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The Story of Saidjah part 8

No, he had sublime visions in his mind`s eye. He looked for the Ketapan tree in the clouds when he was still far from Badoer. He caught at the air as if to embrace the form that was to meet him under the tree.

He pictured to himself the face of Adinda, her head, her shoulders, saw the heavy chignon, black and glossy, confined in a net, hanging down her back; her large eyes glistening in dark reflection, the nostrils raised so proudly as a child (was it possible?), when he had vexed her; and the corner of her lips, when she smiled; and finally, her breasts, now doubtless swelling under her shawl.

He could imagine her saying to him, “Welcome, Saidjah! I have thought of you as I was spinning and weaving and ‘ stamping the rice on the floor which shows three times twelve lines cut by my hand. And I am under the Ketapan the first day of the new moon. Welcome, Saidjah! I will be your wife.”

That was the music that resounded in his ears and prevented him from listening to all the news that was told him on the road.

At last he saw the Ketapan, or rather a large, dark spot with many stars above it. That must be the Djati wood, near the tree where he should again see Adinda next morning, after sunrise. He sought in the dark and felt many trunks, finding at last a rough spot on the south side of a tree, and thrust his finger into a hole which Si-Panteh had cut with his knife to exorcise the Evil Spirit that had caused his mother`s toothache, a short time before the birth of Panteh`s little brother. That was the Ketapan he sought.

Adinda were now asleep

Yes, this was indeed the spot where he had looked upon Adinda for the first time with a different eye. She had become different from his other comrades. There she had given him the leaves. He sat down at the foot of the tree and looked at the stars, and when he saw a shooting- si ur he took it as a welcome of his return to Badoer, and wondered whether Adinda were now asleep, whether she had correctly cut the number of moons on the wood? How terrible if she had missed a moon, as if thirty-six were not quite enough! Had she, he wondered, made him some nice sarongs and slendangs?

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The Story of Saidjah part 7

He arrived at Batavia, and asked a certain gentleman to take him into his service, which the gentleman did, because Saidjah spoke no Malay—an advantage there, for servants who do not understand that language are not so corrupt as the others, who have been longer in touch with the Europeans. But Saidjah soon learned Malay, though he behaved well, for he always remembered the two buffaloes he was going to buy. He grew tall and strong, because he ate every day—not always the case at Badoer.

In the stable he was liked, and would certainly not have been rejected if he had asked the hand of the coachman`s daughter. His master liked him so much that he soon promoted him to be a house servant, increased his wages, and continually made him presents, to show how pleased he was.

Saidjah`s mistress had read Sue`s novel, so popular for a short while, and always thought of Prince Djalma when she saw Saidjah, and the young girls, too, understood better than before why the Javanese painter, Radeen Saleh, had been so successful at Paris. But they thought Saidjah ungrateful when after almost three years he asked for his dismissal and a certificate of good behaviour. This could not be refused, and Saidjah went on his journey with a joyful heart.

Thirty piastres

He counted the treasures he was carrying home. In a roll of bamboo he had his passport and certificate. In a case fastened to a leather girdle something heavy swung against his shoulder, but he enjoyed the feel of that, and no wonder! What would Adinda say? It contained thirty piastres—enough to buy three buffaloes! Nor was that all: on his back was a silver-covered sheath with his poniard.

The hilt was indeed a fine one, for he had wound it round with a silk wrapper. And he had still more treasures! In the folds of his loin-cloth he kept a belt of silver links with gold clasps. True, the belt was short, but then Adinda was slender! Suspended by a cord round his neck, and under his clothes, he wore a silken bag in which were the withered Melatti leaves.

Is it to be wondered at that he stopped no longer at Sangerang than to visit the acquaintances who made such fine straw hats? That he said so little to the girls on his way who asked him whence he came and where he was going—the usual salutations; that he no longer thought Serang so beautiful (he who had learned to know Batavia); that he no longer hid himself behind the enclosure as he did three years before when he saw the Resident go riding out (he who had seen the much grander Lord at Buitenzorg, grandfather of the Emperor of Solo); that he paid little attention to the tales of those who went part of the way with him and gave news of Bantam-Kidool—is no wonder.

