This is our translation of a legend from the Jambi Province.
Little Finger (Si Kelingking)
Once upon a time, in the Jambi Kingdom, there was a husband and wife that were very poor. They had worked many years building their home, and during those years they had not yet been blessed with a child. All their efforts failed to produce this greatest desire of their heart. This caused the couple to lose all hope. They then decided to pray to the Lord, who is The All Powerful.
In their prayer they said; “Lord, The God that is All Knowing and knows all that is in the heart of every man, we have been married a long time, but have not been blessed with a child. Please bless us with a child! Even if the child is only the size of a small finger, it would be a blessing. We truly yearn to have a child.”
Several months after praying this, the wife became pregnant. At first the husband didn’t believe it could be true, because they were very old and the wife didn’t show any physical signs of being pregnant. Even so, the wife was convinced she was pregnant. She indicated to her husband that she felt something moving inside her stomach. She tried to convince her husband by reminding him of the prayer that they had prayed many months ago.
“My dear husband,” said the wife, “did you forget the prayer you prayed? Didn’t you request of God, the All Powerful, for Him to bless us with a child, even if the child may only be as large as a little finger?”
The husband remembered his prayer when he thought about the question his wife had asked.
“Oh yes, you are correct my precious wife!” Now I do believe that you really are pregnant. If that baby in your stomach is indeed only the size of a little finger, then it would be expected for your stomach not to show any signs of your pregnancy,” said the husband as he caressed his wife’s stomach.
After a full nine months, the wife gave birth to a boy, who was indeed the size of a little finger. The couple was overjoyed to now have a child of their own. After all these years they were finally blessed. The couple raised the boy, giving him all the love and attention they could, until he became an adult. Although he was now a fully grown adult, his size remained as large as a little finger.
One day the Jambi Kingdom learned that a monster was approaching them. This monster was a cruel man-eating giant, whom they called Nenek Gergasi. Not only would Nenek Gergasi eat people, it would eat anything that was living. The approaching Nenek Gergasi made all the citizens of the Jambi Kingdom terrified, including the family of Little Finger, as he was called. There wasn’t a single person in the Jambi Kingdom that was brave enough to go into their fields, or to the jungle to find food, for fear that Nenek Gergasi would eat them. Seeing the condition they were in, the Jambi King immediately ordered all the inhabitants of his kingdom to evacuate.
“My son! Hurry up and get ready! We have to move from this place and look for another place that is safer,” said Little Finger’s father.
Hearing his father’s command, Little Finger remained silent for a moment while he thought about the situation. He was thinking of a way to chase Nenek Gergasi away. After a moment he thought of a method that would work, and Little Finger said to his father, “No father! I don’t want to evacuate.”
“Aren’t you afraid to be swallowed up by Nenek Gergasi?” asked his father.
“Father and mother, don’t worry. I will chase Nenek Gergasi away from the Jambi Kingdom,” replied Little Finger.
“How will you chase it away, since you are so small?” asked his mother.
“That’s precisely how I’ll chase him away mother. I’ll use my small size to my advantage,” replied Little Finger.
Little Finger’s mother was totally confused, so she asked, “What do you mean son”?
“Hear me out for a moment Father and Mother. I know my body is only the size of a little finger. So, I can easily hide and not be seen by Nenek Gergasi. Father I want to ask you to make me a hole where I can hide. From that hole I will scare Nenek Gergasi away. If the monster dies, I’ll send word to you so all the Jambi citizens can return,” said Little Finger.
The father fulfilled Little Finger’s request by making a small hole in the center post of their home for him to hide in. After that the father and mother of Little Finger left the village, along with all the others of the Jambi Kingdom, to escape Nenek Gergasi. Little Finger was the only one left in the entire village. He immediately entered the hole that was made for him and hid from Nenek Gergasi.
When that afternoon approached, Nenek Gergasi arrived at Little Finger’s village, looking for some people to eat. He became very angry when he found the village empty. Every home was empty. Not only were the people gone, he also couldn’t find any animals to eat.
“Hey people, goats, water buffalo and chickens, where are you? I came wanting to eat you because I’m very hungry!” called out Nenek Gergasi with a very furious growl.
Little Finger heard the screaming and growling of Nenek Gergasi and replied from inside the hole he was hiding. “I’m here you old creature.”
Nenek Gergasi was very surprised to hear a person’s voice, but didn’t see anybody. It tried roaring out again, to see if a person would show themselves. Nenek Gergasi was surprised when he heard a voice louder than his voice call out. The monster began to tremble in fear. He thought there was a person there who had tremendous supernatural powers that was hiding from him. A few minutes later, Little Finger snarled loudly from the hole he was hiding in.
