Legends and Fables from Around The World

October 12, 2007

The Kusu Legend

Filed under: Singapore — Edvan @ 9:46 am

Over a hundred and fifty years ago there lived in the village which is now Singapore, two holy men. One was an Arab named Dato Syed Rahman, and the other was a Chinese named Yam.

 These holy men spent most of their time praying and fasting, but soon they found the village too noisy. And so one day Yam said to his friend, “Syam, there is an island near here where we could go for some peace and quiet.”

“That’s a wonderful idea,” said Syed. “But how do we get there?”

“That’s easy. We hire a boat,” said Yam, and that is what they did. Their boat was very simple, and they took nothing to eat or drink.

God took Yam and Syed Rahman to the island safely and when they got there, they each went a different way to pray and fast. Yam walked up the hill, and Syed stayed near the sea.

For two days, the men prayed without having anything to eat or drink. Then Yam began to feel sick. At first he tried to hid his illness from his friend, but soon his throat began to feel as if it were on fire, and his lips grew dry and cracked. Yam went to where his friend was praying.

“Syed,” he called “Syed.”

“Yam,” said Syed, “you look weak.” He felt his friend’s forehead. “Why, you are burning up with fever.”

Syed made a place for Yam to rest, and while Yam slept, he prayed. After praying for some time, Syed shook him by the shoulder.

“Wake up, Yam.” he said. “Walk to the boat now. I think you’ll find all you need there.”

Yam walked to the boat, and when he got there he found food and a jar of cool fresh water. He ate and drank, then went back to Syed and told him what happened.

“God is merciful,” said Syed. “Now we must go on with our prayers.”

Yam went back to the hill-top while Syed stayed by the sea. They prayed and fasted for several more days before returning to their homes.

After that, the two holy men often went to the island to pray, and many years later first one, then the other, died on the island. Syed Rahman’s mother, Cik Galib, and his sister, Cik Sharifah Fatimah, were both very religious women, andwhen they died, their bodies were also brought to the island and buried there. Later a Chinese temple for Tuah Peh Kong, the God of Prosperity, was built on this same island.

Today, thousands of people visit Kusu Island each year. They come to honour the two holy men, Yam and Dato Syed Rahman, who first went there.


October 9, 2007

Mat Jambol and The Turtles

Filed under: Singapore — Edvan @ 10:23 am

One day, while Mat Jambol was out fishing, a large wave smashed into his boat. Mat Jambol hit his head against the side of the boat and fell into the water. When he awoke, he found himself being helped by two turtles. The larger one help him up by swimming under him, and the smaller one bit him gently from time to time to keep him awake. Together, the turtles brought him to the shore near his village.

When Mat Jambol told his friends what had happened, none of them believed him. They thought he would come to his senses when his wound healed, but Mat Jambol just smiled to himself.

A few weeks later, a terrible storm came to the island. The wind blew, and it rained very hard for several days. During the storm, Mat Jambol stayed inside his house and repaired his nets. When the rain stopped, he went out to look at the sea. The beach was covered with turtles! There were turtles from one end of the beach to the other. They were very large and had strange markings on their grey shells.

A little boy came running up the beach to Mat Jambol. “Mat Jambol,” he said, “look at the turtles! What kind are they? What are they doing? Where did they come from?”

Mat Jambol smiled. “You ask so many questions,” he said. “These are leatherback turtles. They usually go to Dungun in Trengganu to lay their eggs, but perhaps, because of the storm, they have come here instead. Just think, they have come all the way from the Indian Ocean.

Soon everyone in the village had come to watch the turtles lay their eggs. The turtles dug holes in the sand and laid their eggs in the holes.

“Why don’t we dance on the turtles for good luck?” said one village woman.

Mat Jambol laughed. “That’s just an old wives’ tale,” he said. “Besides, you might hurt the turtles.”

Soon the turtles had finished laying their eggs. They covered the eggs with sand and then went back into the sea.

Mat Jambol called the little boy. “We must protect the turtle eggs,” he said. “Tell the other children to help you look after them so that dogs and snakes don’t eat them.”

