The folktale you are going to read is very popular among the Indonesians, the title is Timun Mas. The folktale is not only interesting but it also teaches us about moral values and love to our parents.
A long time ago, there lived a farmer and his wife. They were old. They lived alone. They did not have any children yet. They really wanted to have a child. Though they were old, they never gave up. Every day they prayed to God. They asked God to give them a baby.
The couple often went to a quiet place to pray. They could pray solemnly without being disturbed by any other people.
One day, they went to a cave. They prayed and asked God to give them baby. They did not know that a giant heard their pray. He was not just an ordinary giant. He had a supernatural power!
“Why do you want to have a baby?” asked the giant.
The farmers were extremely shocked! They did not know that the giant had been watching them and heard their prayer. They were speechless. They did not know what to say. And that made the giant upset!
“Hey! Why are you so quiet? I ask you once again! Why do you want to have a baby?” asked the giant angrily.
The farmer was finally able to calm down. He replied, “We live alone. We want to have a child. We hope our life will be happier if there is a child at home.”
“But you are already old! How can you have a baby?” asked the giant.
“We know that but we don’t give up. We know miracle happens and we are sure that we will have a baby,” said the farmer.
“I can give you baby,” said the giant.
“Are you sure?” asked the farmer.
“Yes! But with one condition..”
“Tell me,” said the farmer eagerly.
“You can keep your child until the age of seventeen,” said the giant.
“Then I’ll take your child.”
“What do you mean?”
The giant was laughing, “Ha ha ha… I will eat your child. I’m sure by the age of seventeen your child is already grown-up. So, do you agree?” asked the giant.
The farmer and his wife were discussing.
“What do you think? Should we accept the giant’s offer?” whispered the farmer’s wife.
“Yes! We will accept his offer. At least we have a child. We will think of the solution later. We have seventeen years to find the solution,” said the farmer to his wife. Then he talked to the giant.
“Yes, we agree. Now what should we do?” asked the farmer.
“Good!” said the giant. He continued, “Take these seeds of cucumber. Plant them in your backyard. Take care of the tree very well. When you harvest the cucumbers, pick the golden cucumber. Wait until it is ripe. Bring it home and open it carefully.”
“And then?” asked the farmer.
“Just do what I say! Here, take these seeds!” said the giant.
The farmer took the seeds and put them in his pocket. They went home. When they arrived they immediately planted the seeds in the backyard.
Slowly, the seeds turned into a tree of cucumber. Later the tree had some cucumbers. As he was told, the farmer waited until the cucumbers were ripe. Then he picked the golden cucumber. He brought it home carefully and put it on the table.
The farmer and his wife were so nervous. They still did not understand why they were doing this. When they cut and opened the cucumber, they were shocked! Inside the cucumber, a beautiful baby girl was sleeping soundly.
The farmer and his wife were so happy. She carefully lifted the baby.
“Oh God… she is so beautiful. We should name her.”
“How about Timun Mas?” asked the farmer.
“Hmm… I agree,” said the wife.
Timun means cucumber and mas is from emas which means golden.
Timun Mas grew as a beautiful daughter. The farmer and his wife loved her very much. They were happy, finally their wish came true. Though they looked so happy, the farmer and his wife were sad. Deep down inside their heart, they did now want to lose her.
The day finally came. Yes, Timun Mas would celebrate her 17th birthday soon. The farmer and his wife were so restless. They knew the giant would come to eat their only daughter. They prayed God to give them help.
At night, the farmer had a dream. An old man told him to give several things to Timun Man. The things were salt, chilly, cucumber seeds, and the last one was terasi, it’s a shrimp paste.
The farmer woke up and told his wife about his dream.
“Let’s prepare those things now. Maybe your dream is the answer of our prayer,” said the farmer’s wife.
On the following day, the farmer and his wife talked to Timun Mas.
“There is something that we want to tell you.”
“What is it, Father? You look so serious?” asked Timun Mas.
“You… You are not our real daughter,” said the farmer’s wife.
“What do you mean, Mother? I don’t understand,” replied Timun Mas.
The farmer’s wife started to cry. She did not have the heart to explain the truth to her beloved child. Then the farmer explained everything, how they met the giant and how the giant would come to eat Timun Mas on her 17th birthday.
Timun Mas was crying. The farmer felt so guilty.
“Please forgive us, Timun Mas. We have tried to tell you earlier but we did not have the heart,” said the farmer.
“I’m crying not because I’m sad, Father. I’m crying because I’m so touched to see your struggle to have and to love me. I’m sure there is a solution for this,” said Timun Mas.
“Yes, there is. Please take this bag. Inside the bag there are several things that can help you from the giant,” said the farmer. “Just throw them one by one when the giant is chasing you. First throw the salt, then the chilly. After that throw the cucumber seeds and finally throw the terasi.”
Not long after that they heard a rumble voice.
“Hey! Farmer! Where is that child! I’m hungry now! I want to eat her now!!!”
“Oh my God! That’s the giant. Timun Mas, run now! Save your life!” screamed the farmer.
Timun Mas ran through the backdoor of the house. Unfortunately the giant saw her run.
“Ha ha ha… Where are you going? You cannot escape from me!”
The giant ran and chased Timun Mas. She ran as fast as she could. Too bad, the giant was almost able to grab her.
Timun mas remembered the bag her father gave it to her. She opened it. She threw a handful of salt. Amazingly the salt became sea. What happened with the giant? Well, it was not a problem for him. He could swim well. In just a minute, he already crossed the sea. He chased Timun Mas again.
The giant ran very fast. Timun Mas opened the bag again. She threw some chilly towards the giant. What happened with the chilly? It changed into a jungle. There were lots of trees with sharp thorns in the jungle and they hurt the giant. He was bleeding but unfortunately he was able to chase Timun Mas.
This time Timun Mas threw some cucumber seeds. Amazingly the seeds grew into lots of cucumber trees. The giant had difficulty running, he was blocked by the trees. Sadly, the giant could handle the trees and kept on chasing Timun Mas.
Timun Mas did not give up. She knew the giant was getting weaker and weaker. She was sure that the last magic stuff in the bag would stop the giant completely.
She opened the bag and threw terasi. This shrimp paste changed into a big swamp. The giant was drowned. He was so tired and weak. He tried to swim but he did not have enough energy to swim. Finally the giant died.
Timun Mas was extremely happy. She immediately went home. When she arrived, her parents welcomed her happily.
“Father… Mother… the giant is dead. Now we are safe,” said Timun Mas.
“Thank you, God… Thank you,” said the farmer and his wife. Since then Timun Mas lived happily ever after with her parents.
Okay, now let’s answer the questions:
1. Where did the farmer and his wife meet the giant?
2. What is terasi?
3. What happened after Timun Mas threw some chilly towards the giant?
4. How did the giant die?
5. What is the moral lesson of the story?