“Come here Nenek Gergasi. I’m also hungry. I’ll bet your flesh is very delicious and tasty!”
Hearing the threatening voice, Nenek Gergasi immediately started running all over the place and fell down into a deep ravine and died. Little Finger immediately came out of the hole he was hiding in. With tremendous relief he sent word to his parents, as well as to all the citizens of Jambi, and told them they could return to their villages and begin to live their lives as before. They were amazed to learn of the great supernatural powers Little Finger must have had to be able to chase away and kill Nenek Gergasi.
The news of how Little Finger chased away and killed Nenek Gergasi reached the ears of the Jambi King. The King called Little Finger to immediately appear before him. Little Finger immediately went with his parents.
“Hey, Little Finger! Is it true that you chased away and killed Nenek Gergasi? Asked the King.
“It’s true my lord! Would your servant lie about such a thing?” Little Finger respectfully replied.
“Okay, Little Finger. I believe what you say. But, remember! If that monster eats any people from my kingdom again, you better believe you will face serious consequences. Specifically, I will have you fed to my daughter’s pet white mouse,” threatened the King.
“Forgive me my lord! If your servant ever shows evidence that I lied about Nenek Gergasi, I’m ready to receive any punishment you place on me. But, if your servant can show evidence to clearly prove what I said was true, my lord, I request to be raised as a commander in your palace,” pleaded Little Finger.
Although Little Finger’s request was huge, the King considered and agreed to his request, knowing that chasing away Nenek Gergasi was not an easy thing to accomplish.
After that, Little Finger, together with his parents, asked the King for permission to return to their home, which he granted. During their journey home the father and mother of Little Finger expressed their fears and concerns about whether or not Nenek Gergasi would return. They feared this because if Nenek Gergasi was still alive, Little Finger would be sentenced to death by the King. When they arrived at their home, the parents asked Little Finger to tell them the story of how he chased the monster away. Little Finger told the story to them, from beginning to end.
“Are you positively certain that Nenek Gergasi won’t come back again?” asked his father.
Little Finger remained silent. His heart suddenly made him doubt whether or not Nenek Gergasi was dead, and maybe it could come back again. Little Finger didn’t know positively if Nenek Gergasi was dead, he only knew that it had run away terrified and had fallen into a very deep ravine.
When the next week arrived, Nenek Gergasi still had not appeared. Nevertheless, Little Finger was still concerned about whether or not Nenek Gergasi was truly dead. One day, when returning to his home, together with his father, Little Finger found the dead body of Nenek Gergasi lying in the ravine. They were then certain that Nenek Gergasi was dead and would never again trouble the Jambi Kingdom.
The next day, Little Finger, together with his parents, went before the King to present evidence that Little Finger was not lying. With the testimony of both of his parents, the King believed them fully and fulfilled his promise to elevate Little Finger to commander of the palace.
After several months as the commander of the palace, Little Finger began feeling the need to have a companion in his life, that is, a wife. He communicated his desire to his parents in this manner.
“Father, Mother! I’m mature now. I desire a wife. Would you two go and propose to the King so I can marry his beautiful daughter?” pleaded Little Finger.
Upon hearing what Little Finger had requested, his parents were shocked that he would ask for such a thing.
“Oh, you are just Little Finger! It’s not possible for His Majesty the King to receive a proposal from you. You are merely a small person with a huge appetite” said the father sarcastically.
“But, we have not tried, father! Who knows whether or not the princess will receive my proposal, said Little Finger.
At first the parents were very reluctant to fulfill Little Finger’s request. But, after being pressed repeatedly, they finally agreed to try, and they prepared themselves to receive harsh words of criticism and abuse from the King for trying to do such a thing. When they did face the King, the thing they expected did happen; they were mocked by the King.
“Your little immature child, doesn’t know how fortunate he is! He receives favors the space of a yard, and asks for favors the space of many yards. He has already been elevated to become the commander of the palace, and on top of it all, he asks to marry my daughter?” snarled the King.
Hearing the harsh words from the King, the parents of Little Finger couldn’t do anything about it. They merely returned home without Little Finger, since they were unsuccessful with their marriage proposal. Even though the King was not at all in favor of such a wedding, Little Finger didn’t lose hope. Still at the palace, and in the presence of the King, Little Finger called out,
“Forgive me my lord! Please allow your servant to marry the princess,” pleaded Little Finger to the King.
Knowing for certain that her father would be angry at Little Finger’s boldness for speaking so openly, the princess spoke up on Little Finger’s behalf.
