Each county and region of Indonesia has its own folktales, this time it’s from Central Java, as a daily stories that Grannies tell their grandchildren. Like the previous tale, this one is also about a girl called Timun Mas (Golden Cucumber) and her encounter with a green monster.
Once upon a time, not far from a jungle, lived a husband and a wife. They were diligent farmers and always worked hard in the paddy fields. They had been married for many years and were childless. Every day they prayed for a child.
One night, while they were praying, a giant passed by their home. The giant heard them pray and said:
“Don’t worry. I can help you. But you must return the child to me on her 17th birthday.”
They were so happy that they did not think about the risk of losing their child later and agreed to every condition set by the giant. The giant gave them a few of cucumber seeds. The farmers took utmost care in planting and tenting the seeds.
Soon enough, the cucumber plants grew and a big golden cucumber grew in the plants. The farmers plucked the ripened cucumber and cut it open. They were astonished to see a beautiful child inside the cucumber. They adopted the child as their own daughter and named her Timun Mas (Golden Cucumber). Timun Mas grew into a beautiful girl under her parents’ loving care.
On her 17th birthday, Timun’s parents remembered their promise and became very sad. They knew they had to keep their promise to the giant but they also did not want to lose their beloved daughter. They called Timun Mas aside and said:
“My daughter, take this bag. It can save you from the giant,” said the father.
“What giant? What do you mean, Father? I don’t understand,” said Timun Mas. The farmers narrated the story of her birth to Timun Mas.
Right then, the giant entered their house.
“Run Timun Mas. Save your life!” said the mother.
The giant grew angry when he heard this. Timun Mas had started running. He ran after her. Timun Mas looked behind and saw that the giant was getting closer and closer.
She opened the bag and threw a handful of salt at him. It became a sea. The giant had to swim to cross the sea. When she saw that the giant was nearing her again, she opened the bag and threw some chilly in his path. The chilies grew and formed a jungle blocking his way. The sharp thorns on the trees hurt the giant.
He cut away the trees and continued chasing Timun Mas. Timun Mas took her third magic stuff. It was cucumber seeds. She threw them and they turned into a cucumber field. The giant’s legs were tangled in the cucumber creepers and he kept falling down.
Still the giant managed to escape and continued running after Timun Mas. Timun searched her bag again. She had one last magic stuff in the bag. It was a shrimp paste, terasi. She threw it at him and the terasi turned into a big swamp.
The giant tried to swim across the swamp. But he was very tired by now and drowned in the swamp and died. Seeing that the giant had met his end, Timun Mas was happy and went back home. Timun’s parents were happy to see their daughter return and the family was finally together again.