The Story of a Mermaid

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 flshing. He was so happy, he brought lots offlsh. He planned to sell some of them and ate the rest.

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

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

Then the father went to the market Later, the children camebackhome. Theyjust flnished 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 huigry now" said the eldest.

"You aheady hddlunch before youwent playing, how come you are hungry now?" asked tlie mother.

"We are tired. The smell ofthe cookedfish makes me really hungry. Please let me eat now" said the youngest child.

"Hmm... Okay. Butremember, don t eat all the flsh. Your father is in the market now and he wants to eat the fuh fordinner. Spare some forhim," said the mother.

"All right Mom!" said the children.

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

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

'"Where is the fish? Didyou eat all of them?"

"Yes, Mom... Its so delicious so we ate all thefish."

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

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

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

The mother'was sad. She sai4

"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 Iooking 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 flsh 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 flsh 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

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