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The Achehnese

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Lebui Malang (published by A. K von Dewall in "Bunga rampai vol. IV. Batavia 1894).

We must however always remember tliat the name Si Meuseukin lias not acquircd so specialized a meaning as that of Si Kabayan. This last is always uscd by the Sundanese to designate their Eulenspiegel. In the Achehnese, however, Si Meuseukin or the "Boor Dcvil" may be the hcro of other tales as well as the Eulenspiegel ones.

I11 the somewhat prolix Haba Raja Bayeucn ') ("Story of the bayan- Story of the

# 1 • , • 1 bayan-prince

prince ) Si Meuseukin plays a part which again reminds us to some extent of Si Kabayan, but many of his adventures are of a similar sort to those of Indra Bangsawan and Banta Amat, with whom we shall presently make further acquaintance as heroes of fiction. Si Meuseukin's finally becoming the monarch of a great kingdom places this tale entirely outside the sphere of Eulenspiegel stories.

The same is true of another I/aba Si Meuseukin in which the hcro Si Meuseukin


is continually being wronged and cheated by his elder brother, but eventually becomes the happy possessor of two princesses and a kingdom. This story also shows features which recall Indra Bangsawan; like the latter, for instance, Si Meuseukin serves a princess for some time in the guise of a shepherd.

To conclude our brief review of the Achehnese haba's, we shall The doven mention but one more, the Haba ureueng lob lam ba/u ~) blaih ba/eé meutangkob ("story of one who hid herself in a cleft of a stone, a stone which closed together"). This is the marvellous history of two boys,

Amat and Muhaniat, wliose mother had an intrigue with a snake in the jungle and cradled in her house her lover's soul, enclosed in a cucumber. Many varieties of this tale are current in the Gayö and Alas countries.

Most of the literary productions of the Achehnese which we are now about to describe, are in writing, and almost all are composed in verse.

We must therefore pause a moment to consider the Achehnese prosody.

The Achehnese have properly speaking only one metre. This is called Achehnese sanja', a) and consists of verses each of which contains eiglit feet, or s™^"Lal s>

1) Bayan is the talking bird which so often appears in Malay hikayats; the Achehnese identify it with their tiöng i. e. the mina.

2) We should expect to find here bate'è^ which occurs two words further on, but in this one instance the Malay pronunciation is followed.

3) The same word as the Malay saja\ derived from the Arabic saf, which means rhyming prose<