Mandailing. Days left, he walked throughout a thick forest passing by villages. One day, he reached a city in Pidoli Kingdom, in Mandailing. He was so overawed by the country. The inhabitants were so friendly; each of them had elegant houses with arenga palm fiber on their roofs. A luxurious palace stood in the centre of the crowded city. Some brick temples were found in every corner of the city. All of this indicated that the inhabitants live in prosperity.

In that place, he tried to apply for job. A rich merchant accepted his first application. The boss took a great trust in him as he was diligent and honest boy. The boss had ever looked into Sampuraga`s honesty, but he was really honest boy. Thus, the boss was eager to give him some financial capitals so that he could run his own business. His business grew up rapidly in a short time. Some of his profits were kept to increase his capital in order to make his business bigger. Finally, he was known as a rich young business man.

His boss was so excited knowing that Sampuraga has been a successful man. He wondered to marry off him to his daughter who was noticed as the most beautiful girl in Pidoli Kingdom.

“Raga, you are good and diligent boy. Do you want to marry my daughter?” The boss asked.

“With pleasure Sir! I`m in for marrying your beautiful daughter.” Sampuraga answered.

They got married in a luxurious wedding party celebrated in Mandailing customary law. All preparations had been started a month before the day. Tens of buffalos and goats were provided. The best Gordang Sembilan* and Gordang Baru** were also prepared to entertain the guests. 

The news about his luxurious wedding party had been announced even to hinterlands. All people knew the news including Sampuraga`s mother. This old widow almost could not believe that her son would marry into a daughter of rich merchant.

“Oh...It`s impossible that he would marry into a beautiful girl, daughter of a rich man, whereas he`s just a son of poor widow. May be it`s just the same name.” That was what crossed in her mind at that time.

Though she was full of doubt, she wanted to make sure that news. After preparing all her stocks, she went to Mandailing to watch her only son`s wedding party by walk. When she was in Pidoli Kingdom, seemed a crowded and the regular beating of Gordang Sembilan.

Dragging her feet getting closer to the crowded, she was shocked when she saw a man that was familiar with her sitting next to a beautiful girl. That boy was Sampuraga, her son.

She shouted up calling her son, as she could not check his self because of deep yearning.


Sampuraga was suddenly shocked hearing that familiar voice.

“Oh…It`s not mom`s voice.” He thought while looking for the source of the voice among the crowded. Just a few times, an old woman ran to him.

“Sampuraga…my son! I am your mother! Shouted the old woman sticking out her hands to embrace him.

While he was sitting next to his wife, he was totally shocked knowing an old woman admitting as his mother. His face reddened like burned, embarrassing to all guests.

“Hey an ugly woman! Don`t pretend to be my mother! I have no mother like you! Go away from here now! Don`t disturb my party! He said snarly.

“Sampuraga, my son! I am your mother giving birth and raising you up. Have you forgotten it all? I`ve been missing you for a long time. Just embrace me son! The old woman said.

“No!!” You`re not my Mom! She is died! Hangmen, take this old woman out of here! He asked.

His heart had totally hardened until he denied and chased away his mother. All of the guests only kept on silence, no one dared to mediate them. The tragedy had touched their hearts.

The old woman then was dragged by two hangmen out of the party. Shed tears on her face praying:

“Dear God…If he were true my son, Sampuraga, give him a punishment for disavowing me”

Since then, the sky turned grey, covered by thick and dark cloud. The thunder rumbled back and forth and the hard rain fell down followed by the deafening explosion of thunder. All of the inhabitants visiting the party ran away, saving their selves while the old woman disappeared. Just in a short time, no one was safe, including Sampuraga and his wife.

On the next days, that place turned a hot pond surrounded by limestone whose shape were the same as buffalos. In addition, there were two heaps of sand and colorful mud seemed like kinds of food offered on the Sampuraga`s wedding party that were cursed by his mother. It is called “Kolam Sampuraga” (Pond Sampuraga) by the inhabitants. Nowadays, it is a famous tourism destination in Mandailing that is frequently visited by tourists.


That was the folktale about the origin of Pond Sampuraga from Mandailing, North Sumatera. The folktale delivers some moral messages that can be exemplary behavior in daily life. At least there are three moral messages that can be taken from the folktale; they are diligence, honesty and disobedience. Those three characteristics can be found on the figure of Sampuraga.

Diligent and honest are highly respected by Malay people. The decency of those two characteristics can be seen in Malay poems such as below:

First, the poem showing the decency of diligent in work:

Wahai ananda cahaya mata,
Rajin dan tekun bekerja
Penat dan letih usah dikira
Supaya kelak hidupmu sejahtera

Second, the poem showing the decency of honesty:

Wahai ananda buah hati bunda
Hiduplah jujur jangan durhaka
Jauhkan bohong haramkan dusta
Supaya hidupmu tiada ternista

However, disobeying the parents is totally forbidden by Malay people, the poem bellow says:

Kalau suka berbuat durhaka,
Orang benci tuhan pun murka


  • The contents of the folktale were adapted by Syamsuri, Maulana. t.t. Danau Toba dan Pulau Samosir dengan Beberapa Dongeng Sumatera Utara. Surabaya: Greisinda Press.
  • Anonim. “Legenda Sampuraga”, (http://www.madina.go.id/content/pariwisata/legenda.html, accessed on December, 26th 2007)
  • Effendy, Tenas.2006. Tunjuk Ajar Melayu. Yogyakarta: Balai kajian dan Pengambangan Budaya Melayu cooperated with Adicita Karya Nusa.
  • -------,1994. “Ejekan” Terhadap Orang Melayu Riau dan Pantangan Orang Melayu Riau. Pekanbaru: bappeda Tingkat II Riau.
  • Nasution, Edi. “Uning-uningan ni Ompunta na parjolo Sundut I.” (http://www.edinasution.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/kesenian-mandailing.pdf, accessed on December, 26th 2007).
  • Sugiya, Aritasius. “Kabupaten Mandailing Natal” Kompas, (http://www.kompas.com/kompas-cetak/0307/30/otonomi/459112.htm)


*) Gondang Sambilan is a kind of traditional music instrument from Mandailing. As it consists of nine big and long Gordang (percussions), it is called Gordang Sambilan (Nine Percussions). All of the instruments are stacked with the biggest one is in the bottom and the smallest one is in the top.  In the past, it was used to call the died ancestors` spirit intended that they would like to give help by a medium called Sibaso.

**) Gordang baru is also a traditional music instrument from Mandailing. It consists of two percussions (gordang) with barrel shapes on the two sides played by a man. It is usually played to follow Totor dance.


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