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The Origin of Kantan Island

The Legend of Kantan Island
A Folklore from North Sumatra, Indonesia

Once upon a time in Labuhan Batu, North Sumatra, Indonesia lived an old widow with her son named Kantan. Her husband passed away when Kantan was a baby. They lived in a village not far from a jungle. They were poor.

One night, Kantan’s mother had a dream. An old man came to her and asked her to go to the jungle. Under the big tree, the old man asked her to dig a hole. She would a find something very valuable.

Kantan’s mother knew it was not just a dream. So, she asked Kantan to go to the jungle with her. When they found a big tree, Kantan dug a hole. Later, they found a box. When they opened it, they saw a golden stick. It was very beautiful.

“Mother, we have to sell this. We will be very rich!” said Kantan.

“You are right. The golden stick is so beautiful. I’m sure someone is willing to pay with a lot of money. But who is going to buy this stick? All our neighbours are poor.”

“Don’t worry, mother. I will go to the other island to sell it. I will find a very rich man to buy this golden stick,” said Kantan.

Later, Kantan sailed the sea to go to Malaka Island. When he arrived there, Kantan offered the stick to merchants. But they could not pay him. Kantan asked them to pay with a lot of money.

The news spread very fast. Everybody in Malaka knew that Kantan had a beautiful golden stick. The king also heard that. He asked his soldiers to take Kantan to go his palace. The king wanted to see the stick.

“You are right. The stick is very beautiful,” said the king after Kantan showed him the stick.

The king then continued,

“I want to have this stick. But I will not give you a lot of money. I will ask you to marry my daughter. You can stay here in the palace and later you can be the king to replace me,” said the king.

Kantan immediately agreed. Not long after that, they got married and stayed in the palace. Kantan was very happy and started to forget about his mother in the village.

In the meantime, Kantan’s wife always asked him about his mother. His wife really wanted to meet her mother-in-law. Kantan agreed. With a big ship, they sailed to Kantan’s hometown. When they arrived, all the villagers were surprised to see Kantan. He was a prince! They then told everyone about Kantan.

Finally, Kantan’s mother heard the news. She was very happy. When she arrived at the ship, she immediately called Kantan’s name.

“Kantan! Kantan! It’s me, I’m your mother.”

But Kantan ignored her. He was ashamed with his mother. She was an old woman and wore ragged clothes. When his wife asked, Kantan just said she was a crazy woman pretending to be his mother.

Kantan’s mother was very sad. She prayed to God. Suddenly, a big storm attacked! Big waves swallowed Kantan’s big ship. When the storm was gone, slowly an island appeared. Since then, people named the island as Kantan Island.


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