Folktale from central java – Joko Kendhil

This story came from Central Java, Indonesia. Joko Kendhil.

In ancient times, in the “Dhadhapan” village in Central Java, there was a poor widow. She has a son who looks like a pot to cook rice. In Central Java, the rice pot called “kendhil”. Because the boy is like a kendhil then His name is “Joko Kendhil”. Although her son is ugly, She doesn’t feel ashamed or regretted, she loves her son hearty.

When he was young, “Joko Kendhil” is so funny, his friends love him. One day there was a wedding party near his village. Secretly Joko Kendhil sneaked into the kitchen. “Wow, Kendhil e apik banget, cocok kanggo wadhah apem iki” (Wow, this pot is very beautiful, this place is great for cakes), said the woman who cooks in that wedding party. He didn’t know that the pot was actually human. Once fully, Joko Kendhil slowly rolls out. when he arrived at home, his mother asks “Seko ngendi le kok kowe iso uleh akeh panganan kaya ngene iki?” ( Where did you get these cakes ? ) then he told what he had going through.

Joko Kendhil getting older and mature, but his body still like Kendhil. One day Joko Kendil expressed his desire to get married. Of course her mother surprised, “who would want to marry with his child if the body like kendhil?”. Her mother was even more surprised when Joko Kendhil want to marry only with the princess. his mother advised him but he still persist with his ambition, finally his mother meet the king.

The king has three beautiful daughters. Mrs. Joko Kendhil was careful to point out that the purpose of her arrival was to apply for one of the princess. The king was very surprised but wisely he ask to his daughters. “My daughter, Dewi Kantil, Dewi Mawar, and Dewi Melati, are any of you willing to accept his proposal?”, the king ask to their daughters. “Father, I do not want to marry the poor village boy,” said  Dewi Kantil curtly. “I do not want to marry that strange creature, I just want to marry a handsome and rich crown prince,” replied Dewi Mawar with a smug voice.  “Father, please bless me, I received the request wholeheartedly,” said Dewi Melati. Hearing the answer of Dewi Melati, the king was stunned for a moment. He did not understand what prompted Dewi Melati to become Joko Kendhil’s wife. But as a wise king He has to keep his promise.

“I bless you, my daughter,” said the king. The decision of Dewi Melati is directly submitted to Joko Kendhil’s mother. Finally, Dewi Melati and Joko Kendhil married. Dewi Melati always disturbed by the taunts and scorns of his two older siblings.

“Look, Dewi Melati’s husband runs like a ball,” said Dewi Kantil that deliberately spoke loudly to be heard by her sister.

“His face is ugly, his body is weird, it is more appropriate for a waste place,” continued Dewi Mawar. All the taunts were accepted with courage and patience by Dewi Melati.

One day, the king held a race to use weapons while riding a horse. The whole royal family watched it. However Joko Kendhil is not seen in the race arena because of illness. Dewi Melati was sitting alone.

“Hurray! Hooray!” shouted the spectators as they watched the princes and princes from different countries show their skills.

In the midst of excitement of the race, suddenly the audience was fascinated by the arrival of a handsome and mighty warrior who was entering the arena. He wore a glorious royal attire and rode a mighty horse. Dewi Kantil and Dewi Mawar directly fascinated and tried to attract the prince’s attention.

“Only we who worthy coupled with the handsome Prince.See, our sister is pensive thinking about the pot of her idol,” taunted Dewi Mawar while sneering in the direction of Dewi Melati, then Dewi Melati left the race and ran to his room. When entering the room, Dewi Melati did not see her husband lying sick, but only saw an empty pot. “This pot that makes me always insulted that makes me sad, I’d better destroy it!” shouted Dewi Melati as she threw the pot to the floor until it crumbled to pieces. Suddenly, in front of him came a very handsome like the hansome prince who entered the arena.

“Who are you, why you are in my room?” asked Dewi Melati surprised. “I am Joko Kendhil, your husband,” said the Prince. The Prince also told that his body like the pot (kendhil) it is the will of the Gods. His body will return to its original state if there is a  princess willing to marry him. Dewi Melati was so amazed to hear the story and directly hug her husband happily. The incident made Dewi Kantil and Dewi Mawar both embarrassed and jealous of her sister’s luck.

Moral message

We should not insult people who are less fortunate. We should help him with sincerity. We should respect others without being prejudiced.

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