This is our translation of a legend from the Jambi Province.

Duako

(name of the main character in the legend)

This legend shows a theme that is common in other legends, and that theme is arranged / forced marriages. In legends like these there is frequently a competition conducted to see which young man would be the best candidate to marry the King’s daughter.

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60 of Jambi’s Legends

Alphabetically Arranged According to their Titles

We invested a tremendous amount of time in translating all of the below legends. We also took the time to compile them in the below list so they could easily be found…and read in the English language!

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Indonesian an Easy Language?

People will tell you that Bahasa Indonesia is an easy language to learn, and it might be, if it wasn’t always overlapping and intertwined with many other languages that are commonly used in Indonesia.

One of the challenges of living in Indonesia is that, with over 700 living languages, there is a continual struggle to maintain clear communications. As the language of one village overlaps that of another, there’s inevitably going to be a mixing of languages, as well as many spelling variations. There are also 300 ethnic groups, which have many different accents. And, with Islam being the predominate religion, there is always the Arabic language that you will continually come into contact with. Indonesians have accepted this variety as a way of life. For the foreigner that has come to work, and must first learn the national language, it’s a real struggle.

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This is our translation of a legend from the Jambi Province.

The Little Boy and the Apple Tree

(Kisah Pohon Apel)

This story is often told to Indonesian children. It reflects the parent’s willingness to give all they have for their children’s success in life.

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This is our translation of a legend from the Jambi Province.

Origin of the Jambi Villages of Lempur, Tebat Gelang, and Tebat

(Asal Mula Nama Lempur, Tebat Gelang, dan Tebat Jambi)

This legend describes how several Jambi villages obtained their names. It also gives insight into the Indonesian view of how children are to respect their mother, or dire consequences will result!

The moral lesson Indonesians get from this legend is that children have a responsibility to honor and respect their mothers. Another lesson derived from this legend is that they must never do anything that will hurt their mother’s feelings.

From the western mindset, this legend is disturbing. It’s possibly disturbing to many Indonesians as well. The westerner’s view of God is that he is a God of reconciliation and forgiveness, even of the most serious of offenses. He is not a God that delights in judgment or retribution, like what we see in the below story. Another thing from the western mindset: if a mother truly loved her daughter, no matter how rebellious her daughter would be, and no matter how much hurt she would cause, the mother would continue to love, forgive, and always be ready to welcome her back into a relationship with her.

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This is our translation of a legend from the Jambi Province.

Putri Rainun dan Rajo Mudo

This legend gives a little insight into the customs of forced marriages. Through this story the reader learns about the dangers that could be involved with this practice. This legend also has elements of witchcraft, as a deceased person is brought back to life again.

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This is our translation of a legend from the Jambi Province.

The Eagle that Rescued Upik

(Elang Sikat Elang Si Gonggong)

The title of this legend is very confusing. After asking Indonesians what it means, and they being confused, we made up a title that fits the story. The original Bahasa Indonesia title, literally translated is: Eagle Brush Eagle that Barks. The legend has nothing to do with a brush, nor about an eagle that barks. One remote possibility for the translation of the word “gonggong,” is “to pick up with the mouth.” If that was the meaning, then it would fit the legend.

This story communicates a common theme found in other legends, and that theme is that children should always honor and obey their mothers.

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