The Fairy Tale of Surabaya City in East Java

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The Jombang Taste greets you again through an article of East Java folklore about the fairy tale of the origin of the city of Surabaya in East Java. The legendary story of the origin of the city of Surabaya begins with a conversation between a sura shark and a crocodile. The two of them fought too many times and were both tired.

“I’m tired of constantly fighting, Crocodile,” said Fish Sura.

“Me too, Sura. What should we do to stop us fighting?” asked Crocodile.

Sura Fish who already has a plan to stop the fight with Crocodile immediately explains. “To prevent a fight between us, we’d better divide the territory in two.”

Sura fish then divided the two areas between the two of them. Sura sharks have dominion in the water. Meanwhile, crocodiles get power on land. The domain was divided to avoid fighting as the two of them forage for food.

“Well, I agree with your idea!” said Crocodile.

With the division of territory, there will be no more fighting between Sura and Crocodile. Both have agreed to respect their respective territories. The story of the legend of the origin of the city of Surabaya lasted peacefully for a short time.

The agreement between the sura fish and the crocodile was brief. Not long after that, the Sura shark was tempted to taste the flesh of the small fish that live in the river. Sura fish move to hunt for food in the river. “Wow, it turns out that the food in this river is delicious,” said Sura shark.

Once or twice, I didn’t get caught. But the sura shark’s actions were finally discovered by the crocodile. Of course, Crocodile became angry to see Sura Shark breaking his promise. So the dispute began again with the legend of the origin of the city of Surabaya.

“Hi Sura, why are you breaking the rules that we both agreed upon? Why do you dare to enter the river which is my territory?” asked Crocodile.

Sura sharks who do not feel guilty just calm down. “I broke the agreement? Isn’t this river watery. Didn’t I tell you that I am the ruler of the water? Well, this river has water, so this river is also my territory,” said Sura Shark.

“What? The river is located on land, while your territory is in the sea, meaning the river is my territory!” Crocodile insisted.

“You can’t. I never said that the water area is only sea water, but also river water,” answered Sura Shark.

“Are you deliberately looking for trouble, Sura?” snapped Crocodile.

“No! I thought my reasons were strong enough and I was on the right side!” said Sura.

“You deliberately tricked me. I’m not as stupid as you think!” said Crocodile, getting angry.

“I don’t care if you are stupid or smart, the important thing is river water and sea water is my power!” Sura still doesn’t want to lose.

“Then you really mean to deceive me? Thus our agreement is canceled! Who has the most power, he will be the ruler!” said Crocodile.

“Fighting again, who’s scared!” challenge Sura with his arrogance.

The fierce battle between Sura Shark and Crocodile Fish occurs again. The battle this time is even more exciting and terrifying. Lunging and pouncing, biting and hitting one another. According to the folklore of East Java, in an instant, the water around him turned red with the blood that came out of the wounds of the two animals.

Thus the story of the origin of the city of Surabaya developed in the narrative of local residents. This event is immortalized in the symbol of the city of Surabaya, namely the image of sura fish and crocodiles. That is the legendary story of the origin of the city of Surabaya that The Jombang Taste can share with you.

The moral message contained in the legend of the origin of the city of Surabaya is that we do not rely on our strength in associating with the wider community. In addition, the mandate of the legend of the origin of the city of Surabaya is for us to keep the promises that have been agreed upon. Actions violating promises are considered disgraceful and can damage environmental peace.

However, there are also those who argue that the origin of the name Surabaya City comes from the words Sura and Baya. Sura means triumph or safety, baya means danger. So Surabaya means safe in the face of danger. The danger in question was an attack by Tar-tar soldiers who wanted to punish the King of Java. The folklore of East Java states that the one who should be punished is Kertanegara, because Kertanegara had already been killed, it was Jayakatwang who was attacked by Tar-tar soldiers.

After defeating Jayakatwang, the Tar-tar people seized property and dozens of beautiful girls to be brought to China. Raden Wijaya does not accept being treated like this. With a clever tactic, Raden Wijaya attacked the Tar-tar soldiers at the port of Ujung Galuh until they withdrew back to China. Furthermore, the day of Raden Wijaya’s victory was decided right as the anniversary of the city of Surabaya.

The city of Surabaya seems destined to continue to be turbulent. November 10, 1945 is proof that the people of Surabaya are brave enough to face dangers when there are British and Dutch attacks. Such is the heroic struggle of the citizens of Surabaya that every November 10 Indonesians commemorate it as Heroes’ Day. In the city of Surabaya, a Tugu Pahlawan monument has also been erected to commemorate the struggle of the people of Surabaya in seizing and defending the independence of the Republic of Indonesia.

Hopefully the article The Jombang Taste about the legend of the origin of the city of Surabaya can add to your insight. See you in the next article The Jombang Taste!


Sumardiyanto, Anwar and Eka Katminingsih. 2011. Folk Story. Sidoarjo: World of Science.