Mauliddina Qurrota A'yun, MAN 1 Yogyakarta
My favorite folktale would be Malin Kundang from West Sumatra. The story is so famous because it presents a good moral. I think all Indonesian children have heard this story at least once.
The story is about a boy named Malin who lives with his mother. He comes from a poor family who live in a fishing village. When he’s old enough, he leaves the village to find his fortune. His mother is very loyal, waiting for him to come home. Eventually, he becomes rich, marries a daughter of a nobleman and becomes very famous. On his return to his home village, he is ashamed of his poor origins and refuses to recognize his mother in front of his wife and other visitors. His mother gets angry and curses him, along with his ship and his people. Everyone and everything turns to stone.
I like this story because it tells us to always respect and be proud of our parents, especially our mothers, the one who always loves us and takes good care of us.
Nowadays, if you go to Pantai Air Manis in Padang, West Sumatra, you will find boulders that some are the remains of his ship. There is also a big stone that looked like a man prostrating himself. They say it is Malin himself begging for forgiveness from his mother.
Tiffani Kassandra, SMA Regina Pacis Bogor
My all-time favorite is probably Bawang Merah and Bawang Putih. The tale is about a nice girl named Bawang Putih who lives with her stepmother and stepsister, Bawang Merah, after her father dies. She has a harsh life because she is treated as a servant in her own family where she must do all the household chores. One day when she is by the river washing clothes, her stepmother's things are washed away and she panics, but not long afterwards a mysterious old lady comes by to help her and gives her a jar full of jewels.
Her stepmother was so happy when she gets the jar that she tells Bawang Merah to do the same. But for her greed she gets a jar of snakes. Then they realize that they had been hard on Bawang Putih and ask her forgiveness.
This is such a classic story yet I like it so much because the ending is satisfying: they realize their mistake and apologize. It's better late than never. It also teaches us not to be greedy and stay humble like Bawang Putih.
Maryam Zakkiyah, MAN Insan Cendikia
Pak Lebai Malang, a folk tale from West Sumatra is my favorite of all time.
The story is about a man named Pak Lebai who’s invited to two parties, in Hulu and Hilir. It is difficult for him to choose which party is better. The one in Hulu is further but the feast includes two cows, while the one in Hilir is near but only one cow is cooked up.
Because he cannot decide, he ends up getting nothing from either party. Then he decides to go fishing with his dog and brings his own food. But he has bad luck. The fish slips off the hook and his food is eaten by his dog. In the end he is left with nothing at all.
The moral of the story is that I have to be a decisive person, not a wishy-washy one. There will always be a positive and negative side in everything, everything has risks. To choose and decide things are a must in life. So, give it a go! And be happy about it.