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Home » Tale

A Balinese Folktale: Windu Sara  

by on Sunday, 13 May 2007No Comment | 1,892 views

Once upon a time, there was a man named Windu Sara. He only cared about flowers and books, and took no interest in women. His mother as always urging him to marry, and one day she told him that she had chosen for his wife a cousin of his, named Mertayadnya. He still protested that he had no wish to marry, besides the girl in question had a dimple on her shoulder, a sure sign that she would be fatal to men. His mother replied: “if she is not to your taste, I have another choice for you; Navartna, a sister of Jagasatru, who is also of royal blood.” But he explained that he was ngelangkargunung, i.e. her birthday was in an unlucky relation to his own; there was only two days difference between them. “Who then would you like to marry? You have only to say a word and I will get her for you, from wherever she may be.” But Windu Sara said that he could see no reason for marrying anyone; he did not want a wife.

His friend Jagasatru meanwhile married Mertayadnya, and begged Windu Sara to come and help him to entertain the wedding-guest. The wedding-day came. Mertayadnya was fetched in a litter, there was a great banquet and Windu Sara entertained the guest. Mertayadnya was marvelously dressed, and as Windu Sara was helping her to descend form her litter, he was so overwhelmed by her beauty that he fainted. And Mertayadnya gave him medicine to revive him. But he left the feast and went home; and the wedding went without him. When he got home he would eat nothing and his mother asked him what was wrong. At first he would not reply, but after long asking, he confessed that he fallen passionately in love with his friend’s wife, and he would die unless he got her for himself his mother was very angry, and reproached him to his former obstinacy. Now it was too late; but she promised to try and get him a widyadari in place of the wife he could not have.

Meanwhile, Jagasatru told his wife that she must go away to the mountain for a while, as it was the custom of his family after marriage to free their mind from earthly cares in solitude. She implored him not to go. She said she dreamt that the house was falling down, which was always a bad sign. And besides, the forty-two days were not yet over which must elapse before one went out after marriage. But he would not listen to her, and went in spite of her prayers. He was very happy in the mountains, in the lovely garden Taman Arum, among the flowers and birds and butterflies. At last, however, he began to think about returning home, but was overtaken by a great storm, and the river he had to cross was so swollen that he was obliged to turn back into the mountains.

Windu Sara, when he heard that his friend had gone away, went by night to the palace in the hope of seeing Mertayadnya. Ad by a spell he put to sleep all the palace-guards. The door opened of its own accord and he crept in and found mertayadnya lying asleep. He sat down on the bed and began to kiss her; and she returned his love, for he had bewitched her by a spell as he came in at the door. When at last the spell wore off she reproached him bitterly and ordered him away. But he was so desperately in love that he could not bear to leave her, but gave her his kris and told her to kill him. For he said: “I shall know even after death that I have attained my desire and slept with you.” Then she had pity on him and said: “I have already paid my debt to my husband, and now I will do the same to you, and give you my body.” And they slept together until the morning came, and still had made no sign of going. When at last he did go, he was seen by Navartna, the sister of Jagasatru, but she said nothing. But later on she said to Mertayadnya, “Dear sister, will you not prepare some food for your husband, for today he must surely return.” And she did so. Later in the day, Jagasatru came home, and told her all about flood. She was very submissive, and washed his feet and dried them with her hair. Then he went to sleep outside his wife’s room. But Navarta told her brother how he had seen Windu sara leaving Mertayadnya’s room that very morning; she did not know, she said, whether she had really slept with her. Jagasatru was beside himself with jealously, and went to his wife’s room and began to beat her. And she wept and asked why he was beating her. And he said: “you now quite well what it is about.” But more he would not say. Then he went to Windu Sara and spoke very softly to him and said: “dear friend come home with me; it is so long since you have visited us.” But on the way back to his own house he struck dead. Then he went home and smashed everything in the house to pieces. He would have killed his wife too, but the servants said: “do not pollute the house by killing her inside it.” So he dragged her outside and drew his kris, and gave it to his servants to kill her, but the kris would not wound her. And they were frightened and went back and told him. So he said: “then burn her, for I will not look on her again.” And they made a great fire and she sprang into it of her own free will and disappeared in the flames.

When the fire had burnt down there was a lotus flower, and upon it sat Brahma and held on his knee. And Brahma said to Jagasatru: “I have absolved them both and washed their guilt away. And must take her back and treat her lovingly.” And the land must no longer be called Sila Adnyana, which means “mad land” but Buah Loka, which means “fresh land”. So they lived happily ever after. And Windu Sara lived blameless life from now on, for he had learnt his lesson.

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