A STORY OF ROTI ISLAND
Folklore from East Nusa Tenggara
ONCE upon a time, a grandmother and her granddaughter lived in RotiIsland, Nusa Tenggara Timur. They had a field and grew some vegetables. The grandmother sold them at the market.
In one morning, the grandmother would go to the market. Before she left, she asked her granddaughter to cook.
“Please cook some rice for lunch. But just cook one grain of rice. It’s enough for both of us.”
“Why, Grandma?” asked the girl.
“Just do what I said.”
The grandmother then left for the market.
Later, the girl started to cook.
However, she felt a grain of rice would not be enough for them.
“I think it’s not enough for me and my grandmother.”
Then she took two handfuls of rice. Suddenly, something bad happened to the rice pot.
“Oh, no! The rice flowed out of the pot!” shouted the girl.
“What should I do?” The rice became rice porridge.
It flowed and flowed until it covered the kitchen. Suddenly, the grandmother came home. The girl explained what happened.
“You are a naughty girl! Why didn’t you listen to me?” the grandmother was so angry. She hit the girl with a wooden stick.
“ Please forgive me, Grandma!” the little girl cried and cried. But the grandmother kept hitting her.
Then, an incredible thing happened! The girl turned into a monkey. The monkey then ran away and climbed a tree. The grandmother chased the monkey. From the tree, the monkey said.
“Grandmother, I’m a monkey now. I cannot live with you anymore. You are all alone."
Then the monkey climbed up and disappeared. The grandmother was very sad. She regretted what she has done to her beloved granddaughter.
“ Please come back to me. Please forgive me, my granddaughter!’ but it was too late.
The little girl has turned into a monkey and never came home. The people of Roti Island believe this story. And that is why until now; people in the Roti Island never hit their children or other people’s child. They are afraid that the child would turn into a monkey.