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

The Legend of Putri Cermin Cina

Alternate Name

The Legend of Tuan Muda Senaning

Below is our translation of one of Jambi’s many legends. This particular story gives a little background information on the formation of a few villages that can still be found in Jambi. The Sultan (king) in this story, Sultan Mambang Matahari, is not found on any list of Jambi’s sultans. There may be a little truth to the below story, but when one of the main characters are evidently fictional, it leaves one to doubt the story in its entirety.

The Story of Putri Cermin Cina

A long time ago, in the area known as Jambi, there was a kingdom that was governed by a king named Sultan Mambang Matahari. This man had two children. A son named Tuan Muda Selat and a daughter named Putri Cermin Cina. Tuan Muda Selat was a very handsome young man, but was also very careless. Putri Cermin Cina, on the other hand, was very pretty, kind and meek.

One day a young merchant named Tuan Muda Senaning came to the area. In the beginning the objective of Tuan Muda Senaning was only to conduct business, but when he saw Putri Cermin Cina, he quickly fell in love with her. After a very short period of time, Putri Cermin Cina also fell in love with Tuan Muda Senaning, and she suggested that Tuan Muda Senaning talk to her father, Sultan Mambang Matahari so they could begin courting, and eventually receive a marriage proposal.

Wedding in Jambi: November 2010. C. & P. with bride and groom.

Not long after these two fell in love, Tuan Muda Senaning approached Sultan Mambang Matahari to present a marriage proposal. Sultan Mambang Matahari was very pleased to receive the proposal from Tuan Muda Senaning, but Sultan Mambang Matahari was forced to postpone the wedding three months because he had to sail to another island to locate items that would be necessary to conduct the wedding. Before he departed on his trip, Sultan Mambang Matahari placed Putri Cermin Cina into the care and supervision of his son, Tuan Muda Selat, who had the responsibility to protect her from any possible harm.

On day after Sultan Mambang Matahari departed in search of wedding provisions, Tuan Muda Senaning and Tuan Muda Selat were playing with tops in the courtyard of the palace. (“Gasing” is the name of tops in Indonesia. It is a traditional Indonesian game that uses small or very heavy spinning tops. The tops are made of wood, but they can be very dangerous.)

Wedding in Jambi; November 2010

Tuan Muda Senaning and Tuan Muda Selat were having a great time playing with the tops, laughing and really focused on their time of fun together. All of the laughter aroused the curiosity of Putri Cermin Cina, so she went to the window to see what all the laughter was about. When she looked out the window she saw the two young men winding their tops with the string, and that they were getting ready to throw them. The two young men saw Putri Cermin Cina looking out the window, and at the same time Tuan Muda Senaning and Tuan Muda selat threw their tops. Both of them collided with a very loud thud, and Tuan Muda Selat’s top went flying into the air.

Puti Cermin Cina dead after being hit by a flying top. In background, Tuan Muda Senaning on the ground, leaped up and having impaled himself on a spear.

The top flew toward the open window where Putri Cermin Cina was looking out, and it struck her in the forehead. She screamed out in pain when the top hit her and she fell to the floor. The top had cut a huge gash in her forehead and the blood began to flow profusely. When this happened everyone began to panic and tried to help Putri Cermin Cina. Although everybody did all they could to help her, they could not reverse what had happened and the beautiful young lady breathed her last breath.

Tuan Muda Senaning felt very guilty for the death of Putri Cermin Cina. He had lost all hope for life and didn’t want to live without her. He then saw two spears leaning against the wall. Very quickly he took them and pushed the ends of the spears into the ground, with the point sticking up. He then jumped upon them and the spears went through his stomach and came out his back. Tuan Muda Senaning died, following his true love, Putri Cermin Cina.

Following these tragic events the entire village came together to help bury the two bodies. The body of Putri Cermin Cina was buried along the edge of the river, whereas the body of Tuan Muda Senaning was taken to be buried in the village named Dusun Senaning.

Tuan Muda Selat was seriously disturbed due to the events. His father certainly would become extremely angry when he would hear the tragic news.

Tuan Muda Selat felt so guilty for the death of his beautiful young sister that he left his country, together with all the people in the village. All the people that followed him moved and settled in the village now known as Kampung Selat.

Not long after that Sultan Mambang Matahari returned from his three months trip of trying to find wedding provisions for his daughters wedding. Upon his arrival, the Sultan was startled because the village was very empty. When he went toward the palace he only found a few people who had remained behind to guard it. After Sultan Mambang Matahari understood what had happened he felt very sad. After this all the people remaining at the palace and in the surrounding village followed the Sultan to build a new village on the far side of the river. This particular location of this new village is located between the grave of Tuan Muda Senaning and the new village started by Tuan Muda Selat. The Sulatan’s new village was named Dusun Tengah Lubuk Ruso.