Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dongeng Bahasa Inggris - Dongso dan Sepetak Sawah


A STARVING BOY went wearily from village to village. His name was Dongso and he had been dismissed by a rich widow for whom he had worked, because the harvest had been so poor.

The widow was known throughout the land as the owner of the most fruitful acres, but after Dongso had come the harvest had been so meager that he alone ate more rice than the fields produced. It happened not once, but twice. The widow herself had seen how well Dongso had prepared the sawah and tended the young rice shoots, but when they had grown tall and ready to be harvested, the stalks were empty of kernels and hung limp in the sun.

After the second harvest, the village people began to whisper that the young man might be a bad spirit. Perhaps he had been sent to earth by Allah to punish the widow because she was so stingy and made such meager offerings to the village-spirit and the sawah-spirit.

The widow, of course, heard these whisperings, and in anger she dismissed Dongso, without paying him.

Weak with hunger Dongso came one evening to the outskirts of a village and knocked at the door of the first house he saw. It was a little hut in the midst of a small sawah owned by a poor old woman, Randa Derma. When Dongso knocked, she opened the door to him and he fell across the threshold.

"Please," he said feebly, "give me a handful of rice. I am starving."

"Why do you have to beg?" she asked him. "You look strong and you are young. Why don't you earn your rice? Why don't you work for your food?'*

But she was a goodhearted woman and she pulled her unexpected guest into the room without waiting for his answer. She set rice and coffee in front of him. "Eat and drink, my son/' she said. "And then tell me why you beg rather than
work."

The boy began to eat without a word, trying to make up for the many days he had gone hungry. When at last he was satisfied, he told the old woman his story. "I did my best/' he said. "I worked hard all the time I took care of the widow's sawahs. And truly I could not help it, it was not my fault, that the ears were almost always empty. I think," he said slowly, "it was because she did not make offerings to the protecting spirits and they were punishing her. And how could I force them to make the ears full of grain?"

"No, of course you couldn't/' the old woman agreed. "But if you will stay with me and work my little sawah, I will give you one fifth of the harvest yield. The trouble is, I have no buffalo. But the field isn't very big. . . ."

"It won't matter/' Dongso said. His eyes shone with gratitude for her offer. "I'll do my best for you."

Early the next morning, he started for the sawah, with only a spade. He turned the earth as if he had a fine plow and a strong buffalo working for him. When the time came for the sowing he did that, too, with speed and skill. Now he must wait with patience for the ripening. Then he would be able to harvest full, fine ears of rice! It was almost as if his wishes were coming true, for the rice stalks grew tall and straight, and the ears turned a beautiful golden yellow.

But then the worst happened, the same thing that had happened when he was working in the fields of the rich widow. The fine-looking stalks carried only empty ears, with not a grain of rice in them! He asked himself, in despair, "Can it be that this woman, too, has made no offering to the spirits? Or can it be that I am the one who brings bad luck to people?"

He couldn't bear to tell the old woman what was troubling him. She would find out for herself soon enough, when she went into the field for the harvest.

As the day drew near Dongso grew sadder and sadder. The night before the harvest he couldn't sleep a wink. He lay on his mat, tossing from side to side, thinking of the empty ears of rice in the field and how unhappy the old woman would be. The more he thought about it, the more he felt that he could
not face her disappointment when she opened the ears of rice that had been cut. Very early, long before sunup, he would leave the village; he would steal away as he had come, and beg from door to door till he found work again.

As quietly as a mouse he crept out of the hut next morning and started for the road. But before he left the village for good, he had to look once more at the little sawah where he had labored so long and faithfully. Walking sadly between the tall stalks, he looked again at the golden-yellow, empty ears. Idly he plucked one off and opened it. As he had thought, there were no rice grains in it.

Then his mouth fell open and he looked again, hardly believing what he saw. There were no grains of rice, but there were grains of gold, pure, glittering gold! He was dazed with astonishment. This couldn't be. Maybe in one ear, but surely not Dongso picked another one, and still another one, and yet another one, and each ear was filled with kernels of gold.

He ran back to the little hut, and found the old woman busy with her weaving. She looked up at him in astonishment. "Why are you so happy, Dongso?"

Dongso almost told her. But he wanted her to see the amazing sight herself. He wanted her to find the kernels of gold as he had found them. So he said, "Because today we are going to give a wonderful harvest feast, Randa Derma!"

The old woman's wrinkled face puckered sadly when he said that "No, Dongso/'. she said with a sigh, "I'm sorry, but we can't do that. We can only make a simple meal. I spent the last of my money on offerings to the spirits of the village and of the sawah so that they might bless the har-
vest. . . ."

"And so they have!" he shouted. "Wait till you see how they have blessed the harvest!" He took her by the hand and led her to the sawah. The old woman stumbled in her haste to follow his quick steps as he hurried her to the place where he had made the amazing discovery.

Dongso tore off a stalk and gave it to her. "Look inside, Little Mother/' he urged, and he watched as she opened the ear and found the golden kernels. He laughed when she shrieked with joy. "What did I tell you? What did I tell you?"

But the old woman pulled herself together quickly. "Now Allah be praised/' she said, bowing her head. "My little rice field has brought forth more than a hundred great sawahs could bring forth. Allah be praised!"

She had promised Dongso a fifth of the harvest and she gave him a fifth of the harvest. Now he was rich. He could buy himself a sawah, he could buy buffaloes, as many as he needed, as many as he wanted. But Dongso bought neither a rice field nor buffaloes. He was faithful to the old woman who had befriended him, and he took care of the many spreading sawahs she bought with the same zeal that he had taken care of her tiny sawah. And he did to others who came to help him as she had done to him he gave them one fifth of the
crop of the lush acres.

It has been so from that day to this: One fifth of each sawah's harvest is divided among the helpers. From that day to this, too, there has never been want or poverty in that district. The people of Derma have lived in peace and plenty all these years.

That's what the village was named Derma, after the old woman who had befriended Dongso and who had been so poor that she could not even offer a harvest feast. But the Javanese do not believe the village's well-being came from the fruitfulness of the countryside. They believe the good fortune of the village and its people is due to the lovely temple Dongso built to the memory of his benefactor, after she died, on the very spot where once the little sawah had been. 

Diceritakan Adele Leeuw dalam Indonesian Legends and Folktales
 

Kembali ke Kumpulan Cerita Legenda Bahasa Inggris

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