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The Story of Saidjah part 6

Neither on the first nor the second day had he realized how lonely he was, because he was captivated by the grand idea of earning money enough to buy two buffaloes, whereas his lather had never had more than one, and was too excited over the prospect of seeing Adinda again to grieve over his departure. He had left her in anxious hope. The prospect of seeing her again so occupied his heart that on leaving Badoer and passing the tree, he felt something akin to joy, as if the thirty-six moons were already past.

It had seemed that he had only to turn round to see Adinda waiting for him. But the further he went, the more did he realize the length of the period before him. There was something in his soul, that made him walk more slowly—he felt an affliction in his knees, and though it was not dejection that overcame him it was a mournful sadness. He thought of returning, but what would Adinda think of his want of courage?

Recapture that calmness

Therefore he walked on, though not so fast as on the first day. He had the Melatti in his hand and often pressed them to his breast. He had aged much during the past few days, and could not understand how he had been able to live so calmly before, when Adinda was so near that he could see her as often as he liked. Now he could not recapture that calmness. Nor did he understand why, after having taken his leave, he had not gone back once again to see her.

He recalled how recently he had quarreled with her about a cord she had made for her brother`s kite, which had broken because there was some defect in her work. This made him lose a bet he had with the Tjipoeroet children. “How was it possible,” he thought, “to have been angry over that with Adinda?”

If there was a defect in the cord, and if the bet was lost, ought he to have been so rude and called her names? What, he wondered, if he died at Batavia without having asked her forgiveness? Would it not make him seem a wicked man? When it learned that he had died in a distant place, would not everyone at Badoer say, “It is well Saidjah has died—he spoke insolently to Adinda!”

Thus his thoughts ran, uttered at first involuntarily and softly, soon in a quiet monologue, and finally in a melancholy song.

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The Story of Saidjah part 5

“I will gladly marry you, Saidjah, when you come back. I will spin and weave sarongs and slendangs, and be very diligent all the while.” “Oh, I believe you, Adinda, but—if I find you already married?” “Saidjah, you know very well I will marry nobody but you. My father promised me to your father.”

“And you yourself—?”

“I shall marry you, you may be sure of that.”

“When I come back, I will call from afar off.”

“Who will hear it, if we are stamping rice in the village?”

“That is true, but Adinda—oh, yes, this is better: wait for me in the wood, under the Ketapan, where you gave me the Melatti flowers.” “But, Saidjah, how am I to know when I am to go to the Ketapan?” Saidjah considered a moment and said: “Count the moons. I shall stay away three times twelve moons, not counting this moon. See, Adinda, at every new moon cut a notch in your rice block on the floor. When you have cut three times twelve lines, I will be under the Ketapan the next day. Do you promise to be there?”

“Yes, Saidjah. I will be there, under the Ketapan, near the djatis, when you come back.”

Much worn blue turban

Thereupon Saidjah tore a piece off his much-worn blue turban and gave it to Adinda to keep as a pledge, and then left her and Badoer. He walked many days, passing through Rankas-Belong, not yet capital of Lebak, through Warong-Goonoong, the home of the Assistant Resident, and the next day he came to Pamarangand, which lies in a garden.

The day after, he came to Serang, and was astonished at the mag-nificence and size of the place, and the number of tiled stone houses. He had never before seen the like. He remained there a day, because he was tired, but in the coolness of the night he went his way, and the following day arrived at Tangerang.

There he bathed in the river and rested at the home of an acquaintance of his father`s who showed him how to make straw hats like those from Manila. He; remained a day in order to learn the art, because he thought he might be able to turn it to use later on, if by chance he should fail to find other work in Batavia.

The following day toward evening he thanked his host and departed. As soon as it was dark, and no one could see him, he took out the Melatti leaves Adinda had given him, for he was sad, thinking that he would not see her for so long.

