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Southeast Sulawesi - Indonesia
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He was Oheo, a handsome boy who excellently earned a living from a cana field located in Kendari District, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. One day, he was shocked to know something strange about his cana field. Near to the harvest time, he found his sugar canes were almost over, but no one knew the causes. Knowing such fact completely angered him. He was eager to know who did it. So, what would he do? Let‘s read the following story about Oheo.


Once upon a time, there was a handsome young boy named Oheo. He lived in a decrepit house in the middle of a forest located in Kendari District, Southeast Sulawesi. To earn a living, he managed sugar plantation situated nearby his house. His sugar plantation produced good quality of sugar cane since he was known as a diligent and hard-working boy.

Once he was shocked to know bagasses were scattered over a location nearby the field. He looked around his field and found more bagasses sprinkled over his field. He spied out the land to know who did it.

In the following day, since he reached his field, he went to the river bank. His steps were stopped and he was shocked to know that seven fairies were flying down from the sky to a river nearby his field. Soon after viewing those fairies, he hid behind a tree to observe what they did.

“How beautiful they‘re...,” Oheo said.

Those fairies flew down to the riverbank. Leading to Oheo‘s cana field, they then picked sugar cane. They went back to the riverbank while bringing much sugar cane. Soon after chewing and sucking on sweet sugar syrup out of Oheo‘s sugar cane, they threw the rest and plunged themselves into the river. It was quite clear to Oheo that those fairies were the cause of yesterday‘s event.

He completely angered the fairies before but, he was enchanted to their beauty; hence he was very exciting during the way back home. Once being flashed on his mind to marry one of them.

When they were cheerfully taking bath in the river, Oheo crept up closer to a place where the fairies put their shawls down. He studiously took one purple shawl by using a twig. Soon after getting one shawl, he went home and hid it on bamboo-rafter under his home‘s roof. He went back to the riverbank and looked out the fairies.

When the sun was going to set, those seven fairies finished taking a bath. They planned to go back home soon after wearing their own shawls. However, Anawangguluri, the youngest amongst the other, could not find her shawl. She kept staying in the riverbank all alone since she could not fly to the sky without using her shawls. At the time, she was all alone; no one of her sisters accompanied her.

In a little while, Oheo appeared to Anawangguluri.

“Hi pretty girl! I‘m Oheo. I live around this place,” Oheo greeted.

“By the way…what‘s your name?” He asked.

“I am Anawangguluri from heaven. People call me Anawai,” that pretty girl replied.

“How come you‘ve been here?” Oheo questioned.

“At first I flew down here along with my six sisters. But, I couldn‘t find my shawl anymore. So, I couldn‘t fly to my homeland in the heaven. My shawl was lost when we‘re taking a bath in the river. Perhaps you see it Oheo?” She asked Oheo.

“No, I don‘t,” Oheo reacted.

Anawai began to sad hearing Oheo‘s answer. She lost hope to find her shawl to go back home. She was totally in solitude without any relative in the world.

“Would you help me, Oheo?” Anawai asked.

“What can I do for you? Tell it!” Oheo asked.

“Would you let me stay at your home for a moment? If I can find my shawl, soon I will go back to the heaven after that,” Anawai wished.

“Ok, I‘ll help you, but I have a demand. Will you marry me?” Oheo proposed.

It was so hard for Anawai to let Oheo marry her. It might divorce her farther from her family in the heaven. But, there was no choice, then, she agreed with the proposal. However, she demanded Oheo one appeal.

“If one day I give birth from marriage with you, you have to promise me that you will clean up baby‘s poop everyday,” Anawai demanded Oheo to promise.

Oheo accepted that appeal and celebrated his marriage to Anawai, soon after that. They lived happily until a day Anawai gave birth a year later. According to the promise, Oheo had to clean up the baby‘s poop when their baby excreted. A semester went on, Oheo used to clean up his baby‘s poop at all times.

One day, when Oheo was busy plaiting his house‘s roof that was made of straws, Oheo‘s baby excreted.

“Honey…our baby is excreting!” Anawai called her husband.

