Betangkup Stone (A Legend from West Kalimantan)

Batu belah batu betangkup

Betangkup Stone

Once upon a time, in a small village in Sambas, West Kalimantan, there lived a widow named Mak Minah. She had three children, two sons, and a daughter. Her son’s names were Utuh and Ucin. And her youngest child’s name was Diang.

Everyday, Mak Minah always went to the jungle to collect some fire woods. She sold the woods in the market and used the money for their daily needs. She always worked alone. Her three children were lazy and only liked to play. They never helped her.

It was already late in the evening. Mak Minah did not feel well. After selling the woods in the market, she wanted to go to the bed immedately. However dinner was not ready yet. So she asked her three children to help her.

“Utuh, Ucin, and Diang… please help me prepare the dinner,” asked Mak Minah.

Those three children ignored their mother and continued playing in the front yard. Mak Minah then forced herself to prepare the dinner. When it was ready, she called her children to have dinner. This time they listened to Mak Minah. Sadly after they finished eating, the children did not help their mother clean the dishes. Instead, they played again.

Mak Minah cried. She was so sad. It was not the first time her children did not help her and ignored her. She was so sick that she went to bed immediately.

In the morning, Mak Minah went to the riverside. There was a magical stone called Betangkup Stone. The stone had magical power. It could open and close its body like a sea shell. the stone could also talk to humans.

“Betangkup Stone, please help me. I cannot hold the pains anymore. I’m so sick and my children did not want to help me. They always ignored me. Please swallow my body,” begged Mak Minah.

“Well, If that’s what you want, get inside. I will open my body now.”
Betangkup Stone then opened its body. Mak Minah later went inside. Her long hair was still outside of the stone.

In the meantime, Utuh, Ucin, and Diang woke up and felt hungry. Breakfast was not ready so they were looking for their mother. The children went here and there to find their mother. Finally, they were in front of the Betangkup Stone. They saw their mother was inside Betangkup Stone’s body.

“Please open your body. Let my mother go outside,” scream Diang.

“No, I won’t! You are not good children. You always ignored your mother and never helped her,” said Batangkup Stone.

“But we need her now…” cried Utuh.

“You need her now because you are hungry. You only listen to her when you want to eat. But you never help her. You will never see your mother anymore!” said Betangkup Stone.

Those three children cried loudly. They knew they were wrong. But it was too late, they would never see their mother anymore. (end)

“Betangkup” means mutual closes between both sides of its parts. So Betangkup Stone means a stone which consists of two parts which it closes each other. The original title of this story is “Batu Belah Batu Betangkup”. This story is very popular in West Kalimantan. This is one of the bedtime stories that my mother told me when I was a child. And I also used to listen to the song of this story on TV. And how happy I am that I found the song on youtube. Here is the song:

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There are years when I feel that teaching is an obligatory. And there are other years when I have a special chemistry with my students. This year is one of them. I do enjoy being with them in the classroom, though I cannot say that the feeling is mutual, haha….

But I hope that they do not think my presence in class is repellent, either.

I am a moody person. Sometimes I am very tolerant. Some other times, I get irritated easily. Maybe it is the time for the first ;).

I am teaching three classes of nine graders this year. The first time I was in their class, especially this particular class, some of the boys were very loud. I thought that it would be a hard year for me to ‘tame’ them, or ignore them. Usually I choose either of them.

Then I realized that they only wanted me to pay attention to them, to take a closer look. Some of them, who at first seemed to ‘challenge’ me, when they found out that I was okay with their ‘eccentricity’, turned to look at me with different eyes. Oh, yes, they are still eccentric, they will try anything to make me look and comment at them (such as coming into class with weird hair style and shirt, wearing a tiara or headband, acting funny or making funny comments to make us laugh, etc.). But they ensure me that they always do every assignment I give them.

This morning, I saw them perform the final examination on their Art and Culture project. And I was amazed! They did it very well. A really great work for fourteen year old teenagers. Two years ago, I saw them as timid seven graders who shyly said hello and introduced themselves in front of the class.  And now, look at them! 


In less than four months, they will have gone away. They will not be there, on their seats, chatting with their friends, teasing me with their silly answers. I surely will miss them a lot. And next semester, after Lebaran holiday, they will come to this school again, wearing their new High School grey and white uniform, looking different and much more mature, full of smiles and stories about their new school.


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Kuna was very happy today, he could not stop smiling. He was carrying a bunch of bananas he got from the market. He tricked an old woman there, so now he had the ripe sweet fruits.

“Oh, kind grandma, my sister is expecting her baby. I heard she was crying last night.  She really wanted ripe sweet bananas. My brother in law has looked here and there, but he got nothing. Can I have just one banana for her so that her baby will be born safe and sound?” he begged.

The fruit seller felt sorry for Kuna’s sister. She gave him a bunch of bananas. Kuna accepted the bananas happily. Inside, he was laughing heartily. Of course he did not have any sister. He tricked the old woman so that he could have them for himself.

Kuna was actually a good looking and smart young man. Too bad that he did not use his intelligence to do good things. His parents were ashamed of his bad attitude. They always told him to stop this, but he did not listen to them. Sometimes, her mother had to return things or pay some money what he had done to the people. People felt sorry for Kuna’s parents.

One day, Kuna heard that Soya kingdom had a beautiful princess named Putri Luhu.  He wanted to be the princess’ husband. He was thinking hard to find a way to get her. For days, he was just sitting and daydreaming. He did not do anything to help his parents. Finally, he got an idea.

“I will go to Soya kingdom and marry the princess,” he boasted to his friends.

