Mak Isun Kayo

Folklore from West Sumatra

ONCE upon a time in Payakumbuh, West Sumatra lived a young man named Mak Isun. He was a diligent farmer. Mak Isun always thought of how he could be richer. One day, while he was at the rice field, a man passed by. His name was Pak Soleh. He brought a monkey. He was a monkey tamer. He made money by doing peoples order to pick up the coconuts. He did not have to climb the coconut trees. He always asked his monkey to do that job.

"Pak Soleh, where are you going?" asked Mak Isun.

"I'm going to pick up some coconuts"

"How much do you get for the work?"

"That depends. If the place is near from here, I got three coconuts. But if the place is far, I get five coconut. In one day, I can get 25 coconuts," answered Pak Soleh.

Mak Isun was thinking. "Hmm... if I can get 25 coconuts in one day, I could be rich. I can sell the coconuts at the market. I'm sure I can get a lot of money."

"Pak Soleh, do you want to sell your monkey?"

"This is not my monkey. This belongs to Pak Kari. I work for him. But I'm not sure about my job. I heard Pak Kari wants to sell all his monkeys," replied Pak Soleh.

"Don't worry, I will buy all hos monkeys and you can work for me later."

Then, he met Pak Kari and bought all his monkeys. He also hired all Pak Kari's employees. He told the villagers to contact him if they needed service to pick up the coconuts.

Mak Isun was right. He had a lot of money to his new business. He was richer. People then called him Mak Isun Kayo, kayo means rich.

However, Mak Isun Kayo was not satisfied. He wanted to get more money. So, he told his employees.

"Now the fees of picking up the coconuts are raised. If the place is near from here, they have to pay five coconuts. And if the place is far from here, they have to pay ten coconuts," said Mak Isun.

"But the villagers will not agree. Its too expensive," said one of his employees.

"I don't care. They will not have a choice. I am the only one who has this business. The villagers will pay me after all."

All the employees knew that was not a wise decision. They then planned to do something.

Later in the morning, Mak Isun was surprised. He heard noise around his house. When he peeped through the windows, he saw a lot of monkeys around his house. He asked for help, but no one dared to help him. He then asked help from his employees.

"We will help you, but you have to promise not to increase the fees!"

"OK, I promise," said Mak Isun.

The villagers were laughing. They always talked about a rich man who was surrounded by his own monkeys.***

A macaque picks coconuts from a treetop

Coconut Monkey

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