The Story of Sugar Palm Tree

Folklore from North Sumatra

A husband and a wife lived happily in a village. They had two children a son and a daughter. The son’s name was Tare Iluh and the daughter’s name was Beru Sibou. Their happy life ended when their father died.

Since then their mother worked hard for them. She worked so hard that it made her suffer from a terrible illness. Their mother then died. Later, Tare Iluh and Beru Sibou stayed at their uncle’s house.

The days passed by and those kids have grown into adults. Tare Iluh decided to find a job in another village. He then left his sister and his uncle.

Tare Iluh wanted to make money in a short time. He thought gambling was the answer. He gambled using the money his uncle gave him. At first he won some money. He was so happy and used all the money. Sadly, he lost. All the money he had was gone. He was upset.

After that he borrowed money from the villagers, he lost again and he borrowed some money again. He kept on borrowing some money until he had a lot of debts.

When the villagers asked him to pay the debt, Tare Iluh could not pay them. He did not have any money. The villagers were angry. They put him in the jail!

In the mean time, Beru Sibou was waiting for his brother. She was worried because he had not given her any news. Finally she heard that his brother was in the jail. She rushed to go and wanted to meet her brother.

Beru Sibou did not know the way to the village. She was lost in a jungle.

She met an old man and asked about his brother. The old man knew that there was a man in the jail because of gambling. He then suggested Beru Sibou to climb a high tree and sang a song about his brother. His brother might hear her song.

Beru Sibou then climbed a high tree. She sang a song about his brother. She sang and screamed his brother’s name.

“My brother Tare Iluh? Where are you? The villagers, please release my brother.”

Nobody listened to the song and that made Beru Sibou frustrated. She then prayed to God.

“God, I’m willing to pay my brother’s debts. I will pay with my tears, my hair, and all parts of my body can be used by the villagers. But please free my brother.”

Right after she finished praying, heavy storm attacked. And slowly Beru Sibou changed into a tree. It was just not an ordinary tree. All parts of tree were useful. Her tears changed into sweet water. Her hair changed into very strong leaves. People can use them as roofs of their houses. The fruits of the tree named kolang kaling are very delicious.

People name it as a sugar palm tree or pohon enau. People in other villages name it as pohon aren. ***

Arenga pinnata or Palm Tree

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