The Legend of Roro Mendut

Roro Mendut

       The Legend of Roro Mendut. Long time ago, on the northern coast of Java, exactly on the coast of pati, Central Java, there was a fishermen village. The village’s name was Teluk Cikal. This village was part of Pati Regency reigned by Adipati Pragolo II. Pati was one of regions conquered by Mataram Sultanate reigned by Sultan Agung.

       In Teluk Cikal village, there was a beautiful girl named Roro Mendut. She was very beautiful. And she could straight forward rejected boys or men proposing her, as she had young man whom she loved, Pranacitra, the son of Nyai Singabarong, a rich trader.

       One day, her beauty was heard by Adipati Pragolo II. And he wanted to make her as his concubine. He had asked her to be his concubine over and over again, but Roro Mendut keep rejecting him. He was disappointed and he sent few guards to kidnap her when she was drying fish nearby beach. She tried hard to release from the guards but she failed to escape. They brought Roro Mendut to horse carriage and took her to palace. As future concubine, she should stay inside the palace (pingit = old Javanese tradition for girl over 12 years until her wedding day), and she was accompanied by Ni Semangka and her assistance Genduk Duku). When she was in pingit period, Pati Regency was having an upheaval. Sultan Agung accused Adipati Pragolo II as rebellion as he did not want to send tribute to Mataram. Sultan Agung attacked Pati, and led the assault himself. According to folktale, Sultan Agung could not hurt him as Adipati Pragolo wore armour of kere waja. Seeing this the umbrella holder of Sultan Agung , Ki Nayadarma, asked Sultan Agung to fight with Adipati Pragolo II. Sultan Agung allowed him and gave him Baru Klinting spear.

       Ki Nayadarma fought with Adipati Pragolo II, but Adipati Pragolo II could avoid every attack from Nayadarma. When Adipati Pragolo was careless, KI Nayadarma stabbed Adipati Pragolo II with Baru Klinting spear, to part of body uncovered by armor. Adipati Pragolo II died.  All soldiers led by Tumenggung Witaguna seized Pati belonging, including Roro Mendut. Tumenggung Wiraguna was mesmerized to Roro Mendut beauty and he brough Roro Mendut to Mataram to be his concubine. Tumenggung Wiraguna persuaded her to be his concubine, but she rejected, even she said frankly that she had a lover already, Pranacitra. Her frankness made Tumenggung Wiraguna angry. He finally threated that if she did not want to be his wife, she should pay tax to Mataram. Roro Mendut was not afraid of that threat. She preferred to pay tax than being Wiraguna’s concubine. Monitored by Mataram soldiers, Roro Mendut was allowed to sell cigarettes at market. Tumenggung Wiraguna agreed, and Roro Mendut could sell her cigarettes well, even people (men) crowded buying cigarettes that she had smoked. She was popular in the market for her cigarettes and for her beauty. One day, when she was selling cigarettes, she met Pranacitra who came for her. Pranacitra tried to find a way to get Roro Mendut out of Mataram. Roro Mendur told her meeting with Pranacitra to Princess Arumardi. one of Wiraguna’s concubine, hoping that she could help her to escape from palace. Roro Mendut knew that Princess Arumardi did not agree Wiraguna would make another concubine. Princess Arumardi and Nyai Ageng (another Wiraguna’s concubine), planned a way to get Roro Mendut out of the palace. Roro Mendut and Pranacitra tried to return to their home in Teluk Cikal village.

       Unfortunately, the escape of Roro Mendut and Pranacitra was known by Wiraguna, and they were found by Wiraguna. Roro Mendut was taken to Mataram and quietly he ordered his guards to kill Pranacitra. Pranacitra died and buried in a small forest in Ceporan, Gandhu, 9 km east of Yogyakarta.

       Tumenggung Wiraguna then asked Roro Mendut to be his concubine. But Roro Mendut rejected him again, finally he told her about the death of Pranacitra. Roro Mendut was very shocked but she did not believe that and said to Tumenggung Wiraguna that she had seen him the day before. Tumenggung Wiraguna then took her to Pranacitra’s grave. When she saw the grave of Pranacitra, she cried at the Pranacitra’s grave. Not far from the grave of Pranacitra, Roro Mendut threated Tumenggung Wiraguna that she would tell Sultan Agung about this. Tumenggung Wiraguna was angry and he drew Roro Mendut home. She struggled to get loose of Wiraguna, when she could release herself she drew Wiraguna’s keris, and ran to her lover’s grave. Wiraguna ran after her. Roro Mendut killed herself, and Wiraguna’s effor to stop her failed. She stabbed herself with keris and she fell to Pranacitra’s grave. Wiraguna was very sory for his mistake. But his sorry was useless everything had happened. To amend his mistake, Wiraguna buried Roro Mendut at the same grave as Pranacitra. That was the story of Roro Mendut struggling for her dignity and loyalty.

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