Author: Edoh Lukman Editor: Tethy Ezokanzo Illustrator: Gilang Permadi Translator: Rini Lasman Proofreader: Origin: East Java

Once upon a time, on the southern coast of East Java, there was a peaceful and tranquil village. It was known as Fishermen’s Village because most of the people living there worked as fishermen. That village was led by a just and wise man. Everything he did was for the welfare of the people in the village.

The welfare and prosperity of this Fishermen’s Village gained admiration from the surrounding villages. But it also made it a target for envious and greedy people.

One day, a group of mugger attacked the  village.

“Don’t let the muggers destroy our village. We should fight for our village! Let’s fight!” The village leader bravely led his people to fight against the muggers.

In that battle, the village leader was killed. And also most of the village men.

The remaining men took the village leader’s daughter named Dewi Jembarsari and the village women and left the Fishermen’s Village.

They fled to a hilly forest near the clear Bedadung river. Together they opened the forest to make a new village and learned farming. Gradually, their work paid off. There were an abundance of crops harvested from the paddy field and the farm. That new village flourished and it was known as Kampung Baru.

Dewi Jembarsari grew up into a beautiful and intelligent girl. She was also wise just like her late father. The people respected her. They had asked her to lead Kampung Baru.

“Have you thought about your request carefully?”

“We believe you and we know you can lead this village justly and wisely like your Dad.”

Dewi Jembarsari thought and considered the villagers’ request.

“Very well. I’ll do it. But I want you to work with me to make our village prosper.”

“Thank you, Dewi Jembarsari!”

The people were very happy. They voluntarily worked together with Dewi Jembarsari. Ever since, Dewi Jembarsari led Kampung Baru, the village flourished. The streets and the roads that connected the village with the neighboring villages were repaired. An irrigation system from the Bedadung river was also built. The crops were abundant. The people there always worked hand-in-hand to build the people’s houses, guard house, and meeting hall. They also worked together in their paddy fields. Whenever they encountered problems, they always discussed it together to find solution.

Dewi Jembarsari and the other villagers were very friendly and open in accepting people from outside of their village. Mostly they came to trade. A lot of the people who visited Kampung Baru and traders eventually decided to stay and live there.

Kampung Baru area expanded. There were many smaller villages in the neighboring areas decided to join under the ruling of Dewi Jembarsari. This included the Kampung Nelayan. The people there didn’t like the mean and inhuman leadership of the muggler group.

Dewi Jembarsari’s beauty and intelligence had made many men fell in love with her . A lot of them had asked her hand in marriage. But Dewi Jembarsari always refused their marriage proposal politely. She wanted to dedicate her life to the welfare of the people of Kampung Baru.

One day a group of mean muggler intercepted Dewi Jembarsari’s group who were on their usual visit trip. Their leader wanted to make Dewi Jembarsari his wife.

“Dewi Jembarsari! You must accept my marriage proposal.”

“Please forgive me! I couldn’t do that,” Dewi Jembarsari answered gently.

“Why? I’m strong and people fear me. Together we will rule the entire area,” the leader said again.

“I still have a responsibilty to protect and make the Kampung Baru people prosper. I can’t be selfish and put my personal needs first. Besides I’m not interested in such power.”

The mugger leader didn’t accept Dewi Jembarsari’s rejection. He was furious and felt degraded. He ordered his men to attack Dewi Jembarsari’s troup. The battle was unavoidable. Dewi Jembarsari and her people fought with all their might. But it was an unbalanced battle. They lost. Dewi Jembarsari died in that battle.

The Kampung Baru people mourned. Their beloved leader had gone forever.

To commemorate Dewi Jembarsari, they agreed to change the name Kampung Baru into Jembarsari. Everytime they were asked of their origin, they proudly answered, “we’re from Jembarsari.”

“Oh,… you are from Jembar.”

Gradually, the name Jembarsari was shortened to as Jembar. Later, the name changed into Jember.

This post is also available in Bahasa Indonesia.

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