I Tui Tuing

Folklore from West Sulawesi

THERE were a husband and a wife lived in Mandar, West Sulawesi. The husband was a fisherman. They had been married for many years but they had no any children yet. Everyday they prayed to God. They never gave up asking God to give them a child.

“Dear God, please give us a child even though he looks like a tui-tuing fish,” prayed the couple.
Tui-tuing is a flying fi sh found in that area.

And finally God answered their pray, the wife was pregnant. And when the baby was born, they were surprised. The baby looked like a fish. The skin had scales, just like the body of a fish. They remembered their pray. But still they were very happy. They took care of the baby with
great love. They named him as I Tuing-Tuing. I Tuing-Tuing grew as a great boy. He was diligent and obedient to his parents.

Soon I Tuing-Tuing grew as a young man. It was time for him to get married. He asked his parents to fi nd him a girl. The parents knew it was not easy to find a wife for their child. They thought no girls wanted to marry him. However, they did not want to make him sad. So the parents went to the villagers’ houses, proposing any single girl to be their daughter-in-law.

And it happened as they thought. All the girls they met always rejected their marriage proposal. There was one last house they hadn’t visited yet. It was the merchant’s house.

The merchant lived in a very big house. He had six daughters. All the daughters looked very happy. Actually, the third daughter, Rukiah, was not happy. She was the most beautiful daughter and her sisters were very jealous to her. Therefore, they put charcoal dust on her body. Her white skin turned into dark.

In the meantime, I Tuing-Tuing’s parents arrived at the merchant’s house. After they explained the purpose of their visit, the merchant asked all his daughters to answer. All the daughters rejected! They also insulted I Tuing-Tuing as a fish.

Suddenly, Rukiah answered, “Yes, I will marry I Tuing-Tuing.”

All of his sisters were laughing. They said that Rukiah was crazy. They did not know that Rukiah did not want to live with them anymore.

I Tuing-Tuing was very happy. Finally, there was a girl who was willing to be his wife. He did not care although Rukiah’s skin was very dark. And after they got married, they lived in their own house. I Tuing-Tuing worked as a fisherman and Rukiah stayed at home. Rukiah had lot of time washing her skin. Later, it was completely clean. She got her beauty back.

While she was waiting for her husband, a man knocked the door. Rukiah opened it and saw a handsome man in front of the door.

“Who are you?” asked Rukiah.

“My name is I Tuing-Tuing. Where is my wife?” he asked.

“You are lying. I Tuing-Tuing has fish scales in his body.”

“It is true. But after I got married, I’m cured.

My skin has changed into normal. By the way, who are you?” asked I Tuing-Tuing. He also did not recognize his wife.

“I’m Rukiah. My sisters have done a terrible thing to me. They put charcoal dust in my body.
But I have completely washed and cleaned my skin,” said Rukiah.

And they were very happy. They were not ugly anymore. All the villagers really admired their great looks. And Rukiah’s sisters were even more jealous to her.***

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