Acehnese Folklore: The fairy tale of Princess Niwer Gading and Prince Amat Mude

Legenda Hikayat Raja Arief Imam by Hidayat Said

Fairy tales are a type of folklore that develops by word of mouth and contains a message or moral message for today’s and future young generations. The following is one of the famous fairy tales from the Province of Nangroe Aceh Darussalam which tells about Princess Niwer Gading.

In ancient times in the Nangroe Aceh Darussalam region there was a kingdom called Negeri Alas. The land of Alas had a wise king and the king was loved by its people. He ruled the land of Alas with justice and impartiality. In his daily activities his mind is devoted only to advancing the country and the prosperity of its people.

However, the King’s happiness was not complete because he did not have a son. The King was sad because he felt that his life was not perfect if he had not had children. He does not know who will inherit the throne of his kingdom. On the advice of the community leaders of Alas Country whom he respected, King Alas and the Empress then still had to pray diligently while fasting so that God would give him a son. The efforts of the king and empress were successful because a few months later the empress became pregnant.

The King welcomed his empress’s pregnancy with joy. Her heart is blooming because soon she will be able to have children. After nine months of pregnancy, Perrnaisuri gave birth to a son who was named Pangeran Amat Mude. Prince Amat Mude was loved by the king, empress, members of the royal family, and all the people of Alas.

But what a shame it is. The happiness did not last long. Not even a year old Amat Mude, King Alas passed away. Because Amat Mude is still a baby, the king’s younger brother or uncle (Pakcik) Amat Mude is appointed as a temporary king. The pakcik is called Raja Muda. The Empress doesn’t know that the Viceroy has evil intentions and wants to get rid of herself and her son.

After becoming king, the Viceroy acted cruelly to Amat Mude and his mother. They were exiled to a remote forest. The young king with a bad heart wants to fully control the Land of Alas which is actually the right of Amat Mude. Driven by his greed for wealth and office, the Viceroy forgot that the empress and her son whom he had driven out of the palace were still related by blood to him.

Empress Survives Exile

Despite being banished away from the palace by the Viceroy, the empress never complained. He continues to care for Amat Mude who is still a baby with responsibilities. He accepted the ordeal patiently and courageously. He raised Amat Mude with great love. He is sure that there will be benefits from every incident he experiences in his life. Her love for the King and her son exceeded her desire to live in a magnificent palace.

Time is running out and the empress is still living in exile. Year after year passed, Amat Mude grew up to be a smart and handsome boy. The Empress educates Amat Mude with religious knowledge, exemplifying commendable behavior and useful life skills in the future. The consort is happy because Amat Mude is smart and devoted to his parents.

One of Amat Mude’s hobbies is fishing in the river. He is good at catching using a hook. The fish they catch are large. The fish he catches he eats with his mother at home. Meanwhile, he sells the excess fish catch to the next village.

One hot afternoon, the empress and Amat Mude walked to a village on the edge of the forest to sell fish. Unexpectedly, he met a rich merchant. The merchant paid close attention to the empress. He felt familiar with the empress’s face, but he forgot where he had met her. It turned out that the rich merchant was a former best friend of her husband.

The merchant remembered that the woman in front of him was the queen of Alas. He wondered why the empress was dressed so badly as a commoner. Shouldn’t the empress and her son live comfortably in the palace. He could not stop thinking about that condition. To get rid of his curiosity, the merchant asked the empress.

“Why are the Princess and the Crown Prince in this place?” asked the merchant, amazed.

The Empress then told all the events that had happened to her. Starting from the death of the king to the exile he had to endure. Hearing this, the merchant felt sorry and immediately invited them to his house. Not to forget, the merchant bought all the fish. Arriving at the house, the merchant invited the empress and Amat Mude to rest in the house.

Then the merchant told his wife to immediately cook the fish to entertain the empress and her son. How miraculous! When she was cutting the belly of a fish, the rich merchant’s wife was amazed because from the belly of the fish came out fish eggs in the form of pure gold. In his entire life, he had never seen this strange incident. She reported this to her husband.

