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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A long, long time ago, in the area of Jambi, there was a young lady from the royal family named Putri Rainun. She was a very pretty, as well as elegant. In addition to her outward beauty, she also had a very beautiful nature. Her outer beauty could be seen with the eyes, and her inner beauty could be heard with the ears, because when she would talk she was always sweet, forgiving, kind, and gentle. Because of these tremendous qualities, she became the desire of many young men. Many young men from the royal families proposed to her, as well as those from outside the royal families. In spite of the many marriage proposals, she rejected them all. It had become obvious to everyone that Putri Rainun had her heart and affection set on one person, Rajo Mudo. Though this young man was very handsome, he wasn’t from one of the wealthy families of the Kingdom, nor from one of the royal families. He was merely an ordinary person.  In spite of his family origin, he had many inner qualities that made Putri Rainun very attached to him, and those qualities were that he was very deeply in love with Putri Rainum, he was devoted to God, and he was very intelligent.

To expand Rajo Mudo’s knowledge, he decided he needed to travel outside the Kingdom to obtain more exposure to the outside world. After deciding that he really needed to do this for his education, he approached Putri Rainun one day and said to her, “Hey Putri Rainun, I want you to know that you are the pearl of my heart. I need to let you know that I need to cross the ocean to gain more knowledge to make me a better and more equipped person. If you would give me permission to go, I want to sail on the ship that’s departing from the port tomorrow morning.”

“Yes, my love, you can go,” said Putri Rainun to Rajo Mudo. “I’ll pray for God to bless your travels, but don’t be gone long. Come back to me as fast as possible. I don’t want you to be separated from me for a long period of time.

“Okay Putri Rainun! I’ll come back as fast as I can. If we really are meant to get married and spend our life together, God will certainly bring us back together again,” said Rajo Mudo.

The next day, Rajo Mudo boarded the ship and they set sail to a country across the ocean. Seeing the center of her heart’s affection depart was more than she could bear, and the tears began to pour from the eyes of Putri Rainun. When the ship sailed out of eye sight, she left the port and returned home.

The news of Rajo Mudo’s departure quickly spread throughout the Kingdom. It brought great happiness and joy to all the young men because they knew that with Rajo Mudo’s departure, they had a chance to get Putri Rainun for themselves. The young men conducted a competition for the purpose of attracting attention to themselves, so that hopefully they would be able to endear Putri Rainun to themselves, and away from Rajo Mudo. Even though many handsome young men were showing their strength, bravery, and courage, trying to impress Putri Rainun, her deep love for Rajo Mudo was not shaken. She easily rejected every young man’s attempt to turn her affections away from Rajo Mudo.

After many months had passed there was still no news of Rajo Mudo and Putri Rainun was beginning to grow concerned. Down deep in her heart she was yearning for his return. To try to comfort her heart and not think about him so much, she tried to fill her time with activities like working in the rice fields.

One day a young man was passing by the home of Putri Rainun, and when he saw Putri Rainun he was very much interested in her when he saw how pretty she was. That young man’s name was Biji Kayo. He was the son of an extremely wealthy man, but he had a very bad nature about him. He was known to frequently disturb young ladies and always brought trouble into their lives. He accomplished all his nasty work through his clever ability to capture the hearts of people. He would then persuade them to do whatever he wanted them to do.

The next day Biji Kayo came to the home of Putri Rainun. He wasn’t so bold as to immediately propose to her, because he knew that Putri Rainun was still deeply in love with Rajo Mudo. So, instead of speaking with Putri Rainun, Biji Kayo spoke with her mother. Using his clever skills in getting people to feel sorry for him, or to believe what he says and to go along with him, he succeeded in winning over the heart of Putri Rainun’s mother.

“Okay, Biji Kayo. I’ll try to persuaded my daughter to accept your wedding proposal,” said the mother of Putri Rainun.

Receiving the response he was hoping for, Biji Kayo smiled, then said goodbye as he returned to his home. That evening, Putri Rainun’s mother began to persuade her daughter to accept the wedding proposal from Biji Kayo.

