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Malay Literature

The Legend of Gunung Batu Bangkai

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Loksado is a sub-district in Hulu Sungai Selatan district, South Kalimantan, Indonesia. The sub-district has a mountain, namely Gunung Batu Bangkai. The surrounding people named as such because a stone like human dead body sits on the mountain. The stone is referred to a legend upheld by the people until this present day. The legend narrated a rebellious young boy, Andung Kuswara, toward his mother that eventually led God‘s damnation on him to become the stone.

Many years ago, in Loksado, there was an elderly widow who lived with her son named Andung Kuswara. He was a smart young boy and high skilled medician. He learned medical therapy from his father who died many years ago. Andung Kuswara therefore became the only son in his mother‘s affection. He worked hard to help her in fulfilling their daily needs. The forest nearby their home was aimed everyday by them for searching woodfires and bamboos to create lanting to be sold in market, and fruits and vegetables for their food.

One day, Andung went to the forest alone. He enjoyed his work and did not realize that the sun began to hide behind the mountain. When the world was turning into dark, he returned home. On the way home, he was surprised by one‘s scream asking for help. Andung run fast heading to the location, and found an old man was squeezed badly between two big trees. After having saved him, Andung healed his wound perfectly. “Dear my son, I have to thank so much for your help”, the old man said and took something hanging on his neck. “As my gratefulness, this is the only thing I can give you. And hopefully this necklace would bring good fortune for you”, added the old man. Andung took the gift and went home soon.

Arriving at his home, Andung told the tremendous experience to his mother and handed over the necklace. “Please keep it carefully, mom”, Andung asked his mother. The mother took the necklace admiringly because it was so beautiful. “Look at this necklace, it is very miraculous”, the mother said. She then kept it under her bed.

Both Andung and his mother passed their times cheerfully. But one day, Andung plunged in thought alone, “Oh my God, should I lead my bad fate in the whole of my lifetime? I want to have better fate in my future, but how can it come true?”, Andung asked himself. He attempted to find the answer, and not for long, suddenly an idea crept into his mind to leave his home searching for better fate. “Ah, it is better to leave my home to another country and practice my medical skill. That way perhaps will change my fate”, mumbled Andung vigorously. However, he had not enough courage to tell his intention to his mother. He knew his mother would be alone if he left. But, he also knew that his fate as the collector of woodfires and bamboos in the forest would not change without leaving his mother. Such a thought disturbed him anyway.

Days turned to weeks, one month, two…Andung did not endure to live in the poverty. His hesitance to leave his mother had totally disappeared. There was no strength could avoid his strong desire. And therefore Andung told his mother about his intention. “Mom, I want to make our fate better by searching good jobs overseas. I ask your permission to allow me bring my dream into reality”, implored Andung. The mother replied, “Dear my son, actually I have satisfied with our condition now, but if it is your last decision I will let you go”.

In the next morning, Andung prepared himself to pursue his dream overseas. He brought nothing only a sarong, a shirt and a trouser. Before he left his small hut, his mother advised sadly, “My son, you have always to remember me, your home and your ancestor‘s land. Also do not forget remembering our almighty God. I can not hamper your intention to go overseas, although it is hard. If God consents, we should meet again someday”.

Hearing his mother advice, Andung could not stop his tears. “Bring your necklace with you, perhaps it will be useful”, his mother reminded and handed over it to him. After taking the necklace, Andung shook his mother‘s hand, and bowed down in front of her. The mother embraced him tightly as if she did not let him go. Tears were on her face and fell on Andung‘s back. “Forgive me, mom”, said Andung. “I will be home after reaching my success”, he added. The mother replied hopefully, “Please return home soon whatever your next condition. You are the only son I have now”. “Go now, my son, to not be trapped in the dark of night at the forest”, she reminded.

Andung kissed his mother‘s hand for the last time and then left. “Goodbye my son, hopefully you will return home soon”, said the mother in crying. “I will do, Mom”, replied Andung. The mother turned her face when her beloved son was losing from her sight. Since the time, the mother lived alone in the hut at the forest edge.

Days turned weeks and months, Andung did not stop walking and searching an appropriate job to realize his ambition. Sometimes he helped sick people who needed to be allayed.