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The Story of Saidjah part 4

Afterwards she hoped that the buffalo understood her, for he must have known why she wept when he was taken away, and that it was not Saidjah`s mother who caused him to be slaughtered. Some days afterward, Saidjah`s father fled out of the country, for he was afraid of being punished for not paying his taxes, and he had no other heirlooms to sell with which to buy another buffalo.

His parents had left him but few things. However, he went on for some years after the loss of his last buffalo by working with hired animals: but that is a very unre- munerative labor, and moreover sad for one who has had buffaloes of his own.

Saidjah`s mother died of grief, and his father, irt a moment of dejection, left Bantam to find work in the Buitenzorg district. But he was punished with stripes because he had left Lebak without a passport, and brought back by the police to Badoer. There he was put in prison, because he was supposed to be mad, which I can well believe, and it was feared he would run amok in a moment of frenzy.

But he was not long in prison, for he died soon after. What became of Saidjah`s brothers and sisters I do not know. The house they lived in at Badoer was empty for some time, and then fell down, for it was only built of bamboo covered with cane. A little dust and dirt covered the spot where there had been so much suffering. There are many such places in Lebak.

Gentlemen in Batavia

Saidjah was already fifteen when his father set out for Buitenzorg, and he did not accompany him thither, because he had other plans in mind. He had been told that there were gentlemen in Batavia who drove in carriages, and that it would be easy to get work as a carriage boy, for which young lads are used, so as not to disturb the equilibrium of the two-wheeled carriage by too much motion.

He would, they said, earn much that way if he behaved himself—perhaps in three years he would be able to save enough to buy two buffaloes. This was a pleasant prospect. With the proud gait of one who had conceived a grand idea, he entered Adinda`s house one day after his father had gone away, and communicated his plans to her.

“Think of it,” said he. “When I come back we shall be old enough to marry, and have enough to buy two buffaloes!”

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The Story of Saidjah part 3

Once when they were in the field, Saidjah called in vain to his buffalo to make haste. The animal did not move. Saidjah grew angry at this unusual refractoriness, and could not refrain from scolding. He called him as. Anyone who has been in India will understand me, and he who has not is the gainer if I spare him the explanation.

Saidjah did not mean anything bad. He only used the word because he had often heard it used by others when they were dissatisfied with their buffaloes. But it was useless: his buffalo did not move. He shook his head as if to throw off the yoke, he blew and trembled, there was anguish in his blue eye, and the upper lip was curled, baring the gums.

“Fly,fly!” Adinda`s brothers cried, “Fly, Saidjah, there`s a tiger!” And they all unyoked their buffaloes, and throwing themselves on their broad backs, galloped away through sawahs, irrigation, trenches, mud, brushwood, forest and jungle, along fields and roads, but when they tore panting and dripping with perspiration into the village of Badoer, Saidjah was not with them.

For when he had freed his buffalo from the yoke and mounted him as the others had done in order to escape, an unexpected jump made him lose his seat and fall to the ground. The tiger was very close….

Gone further than Saidjah

The buffalo, driven on by his own speed alone, and not of his own will, had gone further than Saidjah, and scarcely had it conquered the momentum when it returned and, placing its big body, supported by its feet like a roof over the child, turned its homed head toward the tiger, which bounded forward—but for the last time. The buffalo caught him on his horns, and only lost some flesh, which the tiger took out of his neck. The tiger lay there with his belly tom open. Saidjah was saved. Certainly there had been luck in the star on the buffalo`s head.

When this buffalo had been taken away from Saidjah`s father and slaughtered, Saidjah was just twelve, and Adinda was wearing sarongs and making figures on them. She had already learned to express thoughts in melancholy drawings on her tissue, for she had seen Saidjah`s sadness. And Saidjah`s father was also sad, but his mother still more so. For she had cured the wound in the neck of the faithful animal which had brought her child home unhurt.

As often as she saw this wound, she thought how far the gashes of the tiger might have gone into the tender body of her child; and every time she put fresh dressing on the wound, she caressed the buffalo and spoke kindly to him, that the faithful animal might know how grateful a mother can be.

