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Pak Belalang: the Lucky Man

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     Pak Belalang was his name and there was no one who did know him. He was the man in the village who time after time deceived his fellow villagers, thinking it was a great joke. He was helped by his magic book. Whenever there was someone in his neighbourhood, he was always studying the book. He could tell people quite accurately whether there was a bird or an animal in a trap, or who had stolen a goat, and so on. Therefore people believed in him.

      One day he said to his son: “Son, go and fetch my book! I think there is a hen in our trap.” When he got the book, he turned over the pages, and read and read. Then he shouted: “Son! Let’s took over there. That trap has caught an ayam mua.” “Wife,” he said to his wife.”Prepare the coconut-milk, we will have fine food today. He was right. An ayam mua was indeed in his trap. “How clever Pak Belalang is!” people thought. Another time, after having consulted his magic book, he said: “Our trap has caught an ayam ratih.” But was he indeed able to see the future? Certainly not, for early in morning before dawn, while another people were still asleep, he slipped out to his trap to see whether there was something there. On coming home, he let his son fetch his magic book, pretending to consult it. This he did every time, as if he could foretell what the day would bring. His neighbours were not very intelligent people and did not realize that they were tricked.
One day a laundryman from the palace asked for his help to find the clothes for the wash; while they were being dried on the clothes-line, they had vanished. Of course Pak Belalang knew where they were. After having looked into his book, he said: “Not far away. They are hidden in a hole under a tree near the palace. “The laundryman went to the spot, and true enough, the washing was there, still neatly packed. The man was very happy to escape punishment from court. And why was Pak Belalang able to tell him all this? Simply because his own son had stolen the things and had told him where he had hidden them. Indeed Pak Belalang was a clever man!.
      Pak Belalang’s fame spread everywhere. No wonder that one day, when seven precious boxes were stolen from the palace, the king sent for him. This time Pak Belalang really did not know who the thieves were, as his son had not taken part in it. He therefore turned pale as he knew what could happen to him if he could not tell the king who had stolen the boxes. The punishment was death.
“Poor head of mine!” he lamented, holding his head again and again. “Won’t you belong to me any longer?” His heart was pounding. “What is to become of me? My hours are numbered!”
      The thief was not his son. So how was he to know who had stolen the boxes?
      “Mighty God!” he prayed. “Help me! What have I gained by deceiving people? Woe is me!” As he was grieving and lamenting a thought struck him.
      “Your majesty, please give me seven days to find the thieves.” He asked the king. This was granted, but Pak Belalang kept saying to himself. “A bad omen that my head should no longer belong to my body!”

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Author: Ikhsan Madjido

A man with an idea to unity people by writing and sharing to each others

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