The Story of a Mermaid

Kisah Putri Duyung | Edisi Indonesia

Folklore from Central Sulawesi

ONCE upon a time, there lived a poor farmer. He lived with his wife and three children. The farmer only had small paddy field. It sometimes was not enough to feed his family. Therefore the farmer went fishing to make extra money.

His three children were lazy. They never helped their parents. They were ignorant and disobedient. The parents often advised them, but those children ignored them, While the parents were working, the children just played with their friends.

The mother was so patient'and she was never tired. She woke up in the morning, cleaned the house, cooked for the family, and then also helped his husband to work.

The father just came back from fishing. He was so happy, he brought lots of fish. He planned to sell some of them and ate the rest.

"I'm going to the market now to sell this fish. Please cook some of them, I want to eat the fish for dinner later," said the father to the mother.

"All right, I will cook the fish for you and the children," replied the mother.

Then the father went to the market Later, the children came back home. They just finished playing. They were hungry. They saw their mother in the kitchen.

"What are you cooking, Mother? It smells so good."

"I'm cooking some fish. We will have fish as our dinner tonight," said the mother.

"Dinner? But I'm hungry now" said the eldest.

"You already had lunch before you went playing, how come you are hungry now?" asked the mother.

"We are tired. The smell of the cooked fish makes me really hungry. Please let me eat now" said the youngest child.

"Hmm... Okay. But remember, don't eat all the fish. Your father is in the market now and he wants to eat the fish for dinner. Spare some for him," said the mother.

"All right Mom!" said the children.

They then immediately ate the fish. It was so delicious. The children really enjoyed eating the fish. They forgot their mother's message. They ate all the fish! They did I not spare fish for their parent.

At night, the father come home. He told his wife that he wanted to have dinner. She did not know that the fish was all eaten by the children. She asked them.

'"Where is the fish? Did you eat all of them?"

"Yes, Mom... Its so delicious so we ate all the fish."

"But I've told you not to eat all the fish."

When the father found out that there was no any fish left, he was extremely angry.

"I don't care! I want to eat the fish now!" yelled the father.

The mother'was sad. She said, "I will find some fish for you."

Later she left the house and went to the sea.

It was already morning and the mother did not come back yet. The father and the children were looking for her. They went to the sea. The children called out the mother,

"Mother...Where are you?"

"I'm here," replied the mother.

She was swimming in the sea and approached her children and husband.

She brought some fish in her hands. She said, "Here is the fish for you. But I cannot live with you anymore. I live here in the sea. I have changed into a mermaid."

Then she dove and disappeared. The father and the children were so sad. They regretted their bad behavior. The children regretted that they ate all the fish and did not listen to her while the father regretted that he was so rude to his wife. However, it was too late. They just lost her forever. ***

mermaid=putri duyung


Putri Duyung

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