The Legend of Surabaya

Folklore from East Java

A long time ago in East Java there were two strong animals, Sura and Baya. Sura was a shark and Baya was a crocodile. They lived in a sea. Actually, they were friends. But when they were hungry, they were very greedy. They did not want to share their food. They would fight for it and never stop fighting until one of them gave up. It was a very hot day. Sura and Baya were looking for some food. Suddenly, Baya saw a goat. “Yummy, this is my lunch,” said Baya. “No way! This is my lunch. You are greedy! I had not eaten for two days!” said Sura. Then Sura and Baya fought again. After several hours, they were very tired. Sura had a plan to stop their bad behavior. “I’m tired of fighting, Baya,” said Sura. “Me too. What should we do to stop fighting? Do you have any idea?” asked Baya. “Yes, I do. Let’s share our territory. I live in the water, so I look for food in the sea. And you live on the land, right? So, you look for the food also on the land. The border is the beach, so we will never meet again. Do you agree?” asked Sura. “Hmm... let me think about it. OK, I agree. From today, I will never go to the sea again. My place is on the land,” said Baya. Then they both lived in the different places. But one day, Sura went to the land and looked for some food in the river. He was very hungry and there was not much food in the sea. Baya was very angry when he knew that Sura broke the promise. “Hey, what are you doing here? This is my place. Your place is in the sea!” “But, there is water in the river, right? So, this is also my place!” said Sura. Then Sura and Baya fought again. They both hit each other. Sura bit BayaÕs tail. Baya did the same thing to Sura. He bit very hard until Sura finally gave up. He went back to the sea. Baya was very happy. He had his place again. The place where they were fighting was a mess. Blood was everywhere. People then always talked about the fight between Sura and Baya. They then named the place of the fight as Surabaya, it’s from Sura the shark and Baya the crocodile. People also put their fight as the symbol of Surabaya city. ***