Origin of Lotus

Folklore from West Java


PRABU Ranubahu is the king of Umbul Wening. He had a beautiful doughter, Dewi Anum. Dewi Arum has an unusual habit. She loves to take a bath and swim in the lake. Everytime she takes a bath, she forgets about everything, food, rest, even her duties as a princess.

The king and queen often scold Dewi Arum for her habit. But she never pays attention to them. One day, Umbul Wening is stroke by a plaque. Many of its citizen die. Many physicians try to cure the people of Umbul Wening but they all fail.

Suddenly a monk comes to see the king and says he has a vision from God. According to the monk, this plaque can be cured using the plants that live in the lake located at the Krendawahanan Forest. But, there is a catch. Those plants must be taken only by Dewi Arum.

So the king orders her daughter to go to Krencawahana Forest to get the plants. Dewi Arum agrees and goes to the forest accompanied by her beloved servants, Nyai Wijen and Nyai Empul.

After a long and tiring journey, they finally arrive at the lake.

Seeing the clear and blue water, Dewi Arum jumps and take a bath in the lake. She forgets about her duty to go and get the cure for her people. Her servants try to remind her about her duties but the princess ignores them.

Back at the kingdom, Prabu Ranubahu in worried about her doughter. So, he goes after her. He is surprised to see her daughter is bathing in the lake and forget about the duties. The king furious.

"Arum?! What are you doing? Our people are dying and here you are having fun bathing in the lake. Since you enjoy beeing in the lake so much, you should become part of the lake!"

Right after the king finishes his sentence, a strange thing happens. Dewi Arum turns into a beautiful red flower. The king is surprised and sad to see what happens to her daughter. So, he picks the flower and goes back to his kingdom.

When the king arrives with the flower, the sickness that has been plaguing the kingdom is gone.

The beautiful flower that was once Dewi Arum is called lotus. It always grows in lakes.**