Author: Purwandi Editor: Triani Retno A Illustrator: Wafiq Sehat Translator: Diah Dwi Arti Proofreader: Ratih Soe Origin: Central Java

Gendu was a good-looking boy. His skin was bright, clear and shiny. Eventhough he looked like a prince of a kingdom, he was just a son of poor firewood pickers.

Unfortunately, Gendu never went with his parents to pick firewood in the forest. He didn’t want to visit neighbouring villages as well. He was ashamed to have such dull and poor parents.

Every morning, while Gendu was still sleeping, Bapak (the father) and Emak (the mother) began their work in the woods. When the noon approached, Gendu woke up. The first thing he did was opening the food cover on an old rotten wooden table. He ate everything served there. After eating he went outside to play with his upper class friends.

All this time, Gendu always told his friends that he is a royal son. He never claimed Bapak and Emak as his birth-parents.

One day, he unexpectedly met three hunters who passed by his house. He was eating with his parents at the moment.

“Raden Gendu, how did you get here?” asked one of the hunters. People always addressed Gendu ‘Raden’ because they thought that Gendu was really a royal’s son.

“I went too far so I got lost. Thank God I met my parents’ ex-servants,” Gendu replied in a lie.

Those three hunters believed in what Gendu had said. “If you are too afraid to go home on your own, come with us,” said another hunter.

Having heard what Gendu said, Bapak’s and Emak’s hearts broke into pieces. Their beloved son had clearly disclaimed them as his parents. They prayed to God so that their son would realize his mistake.
After the three hunters left, Gendu left the dining table in anger. He roughly spoke to his parents, “Argh! You both have humiliated me!”

“Humiliated you, Son?” asked Emak.

“You didn’t say that there would be visitors!” said Gendu.

“Why should we tell you if there would be visitors, Son?” asked Bapak who had been keeping silent from the beginning.

“I feel ashamed! Everyone will find out that I am not a royal son; that I am only the son of  poor fire wood pickers. I’m ashamed… ashamed… so very ashamed!” Gendu repeated his words.

Having heard Gendu’s impolite words, Bapak and Emak lost their patience.

“We  have been keeping our patience all along and sacrificing our hearts just for you, Son! But you turned to be an ungrateful child!”

“You are ungrateful!” Gendu replied. “Perhaps Gendu is a real royal’s son, but you kidnapped me. And what you have done makes me suffering, poor and humiliated!”

“Gendu, get into your head, Son. You are our birth-son. I myself delivered you to this world. Please forgive us if we can not make you happy,” Emak burst into tears.

“No! I don’t believe you! You are not my birth-parents. Look, we are not alike. I am handsome and clean, but you both are dull and ugly!” Gendu said.

“Alright, Son,” Emak answered. “If you feel sorry to be our son and you accused us for kidnapping you from your royal parents,  just go and find that royal parents! We will let you go!”

After that, Gendu left home. His intention was to look for the parents whom he believed were his real birth-parents. However, he never found what he was looking for.

Time flew and people made a mock of him. His clean and handsome face turned to be dull. His mind was busy searching for his imaginary royal parents. He had no time to take care of himself, not even to just take a bath. His body got thinner, wrapped in scattered clothes. He looked like a homeless person.
In such devastating condition, Gendu finally realized his mistake and felt very sorry for leaving his parents. He went back home to ask for forgiveness from Emak and Bapak.

Poor Gendu, their house had already ruined.  It was swept away by a cyclone several months ago. Emak and Bapak had disappeared.

In his deep sadness and sorry, Gendu kept looking for Emak and Bapak in cry. Without his notice, after some time his body transformed into a kind of bug. Whenever he made a sound, it sounded like a wailing boy.

Local people call that creature ‘Kinjeng Tangis’, a kind of bug that produces high frequency sound just like the sound of a crying boy. People say that it is Gendu who feels sorry for what he has done and calling out his parents’ names.

This post is also available in Bahasa Indonesia.

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