Author: Zahra Qomara Editor: Veronica Widyastuti Illustrator: Maman Mantox & Purwa Gustira Translator: Erna Fitrini Proofreader: Ratih Soe Origin: Gayo

Puteri Pukes lived in Kampung Nosar, a village in central part of Aceh. She just got married to a man from Kilang Samar, which is quite far from the Kampung Nosar. The gentle man was a descendant of a wealthy merchant. According to Gayo custom, every married woman should come to her husband’s village and stay there forever. It was an agony for Puteri Pukes.

“My daughter, I know how you feel. You definitely find it hard to leave our village, also leave your mother and father,” said Puteri Pukes’ mother as she approached her only child. She wiped Puteri Pukes’ head with affection.

Princess Pukes felt uneasy. Previously, she had expressed her objections to marry and leave her family. But this was their customs. The one who opposed the customs would get hurt.

“Mom, if I go, who will look after you? Who will accompany Dad when he is sad?” asked Puteri Pukes with wistful gaze. Her eyes had been puffy for days. She cried a lot after her wedding.

“And who’s going to tell me about nature, mountains, and forests?” said Puteri Pukes again with a frowning face.

“My daughter, you’ve grown up and become a wife. You should not say those words. Your words are not pleasant to hear, especially if your husband hears them.”

“Mom, what if I miss you, Mom? What if I want to meet Dad? Kilang Samar is very far from Nosar. We had to climb the mountains, cross the rivers, lakes, forests and even the bushes!” Puteri Pukes’ tears began to melt. She was sad to leave her village and her parents because she was married.

However, irresistibly, the separation between Puteri Pukes and her parents occurred.

“When you have left this village, never look back, my daughter. So you do not remember the face of Mom and Dad vividly. We sincerely let you go. Be happy with your husband,” said Puteri Pukes’ mother, hugging and kissing her daughter’s cheek.

“Go, my daughter. Obey your husband’s will and advice,” said Puteri Pukes’ father, hugging Puteri Pukes who began to cry again.

According to Gayo custom, a wife is obliged to serve her husband and family, as well as raising and educating their children.

Finally, Puteri Pukes left the house and her parents. She was devastated. Her husband tried to lead her, but Puteri Pukes refused. She wanted to enjoy the scenery of her hometown for the last time.

Puteri Pukes walked very slowly.  After quite far from home, she hoped to see the face of her mother and father for the last time. Puteri Pukes forgot her mother’s advice. She looked back. Indeed, she never imagined the consequences.

Inevitably, the sky became dark. Clouds rolled in as if they would fall. Lightning struck, accompanied by very strong winds. Heavy rain poured down. Puteri Pukes, her husband, and the guards went into a cave.
Some time later, the rain subsided. A guard wanted to call Puteri Pukes to get ready to continue the journey. However, the guard very shocked. He immediately rushed to Puteri Pukes’ husband.

“Sir! Sir! Puteri Pukes cannot move, Sir! Puteri Pukes turned into a stone!” cried the guard.

“What?” Puteri Pukes’ husband was shocked. He came to his wife who went deep in the cave.

True enough. In front of him was no longer Puteri Pukes. There was just a pile of rocks, resembling the body of crying Puteri Pukes. Water flowed from the statue’s both eyes. Over time, water formed a vast lake, which was then called Danau Laut Tawar.

Until now, the statue of Puteri Pukes exists in a cave, called Gua Pukes. Every now and then the statue will cry, shedding tears. Could Puteri Pukes be  condemned into a statue for not listening to her mother?

Ah, if only the statue of Puteri Pukes could talk and not just cry, we might know the answer.

This post is also available in Bahasa Indonesia.

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