Author: Lian Plg Editor: Aan Wulandari Illustrator: Wawat Smart Translator: Ratih Soe Proofreader: Dameria Damayanti Origin: Nusa Tenggara Barat

Tongtonge is an innocent young man. His father was a farmer who was always on the move to work, while his mother remained in the village. Tongtonge preferred to join his father. Occasionally, he paid his mother a visit.

One day, Tongtonge was very excited because the bubu (a fish trap) he made was done.

“Thankfully, this fish trap is done,” whispered Tongtonge. “I’m going fishing tomorrow.” He seemed so happy. His eyes kept looking at his trap. He brought the bubu near the farm fence.

Busy helping his father, Tongtonge could not make time to catch the fish. For days, the fish trap had been stored there. One day Tongtonge wanted to catch some fish. He headed to the storage where he kept the trap.

When he got there, how shocked he was to see the fish trap had been eaten by termites.

“I kept the fish trap near the fence but the trap was eaten by termites. So now the termites are mine!“ he said angrily as he wrapped the termites.

Tongtonge went to visit his mother and he brought the termites. After walking for quite a distance, Tongtonge felt tired.  He wanted to rest for a moment. He leaned back and then fell asleep. The moment he was awake, Tongtonge took the wrapped termites, but unfortunately the termites had been eaten by a chicken.

“The fish trap was eaten by termites. The termites were eaten by chicken. Well, here’s what I’ll take, the chicken!“ he said irritably.

He then caught the chicken, clamped it in his armpit, and took him it away to the village.

Along the way, he arrived at a settlement where he took a rest.  When he was eating, the chicken was still clamped in his armpit. Some people who saw what he did were astonished. One of them reprimanded.

“Hi Tongtonge, give me your chicken, I’ll take care of it for you while you are resting and eating,” the man offered to help.

Tongtonge was doubtful at first, but eventually he handed the chicken to him. Moments later, the man met Tongtonge. The man’s face looked uneasy. He said that the chicken he looked after had died, crushed by a rice pounder. He apologized and conveyed his willingness to replace the chicken with his chickens, but Tongtonge refused.

“That’s not fair,” said Tongtonge. “If the chicken died because of a pestle, the pestle should be the replacement!” said Tongtonge.

The man agreed and handed the pestle to Tongtonge. Along the way, Tongtonge went through a lot. His pestle was borrowed by a cowherd but it was broken, then the cowherd replaced it with a cow. Tongtonge’s cow died because a jackfruit fell on its head. He took the jackfruit to replace it.

Tongtonge resumed his journey. Once again he stopped to rest. He arrived at a shack. Inside the shack lived a girl. The girl invited Tongtonge to rest there. When she saw the jackfruit Tongtonge brought, she wanted to taste it but Tongtonge would not allow her because the jackfruit was for his mother.

When Tongtonge wanted to bathe, he asked the girl to watch his jackfruit. The girl, who did not want to waste the opportunity, ate the jackfruit.

Upon returning from the river, Tongtonge was surprised.  The jackfruit had been eaten by the girl who was supposed to watch it.

“How unfortunate I am. My fish trap was eaten by termites, the termites were eaten by a chicken, my chicken was crushed by a pestle and died, my pestle was destroyed by a cow, my cow was crushed by a jackfruit and died, now my jackfruit has been eaten by a girl, then I’ll take the girl!“ he whispered.

Tongtonge resumed his journey. He brought two baskets. One basket was used to carry the girl, while the other basket was filled with stones to balance.

On the way, Tongtonge felt that he needed to use a bathroom. The girl told him to go to a river. Tongtonge agreed. When Tongtonge was going to the river, the girl escaped. But before that, she filled the basket she occupied with a piece of wood and a stone.

After Tongtonge was back to where the baskets were placed, he immediately lifted them without checking the contents first.

When he arrived at his mother’s house, Tongtonge shouted, “Mother… Your daughter-in-law-to-be has come!”

“If you brought me stones and rods, put them under the house,” her mother replied as he opened the door.

“No Mom, your daughter-in-law-to-be has arrived,” repeated Tongtonge louder because of her defected hearing.

He then pointed to one basket he carried.

“Then invite her here. Open the basket!“ asked his mother.

Tongtonge quickly ran toward the basket. And how shocked he was to discover that there were only a piece of wood and a stone. Tongtonge shed tears, lamenting his fate.

This post is also available in Bahasa Indonesia.

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