Folklore of the Riau Islands: The Legend of the Seven Princess of Seri Bunga Tanjung Kingdom

Cerita Rakyat Kalimantan Selatan: Dongeng Raja Baik Hati Memberikan Putrinya

In the Riau Archipelago, there used to be a kingdom called Seri Bunga Tanjung which was ruled by Ratu Cik Sima. Ratu Cik Sima has seven daughters with very beautiful faces as the Seven Princesses. Their beauty is well known to various countries. The youngest daughter named Mayang Sari is the prettiest of the six siblings. Putri Mayang Sari is also known as Mayang Mengurai because her beautiful hair is often left loose.

One fine evening, the seven daughters of the Seri Bunga Tanjung Kingdom bathed in Lubuk Umai. They did not realize that Pangeran Empang Kuala was peeking at him from behind the bush. The Prince was very fascinated by the beauty of one of these princesses. Prince Empang Kuala also muttered, “Beautiful girl in the bottom of Umai, beautiful in Umai. Yes, yes, d’umai, d’umai …” murmured Pangeran Empang Kuala.

Prince Empang Kuala fell in love with Putri Mayang Mengurai. That night he did not sleep well. The beautiful face of Putri Mayang Parsing flashed in her eyes. He longed to live side by side with him. Life would be really happy if he could side by side in the aisle with the most beautiful girl he peeked at Lubuk Umai. Immediately he spoke to his father who was also Raja Empang Kuala to marry Putri Mayang Mengurai.

Furthermore, Raja Empang Kuala also sent a messenger to propose to the princess. Queen Cik Sima welcomed the proposal. However, according to custom, it is the eldest daughter who has the right to receive the proposal first. The messenger returned to face the Prince.

“My goodness, Raja! Seri Bunga Tanjung Royal Family is not yet willing to accept your proposal to marry Putri Mayang Mengurai,” he said.

“Why haven’t you? What is the reason?” asked the king with displeasure.

“Based on the prevailing customs there, it is the eldest daughter who must marry first,” the messenger replied.

“I don’t care, Putri Mayang Mengurai must be my child’s wife.” said the King, holding back his anger.

The Great War Takes Victims

Feeling rejected, the Prince immediately ordered his troops to attack the Seri Bunga Tanjung Kingdom. Thus, the great battle between the two kingdoms was inevitable. The battle that took place was so intense that Queen Cik Sima immediately hid her seven daughters in a cave in the middle of the forest. After that, the Queen returned to face Prince Empang Kuala’s troops on the battlefield.

Three months have passed, but the fighting has not ended. Both sides are equally strong and neither side is willing to budge. After entering the fourth month, many people of Seri Bunga Tanjung were killed. It is said that Pangeran Empang Kuala’s troops were also very tired of the battle. The Prince’s troops rested and took shelter under the mangrove trees downstream of Sungal Umai.

Toward evening, suddenly the troops of Pangeran Empang Kuala were hit by thousands of mangroves that fell and stabbed their bodies. Many of his troops were injured and had to be taken seriously. Seeing this fact, the Prince ordered his troops to immediately return to Negeri Empang Kuala. Ratu Cik Sima was very grateful for the good news. Queen Cik Sima hopes to bring her seven daughters back to the palace soon.

The next day, Queen Cik Sima went to the forest to pick up her seven daughters, but what a shock, because they were all lifeless due to hunger. She remembered that her son’s food was only enough for three months, while the war lasted four months. He could only watch the corpses of his seven daughters with deep guilt and grief. He did not think that the long war had cost his own daughters.

Upon returning to the palace, Queen Cik Sima was mostly silent. He regretted agreeing to the war against Negeri Empang Kuala. He grieved for days until finally Queen Cik Sima fell ill and soon he died. From this story the people of Dumai believe that the name of the city of Dumai is taken from the word d’umai, as once pronounced by Prince Empang Kuala.

The message of the Legend of the Seven Princesses is that a human’s greed can bring harm to society at large. Do not let obedience to a wish cost many innocent lives of other people. Hopefully we can learn a lesson from the story


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

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Oleh Agus Siswoyo

Teacher in real life, story teller and Indonesian blogger.

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