Author: Yas Marina Editor: Triani Retno A Illustrator: Ratna Kusuma Halim Translator: Ratih Soe Proofreader: Dameria Damayanti Origin: West Java

At the Royal Palace of Pakuan, lived two beautiful teenage girls. One is Princess Endahwarni, the daughter of King Pakuan. The other is Nyai Anteh. Nyai Anteh is the daughter of Nyai Dadap, the Queen’s favorite maid. Although Nyai Dadap already died, the Queen allowed Anteh to stay in the palace.

Nyai Anteh became Princess Endahwarni’s playmate. Anteh also took care of the the princess’ needs. Because of her loyalty, Nyai Anteh was very much loved by Princess Endahwarni.

One morning, Nyai Anteh came with a dress.

“Who’s outfit is that, Anteh?” asked Princess Endahwarni.

“It suits you, my lady,” answered Nyai Anteh.

“Let me see.”

Not long after, Princess Endahwarni tried the dress on and looked at herself in the mirror. “It’s really beautiful, Anteh. Where did you get this dress?“

“I made it myself,” said Nyai Anteh.

“How great,” Princess Endahwarni complimented earnestly. “If you wear this dress, you will be as pretty as a princess.”

“Ah, Princess, you’re too kind.” Nyai Anteh was blushing and it made her look prettier.

“I want you to make the dress for my wedding too,” pleaded Princess Endahwarni. “The Duke of Kadipaten Wetan and his son would come here tomorrow. The Duke is going to propose to me for his son, Prince Anantakusuma. “

“I will, if you trust me, my lady,” Nyai Anteh nodded. “Now, let me pick some flowers from the palace gardens.  Tomorrow, I will decorate your hair with flowers to make you look more gorgeous.“
Princess Endahwarni nodded and checked herself in the mirror again.

Nyai Anteh went to the back of the palace. There were huge flower gardens. She had fun picking flowers there. Nyai Anteh had so much fun that she did not realize she walked towards the edge of the forest. Her mind drifted into a conversation with the princess earlier. As a young girl, she was glad her beauty was recognized. Again, she was blushing.

She didn’t realize that behind the trees at the forest edge, a young man was peeking. The young man was fascinated by the beauty Nyai Anteh. Then, he walked over to Nyai Anteh.

Hearing footsteps, Nyai Anteh looked up. Her heart was pounding as her eyes met his gaze. Feeling confused and scared, she immediately ran away from the palace gardens.

The next day, the palace was more crowded than usual. The King welcomed the Duke of Kadipaten Wetan with his entourage with a festive feast. When the proposal started, Princess Endahwarni came out to meet the guests, accompanied by Nyai Anteh. Nyai Anteh was busy holding the Princess’ shawl that hung to the floor.

When Princess Endahwarni walked in front of Prince Anantakusuma, he did not look at her. Instead, he stared at Nyai Anteh whom he had seen in the flower gardens yesterday.

After the event, the Prince sent a soldier to convey a message to Nyai Anteh. The Prince said that later in the afternoon he would meet with Nyai Anteh at the forest edge near the flower gardens. He wanted to talk about something important.

Nyai Anteh was surprised to receive the message. However, out of curiosity, she granted the prince’s request. In the afternoon, Nyai Anteh went to the edge of the woods behind the palace. Prince Anantakusuma was already waiting there.

“What could I help you with, Your Highness?” asked Nyai Anteh.

“You know, Anteh, actually I do not love Princess Endahwarni. I have fallen for you since the first time I saw you here, “said the Prince.

“No, Prince. I do not want to betray the Princess,“ refused Nyai Anteh.

“Do not lie to your heart. I know you like me, too. Now here’s the deal. I will wait for your answer tomorrow, here. Will you accept my love? If you’re willing to be my wife, I will take you away from here,“ said the Prince.

Hearing what Prince Anantakusuma said, Nyai Anteh was stunned.  His heart admitted that he liked the Prince. But Nyai Anteh did not want to hurt Princess Endahwarni. Anteh was determined to reject the love of Prince Anantakusuma.

Throughout the night Anteh felt uneasy.  She sat on the edge of the window, stroking Candramawat, her beloved cat.

“What should I do, Mawat?” whispered Nyai Anteh to the cat.

“Meow…” replied Mawat.

“Should I go to the moon?” Anteh looked up to the moon. In that moment, the full moon was immaculately white.

Suddenly there was something like an unseen power that pulled Nyai Anteh and Candramawat way upwards. Finally, they landed on the surface of the moon.  On the moon, Nyai Anteh felt at ease for she could stay away from Prince Anantakusuma. However, she remembered her promise to Princess Endahwarni to make her a wedding dress. While on the moon, Anteh tried to weave a cloth for the princess’ wedding dress. Unfortunately, the weaving was never completed because Candramawat always ruin the cloth.

Since then, the moon has never been pure white again. We will always see something like a shadow on the lunar surface. That’s the shadow of Nyai Anteh weaving, accompanied by her cat.

This post is also available in Bahasa Indonesia.

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