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The Story of Saidjah part 2

The buffalo turned willingly, on reaching the end of the field, not losing an inch of ground when plowing backwards the new furrow, which was ever near the old, as if the sawah was a garden ground raked by a giant. Quite near were the sawahs of the father of Adinda (the child who was to marry Saidjah), and when the little brothers of Adinda came to the limit of their fields, as the father of Saidjah was there with his plow, the children called out merrily to each other, and each praised the strength and docility of his buffalo. But I believe that Saidjah`s buffalo was the best of all, perhaps because its master knew better how to speak to the animal, for buffaloes are very responsive to kind words.

Saidjah was nine and Adinda six, when this buffalo was taken from Saidjah`s father by the chief. Saidjah`s father, who was very poor, thereupon sold to the Chinaman two silver curtain-hooks—inheritances from his wife`s parents—for eighteen guilders, and with that money he bought a new buffalo. Saidjah was very dejected, for he knew from Adinda`s little brothers that the other buffalo had been driven to the capital, and he had asked his father if he had not seen the animal when he was there to sell the curtain-hooks.

To this question his father refused to give an answer, and therefore the lad feared that his buffalo had been slaughtered, like the others which the chief had taken from the people. And Saidjah wept much when he thought of the poor buffalo, which he had known for so long, and could eat nothing for days. It must be remembered that he was only a child.

The new buffalo soon got acquainted with the boy and obtained in the heart of Saidjah the same place as his predecessor—alas, too soon, for the wax impressions of the heart are soon smoothed to make room for other writing.

Strong as the former

However this may be, the new buffalo was not so strong as the former: true, the old yoke was too large for his neck, but the poor animal was willing, like the other, and though Saidjah could boast no more of the strength of his buffalo when he met Adinda`s brothers at the boundaries, yet maintained that none surpassed his in willingness, and if the furrow was not so straight as before, or if lumps of earth had been turned but not cut, he willingly made this right as well as he could by means of his spade.

Moreover, no buffalo had any such star on his forehead as this one had. The village priest himself said that there was good luck in the course of the hair-whorls on its shoulders.

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The Story of Saidjah part 1

Eduard Douwes Dekker (Multatuli) (1820—1887)

Dekker was for many years an Assistant Resident official of the Dutch government in Java. Out of his bitter experiences he wrote his famous novel Max Havelaar, which exposes the cruelty and corruption of the Dutch in regard to the native population of Java. Dekker was also a dramatist, though his fame rests chiefly on his novel.

The Story of Saidjah is a complete entity, introduced into Max Havelaar as an example of the sufferings undergone by the native Javanese under Dutch rule.

The present version is based upon the translation of Max Havelaar by Alphonse Nahuys, Edinburgh, 1868. It was made by the editors, who have omitted a number of long verse passages and here and there condensed a long and verbose passage.

The Story of Saidjah

(From Max Havelaar)

Caidjah`s father had a buffalo, which he used for plowing his O field. When this buffalo was taken away from him by the district chief at Parang-Koodjang he was very dejected, and spoke no Word for many a day. For plowing time was come, and he feared that if the rice- field was not worked in time, the opportunity to sow would be lost, and lastly, that there would be no paddy to cut, and none to keep in the store-room of the house.

I have here to tell readers who know Java, but not Bantam, that in that Residency there is personal landed prop-erty, which is not the case elsewhere. Saidjah`s father, then, was very uneasy. He feared that his wife would have no rice, nor Saidjah himself, who was Still a child, nor his little brothers and sisters.

And the district chief, too, would denounce him to the Assistant Resident if he was behindhand in the payment of his taxes, for this is punished by the law. Saidjah`s father then took a poniard, which he had inherited from his father. It was not very handsome, but there were silver bands round the sheath, and at the end a silver plate. He sold it to a Chinaman in the capital, and came home with twenty-four guilders, with which he bought another buffalo.

Saidjah, who was then about seven, soon made friends with the new buffalo. I purposely say “made friends,” for it was indeed touching to see how the buffalo was attached to the little boy who watched over and fed him. Of this attachment I shall soon give an example.

