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The Legend of Lake Toba
A Folklore from Medan North Sumatra, Indonesia
Once upon a time, there was a young man named Toba. He lived alone and had no wife. He decided being single and didn’t get married, although his age was mature enough to a family.
He had a narrow farm and a small hut not far from a lake. If the day was getting dark, he would go to the lake for fishing. He liked fishing and he could do this activity until night has come.
One day, after worked on his small farm, he decided to go fishing. He wanted to look for some fish for his dinner. He waited for a long time, but his hook didn’t catch any fish. He waited and waited patiently.
Suddenly, his fish bait made some movement. He was sure he would get a fish for his dinner. And that was true, a pretty big fish stuck on his bait. He took the fish and then put it on a fish basket. Then, he went home.
He was so happy to get a fish for his dinner. He imagined that his dinner tonight would be nice because the fish was pretty big and fresh.
Arriving at home, he put his fish basket beside the fire place. And then, he set fire of the fire place. But, he realized that he forgot to look for some woods for his fire place. Without the woods, of course he couldn’t cook the fish for his dinner.
He went out to look for some woods. He left the fish in the kitchen. He didn’t worry about the fish because he was sure that the fish was safe in the place.
After getting some woods, he went back home, but, he was to surprised as the fish basket was empty. The fish was gone, he just found some scales which in the form of gold pieces. Toba was confused. He convinced himself that the gold pieces he hold was the scales of the fish he caught this afternoon.
He stepped to his room. But, again he was shocked as he saw a beautiful girl with long hair in his room. The girl sat in toba’s bed. Toba didn’t make any movement. He was so shock and wondered who the girl was.
Suddenly the girl turn her head and looked at toba. Toba was so amazed with the girl’s beauty. He looked at the girl and admired her beauty. For some moments, they looked each other. Was that a possibility that this beautiful girl is an angel? toba thought.
Toba was so speechless and couldn’t say anything. For breaking the ice, the girl said something. She approached toba and said.
“Hi, toba. It was getting dark, could you turn on the lamp” the girl asked.
“Ooo… hhhiii… Alright, I will turn the lamp on,” Toba said, his body was trmebled because of fear.
“Don’t be afraid, Toba. I will not hurt you,” said the girl.
“But, who are you ? are you kind of genie or something ?”
The girl smiled and said.
“I am the incarnation of the fish you caught this afternoon,” the girl answered.
“Really, Oh.. God. Is that true?” toba was so surprised.
“Yes, but you don’t have to be afraid. I will help you to do some house hold activity. I will cook for you and prepare your daily meal, ” the girl offered.
Toba was so happy to hear that.
“By the way, the gold pieces is my scales,” the girl said.
“Ooo.. well.. that’s why I didn’t found my fish in the basket,” toba said.
And then the girl went to the kitchen and cooked dinner for toba.
Everyday toba was accompanied by the girl. Toba was happy for that. Until one day, he asked the girl to get married. But, the girl gave a requiretmen.
“I am agree to be your wife, but don’t ever tell my secret, my condition that I was a fish,” said the girl.
Toba agreed the girl’s requiretmen. And then they got married. Toba was happy to have such a beautiful wife. They lived happily because they loved each other.
Years gone by. Toba’s wife was pregnant and then not so long after that she gave birth. Toba was so happy. The baby was a boy. Named Samosir. They took care their only child. They showered the boy with love. It seemed that they were happy family.
7 years later
The mother spoiled the boy too much. No wonder, samosir became spoiled child. He didn’t want to help his father to work on farm. He only stayed at home doing nothing. He was a very lazy boy.
One day the mother asked samosir to bring lunch for his father who worked in a farm. Usually the mother did his job. But, because she was very busy, she didn’t have time to bring the lunch for his husband.
“Samosir my dear, please take this lunch for your father in the farm. He must be very hungry now. I can’t bring it for him, there is something else I want to do!” asked the mother.
“No, I can’t!” samosir refused.
“Why, don’t you want ho help me?” asked the mother.
