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'*The Legend of Kheong Mas*'

THE LEGEND OF KEONG MAS
(Indonesia)

Prince Raden Putra was married to a princess named Dewi Limaran. One day when Dewi Limaran was walking in the palace garden, she saw a snail among her lovely flowers and she had one of her servants pick it up and throw it away. The snail was actually an old witch who had disguised herself as a smail. The witch was very angry, so she cursed Dewi Limaran and changed her into a golden snail, and throw it into the river. The stream carried it far away from the palace.

On the side of a big forest, there lived a poor widow. Her living was only fishing. One day it was a particulary bad day as she didnt catch any fish. Again and again she spread her net, but nothing got cought into it. At last she pulled up the net to go home. Suddenly she saw something shining at the bottom of it. It was only a snail. She picked it up and took it home. Its shell shine like gold, the old woman had never seen such a snail before.

At home she put it in an earthen pot. She then went to bed and soon was fast asleep as she was very tired. The next morning when she woke up, she found to her amazement that the floor had been sweept clean and there was some food on the table. She wondered who had done all this. She tought she was dreaming but she was not. She thought and thought but could not think of anybody who could have been so generous to her.

Some days passed, she then got an idea. The next morning she took her basket an went out as usual, but shortly she returned to her hut and hide herself. Suddenly she heard a soft movement inside the earthen pot and saw the sngcl creeping out of it. It grew bigger and bigger and in a moment as lovely young girl stood where the snail had been. The empty shell fell to the ground behind her. Quickly the young girl sweept the floor, then she took the rice, meat, vegetables and began cooking.

When the old woman saw all this, she noticed, that it was not an ordinary snail she had caught, but a person who lived under a spell, and she knew what she had to do to break it.

She crept stealthily to the empty shell, took it and then rushed out of the hut to throw it into the river. Now she had broken only a part of the spell, and the rest of it must still be broken before she could return to her husband. The young girl then made herself know to the old woman.

"I shall pray to the gods that the prince might be led to this place," said the old woman.

Many years passed by...

The king persuaded his son to look for another bride, but at first prince Raden Putra refused as he could not forsake his wife. In the end, however the prince asked his father if he coud go out to find a bride, but one who was look alike of his former wife. An old faithful servant accompanied him on his trip.

They went from town to town, from village to village until one day were travelling through a big fores and they lost their way. Finally the men came to a big river and not far from it they saw a hht. They went to it and ask for some food and drink as they were hungry, thirsty and dead tired. The old woman welcomed them warmly, Raden Putra found the meal served by the old woman excelent. She told him, that her daughter had prepared it. Raden Putra then asked whether he might meet and thank her daughter. The old woman had no objections and called her daughter to come out. The young girl appeared and knelt down in front of Raden Putra with her head bent.

When Radan Putra saw her, he caught his breath in great surprise as the young girl looked exactly like his formes wife princess Dewi Limaran. "You are the bride i am looking for" he cried out. But the girl shook her head and said that she made a promise: when a man wanted to merry her, he had to obtain the Holy gamelan (music stone) from heaven which could make music without being touched.

Raden Putra was willing to try and went out into the forest. He then sited an mediated. After a hundred days the Gods heard and granted his wish.

On her wedding day, the Holy gamelan played its heavenly music. It was so beautiful that every person who heard it feld happier than ever.

The young girl then reveled her secret, that she was Dewi Limaran herself. The music of the gamelan had broken the evio witch's spell.

The old woman had been invited to remain in the palace. Now she had everything she wanted and sorrow had left her forever.

(Translated by Mrs Kusamadewi)


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