Lemah Gempal

Lemah Gempal >> Edisi Bahasa Indonesia

Folklore from Central Java

RAIN was falling down for days. People in Semarang, Central Java, just stayed at home and could not do anything. They were worried. Usually, when rain was falling down heavily, the area was flooded. They hoped rain would stop soon. Rain finally stopped. Sadly, the area was flooded. People worked and helped each other. They also provided food and medicine. And after several days, the flood was gone. The area was dried. However there was so much mud and garbage left because of the flood.

At the time the Dutch occupied the area. They wanted to solve the problem. They were planning to make water channels. It functions like rivers. They hoped when water was overflowing the river, Water would flow through the channels and it went to the sea. They were planning to build two channels, one in the east and one in the west.

People worked together. At first, they built the channel in the east. They needed several months. They worked hard. They were tired of flood. And they really hoped that the channels would help to solve their flood problem.

The villagers were digging the lands horizontally. The line was kilometers away. It connected the big river with the sea. And after working hard for several months, the channel in the east finally finished. Everybody was happy. Afterwards, they were going to build the channel in the west.

They started digging the lands. At first it ran well. They were digging and they put the land on the sides of the channel surface. Strangely, something happened. After they finished digging the land and wanted to continue digging horizontally, the land on the surface always fell down and slid.

Everybody was confused. They tried to dig back but right after they finished digging, the land on the surface always fell down and slid.

"What should we do? We don't make any progress," said one villager.

"Yes, you are right. I'm also tired of doing the same again and again," said another villager.

"Hey, do you know about Ki Sanak?"

"Who is he?"

"He is a holy man. I heard he can solve any problems. Why don't we go to his house and talk about our problems?"

"Yes, l agree!'

Some of the villagers went to Ki Sanak's house. When they met him, they told him about the problem. After Ki Sanak heard about the problem, he asked them to do something.

"I want you to do something. Take one stone in each side of my house, one in the left and one in the right. Bring them here," asked Ki Sanak.

The villagers took two stonet one in the left side of the house and one in the right of the house. Later Ki Sanak prayed. The villagers were looking at each other. They were wondering what would happen next. Latet, Ki Sanak talked.

"Bring these stones. Put one stone on each side of the channel one on the left and one of the right," said Ki Sanak.

The villagers said thank you. They immediately went back to the digging site. They told other villagers about the stones. They put the stones on each side.

Amazingly, the land on the surface stopped falling down. They allwere happy. They continued digging and finished the channel. Finally the channel was completely finished. And when rain fell down, the water was running through the channels. It worked! The area was not flooded anymore.

Meanwhile, people named the area of west channel as Lemah Gempal. It means the land which falls down. The place is in Semarang, Central Java.***

Lawang Sewu, Semarang

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