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The Legend of Surabaya

Legenda Surabaya | Edisi Bahasa Indonesia

Indonesian Folklore Home Page

Folktale from East Java

A long time ago in East Java there were two strong animals, Sura and Baya. Sura was a shark and Baya was a crocodile. They lived in the sea.

Actually, they were friends. But when they were hungry, they were very greedy. They did not want to share their food. They would fight for it and never stop fighting until one of them gave up.

It was a very hot day. Sura and Baya were looking for some food. Suddenly, Baya saw a goat.

“Yummy, this is my lunch,” said Baya.

“No way! This is my lunch. You are greedy! I have not eaten for two days!” said Sura.

Then Sura and Baya fought again. After a few hours, they were very tired. Sura had an idea to stop their bad behavior.

“I’m tired of fighting, Baya,” said Sura.

“Me too. What should we do to stop fighting? Do you have any idea?” asked Baya.

"Yes, I do. Let’s share our territories. I live in the water, so I look for food in the sea. And you live on the land, right? So, you look for food on the land as well. The border is the beach, so we will never meet again. Do you agree?", asked Sura.

“Hmm... let me think about it. OK, I agree. From today, I will never go to the sea again. My place is on the land,” said Baya.

Then they both lived in different places. But then one day, Sura went to the land and looked for some food in the river. He was very hungry, and there was not much food in the sea. Baya was very angry when he knew that Sura had broken the promise.

“Hey, what are you doing here? This is my place. Your place is in the sea!”

“But, there is water in the river, right? So, this is also my place!” said Sura.

Then Sura and Baya fought again. They both hit each other. Sura bit Baya's tail. Baya did the same thing to Sura. He bit very hard until Sura finally gave up. He went back to the sea. Baya was very happy. He had his place again.

The place where they were fighting was a mess. Blood was everywhere. People then always talked about the fight between Sura and Baya. They then named the place of the fight Surabaya, which is derived from Sura the shark and Baya the crocodile. People also made the fight between Sura and Baya the symbol of Surabaya city. ***

October 29, 2007

Moral message: Betrayer's Consequence

The moral message of this Surabaya legend is about the importance of keeping and obeying promises and committing to agreements. Sura and Baya initially agreed to share their respective territories to avoid fighting, but when one of them violated the agreement, fighting broke out.

The moral of the story is that in relationships and agreements, it is important to stick to what has been agreed upon. When promises or agreements are broken, it can lead to conflict and disharmony. Therefore, the moral message is to always uphold our commitments and keep our words.

Apart from that, this story can also teach the importance of sharing and cooperation. Initially, Sura and Baya agreed to share territory and food, but their selfishness sparked conflict. This can also be a lesson about the importance of cooperation in everyday life.

Rhyming Story: Birth of Surabaya

If you seek the Rhyming Story, venture forth to: 👉 Surabaya's Tale

📽️ The Legend of Surabaya video 📽️

 After you read the story or watch the video, 

Did you know?

The Statue of Sura and Buaya (Javanese: Suro and Boyo) is the symbol of the city of Surabaya. This statue is located in front of the Surabaya Zoo. The sculpture represented of two animals that inspired the name of Surabaya city: Shark and crocodile.

But there is also another opinion of Surabaya. The word comes from Sura and Baya. Sura means save, Baya means danger, so Surabaya means 'saved from danger'.

Read More: The Origin of Surabaya 'Saved from Danger'

Ancient heritages 
Ancient heritages that can be found near Surabaya city.
  • Jawi temple
  • Singosari temple
  • Belahan temple
  • Jabung temple 
  • Panataran temple


    Find out more!

    🎨 How to Draw Sura 🦈 and Baya 🐊 

    Please Read More Stories!

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