“I am busy now,” Oheo replied.

“Honey…! Our baby is excreting now! Just go down now, clean up his poop!” Anawai repeated.

Times Anawai called her husband but, Oheo just kept ignoring the calls. Even more, he asked his wife to clean it up.

All of sudden, Anawai completely angered with her husband. Oheo‘s act clearly disappointed his wife, Anawai. He did not fulfil his promise anymore.

“Just clean it up Anawai! Don‘t you see I‘m busy now?” Oheo shouted.

Anawai‘s patience reached its peak after hearing that shout coming out of her husband‘s mouth. She answered unconsciously, “Oheo! Don‘t you bear in your mind that you promised me that you would clean up our baby‘s poop at all times?”

“Why do you discuss it? Just forget the past. Let our past memorial just flow! Don‘t discuss it anymore!” Oheo replied crudely.

Anawai‘s heart totally broke at the time. She cried, tears felt down from her eyes and she cleaned up the baby‘s poop by her self.

She went outside her house. Once she looked up the sky missing her family in the heaven. She missed too much spending all times with her beloved family. Tears never stopped falling down from her eyes because of her deep yearning to her family.

At a glance she looked a purple shawl was hung on bamboo-rafter on her house‘s roof. She moved to that shawl and picked it up. She shocked to know that the shawl was her shawl which was lost when she was taking a bath in the river nearby Oheo‘s cana field.

“This is my shawl which lost at the time, isn‘t it? How come it could be here?” she asked her self while ensuring that it was her shawl.

“Hmmm….I guest Oheo did these all,” she said.

Now Anawai was very happy as she had found her shawl. Her wish to go back to the heaven would be come true immediately. She moved to her baby and carried him while kissing him.

“My son, I have to leave you and your father now,” Anawai mumbled while kissing her baby‘s forehead.

After that, she put her baby on the floor and called Oheo.

“Oheo! Just take care of our baby! I‘m going back home to the heaven now,” she remarked.

At first Oheo was uncertain about Anawai‘s eagerness to leave him; he kept plaiting the house‘s roof. After times of being called by Anawai, Oheo was really sure that Anawai was not joking. He went down from the roof and entered his house. He found no Anawai inside the house. She had just recently flown to the sky leading to the heaven.

“Anawai…! Don‘t leave me all alone here!” Oheo shouted.

Anawai did not pay any attention. She flew to an areca tree in front of her house and succeeded to a coconut tree near it. Many times her husband shouted, but she kept flying to the heaven.

If he cleaned up his baby‘s poop at the time, Oheo would only regret it. His wife left him all alone along with the baby. He did not know what to do to take care of his baby since Anawai has gone.

Once flashed on his mind to follow his wife to the heaven. He tried to look for some helps from everyone who was able to take him to the heaven. Until one day he found a tree called Ue-Wai which admitted to be capable of carrying him to the heaven. However, before taking Oheo to the heaven, this tree demanded him to create rings for every branch of the tree‘s.

Oheo took the demand. He made numerous rings and put them out on the trees‘ branches. Consequently, the tree had no choice to reject Oheo‘s demand. It took Oheo to the heaven and asked Oheo:

“Soon after we arrive at the sky, we will hear loud bang in twice. Close your eyes for the first bang and open it after the second,” the tree said.

“Ok. I‘ll do what you have instructed,” Oheo replied while carrying his baby.

In a very few seconds, the tree had taken Oheo to the heaven. Soon, both heard a loud bang and Oheo suddenly close his eyes. When he heard the second bang, he opened his eyes. He was shocked realizing that he had already stood in front of an elegant palace in the sky. Undoubtedly, he had been in the palace wherein his wife might be inside there.

He saw the heaven of king‘s daughters were hanging around in the front yard of the palace. Oheo‘s arrival was known by one of them. Soon, she moved inside the palace and reported to the king. Then, the king summoned Oheo to meet him inside the palace.

“You come to meet my daughter, Anawai, aren‘t you?” the king questioned.

“Yes, my lord,” Oheo remarked.