“Don’t dream too big. Look at yourself!”

“With my intelligence, I will bring the princess home. Just wait and see,” Kuna replied confidently.

The next day, Kuna went to the market and bought some nice clothes that noble people usually wore. He tore the clothes on several parts. He then bought a horse and set for the kingdom. Near a forest, he met a young man.

“Would you please help me, young man? I am very sad. I feel really guilty to my mother,” Kuna said.

“What has happened to you? How can I help you?” the young man asked.

“Hit me as hard as you want. I will not fight back.”

“What? No, I am sorry I can’t. You did not do anything bad to me. Why should I hit you?”

“Please, just hit me. I will not live in peace if you won’t do it. I will imagine that it is my mother who is hitting me. Therefore, my guilty feeling will go away.”

“Why don’t you ask your mother to hit you instead of me?”

“I wish I could. My mother has passed away….”

Reluctantly, the young man then hit Kuna several times, just as Kuna asked him to. Bruised, -his nose was even bleeding-, Kuna left the young man and continued his journey.

Upon reaching the kingdom gate, Kuna put on his noble clothes. Then he lay himself on his horse’s back. The guard saw him and immediately came closer. They were surprised to see his bruised body and torn clothes. They carried him inside the palace. A royal healer was sent for to take care of him. When he was getting better, Kuna was brought to King Soya.

“Young man, who are you and where did you come from?” the king asked.

“My name is Kuna, Your Majesty, I am the son of King Tual. I was travelling around when I got robbed and accidentally my horse brought me here.”

King Soya treated Kuna well. He thought that Kuna was really a king’s son. He was good looking, he wore nice clothes, and he spoke sweetly. Kuna was happy to live at the palace. He was treated like a royal guest.

Everyone at the palace liked Kuna. The king even wanted to marry him with one of his daughters. But the beautiful and smart Putri Luhu did not easily believe Kuna.

She thought that Kuna did not behave naturally. So she decided to investigate him and reveal who he really was.

One day, King Soya sent for Kuna and Putri Luhu. “My dear daughter, I want you to marry this gentleman, Kuna, the son of King Tual. How do you think about that?”

“I am sorry, father. I have to say no for this arrangement. I think he is just a big mouthImage.”

“Putri Luhu! Please do not embarrass me in front of this gentleman!”

“Kuna is not the son of King Tual. He is just a common person who claims himself to be one. He has tricked all of us. I have the proof, father.”

Putri Luhu then called two young men to come inside. How surprised Kuna was to see them! One was his friend from his hometown, and the other was the one he met near the forest. They then told the king about the truth.

King Soya was furious. He punished Kuna for tricking him. But thanks to Puri Luhu, because he was not hung to death. He was whipped and had to promise that in the future, he would not use his intelligence to trick people anymore.

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a simple guide of how to make a bamboo shooter, one of Indonesian children’s traditional toys

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a simple procedure by my students

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Tarakani and Wayamoto tribes had been in a long fight. They did not even remember how and when it all started, and it looked like that it would not stop soon. They lived an uncomfortable life. They were suspicious and blamed each other. The children lived in fear.

Near the border of the fighting tribes, there were two families. One family lived in Tarakani area, while the other in Wayamoto. These families had two sons of the similar age.  They were good friends and always play together, even though their parents told them not to.

“Father, why can’t I play with him? He is such a nice boy. He is kind, and he doesn’t mind teaching me how to fish at the sea,” said the boy from Wayamoto.

“Go find another friend. He is the son of Tarakani people.”

“What’s wrong with that? We all have the same color of hair, the same number of ears and eyes, and the similar brown skin.”

His father could not say anything. His son was right. But the long fight had separated them. He could do nothing to stop it.

“Let’s just hope and pray, that one day this fight will be over. And you can hang around with your friend, the Tarakani boy.”

One day, Kapito Horiwo, the leader of Wayamoto tribe, went hunting to the forest. He had been hunting for a while, but no animals were seen. He walked farther into the forest and arrived at the border of Tarakani tribe. He was about to turn around when he heard two boys talking. He immediately hid behind some bushes. Not far from there, the leader of Tarakani tribe, Kolano Sero, was also hunting in that forest. He saw the two boys, and hid behind some bushes too.

“I am wondering why our parents are always fighting. What is the fun of it? And the consequence is, they do not allow us to hang around together,” one of the boys complained.

“Me too. When will the fight end? I am tired. Why don’t they just have a ceasefire and we can have some peace? Wayamoto people will be able to buy fish from Tarakani, and in return they can sell their vegetables. We can go playing both to the beach and to the mountain,” the other boy replied.

“How if we tell our friends to meet and play here? We won’t tell our parents. But I hope they will allow us to, one day.”

“I don’t think they will go and play here. They are too afraid of their parents. Oh, I really wish we could play in peace.”

In their respective hiding places, the leaders of the two tribes realized their mistake. The two boys were right. It was no use to continue the fight. They went back home, thinking how they could stop it.

When the two leaders were busy trying to find a way, there was a big fight between the two tribes at the foot of Mamuya Mountain. A lot of people died from both sides. The only ones who survived were the warlord from each tribe.

Seeing the condition, they agreed to stop the fight and decided that neither won nor lost. They marked the peace by piercing their feet with a sword and splashed the blood on a big rock.

They divided the land equally, then went to a place named Luari, and looked at Mamuya Mountain. They saw that the mountain divided the two beaches equally. Then they put a pole to mark the border there. The big rock where they marked the peace was then known as Tonamalangi, meaning the land border.

Translated from 33 Cerita Rakyat Menakjubkan Mizan Pustaka






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