Saturday, November 3, 2012

Legend Of Sumatera King Crocs

South of Sumatera is a district covered by swamps and rivers hence it is not surprising that the population of crocodiles are plenty; until there is a belief of were-crocodiles amongst local residents. These were-crocs will turn into actual crocodiles after they are dead. There are tales begin with woman gave birth to white crocodile and subsequently the crocodile is released into the river mouth together with the offering of white chickens and pop rice. Periodically, the white crocs will revisit the river bank to meet their kin. These kin usually prepare some food for the white croc and at the same time, request the croc to bestow skills such as shamanic and treatment techniques. The most popular request was to request the white croc to give them bezoar stones tucked in the mouths of the white crocs.


There are many legends told throughout generations concerning crocodiles along the banks of Musi River in Palembang; amongst many is the legend of the white crocodiles. There are a few rivers said to have seen white crocodiles such as: Ogan River, especially under the bridge of Ogan River, Kertapati in Palembang and along the upstream of Ogan River. The sighting of a white crocodile is always taken as an omen that a natural disaster will take place in Sumsel or in Indonesia.


Similarly people in Pemulutan, Kabupaten Ogan Ilir, sumsel also believe in legends concerning crocodiles. Local natives believe that their ancestors are crocodiles. So crocodile magic are very prevalent in Pemulutan and many people become crocodile shamans. It is said that many people in Pemulutan, especially the bandits can turn themselves into crocodiles if they go into a river or swamps.


According to a 16th century Palembang legend, the king of Palembang was having headache on controlling the number of crocodiles in Musi River. These crocs were threatening the lives of Palembang people at that time. So the king of Palembang hired a croc shaman from India. Consequently the Indian shaman was successfully in taming all of the crocs in the river and the king gave the shaman many valuable presents.


After that, the king of Palembang invited the Indian shaman to croc infested inland to tame all of the crocs there. Again the shaman has successfully completed his task. So the king told the shaman: “Try to make the crocs to become violent once more. I want to know how marvel is your power?”


The Indian shaman was so indulged in the praises by praises from the king so made the crocs violent again. Then chickens and livestock were thrown into the river and all were quickly consumed by the crocs. At this time, a Palembang soldier invited lured the Indian shaman into the crocs horde. It was surefire that the shaman also being consumed by the crocs.


It was said the location where the Indian shaman was killed to be along the eastern costal of Southern Sumatera, such as Pulaurimau or in Pemulutan. So it is not a surprise that the crocs in Musi River have different characters with the crocs in the districts of inlands of Southern Sumatera. There were no violent crocs in Musi River but all the crocs in the inlands are notorious of their fierceness.


So who is more violent: crocs or human?

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