La Moelu and the Fish

La Moelu dan Ikan >> Edisi Bahasa Indonesia

Folklore from Southeast Sulawesi

ONCE upon a time, there was a young boy named La Moelu. He lived with his mother. His father died when he was a baby. La Moelu was a good son. He was obedient and helpful to his mother. He always helped his mother in the field. La Moelu loved fishing. Whenever he caught some fish, he always gave them to his mother.

It was a beautiful day. La Moelu went fishing in the river. He had been in the riverside for hours, but he was not able to catch one fish. Suddenly, he caught one small fish. The fish was attractive. He wanted to keep it as a pet. At home, La Moelu told his mother about the attractive fish. She also liked the fish.

"Put the fish inside the glass, Son. I think the glass is big enough for this small fish."

La Moelu did it. Amazingly, the fish grew bigger. The glass was not big enough for him. La Moelu then put the fish inside the bowl. Again, the fish grew bigger and it was not enough for the fish.

"All right, I will make a pond for you."

La Moelu dig the land and made a fish pond. When it was ready, La Moelu put the fish inside the pond. What happened next was very surprising. The fish grew very big and the pond was not enough for him!

"What should I do, Mother?"

"Let's put the fish to the sea. Maybe he will stop growing," said the mother.

La Moelu agreed. He brought the fish to the sea. Before he released the fish to the sea, he said,

"I don't want to say goodbye to you. We will meet again. I will name you Jinnande Teremombonga. Every time I call out your name, you go to the beach. I will feed you then," said La Moelu to the fish.

La Moelu put the fish to the sea. Did the fish grow bigger? Yes, he did! The fish grew as a giant fish. On the following day, La Moelu went to the beach. He called out the fish name, "Jinnande Teremombonga! Jinnande Teremombonga!"

Not long after that the fish appeared and swam approach Moelu. He gave some food to the fish. He was happy. La Moelu did not know that three men were watching. Who were they? They were La Moelu's neighbors. They were interested in the giant fish.

"Let's catch the fish tomorrow. You know the fish name, right? You call out the fish name and after that I will throw a spear. After the fish is dead, we can cook and eat for the whole family," said one man.

Yes, three of them were brothers. They wanted to kill the fish and cook for their family. Early in the morning, the three men went to the sea. One of them called out the fish's name.

When the giant fish appeared, one man threw a spear. It hit the fish! The fish was bleeding terribly and slowly it died. The three men brought the fish home. Meanwhile, La Moelu went to the sea. He called out the fish's name several times, but the fish did not appear. La Moelu was sad. He went home.

He passed his neighbor's house. He saw they were having a party. Yes, they were eating the giant fish. They invited La Moelu to join them. He accepted their offer.

When La Moelu saw the fish, he was shocked. He recognized his fish. He was so sad that he could not say anything. Before he left the house, he grabbed one fish bone. He wanted to bury the fish properly.

La Moelu buried the fish bone. On the following day, a small tree grew. The tree was beautiful. The leaves and the branches were gold! La Moelu picked the leaves and branches. He wanted to sell them. Amazingly, there grew another leaves and branches. La Moelu and his mother had lots of money! Since then La Moelu and his mother became very rich. They were very happy. ***

Sunfish, or Mola Mola, Palu, Central Sulawesi

Tumburano Waterfall, Southeast Sulawesi

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