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Dongeng Bahasa Inggris - Mengapa Buaya Benci Manusia

IN THE NORTHEASTERN PART of the Tengger mountains lies the Lake of Grati, the so-called Crocodile Lake.

The lake got its name from the many crocodiles which, centuries and centuries ago, mysteriously appeared in its waters; then, after living there a while, they as mysteriously disappeared, leaving in their stead the ikan leleh, a long, dark-grey fish something like an eel. These fish were really the reason why the crocodiles are now the enemies of man. How this came about is told in the following legend:

Long, long ago, when the villagers were simple, kindly folk, the crocodiles that lived in the Lake of Grati were on friendly terms with the people of the neighborhood.

The oldest pair of crocodiles, who were called Kyai and Nyai Buaja, were the great-great-great-great-great-grandparents of the youngest crocodiles. Because they were so old, the gods had given Kyai and Nyai Buaja the power to change themselves, as soon as twilight fell, into human beings; but as soon
as day broke they had to become crocodiles again.

Now Kyai and Nyai Buaja owned a gamelan which they had safely hidden away in their home on the bottom of the lake. This gamelan, which made very beautiful music, was always being borrowed by the villagers whenever they had a marriage or a harvest feast to celebrate. In order to get in the good graces of the old crocodiles, those who wanted to hold a feast would send a little raft out on the water to the place where Kyai and Nyai Buaja came to the surface every day. On the raft would be burning incense and a fine duck or perhaps a chicken. When the old pair appeared, the people would cry, "Kyai and Nyai Buaja, my daughter is going to be married," or "We are going to have a harvest feast; our rice is ripe. May we please borrow your gamelan? And we hope you will come to the feast, too/'

When the people had said this, the two crocodiles would dive down to the depths of the lake, and it wasn't long before the raft, with the gamelan on it, would reappear on the shore.

And, shortly before midnight on the evenings when the celebrations were being held and the soft, lovely music of the gamelan was drifting over the lake, Kyai and Nyai Buaja would appear in their human forms and would take part in the festivities. They would stay until just an hour before sunrise, because they were afraid that if they stayed longer and were turned back into their crocodile shapes, they would frighten the people, and they didn't want that to happen.

This went on for many years. The people often asked for the loan of the gamelan, and as often as they asked for it they would put a duck or a chicken or a little wild pig or perhaps a deer on the raft, in return. All this, of course, made the crocodiles feel more and more friendly toward the villagers.

But everything was changed when a woman called Leleh came to live in a nearby village.

Leleh was a wicked woman. People said that she was a witch, and that her charms could call forth the evil spirits, and that was why she had been banished from the village where she was born. They even said that she knew a charm that could make her turn into a tiger, but this was not true. She was, however, a sly and cunning woman, and a thief. She stole the chickens and the eggs of the villagers, and she chased away the wild ducks that came to the shores of the lake to lay their eggs. And, what was worst of all, she plagued the crocodiles.

She grew so daring in her plaguing that one day she tied a fat duck to the end of a rope and put it on the raft, and then cried in a loud voice, "Kyai and Nyai Buaja, I'm sending you something delicious for your meal. Come up and see what it is; it's all ready for you on the raft!"

The two big heads of the old crocodiles had hardly appeared on the surface of the water, and they had hardly looked around with their knowing eyes, before the wicked Leleh pulled the little rope that was attached to the leg of the duck and drew it back to the shore. And she cried tauntingly, "I, too, like a tasty tidbit! Find something else for yourselves, old ones!" And thereupon she built a fire, roasted the duck to a delicate brown, and sat down and ate every last crumb of it.

After this had happened again and again, the old crocodiles began to tire of it. They said nothing to anyone, neither to Leleh herself nor to the villagers, but they decided between themselves that Leleh must be punished and soon. So the next time she put a duck on the raft and called out, 'Tm sending you a delicious morsel for your meal, old ones!" Kyai Buaja called back, "Send the raft a little nearer, Leleh. My wife is sick and I cannot leave her."

Leleh pushed the raft a little farther, but at the same time she pulled the duck off. And no sooner had she done this than from all sides the crocodiles shot out of the water and, led by Kyai Buaja himself, dragged Leleh with them down to the depths of the lake. There Kyai changed her into a fish which he called the leleh fish, or ikan leleh.

He told her that from now on she would have to take care of all his great great-great-grandchildren, the young crocodiles. But when she tried to do this, the young crocodiles bit her so fiercely that her fins became weak (and from that time to this the leleh fish has been a weak-finned fish) . She was forbidden ever to leave the lake again. She could not have done so anyhow, because her many descendants put her in a narrow cleft in the rocks and forced her to stay there. There were so many of these fish, her descendants, that soon there were more leleh fish than crocodiles. Kyai and Nyai Buaja finally had to call on the villagers to help them.

The villagers fished day and night for the wicked lelehs and they caught them by the netfuls. But the more they caught, the more there were left in the lake.

Kyai and Nyai Buaja thought that the villagers were in league with the fish and merely caught them and then threw them back into the lake. And so they and all the other crocodiles became angry with people. They became so angry that they swore eternal enmity. Kyai Buaja himself said that whenever he met a human being he would kill him immediately.

And one day, when the water in the lake was higher than usual, Kyai and Nyai Buaja and all the other crocodiles left the place where they had lived so happily before the coming of Leleh.

They left the lake in such a mysterious manner that none of the village people noticed their going. They only knew that the next day ? when they went down to the lake and called, the crocodiles were gone. And they never came back.

Diceritakan Adele Leeuw dalam Indonesian Legends and Folk Tales

Kembali ke Kumpulan Cerita Legenda Bahasa Inggris

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