After that, the village children guarded the turtles’s eggs and soon the day came when the eggs began to hatch. Mat Jambol and the villagers helped the baby turtles out of their shells. They carefully put them in the water.

As the baby turtles swam away, Mat Jambol smiled. He was thinking of the two turtles which had saved his life.

Mat Jambol and The Tiger

Filed under: Singapore — Edvan @ 10:02 am

One day, as Mat Jambol was mending his fishing nets, he saw a man running across the field towards him.

“Mat, come quickly,” cried the man. “A tiger has eaten my chickens and killed my goat.”

Mat Jambol ran back across the field with the farmer. When they got to the farmer’s house, he looked carefully at the ground. The tiger’s track led to a small clearing in the forest not far from the farm. In the grass were chicken feathers and some bones.

“The tiger brought your goat and chickens here to eat them,” said Mat Jambol. “I will build a trap for him.”

Cutting some bamboo, Mat Jambol made long sharp stakes. These pushed into the ground under a tree near the farmer’s house. When the bamboo stakes were pushed firmly into the ground, Mat Jambol covered them with some green leaves, tree branches and grass. Then he hung a dead goat from the tree. He covered the goat’s body with oil and then walked home across the field.

That night, the moon was full and the hungry tiger came to the farm to look for food. As soon as he reached the farmyard he smelled the goat. “That stupid farmer has left his food outside,” thought the tiger as he followed the scent of the goat.

The farmer and his family were looking through the cracks of their house, watching the tiger in the moonlight. Suddenly the tiger leapt at the goat hanging from the tree. His orange and black body gleamed in the moonlight, for he was a very handsome tiger. The tiger caught the goat between his paws, and for a moment, it looked as if the farmer would lose another goat. But the goat’s body was slippery, so slippery that even the tiger couldn’t hold it. With a roar the tiger slid to the ground, and there he fell on Mat Jambol’s sharp bamboo stakes. The stakes went right through the tiger’s body. He died with a terrible scream.

The farmer and his family ran out of their house to look at the tiger. “Thanks to Mat Jambol, he won’t bother us again,” said the farmer.

The following day, Mat Jambol helped the farmer throw the tiger’s body into the sea.

“We must repay you for this kindness,” said the farmer. “Why don’t you come to dinner tonight?”

“I’ve got to repair my nets,” said Mat Jambol. “Maybe some other time. But remember, you don’t owe me anything. I’m always happy to help a friend.”

The farmer went home, happy that his chickens and goats would be safe, and happy that he had such a clever friend as Mat Jambol.

The City of the Lion

Filed under: Singapore — Edvan @ 2:27 am

Hundreds of years ago there was a powerful king called Sang Nila Utama. He lived in Palembang in southern Sumatra and ruled the kingdoms of the Sri Vijaya Empire.

One day, the king decided to travel to the island of Bentang. When the ships were ready, he and his followers set out. While they were at sea a fierce storm blew up; the wind howled and the sea became very rough.

“Your Majesty, it is dangerous to travel in such weather,” said the captain of Sang Nila Utama’s ship. “Tumasik island is nearby, and we could stay there until the storm is over.”

The king agreed, and so the ships left the stormy sea and sailed into the safe and quiet harbour of Tumasik. “Since we are here, we should have a look around,” said the king.

Sang Nila Utama and his followers then left their ships to explore the island. It was heavily wooded and had many beautiful flowers. As the men walked further from the sea, Sang Nila Utama suddenly saw a fine large animal! Its body was as red as the sunset; its head was black, and its breast was snowy white. Larger than a goat, the animal moved quickly and soon disappeared into the dark forest.

“What was that?” asked the king. “I have never seen such a strange and wonderful animal.”

“It’s a lion,” replied one of his followers.

“If the animals here as as fine and as fierce as lions, this would be a good place to start a new kingdom,” said the king.

“I agree,” said a prince, “but I think we should re-name the island to mark your visit.”

“Good idea,” said Sang Nila Utama. “I think we should call it ‘Singapura’, City of Lion.”

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.