With the consent of her husband, the golden eggs were sold to the market by the merchant’s wife. Merchants know themselves and want to repay the royal family. He collected the money from selling gold and used it to build the house of the empress and her son. Since then, the empress and Amat Mude have turned rich thanks to the golden eggs from the fish they catch.

Prince Amat Mude Looking for Magic Coconut

News of the wealth of the empress and her son reached the Viceroy. The Viceroy was worried that Amat Mude would rebel and claim his right to become King of Alas. The Viceroy thought hard about how to get rid of Amat Mude a second time. If exile was not enough, he thought Amat Mude should be given a heavier task which he would likely fail to carry out.

Therefore one day the Viceroy summoned Amat Mude to the palace. He ordered Amat Mude to pick ivory coconuts to treat a disease of the wife of the Viceroy. The ivory coconut is located on an island located in the middle of the sea. It is said that he said, the sea around the island was inhabited by wild beasts. Anyone who crosses the ocean is doomed. So far, no sailors have ever returned from the island alive and safe.

Raja Muda threatened Amat Mude if he could not bring the ivory coconut he would be put to death. But Prince Amat Mude doesn’t care about the Young King’s threat. His intention was sincere to help the Viceroy’s wife who was none other than his aunt. He immediately left the palace and sailed to the island that the Viceroy had meant.

For several days Amat Mude sailed in the middle of the ocean. Countless waves and storms hit his ship. With his toughness he managed to conquer obstacles in the middle of the ocean. Until one day he docked the ship to the destination island shore. Arriving at the beach, he then sat pensive. Unexpectedly, a large fish named Si Lenggang Raye appeared before him, accompanied by the Crocodile King, and a large dragon.

There was a brief conversation between Amat Mude and Si Lenggang Raye, the Crocodile King, and the big Dragon. The three beasts are tasked with protecting the island from bad people. At the time of meeting Amat Mude, the three showed no resistance. Instead, they would be willing to help Amat Mude in completing his task of finding ivory coconuts to treat Raja Muda’s wife.

After climbing up a hill, Amat Mude found an ivory coconut tree with the help of Si Lenggang Raye, the Crocodile King, and a dragon. Next, Amat Mude climbed the coconut tree. While picking ivory coconuts, suddenly heard a woman’s voice.

“Whoever manages to pluck ivory coconuts, he will be my husband,” a woman’s voice came out loud from under the tree.

“Who are you?” asked Amat Mude in amazement.

“I am Putri Niwer Gading,” answered the voice from under the coconut tree.

Amat Mude quickly picked the ivory coconuts. He thought that the coconut fruit should be given to the wife of the Raja Muda so that he could quickly recover. After descending from the top of the coconut tree, how amazed was Amat Mude to see the beauty of Princess Niwer Gading.

Furthermore, Amat Mude invited the princess to go home to be married. After marriage, Amat Mude and his wife and mother went to the palace to hand over ivory coconuts. The arrival of Amat Mude amazed the Viceroy. People who make it through the obstacles on the haunted island must be magic people. He didn’t want to play anymore. Now there is no reason to sentence his nephew to death.

The Viceroy realized his mistake. He apologized to the empress and Prince Amat Mude for repeatedly wanting to harm her. The Empress and Amat Mude forgive the Viceroy and his family because they are part of the royal family of the Land of Alas as well. A few days later Prince Amat Mude was crowned King of Alas and lived happily with his people.

The fairy tale of Princess Niwer Gading and Prince Amat Mude has a mandate that when a disaster occurs, we should not give up and give up hope. It takes patience and fortitude in living the tests of life. And by working hard we will be able to arrive at an improvement in fate.

Hopefully inspired. See you in the next Indonesian folklore article.

References:

Rahimsyah, MB. 2007. Complete collection of archipelago folklore from 33 provinces. Bintang Usaha Jaya, Surabaya.

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