Author: Kayla Mubara Editor: Veronica Widyastuti Illustrator: Maman Mantox & Purwa Gustira Translator: Dameria Damayanti Proofreader: Ratih Soe Origin: Belitung

Once upon a time, there was a small house with a thorned palm roof. That house was surrounded by other several similar houses. Inside that house, lived Apa Inda and Ama Tumina, who had long been married but had not yet had a child.

They lived by harvesting crop in the ricefield and fishing in the ocean. Apa Inda used to set up sero. When the tide was low, a lot of fish would stuck in the traditional fishing tool that looked like a fence in the ocean.

One day, the harvesting season came at the same time with the low tide period. Apa Inda and his wife shared tasks.

“What if Apa goes to the sea and Ama goes to the rice field?” suggested Apa Inda.

“Allright. Please be careful,” replied Ama Tumina.

Apa Inda went to the sea with a big smile in his face. He held ambong on his shoulders. He used ambong as a container for the fish. Birds chirped gleefuly as he walked to the sea. The breeze blew his dripping sweat lightly.

On his way to the sea, Apa Inda almost tripped over a bamboo stick that lied on the street.

“This could harm people,” He thought. Apa Inda immediately took the bamboo stick and moved it  to the side of the road.

After a few meters of walking, Apa Inda arrived at the beach. When taking his sero, he saw another bamboo stick lying next to him. He felt weird. That bamboo stick was so similar with the previous bamboo. It even had the same joint as the previous bamboo stick. Apa Inda took that bamboo and threw it into the sea.

He caught so many fish that his Ambong could not contain them all. Apa Inda used the rattan rope to wrap some of the fish. His heart was filled with joy. The clouds in the sky also looked as if it smiled to congratulate him. His face looked more cheerful than when he just departed from his home.

Apa Inda caught his breath. He walked slower. On his way home, he saw another bamboo stick accross the road.

“Ah, what a coincidence!” said Apa Inda. “I can use this bamboo stick to carry the fish home. This looks like the same bamboo as before?”

Apa Inda arrived at home. He told Ama Tumina his experience that day. The dark haired woman listened to her husband diligently. She decided not to throw away the bamboo stick and put it on top of her laundry. That way, all the clothes would not  fly away when it was windy.

Ama Tumina massaged her husband feet when they both sat on the porch. The wind blew so gently that they felt sleepy and yawned several times.

“If only we had a child”, said Ama Tumina often in her heart.

Boom! Apa Inda and his wife startle. Their drowsiness immediately vanished.

“What’s going on?” Apa Inda stared at the bamboo stick that lied on top of the laundry. Ama Tumina walked slowly toward the bamboo stick. It was torn apart and there was a very bright light  on it.

Oee … Oee!

“A baby?” Ama Tumina hesitately held up the baby. She then washed  the baby lovingly. The small baby cried. Ama Tumina held it closely and sang it a lullaby. The baby calmed down before finally slept soundly. Apa Inda and Ama Tumina named the baby Puteri Pinang Gading.

Twenty one years later, when Puteri Pinang Gading went hunting in the woods, she saw villagers running around. There was a giant bird swinging its wings. The wings knocked down some trees and damaged some houses. There was cried of fear everywhere.

“Puteriiii!” Ama Tumina ran toward her daughter. Apa Inda followed her.

“Let’s go home, Child. It’s very dangerous. We do not want to lose you!” cried Ama.

“Apa… Ama… Please allow me to fight that bird,” asked Puteri Pinang Gading.

Both of them went speechless. They knew that Puteri Pinang Gading was a good archer. She even beat all men in the village.

“Please be careful, Dear,” said Ama Tumina. Apa Inda just nodded. They then went home.

In the village, people shut and locked their doors. Their faces went pale. Small children trembled from fear.

Puteri Pinang Gading hid herself behind a big tree. She waited there until the bird went reckless. On the third count, that beautiful brave girl shot her arrow. But it’s too late! She saw the bird grabbed a villager that could not get into the house. Her heart sank.

This time Puteri Pinang Gading paid more attention to the position of that giant bird. She shot her poisoned arrow to the bird’s chest. It was right on the target! The bird fell down and died.

A villager braced himself to get out of his house and walked toward Puteri Pinang Gading. People started opening their doors. Those who previously only peeked through a small hole from their houses, came out of their houses with bright smile. They thanked Puteri Pinang Gading.

Apa Inda and Ama Tumina looked at their daughter. Her dark hair that hang to her waist blown by the wind. Her eyes were clear, her cheeks blushed and her smile was so adorable it made people love her.

It has been said that the place where the giant bird fell down had turned into seven creeks. The arrow on its chest had turned into a clump of bamboo. There was a fisherman who tried to make a fishing rod from that bamboo. Unfortunately, he accidentally got cut and died from the poisonous bamboo.

People named the bamboo Bulo Berantu or poisonous bamboo. The name shortened into Bulantu. The area now has grown into a district in Belitung called Mbalong.

***

This post is also available in Bahasa Indonesia.

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