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Monday, March 28, 2011

The Legend Of Sangkuriang

A long time ago, the ancient land of Sunda was ruled by a king and a queen who had but a single daughter. Her name
was Dayang Sumbi. She was beautiful and clever but also pampered and spoiled.
One day as she was weaving in her pavilion, she became moody and distracted, which caused her to keep dropping her
shuttle on the floor. Once when it fell she exclaimed she would marry the one who gave it back to her. At that very
moment her dog Tumang, a demigod possessing magic powers, came up to her with the shuttle in his mouth. Dayang
Sumbi had to marry him.
They lived happily together, and Dayang Sumbi gave birth to a baby boy, human in appearance but endowed with his
father's magic powers. She named him Sangkuriang. As the boy grew up, he was always guarded by the faithful dog
Tumang, whom he knew only as a companion and not as his father, Sangkuriang became handsome and brave.
One day his mother asked him to go hunting with the dog and bring her venison for a feast. After hunting all day without
success, Sangkuriang worried about facing his mother empty-handed. Desperate, he took an arrow and shot the dog. He
returned home and handed over the meat to his pleased mother.
Soon after the feast, however, Dayang Sumbi questioned her son about the absence of Tumang. At first he evaded her
queries but finally told her what had happened. She was horrified and struck her son so hard on the temple that he
collapsed. For that, the old king banished his daughter from the court and she was made to roam around the kingdom.
Sangkuriang recovered with a large scar on his temple, and he too left the court to wander about the world.
Years later, Sangkuriang met a beautiful woman and instantly fell in love with her. It was his own mother-they did not
recognize each other. He pro¬posed to her and she agreed to marry him. On the day before the wedding, as she was
caressing her fiancee's hair, Dayang Sumbi detected the scar on the temple. Horror struck her, for she was about to
marry her own son, Sang¬kuriang. Without revealing the whole truth to him, she tried unsuccessfully to dissuade him.
Desperate to avoid the marriage, she set conditions she thought impossible to meet: Sangkuriang had to make a lake
that filled the whole val¬ley and build a boat for the couple to sail in, all before dawn.
Sangkuriang started to work. His love gave him extraordinary strength, and he used his magic powers to summon the
spirits to help him. With boul¬ders and mud they dammed the river in the valley and the water rose and began to form a
lake. In the early morning hours he chopped down a huge tree in the forest and began hollowing it out to make a boat.
When Dayang Sumbi saw that he was about to accomplish what she had thought impossi¬ble, she called on the gods to
bring the sun up early and thwart Sangkuriang.
The cock crowed, the sun rose much earlier than usual, and Sangkuriang realized he had been deceived. In a fit of fury
he cursed Dayang Sumbi and kicked the half-finished boat back into the forest. There it lies upside down today, forming
the mountain Tangkuban Perahu (Upturned Boat). Not far away is the stump of the tree Sangkuriang had felled, now
called Bukit Tunggul. The dam Sangkuriang had built caused the valley to become a lake, where both Sangkuriang and
Dayang Sumbi drowned themselves. They were never heard of again.

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