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Sunday, August 21, 2011


I do not recall when and where I bought this book "Folk Tales of Malaysia" by Zakaria Hitam (1979).  A bout of viral cough caught me for the past week (it is the season they say) and picked this 117-page book to read and past the time of Ramadhan.

There are 17 short tales in the book that include such as Hang Tuah, Princess of Mount Ophir, The black rice of Padang Maksirat, Si Jalak's advice, and The Sultan turned thief.

"The Sultan turned thief"  illustration (L).

Si Jalak's advice" is a fairly roundabout tale about a sultan who was taught by  Raja Ular the language of animals. He is not supposed to pass the knowledge to anybody otherwise he will die. His wife insisted to learn at whatever cost. Ad verbetim below is the ending part of the story which I have entitled it as in the above post.

"...the male lizard answered, 'If our beloved Sultan did not grant Tuan Putri's request, nothing would happen. If we simply follow the whim and fancy of women, why should we pride ourselves as men.' ...
... the Sultan sat on the veranda of the palace. He was trying to think what to say to his unyielding wife. In the courtyard, he saw Si Jalak, the cockerel chasing a number of hens, hither and thither. While chasing, he clapped his wings and crowed, several times 'ko-kek-kok-kok'.
Hearing the cockerel crowing so gaily, Anjing the dog shouted, 'Hey there! It appears to me you are a very ungreatful animal. Don't you know what today is the day our beloved Sultan is going to tell Tuan Putri the secret of the language of the birds and beasts? This evening he will die. Therefore, do not try to have so much fun when our Sultan is in danger of his life.'
When Si Jalak heard what the dog said, he stopped crowing. He faced the dog, 'You seem to be foolish as our Sultan. Just see what I am doing. I have forty wives, but none dare oppose me. In fact I am the monarch of all I survey and none disputes my right. If our Sultan is clever he will keep a cane with him. When Tuan Putri asks to know the language of the birds and beasts, he should strike her with the cane. He should strike her hard and at the same time tell her that if she wanted to die, let her die. Tell her that if she died, he would marry another. If that is done, Tuan Putri will never try her stunt again.'
The dog was glad to hear Si Jalak's opinion. 'What you said is very true. The Sultan should follow your advice.'
The Sultan was even more glad to hear Si Jalak's advice. He got up and took the donkey's whip and placed it near him. Soon afterwards Tuan Putri came out and approached the Sultan. When she was close Tuan Putri said, 'My Lord. It is now time for you to teach me the knowledge how to understand the language of the birds and beasts. Please therefore begin.'
When he heard Tuan Putri's demand, the Sultan got up. He pulled out the whip and struck Tuan Putri's back. The he said, 'If you want to die, you better die. I will not teach you the knowledge of the language of birds and beasts. If you die, I will marry again. If I teach you the knowledge, I will die. If I die you will marry another man. Therefore, it is better that you die rather I.' He struck her once again.
Tuan Putri cried from pain. Soon afterwards she kissed the Sultan's feet and begged his pardon..."

N.B. The above tale has no bearing on any individual, dead or living!
I have to pick up other books for the dry cough is still troubling me even after taking antibiotics and all. There will more to tell.


  1. Doc,
    Do u think the same trick will work on our women today? Cos seems likely they will whip us back, no?

  2. Though we are in a modern age, still they are more likely to weep rather than whip!

  3. Sdr Reme,
    Just to add, I don't mean to be chauvanistic. The posting is in figurative sense for First Lady wannabe.