Author: Wrini Harlindi Editor: Veronica Widyastuti Illustrator: Maman Mantox & Purwa Gustira Translator: Agnes Bemoe Proofreader: Ratih Soe Origin: Bali

Bali is a worldwide well known little island. However, do you know where the name “Bali” derives from? Here is the story.

Once upon a time there was a wise wizardry hermit who lived in Mount Semeru in Java Island. He was so magical that he could make any plant he had planted grow fruitfully. He could also make the livestock he raised fat, healthy, and multiply abundantly. That was why he was highly respected by people of Java Island.

There also lived a magic dragon in Mount Mesehe, in an island near Java Island. The Dragon was famous for his supernatural ability in art. His capability in dancing, playing music, carving, and making various handicrafts was to perfection. There was no other man or dragon that could match his supernatural power. Not only magical, The Dragon also had priceless various colorful diamonds sprinkled all over his body. The sparkle that came from the diamonds on his body was stunningly glittering, especially under the sunlight.

The Magic Dragon and The Magic Hermit were two best friends.

One day, The Hermit asked his messenger to bring crops and milk to The Dragon. Because of the magical power of The Hermit, the messenger only needed one day horse riding to reach Mount Mesehe. As for other people, it would take a whole week.

“I am leaving, Master.” The messenger departed obediently.

Regularly sent The Hermit crops and milk to The Dragon, his best friend. But, time over time something strange came up. The Messenger once appeared after one month and not one night as it was supposed to be. This, unfortunately, happened repeatedly.

“Why did you just arrive?” The Hermit interrogated his messenger.

“The Dragon didn’t let me return soon, Master,” answered the messenger bowing his head.

In other time the messenger gave his master different reason: “The wave was so big that we were forced to wait, Master.”

And another different reason for another time: “It was the horse, Master. She was so sick that I had to wait until she was recovered.”

These made The Hermit upset. He decided to quietly follow his messenger to Mount Mesehe.

What he found in Mount Mesehe was a big shock to him.

It turned out that after giving crops and milk to The Dragon, the messenger didn’t manage himself to go back. He hid himself behind bushes, near the cave where The Dragon lived. There he was waiting until The Dragon danced. As The Magic Dragon was dancing, diamonds were falling apart from his body. The messenger collected those diamonds and put them in the fold of his sarong. Instead of turning the diamonds back to The Dragon, The messenger kept them by himself as he rode down Mount Mesehe. He then invited the people of the island to play cockfight gambling with the jewels as the bet. People welcomed this idea. Who didn’t? The jewels brought by the messenger were so beautiful, priceless, and rare.

Learning that he had been cheated, The Magic Hermit became furious. With his thundered voice he yelled to his messenger: “Bali!”, which meant “Return home!” in Javanese.

Before leaving for Java Island, The Magic Hermit told the people in that island to learn art from The Dragon and not get tempted by the beauty of jewels on The Dragon’s body. People obeyed The Hermit. They then learnt how to dance, carve wood, play music, and make various handicrafts.

Until these days, people living in that little island are good in dancing, playing music, carving, and doing handicraft. Mount Mesehe was then named “Gunung Agung”, according to Hindu belief. And the beautiful little island under that majestic mountain was named “Pulau Bali” or Bali Island.

This post is also available in Bahasa Indonesia.

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