“Ok. If you really want to meet your wife, Anawai, you have to pass an examination comprising of three hard challenges to be succeeded. Are you still brave enough to pass it?” the King asked.

“Would you mind telling me what to do to pass the examination my lord?” Oheo said.

“First, you must crash down a big stone outside there. Second, collect scattering grain rice in a field outside there and never remain even one grain. And the last, you have to find your wife, who is sleeping in a very dark room. That‘s all that you have to do,” the king explained the examination.

As he was eager to meet again his beloved wife, Oheo tried the hardest to pass the examination. The first and second challenges could be passed successfully with helps from rats, birds, and several other animals. However, the last challenge could not be passed smoothly. He faced some troubles when he had to pass this. Rats and birds could not help him anymore.

When the day was going to dark, Oheo, who was sitting in blue while carrying his baby, wanted to give in. But, when he was going to give in to the last challenges, a firefly offered help to Oheo.

“Hi man. What‘s the matter? You look so sad right now. What are you facing now?” the firefly asked.

“You‘re right firefly. I have a big problem to be solved by myself. I have to find my wife in a very dark room there. And don‘t you know that there are many beds having the same shapes. I cannot find my wife there as she is sleeping along with her sisters in the same room,” Oheo sighed.

“Ok, I see your problem. I think I can help you Oheo. Just follow me where I go tonight. Where I perch on a woman, that is your wife. So you can pass the challenge well,” the firefly said.

Oheo was so exciting to hear that solution from the firefly. When the night has come, he met the firefly and went to the dark room in which her wife might be sleeping. Oheo walked behind the firefly while carrying his baby.

In a short, the firefly could find Anawai, Oheo‘s wife. Nervously, Oheo and the baby moved closer to the bed where the firefly perched on it. It was true; it was really Anawai, Oheo‘s beloved wife. He was so happy as well as his baby.

Soon after finding his wife, Oheo went to the palace and reported the king that he had successfully passed the examination. He wished the king to bring Anawai back home to the earth. The king had no any reason to reject Oheo‘s demand anymore right now. Hence, he let them go to the earth.

When both arrived in the earth, they promised to live in harmonious. They took so much care of their baby. Oheo began to find his new motivation to earn a living for his family. He opened new field to cultivate various plants such as paddy, corn, coconut, and many more. After that tragedy, Oheo‘s family could live happily in prosperity and good economical welfare.


Here this story of Oheo from Kendari District in the province of Southeast Sulawesi. The story above is a myth bearing moralistic values to those who read the whole story. Hopefully, the values delivered through the story can be exemplary behaviour for our daily lives.

One of the moralistic values that can be drawn from the story above is the bad impact of hypocritical behaviour performed by Oheo. He did not clean up the baby‘s poop once, whereas he had already promised to do it before they got married. As the result, Anawai left him along with their baby in the earth. After his wife has gone, Oheo totally did not know what to do to take care of the baby. That is an example of hypocritical behaviour shown by the figure of Oheo on the story above. Tunjuk Ajar Melayu teaches the examples of hypocritical behaviour as portrayed in a poem below:

Apa tanda orang celaka,
Hidup selalu bermuka dua

In addition, we can also take other lessons from the story above, that are regretting mistake and promising not to do the bad deed for twice will produce a better condition someday. A normal person will not mistake for twice, hence the story above indirectly teach us of not to repeat the same mistake. Consequently, by regretting and promising not to practice mistake anymore, it may bring goodness to surrounding people, in this story told us that they could live in harmonious in the end.


Translated by Irfan Nugroho (ter/48/09-08)


  • Adapted from Sidu, La Ode. 2001. Cerita Rakyat dari Sulawesi Tenggara. Jakarta: Grasindo.
  • Anonym. “Sulawesi Tenggara,” (http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulawesi_Tenggara, retrieved on September 2nd, 2008)
  • Effendy, Tenas. 2006. Tunjuk Ajar Melayu. Yogyakarta: Balai Kajian dan Pengembangan Budaya Melayu in cooperation with AdiCita Karya Nusa.
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