Riau Folklore: The Story of Aji Bonar, The Good At Playing Gasing

Dongeng Aji Bonar yang jago bermain gasing


Once upon a time there was a kingdom called the Tiangkerarasen Kingdom. The land is safe and secure because the King rules wisely. He has several sons and daughters of a beautiful empress. Their beauty and good looks are well known to various countries. However, the peace and happiness of the family did not last long. Why is that? This is the story.

Starting from one day the king took a walk on his favorite horse. On the way he met a girl with a beautiful face. After getting acquainted, the king took the girl back to the palace. Besides having a soft temperament, this beautiful girl also has soft speech. The king fell in love and married the girl.

The king’s actions were opposed by the empress and her sons and daughters. They didn’t want concubines in the king’s palace. But the king loved her too much so he insisted on marrying her. After several months passed, the girl who had become the king’s young wife became pregnant. The Empress and her sons became even more angry. They really showed hatred towards the king and the king’s concubine. Even his sons and daughters had the courage to fight back. This situation really pressured the King.

King Removes Young Wife

Then it occurred to the King to get rid of his young wife. He thought about what it would be like if he was constantly being opposed by the empress and her own children. In addition, he also felt sorry for his young wife to be thrown away. Even though he still loved her very much, he had to. It’s all for the sake of the harmony of the royal family. He’s in a dilemma. Several days he pondered this thought.

Until one day the King took his young wife for a walk into the forest. The two of them followed a large river in a boat. When the wife was enjoying the view, the king suddenly pushed her into the river. His wife was very surprised, then screamed for help. Actually, the King’s heart was very pity. But what can I do? He wanted to end his strained relationship with his sons and daughters. The king did not help his young wife and was left to be carried away by the deep river currents.

It turned out that luck was still on the side of the king’s young wife. Downstream of the river, there is a hook watching a woman drifting away. He immediately rescued the woman who was none other than the young wife of the king of Tiangkerarasen. The fisherman brought the king’s young wife to his house. He was surprised because he saw that the woman was pregnant. He took good care of him until he recovered and considered him like his own child.

Time keeps running. Months turned into months and years turned into years. The son of the king who was born to a young wife was already a teenager. His mother gave the name Aji Bonar. Aji Bonar is a handsome young man and has dexterity beyond ordinary youths. Aji Bonar has a penchant for playing tops and fishing. Every day he looks for fish with his hook in the river. The fish they catch are cooked to eat at home. Meanwhile, in his spare time Aji Bonar plays tops.

One day he wanted to go to the land of Tiangkerarasen because he heard the news that the son of the king of Tiangkerarasen liked to play tops with bets. He hopes to play top with the king’s son and win the bet. And it is true that Aji Bonar’s guess. Gasing Aji Bonar won the match against the king’s son, then he brought the betting rooster home. The victory of Aji Bonar’s top made the king’s son even more curious. Then he made an even bigger bet.

That’s how the bet was repeated between Aji Bonar and the king’s son. From small bets to bets on a large house complete with contents. This match was won by Aji Bonar. This son of the king’s constant defeat did not deter him. Instead, he is increasingly curious and determined to be able to beat Aji Bonar’s top.

Aji Bonar Becomes King

One day the king’s son gathered all the people of the Tiangkerarasen country in the top game arena. Not forgetting he invited the King, his father. After all gathered, the king’s son exclaimed.

“O my people, today I bet this country and its contents to Si Aji Bonar. If he loses, he will return all the victories that were obtained from me. If I lose then this country I will give him. He will rule the whole country. Are you guys agree?” he said.

The king was surprised to hear what his son said. How could his son dare to bet the kingdom for a question Topping match. This was the dumbest thing he had ever heard of. But the announcement has already been passed around through his son. He would suffer shame if he retracted the announcement. What power, he could only watch his son act in silence.

“Agreeeeeee.” Answer the community who attended simultaneously.

Not long after, the gasing match began. The entire audience cheered in support of their chosen champion. There are those who support Aji Bonar, others support the king’s son. The people wanted Aji Bonar to defeat the king’s son because of his arrogant nature. And sure enough. Gasing Aji Bonar circled very fast and quickly turned off the king’s top son. Roaring cheers greeted Aji Bonar’s top victory.

On that very day Aji Bonar was appointed king of the country. A few days later he picked up his mother with royal troops. All the people watched the procession. Also the son of the king who lost the bet. Beside him stood the original King. The king felt very ashamed, because his beloved son had pawned his kingdom through a gasing fight. The son whom he had banished had become its king. The two men watched King Aji Bonar with infinite shame.

This folklore from Riau has a mandate that life must be grateful whatever the circumstances. King Tiangkerarasen already had a beautiful empress but was still seduced by the beauty of other women. This created tension with the empress and her sons.

In addition, the mandate in the legend of Aji Bonar is that the example of parents is needed in educating their children. The selfish nature of the king was imitated by his selfish sons and daughters. They also liked to gamble so that in his old age the King was forced to lose his kingdom because it was betrayed by his son.

Hopefully inspired. See you in the next series of folk tales.


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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