Timun Emas (Golden Cucumber) Folktale

Timun Emas (Golden Cucumber) Folktale

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folktales2006_timunmasITS–This story belongs to Central Java Province. As the story goes, once upon a time, there was a widow who lived alone. Because there was no one by her side, she felt lonely and dreamed of the presence of a child. In the same village, there lived a giant. Knowing her uneasiness, the giant offered his help by giving her a child, on the condition that when the child is six years old, it must be returned to the giant to become his meal.

Because of her strong desire to have a child, the widow agreed with the condition. The giant then gave her a cucumber seed to be planted in the widow’s lawn. Two weeks passed and the cucumber started to bear fruit, and there was one which was large and shined like gold. The widow picked the large cucumber and splitted it carefully and it appeared that there was a cute baby girl inside. How happy the widow was, and the baby was named Timun Emas.

Times passed so fast, and Timun Emas was soon six years old. At this age she had become a beautiful and clever child. The giant came to the widow to fulfill her promise, but she loved her child and didn’t want to lose it. She asked the giant to come back two years later, told him that Timun Emas would be bigger and more appetiziting to eat then. The giant agreed.

Two years passed, the time had come for the widow to let the giant have Timun Emas. The widow loved her child too much. She didn’t want her child to become the giant’s meal. Yet, it was impossible to confront him. Eventually the widow ordered Timun Emas to go to Gunung Kidul (Southern Mountain) to meet a powerful hermit there. He gave Timun Emas four small packages containing cucumber seeds, needles, salt and terasi (a kind of seasoning made from shrimp), and order Timun Emas to pray for safety from the giant

One morning the giant came to the widow to fulfill her promise. The widow ordered Timun Emas to run through the back door. He chased her. Just before she was caught, she dispersed the cucumber seeds she had been given, and they instantly grew into a cucumber field. He stopped chasing her for he was interested in eating the cucumbers. Then he chased her again; when she was almost caught she dispersed the needles from the package, which the quickly grew into a bamboo field. His feet were wounded and bled, pricked by the bamboos. Yet he didn’t give up and kept chasing her, then she dispersed the salt from the package and the field became a sea. Yet he kept chasing her. Finally, she dispersed the terasi from the package. Suddenly appeared boiling sea of mud, and finally he was dead. With the death of the giant, Timun Emas could live happily with her mother.

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