One day, in the midday, Andung arrived in Basiang Kingdom that was seemed so quiet. After walking for a moment, he met a farmer whose body was full of both boils and scabies. Andung spontaneously helped him to recover from his suffering. The farmer afterward told him that all inhabitants of the country were threatened by the same diseases. When the dark was coming, the farmer offered him to pass the night in his house. After several days living there, all sick people endlessly come to him looking for recovery. Whoever healed by Andung fortunately recovered from the diseases. Andung‘s medical skill was therefore known throughout the country.

The king of Basiang, one day, heard the news. The king had hulubalang (the leader of the kingdom force) brought Andung to cure the princess. And so, the hulubalang headed directly to the farmer‘s house. After few times, the hulubalang and Andung arrived in the palace. Andung astonishingly looked at the surrounding buildings of the palace. In every step to the king‘s room, he looked and saw all parts of the building decorated with various ornaments. All beautiful ornaments led him unrealized that he had been in the king‘s room. He kneed in front of the king, gave a greeting as an honor and said, “Peace be upon to you, my majesty”, while the king welcomed him with full of hope. The king then told Andung about the disease that gnawed his beloved princess. “My daughter has been on her bed for two weeks. She can not do anything. Many healers had attempted to recover her, but they failed. Will you cure her?”, asked the king. “I am just a poor wanderer, and I have minimal skill in medical care. So, please forgive me if I also fail in recovering the princess”, Andung replied.

After the sort conversation, Andung was allowed to enter the princess‘s room. The princess was very pale and weak, and her lips closed tightly. However, her beauty clearly seemed through her wonderful face. Andung was surprised looking at her, and said to himself, “Ah, the princess is so beautiful”. Great spirit emerged, and all of his ability were forced to recover the princess. But she did not move at all. Andung was in panic and thought another way soon. He took the necklace to try his destiny. The necklace was soaked in the cup of water for a moment. After reading some prayers upon the water, Andung spattered it on the princess‘s face for several times. Of a sudden, the princess could move her body. Her eyes and lips opened, and her face turned bright. The princess was eventually able to sit on her bed.

All people in the palace were very happy knowing the last condition of the princess. The king was grateful for Andung‘s help to his only daughter. For expressing the gratefulness, the king allowed Andung to marry the princess. All people cheerfully accepted that happy news. Lavish ceremonies were held in seven days and nights constantly for their wedding. The princess was so happy to welcome Andung as her husband in her new life. The same was felt by Andung whose hearth fell in love in the first sight. All of the couple‘s times were full of happiness.

Days turned weeks and month. The princess was pregnant in the month that followed. She desired to eat kasturi (musk) fruit that only grew in Kalimantan Island. Andung‘s deep love led him to fulfill his wife‘s desire. Several kingdom troops accompanied him in searching the desired fruit.

Soon after arriving at the Kalimantan Island, Andung headed to Loksado to find kasturi tree which, according to local people, was bearing fruit. Andung stood surprisingly after knowing that the tree emerged firmly in front of his mother‘s small hut. Not for long, Andung commended the troops returned to the kingdom without taking the fruit to avoid meeting from his mother.  

Hearing the noisy masses in front of her hut, the old woman went out and found Andung among them. She called softly, “Andung…Andung…my son”. Andung and the troops continuously walked to keep away from the old woman. However, she ran after them with tiredness and said the same words frequently.  

Feeling ashamed in front of the troops, Andung turned his face to his mother who was looked much older and said angrily, “Stop calling me as your son, old woman. I am a nobility of the Basiang Kingdom. I never know old dirty woman like you”. After saying the words, Andung turned and continued walking.

The mother did nothing only cry. Her beloved son had become a rebellious man, even snapped her in front of the masses. She therefore prayed with trembling lips, “Oh my almighty God, show your power and justice”. Her tears had not been drying when the sky turned dark and thunderclap stroke repeatedly all parts of the surrounding area. After that, a sudden storm smashed and heavy rain fell dementedly. Realizing the condition was going worst, Andung screamed loudly, “Please forgive me, Mom”. But God‘s punishment could not be revoked. And suddenly Andung‘s body turned into stone.

Since the time, the surrounding people called the mountain as Gunung Batu Bangkai (mountain of decease stone), because the stone that lays on it resembles human body. The mountain sits in the sub district of Loksado, Hulu Sungai Selatan, South Kalimantan, Indonesia. (RI/ter/8/8-07)

Source :

Pahmi Roliansyah, Legenda Batu Gunung Tuaka, Balai Kajian dan Pengembangan Budaya Melayu bekerja sama dengan Adicita Karya Nusa, Yogyakarta, 2006.

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