Tatang M. Amirin; 25 Januari 2011
Leungli or Si Leungli is a Sundanese folklore from West Java, Indonesia. The folklore tell the story of a beautiful friendship between a poor girl with her magical goldfish pet called “Leungli”, who helped and cheered her whenever her older sisters abused her.
The theme and moral of the legend are similar to those of the European folktale “Cinderella“.
Once upon a time in a village living together seven orphan sisters, the youngest sibling is the only stepdaughter from previous marriage of their parents. The youngest one and her six older sisters had opposite characters and personalities. The youngest one is diligent, kind, honest and humble girl. Meanwhile, her older sisters was lazy, glamorous, proud and envious girls. The six older siblings is always abused their youngest sister and ordering her around. It was the youngest one who did all the works in the house, doing the laundry, cooking, cleaning, essentially all works were carried out by herself.
One day, the older sisters abuse her severely because she had lost one of their clothes when doing daily laundry on the river. In her sadness the youngest one cried on the bank of the river. Suddenly a beautiful goldfish with shining golden scales appear in front of her, jumping around from the water tried to cheer her up. Magically the goldfish can talk to human and it got a name “Leungli”. Since then Leungli become the poor girl faithful friend whom always listen to her problems, comfort and cheer her. The youngest one always save some rice from her daily meal and share it with Leungli. Everytime she need its company she will bring rice to feed Leungli, dip the tip of her hair into the river, and sang the pantun calling Leungli, and that magical goldfish will appear.
The older sisters are curious with the changes of their younger sister’s behaviour, lately she seems to become more stronger, confident and happy, no matter how badly they tried to abuse her. In curiousity they stealthly followed their youngest sister to the river, and finally learned about Leungli existence. The evil older sisters are envious and plotting to catch Leungli, they have learned the method to call Leungli by bringging warm cooked-rice on a banana leaf plate, dip the tip of the hair, and sing pantun to call Leungli. Leungli was tricked to the trap and caught in the net by the evil sisters, and struggled in vain.
Later the kind youngest sister—unknowingly of the horrible fate that has happened to her goldfish pet—tried to call Leungli but nothing happened, Leungli never came. In her sadness for losing a friend she returned home. When she came to the kitchen, she shocked to find the scales and fishbones on a plate, the remnant of Leungli. Her mean older sisters had caught and cooked Leungli for their lunch. In her sadness she cried and burried the remnant of Leungli in her home backyard. Magically from the grave of Leungli grew a golden tree with golden leaf and precious stone as the fruits. Nobody can take the gold leafs or the jewel fruits as it will turn to dust and dissapeared, except for the kind younger sister. She is the only one that can take the bounty of magical tree. The story of magical tree spread widely within the kingdom and finaly reach the palace in capital city. One day a handsome prince visit the village to see the famous magical golden tree, he finally learn the story behind this tree and meet the youngest sibling. The prince admired the beauty and kindness of the youngest sister and they fall in love, the prince took the youngest sister to the palace and they lived happily ever after.