The Sacred Cow River

Sungai Sapi Suci | Edisi Indoensia

Folklore from East Kalimantan

A long time ago, there was a big kingdom in East Kalimantan. It was Kutai Kertanagera Kingdom. The king was King Aii Maharaja and he was the third king.

King Aji Maharaja had a big palace however he was still not satisfied. He thought his palace was not beautiful yet. He asked his Advisor what to do to make his palace look beautiful.

"Your Majesty I heard there are great sculptors in Java. Why don't you ask the king in Java to send their best sculptors to decorate your palace to look beautiful?"

The king thought it was a good idea. He sent his soldiers to meet the king in Java. The king in Java agreed, he asked his best sculptors to go to Kutai Kertanagera Kingdom.

The king in Java sent two sculptors. They were brothers. They were the best sculptors in Java. People said that they had supernatural power.

The two sculptors came to King Aji Maharaja.

They asked, "Your Majesty what kind of sculptures do you want?"

"I want the most beautiful sculptures in the world," replied the king.

The sculptors understood. They immediately worked. In just a month, the palace had changed completely. It had beautiful sculptures.

the king was satisfied. As a return, the king asked the two sculptures to stay in the palace. And he also gave them lots of gold,

Unfortunately that made the advisor jealous. He planned to make the sculptors leave the palace.

The advisor told the king that the two sculptors did something bad to the ladies-in-waiting. Sadly, the king believed him. He was angry! He asked the sculptors to leave the palace.

However the Advisor was not satisfied. He wanted them to die.

So he said, "Your Majesty, if they leave the palace, they will work for other kings. And they will make more beautiful sculptures in other palaces. So, why don't you hang them to die?"

"You are right Guards, hang them to die now!" ordered the king.

The sculptors were brought to the open field. There were two poles with ropes. People were watching. They were sad, because they loved them. And they knew how bad the Advisor was but there was nothing they could do.

And right before they were hung, one of the sculptor was able to escape. However one of them did not succeed. He died.

Before the sculptor died he cursed the king and the kingdom.

He said, "Ten will be destroyed and eleven will be a jungle."

What did the sculptor mean? Well, apparently he cursed that the kingdom would be destroyed at the tenth king and it would be completely gone and became a jungle at the eleventh king.

And it was happened. The tenth king of Kutai Kertanagera Kingdom was not able to make his kingdom exist after they lost the war with other kingdom and Kutai Kertanagera was completely gone and became a jungle during the eleventh king.

In the mean time after the sculptor died, King Aji Maharaja ordered the soldiers to throw the dead body to the Cow River. Amazingly, the dead body did not decay. People were amazed and because they respected him, they buried him near the river. People sacred the tomb and because of that they considered the Cow River as a sacred river. ***

Lembuswana, a mythical creature of Kutai Kertanegra

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