The White Gibbon

Owa Putih >> Edisi Indonesia

Folklore from West Sumatra

THERE was a rich and noble family in Kampung Alai, Tiku Beach West Sumatra. The father was a rich merchant. His business was making and selling big ships. His name was Nahkoda Baginda. He had a very beautiful daughter. Her name was Puti Julian.

Puti Julian was single. Actually, many young man fell in love. However they did not have any confidence to propose her. They came from common family. Puti Julian only wanted to marry a man from noble family, just like her family.

Puti Julian was restless. In her sleep, he always dreamt of a handsome man. He was also from a noble family. His name was Sutan Rumandung.

Nahkoda Baginda understood how his daughter felt. He wanted to find the man. He held a party and invited young men from other places. Unfortunately, Sutan Rumandang did not attend the party. He was sailing.

Nahkoda Baginda asked a holy man to guide Sutan Rumandung and his ship to anchor in their place. Days passed by and finally Sutan Rumandang arrived at Tiku Beach.

Nahkoda Baginda invited Sutan Ramandung to go to his house. When Sutan Ramandung and Puti Julian met, they fell in love. Puti Julian was very happy. Finally she could meet the man in her dream. Sutan Rumandung was also very happy. He never met a very beautiful girl like Puti Julian.

Nahkoda Bagianda asked them to get married. However, Sutan Ramandung asked to delay the marriage. He wanted to sail and get a lot of money. Puti Julian agreed. Before they said goodbye, they made a promise.

"I will always wait for you here. I will never marry another man. If I do, I will change into a gibbon," said Puti Julian. Gibbon was a kind of monkey. The local people said it siamang.

"I will also keep my promose. I will never marry another girl. If I do, my ship will sink and I will die in the sea," said Sutan Rumandung.

After they both said their promise, Sutan and his crew left. They were sailing.

Puti Julian always waited for him. Everyday she went to the beach and looked at the sea. Everytime a ship came closer, she was always anxious. But Sutan Rumandung did not come yet. Puti Julian was restless. She was getting older and she was not married yet.***


Did you know? 

Sumatran Lar Gibbon (Hylobates lar vestitus), also known as the Sumatran white-handed gibbon. (source:


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