“I want to play with my frieds, mother!” said samosir.
Mother was angry to hear this. She was so upset and threatened samosir if he didn’t do what she’s asked. She wouldn’t give samosir lunch.
Because of his mother’s anger, he felt forced to do what his mother’s request.
“All right, mom. I will bring it to my father,” samosir said. Samosir went to his father’s farm. But he grumbled continuosly as she wanted to play with his friends.
On the way to his father’s farm, he ate the lunch little by little. He felt hungry, too. Because of this, there’s just a little lunch left. Meanwhile, the day was getting hot. Toba decided to rest under the tree. He felt thirsty and hungry. He asked himself why his wife didn’t bring lunch for him.
Waiting in a hungry was such a terrible thing for Toba. He got angry that time. Finally he saw somebody in a distance. He hoped the somebody was his wife who brought lunch for him.
But, he was surprised to see samosir, his son, who came to the farm.
“What do you do here, my son. Where is your mother? Why she didn’t bring my lunch?” Toba said angrily.
“Mother is busy to do other things. So, she asked me to bring this lunch for you” said Samosir while gave the lunch to his father.
Toba took the lunch quickly as he couldn’t bear his hunger anymore. But, when he saw the lunch box, he was surprised. The lunch was no more left.
“What? Where is the lunch ? Why this box is empty ?” Toba said angrily.
“I am sorry, father. On the way here, I ate your lunch little by little. I am so hungry.” Samosir answered with anxiety.
“You’re really a bad boy. Why are you doing this ? I am really hungry, you know ? ” Toba snapped at Samosir.
“I am sorry, dad. I am really sorry for that!” Samosir said apologize.
“You are rebellious child. You are lazy, useless!!!” Toba got angry.
He felt really upset whit his son. And, suddenly he said something rude that actually was forbidden.
“Your manner is like a little animal. It is because your mother spoiled you. You are so naughty. Well, it is because your mother is a fish. So you are like her. Go away from here” Toba didn’t realize that what he said was so rude. He was forbidden to tell about Samosir’s mother’s origin.
Samosir was so sad to hear what his father’s said. He was badly hurt. He cried continuosly. His mother asked why Samosir cried. Samosir said that his father was angry to him. It’s because he ate his father’s lunch. Samosir also told what his father had said to him.
“Father said that I was a little animal because I didn’t obey his advice and he also said that mother is a fish.”
Samosir said this to his mother.
“What ??? How excessive he is! He was not supposed to tell that to you. You are his son. I will tell him.” The beautiful girl was so angry.
“Why he’s so rude to his own child. He promised that he wouldn’t tell my origin. Why he did this to me.” The beautiful girl said sadly.
“Calm down, Samosir. Don’t cry anymore. Now, all you have to do is climb the highest tree and stay there. There will be a huge flood and this velley will be sink and disappear. There will be great disaster here,” the beautiful girl said.
“Really, mother ! How do you know ?” Samosir asked.
“Well, you must obey my advice without complaining ” the beautiful girl told his son.
After that, Samosir went away and climbed the highest tree in the village. He stayed there, obeyed his mother’s instruction. He still didn’t know why his mother told him to do this. He just waited what happened next.
The beautiful girl was really sad. He thought that Toba didn’t love her anymore. Toba was changed. He broke his promise to her. So, the girl thought there was no use she lived. She decided to do suicide by jumping to a lake.
Suddenly, the sky was getting dark upon the valley. Not so long after that, the rain poured the earth. It was a huge rain. The thunder and the lightning were so scary.
The rain was so heavy and make a huge flood. The valley was like a sea. Just as the girl said, there was a great disaster in that village.
Meanwhile, Toba, who was still in his farm shocked with this disaster. He couldn’t save himself. He was drown by the flood and finally died.
And, the spoiled child, Samosir, although he climbed the highest tree, he still couldn’t save himself from this great disaster. He died as his parents. His body was floating. And then baceme small island which now was called Samosir Island.
And, the village was sink and became a huge lake. This lake was named as Toba’s name, that is Lake Toba.
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