“Father, forgive Little Finger! And openly receive his proposal to marry me,” said the princess.
“Later on you will regret it, my daughter. There are many young and strong handsome men in our kingdom. What do you hope to gain by marrying someone as small as Little Finger,”? asked the King.
“Forgive him, Father! Actually there truly are many strong handsome young men in our kingdom, but what service have they rendered to our kingdom? Although the body of Little Finger is small, he has already provided a tremendous service to the Jambi Kingdom by chasing away and killing the monster Nenek Gergasi,” said the princess.
Hearing the explanation from his daughter, the king began to be moved by her words. He again reconsidered what Little Finger had already done on behalf of the Jambi Kingdom, having saved the entire population from having to relocate to another area and rebuild everything from scratch. Finally, the King received the proposal from Little Finger and agreed to the wedding between him and his daughter.
The following week there was a wedding party that lasted seven days and nights, which was filled with all sorts of dance performances. Guests had been invited to participate from every corner of the Jambi Kingdom.
At the wedding party, from a distance it seemed as though the princess was sitting all alone, because Little Finger was so small his body couldn’t be seen. All of the wedding guests began to whisper and talk about the size difference between the bride and groom.
“Why did the princess want to marry Little Finger? How will she ever be able to have children, and a long line of descendants, seeing that her husband is only as large as a little finger?” whispered one invited guest.
“Who knows,” replied another guest, “but one thing is clear, the princess didn’t marry Little Finger because she desired children and descendants. She desired to reward the service of Little Finger for saving the Jambi Kingdom.”
After the wedding party had concluded the King gave a section of the Jambi Kingdom, along with some soldiers and workers, for Little Finger to build a kingdom for himself and his new wife. Although the princess was living in luxury, she was disturbed emotionally because Little Finger had no experience managing and directing a kingdom. He often went away without telling his wife where he was going. Although it was strange, every time Little Finger would depart, not long afterwards, a young strong and handsome man would come quietly riding on a white horse, in secret, to see Little Finger’s wife.
“Where’s your husband, Little Finger?” asked the young handsome man to the princess.
“My husband is currently traveling,” said the princess.
“Oh, I’m sorry, may I come into your home?” asked the young man.
“No you can’t! According to our customs it’s not proper for a young man like you to enter my home when I’m unaccompanied,” replied the princess.
Seeing that he couldn’t fulfill his desire to enter the home, he instead said good-by and departed. The princess began to be suspicious of the strange behavior of that young man. The following night, the princess pretended like she was sleeping, and little finger laying close by, assumed she was fast asleep, so he departed again, secretly. However, he wasn’t aware that his wife was following him from behind.
When they arrived at the bank of the river Little Finger immediately took off his clothing while hiding on the opposite side of some bushes. He then dove into the river while praying to the One and All Powerful God. A few moments later a strong, young, and handsome man, riding on a while horse emerged out of the river. The princess was amazed as she witnessed the event that she had just seen.
While still in hiding, the princess quietly thought to herself, “Hey, isn’t that the young man that often comes to visit me?”
Having seen the event take place the princess realized that the young handsome man on the white horse really was her husband, Little Finger. Quickly she took Little Finger’s clothing that he had left on the bushes, and took them home and burned them. Not long after the princess was at her home the young handsome man, riding on his white horse came again to see the princess. He said a greeting, and then good-by again as usual. However, not too long after his departure, he came back again to see her.
The young man said to the princess, “I’m sorry my precious wife! Please believe me that I’m truly Little Finger. I was given power to be transformed into the shape of this strong young man, but now I can’t become Little Finger anymore, because my clothing I left on the bushes are gone and I can’t find them. I have visited our home many times, testing you, to see if you were going to be loyal to me. You are a wife that is truly loyal to her husband. Please allow me to enter our home.”
With feelings of great joy and happiness, the princess allowed the young handsome man to enter her home, because she knew he was indeed her husband, Little Finger. After that, the princess told her side of the story to her husband, how she had followed him and had witnessed his transformation from Little Finger to the young handsome man.
“Please forgive your wife, my husband! I took the clothing you left on the bushes and burned them. I intended to do that because I desire to see you as a strong and handsome man,” said Little Finger’s wife.
Little Finger felt happy seeing his wife was pleased because she now had a man that was no longer small, but now strong and handsome. Finally the couple lived happily ever after, with Little Finger leading his Kingdom with great wisdom, and all the people in the Kingdom enjoyed great prosperity and peace.
One moral that can be derived from this legend is that the size of a person’s body, whether large or small, should never limit them from doing great things.