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


(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.



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!


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.


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.


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.


The Island of Penaga

(Pulau Penaga)

C. with the local man (Pak./ Mr. Sidol) who took him to the Island of Penaga in his boat. The small hill in the background is Pulau Penaga, where the Dutch ship is said to be buried.

Northwest of the City of Jambi is a very small island that people in the surrounding villages claim has a Dutch ship buried under it. The story is that the ship either sank or the Dutch just abandoned it, and then through the process of time, sand from the Batanghari River covered it up as the river levels rose and fell. The local people couldn’t give us an approximate date of when the ship was supposed to have been last used. If the story is true, the date could be anywhere from when the Dutch first arrived in Jambi (1600-1700s), until they left during WWII. The oldest people in the village (in their 80’s) told us they never saw the ship, and that it was only a story that was circulated when they were still a child.


The Grave of Pakubuwono III

C & P at the assumed grave of
Pakubuwono III

In the Village of Lubuk Landai

One site to see in the Village of Lubuk Landai is the grave of Pakubuwono III. The tombstone gives him the title of: “Rajo Bumi Tanah Sepenggal Sri Pangeran Mangkubuwono” (The King of the Earth in Tanah Sepenggal, the Honorable Prince Mangkubuwono).