Berikut adalah kisah nyata, cerita bahasa Inggris dari Jawa yang dikirimkan oleh Paul Spencer ke NewYork Times, mari kita simak bersama-sama :
PELABUHAN RATU, Indonesia— Those who pay special attention to royal affairs of the heart might clip a lock of hair and a fingernail or two on June 21 in honor of one of Asia's most intriguing love stories.
On this date Sultan Hamengku Buwono X of Jogjakarta will celebrate his official birthday by trekking to this spot where the surf pounds against the slate- gray southern coast of Java, the main island of Indonesia. Here he will offer women's clothing and his own nail and hair clippings in honor of his 15th century ancestors: Senopati, a Javan king, and Nyai Loro Kidul, a mermaid goddess. Local belief has it that this unlikely couple began one of the world's longest- surviving royal families - the four Javanese sultanates of Jogjakarta and Solo.
Years ago I set out to meet Hamengku Buwono IX, father of the current sultan of Jogjakarta. Eventually a friend, herself a member of the royal family, introduced me to the sultan, who had been a vice president of Indonesia as well as finance and defense minister. He was a well educated man, powerful but kind. He had earned respect for his courage in standing against the Dutch during Indonesia's war of independence.
I had one question I wanted to ask Hamengku Buwono, and I tried to phrase it in a refined Javanese manner. How was it that this man of pragmatism and worldly experience could pay homage every year to a mermaid?
Over sweet tea, the sultan told me that during the Indonesian fight for independence he had fasted for two weeks, eating only rice and water, in order to meet Loro Kidul in a vision. "Then I saw her, Eyang - I call Loro Kidul 'Eyang,' grandmother - seated behind two of my nephews," he said. "She was young and pretty."
He said that in his vision, the young men were killed. And in fact, his two beloved nephews died within the week.
The sultan then described a critical moment for him during the independence struggle. It was a time when difficult decisions were being made about when to fight and when to negotiate. The Dutch ruled all but the 7 percent of Java that was governed, under contract, by the royal houses of Solo and Jogjakarta. Each time a sultan died, the colonial administrators would impose a new contract reducing the power of the incoming ruler.
Negotiations between Hamengku Buwono IX and the Dutch were long and difficult. According to the sultan, the crucial moment came when Loro Kidul appeared in a vision and told him to "give them their contract because soon they will go home."
He signed the contract, but never read it. And Loro Kidul's predictions came true. A year later, in 1942, the Japanese invaded Indonesia and evicted the Dutch.
I was more than a little skeptical. The sultan gave me the Javanese equivalent of Shakespeare's "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio/ Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." He concluded: "When I was 4 years old I was already living with a Dutch family, so my brain is in some ways a Western brain. But many things happen which cannot be explained in a logical way."
I left, only half satisfied. I pestered K.R.T. Hardjonagoro, the regent of the Susuhunan's palace in Solo, for a touch more enlightenment. "In 1966, Sultan Hamengku Buwono attended the opening of the Samudra Beach Hotel, on Java's southern coast, which of course is Loro Kidul's home territory," Mr. Hardjonagoro told me one evening as we watched a wayang kulit shadow play.
"The night before the opening, a local village headman asked for an audience with the sultan," he continued. The old man told the Hamengku Buwono of a dream he had had the previous night in which a lady said she wanted offerings. She was dressed in green.
"The sultan, of course, knew that the old man had seen Loro Kidul. His Highness thanked the old man but explained that he would not make an offering since he was attending the hotel opening in his civilian capacity as minister of defense and wanted to separate the affairs of state from the mystical duties of the palace."
As Mr. Hardjonagoro spoke, the dalang puppet master sang half a dozen parts. "I was outside, near the pool, when the sultan said goodnight to the well-meaning old man," he recounted.
"Shortly after his refusal, I heard the sound of a locomotive. The noise increased until it sounded like 10 locomotives were coming towards the beach- front terrace where we were."
Suddenly a 10-meter-high (33-foot) tidal wave rose from the sea, which had been calm, Mr. Hardjonagoro said. It knocked down trees, washed away the hotel's buffet table and soaked visitors. Shortly afterward, the sultan changed his mind. "He said his prayers to Loro Kidul and made the appropriate offerings, and the sea was calm once again."
I was incredulous. Mr. Harjonagoro showed me photographs of the damage caused by the tidal wave. And he told me to go to the hotel and ask for Room 319.
Some time later, I did this. The room, it turns out, is where Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX made peace with the easily irritated mermaid queen. It is kept locked and reserved for her. For a tip, hotel staff will allow people access, to pray to the Queen of the Southern Ocean. It is a good business.