The large strong animal bends its heavy head to the right, to the left, or downwards, just as the pressure of the child`s finger directs. Such a friendship the little Saidjah had soon been able to make with the newcomer; and it seemed as if the encouraging voice of the child gave more strength to the heavy shoulders of the animal, when it tore open the stiff clay and traced its way in deep sharp furrows.

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A Domestic Animal part 5

“Thither she escaped, hither she ran!”

The confusion itself was very extraordinary.

“Surely, Pup is killed,” Ko chan said, trembling.

At last, she has escaped. A man with a big oak club in his hand, shook his head to his companion. “No use, no use,” the policeman said and laughed when he went out the gate. With disappointed looks the two men drew away the empty carriage.

Comfortably lying on the moist earth

Anyway she had escaped with her life. And, by and by, her bosom became larger. Her eyes began to be shaded with the restless color. Now she must guard not only herself, but also her children within her womb. Thus the pleasant shade of Mokusei was no more the place for security. Even when she was comfortably lying on the moist earth, breathing out her agony for a while, she stood up as soon as she saw the shadow of a man. She could not be negligent even for a moment. To her eyes, there was nothing as merciless and cruel as the human being.

But, in spite of her fear, she could not leave the human house. How at ease she would be if, like other animals, she could go to a distant forest and give birth amid the green trees and grasses! Thus it might seem to the looker-on, but it was not so with her, she was unable to change her inherited nature.

It was just at the beginning of June that she finished her duty of motherhood. Four puppies appeared in the hot-house of Kin san. Two of them were beautiful piebald puppies of brown and while like that of Pochi, one was entirely black, and the other was of ambiguous gray, very much like herself!

Ah, it was in the morning of her motherhood that she first saw the smiles of human beings. It was also in that morning of her motherhood that she first had nourishing food since her birth.

“Pup—come, come.”

Opening the paper screen of the kitchen, the aunt at Kin san`s began to call her, as she has called her since that day.

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A Domestic Animal part 4

Meanwhile, the spring has come. And at the time when the frost began to melt she seemed to be quite grown up. All the dogs, from Kin san`s Pochi to Kuro of the bathing house, Aka of the timber-dealer`s, and the fearful big dog which was kept at the neighboring planter`s, gathered around her. Wherever she goes, she is followed by two or three dogs. So a comfortable place like that shade of Mokusei was overflowing with deep groans of dogs that sounded as if they wished to whisper or to flatter.

An aunt who came to the well-side with a hand-pail in her hand, saw this sight.

“My! “she said. “Pup was a female dog! I never noticed that!”

And the aunt of the new rent house, who happened to be there, also said:

“Neither did I!”

And the two aunts laughed, greatly amused.

According to the point of view

She ought to be banished. Such was the argument which was raised in the estate of Kin san. Among the members of the four families, however, the arguments raged between two parties, the uncles and the aunts. According to the point of view which was insisted upon by the aunts, it was now different. She was not in the condition she was formerly, and it would be too pitiful if she were to have a baby. As is expected of those with experience, the aunts were sympathetic, comparing her with themselves. That may be so, but how awful it would be if she gave birth to children! This was the opinion held by the uncles. Indeed, there was nobody who was not anxious about her future.

She did not know anything about this.

Another day, a carriage stopped at the door of Kin san. There was something like a lidless box on this carriage, which was covered with a dirty straw mat. Her quick nose smelt out what was in the carriage.

Following after a policeman in uniform came a dubious looking man, who entered the house. But she was not roaming in such a dangerous place. Pochi, Kuro and the other dogs began to cry all at once. Now, uncles, aunts, and all people of the village came out.

“Dog hunter, mamma!”

Ko chan hid herself behind her mother.

People ran around the garden. Kin san`s daughter, whose daily duty it was to water the flowers, ran out to the street with a dipper in her hand. A middle-school boy, who was painting a water-color picture, followed them, flinging away his tripod.

Read More about Basil II part 11