O is for Obedience vs. Sacrifice

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Finding Resilience & Strength through Traditional Tales.

Obedience –

From Indonesia

Many stories from Indonesia emphasize certain ideals and traits. Obedience is important but so is sacrifice. Honoring one’s parents can be enough to bring blessings or curses. The realization of this honoring can come too late. Or is it?

Indonesia consists of 17,000+ islands. Both the Pacific and Indian Oceans surround these islands. Having stories that involve these oceans or creatures within naturally come about.

Along the cliffs are edible swiftlet nests. The people of Indonesia mainly gather them for the Chinese as a delicacy. Due to storms by the ocean or the cliffs themselves, it takes immense skill to gather (see video in links below).

Could “ocean” or “octopus” been used for “O”? Yes, but it felt more about Obedience nevertheless.

50-word-or-less summary:

Kerta’s Father gathered nests by ocean cliffs. Dangerous! Kerta help? Told only to carry food for Goddess. Kerta disobeyed. Ate part of food. Father punished. Sent to Cave of Squids. Kerta searched for Father. Turned into lizard with help from Glass Man. Must return by certain time. Too late. Father rescued. Kerta remained lizard. Accepted fate.

Finding the Story: 

Book “The Magic Crocodile and Other Folktales from Indonesia” – here

Understanding Javanese Goddess, Nyai Lara Kidul – here

Video -Why People Risk Their Lives a $2700 Bird Nest Made Of Saliva – here

Finding Resilience & Strength:

Kerta admired the strength of his Father, Pak Miam. He wanted to be able to gather those nests along the cliffs. Instead, he was given an “easy” job of carrying the food for the Javanese Goddess, Nyai Lara Kidul. This easiest of jobs, of which Kerta’s Mother worried about, turned out to be what later transforms Kerta permanently as a monitor lizard.

Once Kerta’s mistake was discovered–that the offering to the Goddess was not as big or full as others–the Father was sent to the Cave of Squids. Most people would have already given up and counted that person as dead or unable to retrieve. Kerta still had strength to seek him out.

Despite the help from the Glass Man to turn into a monitor lizard (and finding his Father, able to turn him into a lizard, too), both of them could not scurry to the safe zone fast enough. Only the Father. But that was enough for Kerta. He knew it was his mistake–his disobedience–that caused all this in the first place. He comforted the Father that he was fine being a lizard forever.

I think that’s strength and resilience right there. Kerta still lived. His Father lived. Just different than what was ideal. But still living, accepting, and able to progress from there.

Here’s an article from The New York Times called “What Makes Some People More Resilient Than Others?” to explore mental health and strategies.

Please share thoughts in the comments. While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings. See quick list of programs here.

As for our past A to Z Challenges…

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has been resilient and strong during these past years and looks forward to the next hybrid summit & festival on May 8-11, 2023. We would be honored for you to join us. Explore the schedule and register here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/Festival

Thanks to funding from National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Humanities; Western States Arts Federation; Utah Division of Arts and Museums/Utah Legislature; Utah Humanities; City of Murray; Zoo, Arts & Parks (ZAP) of Salt Lake County; Salt Lake City Arts Council; Ashton Family Foundation

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