“My daughter, you know that Biji Kayo is very wealthy. I think it would be a very good match if you were to marry him. I think it would even be a better match than you and Rajo Mudo,” said her mother. “Biji Kayo is quite wealthy and will always have everything you could ever need, while Rajo Mudo is only an ordinary person and rarely has enough to meet his basic necessities. And on top of all that, we haven’t heard any news about Rajo Mudo for a very long time. Who knows, maybe he already married a sweet young girl from across the ocean in another country.”

“Mother, please don’t compare Biji Kayo with Rajo Mudo,” said Putri Rainun. “Although Rajo Mudo doesn’t possess tremendous wealth, he has a heart that is very sweet and special, and I’m deeply in love with him.”

This discussion would go on and on, with Putri Rainun always rejecting Biji Kayo’s proposals. However, the continual skills he used to win over Putri Rainun’s mother, by making her feel sorry for him won out, and Putri Rainun was forced to marry him. One week later a huge wedding was planned and there was a tremendous celebration. Sitting in his wedding seat, Biji Kayo had a huge smile on his face, while Putri Rainun was evidently very sad. She felt she had betrayed her one true love, Rajo Mudo.

When the wedding was over the newlyweds lived in an elaborate home. Nevertheless, Putri Rainun refused to sleep in the same room with her new husband, and she decided to not let him come close to her. At this same time Rajo Mudo returned from his journey. He was devastated upon hearing that his precious Putri Rainun had married. He then invited Putri Rainun to meet with him in a secret place. But, Putri Rainun sent one of her servants to meet with him instead. When the servant and Rajo Mudo met, he said, “Hey, where’s Putri Rainun?” asked Rajo Mudo.

“I’m sorry, Sir. Putri Rainun is very ashamed and feels that she couldn’t stand to look you in the face after what has happened. But, if you would want me to set up another meeting with her, just let me know. When would you want to meet with her,” asked the servant.

Rajo Mudo, took a deep breath and then paused for a few moments, then responded, “It’s okay, just pass along my greeting to Putri Rainun,” said Rajo Mudo, “and, please give her this ring.”

“Okay, Sir,” said the servant as she was saying goodbye.

When the servant returned to the home of Putri Rainun she immediately gave her the ring from Rajo Mudo. Putri Rainun was extremely sad when she received that ring. She thought Rajo Mudo felt disappointed in her and that she had betrayed him. She never wanted to marry Biji Kayo. She did it because she was forced into it!

In her heart Putri Rainun said, “I’m sorry, my love. Please forgive me. I didn’t want to betray you. I did it because I was forced into it.”

Feeling that she had terribly disappointed Rajo Mudo, Putri Rainun then killed herself. When her mother found out what she had done she began screaming hysterically. However, she seemed startled when she saw the ring on her ring finger, the ring that was given to her by Rajo Mudo. Her mother then realized she had done something terribly wrong and deeply regretted that she had forced her daughter to marry Biji Kayo.

Rajo Mudo was present at the funeral of Putri Rainun. He was very overwhelmed by what had happened to his true love. When the funeral was over and all the people had left the grave side, Rajo Mudo sat down next to the grave. He immediately felt that someday his true love would live again.

Not many days after that, as Rajo Mudo went to visit the grave of Putri Rainun, he noticed that a stem of a flower immediately sprung up from the grave. That stem then budded, and the wind caught it and it began to fly. “I’m positive that that flower is the reincarnation of Putri Rainun, “ said Rajo Mudo.

Rajo Mudo immediately chased that flower until he caught up with it and grabbed it out of the air. One of Putri Rainun’s servants happened to be there, and she saw Rajo Mudo catch that flower.

She said to him, “It would be best if we would immediately take that flower to Nenek Rubiah (an elderly woman named Rubiah), since she has magical powers.”

Rajo Mudo and that servant immediately took that flower to the home of Nenek Rubiah. When they arrived there they told her the events which had transpired at the grave. After that Rajo Mudo asked Nenek Rubiah to transform the flower back into Putri Rainun.

“Nenek, please transform this flower! I’m certain this flower is the reincarnation of Putri Rainun,” said Rajo Mudo.

Nenek Rubiah then performed a magical ceremony and the flower transformed back into Putri Rainun. Rajo Mudo was overjoyed! He immediately hugged his lover, and finally in the end the two were married and they lived happily ever after.

August 18, 2012