Indonesia banget #19: Malin Kundang

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This March, I am joining Magical March (my introduction post is here). Because of that, I think it is appropriate to share folklore from Indonesia. I had shared one story last year, it was called Sangkuriang. Just like Sangkuriang as the story behind Mount Tangkuban Perahu (and most of Indonesian folklore), Malin Kundang is a story behind the Malin Kundang rock in West Sumatra.

I should once again tell you that, this version might be differ to other version because folklore is never one hundred percent same.

Shall we start now 🙂

Once upon a time, lived a small family of two near the Coast of Sumatra Island. Malin Kundang and his mother lived in poverty. There weren’t many things to do in the village and Malin couldn’t help his mother to live properly.

One day Malin told his mother that he wanted to sail and find a better job in another island. Maybe out there he could find a job that would make him rich. His mother let him go and hoping he would come back and get rid of their poverty. She prayed for her son everyday.

While he was in the ship, he learned a lot from the crew. He became really good in things related to sailing. On his journey, he visited many islands till one day his ship was hijacked by pirate. He survived the attack because he was hiding in a small room.

The attack left no one alive and Malin Kundang was alone in the ship with no destination and food, with all the strength left in him reached a beach which headed to a wealthy village. Malin told his story to the people in that village. Full of hard work and determination, Malin finally became a very successful merchant. He had a lot of ships and over 100 employees. He also married a very beautiful woman from a wealthy family.

Years later, Malin decided to do a leisure trip with his wife in a big and beautiful ship. That ship landed on Malin’s old village. Everyone in the village was awed by the beauty of the ship. They didn’t know that the owner who came with his beautiful wife was once lived in that village. No one but an old woman in ragged cloth recognized him. The old woman saw the scar on Malin’s arm. She was so sure that the rich merchant was her son.

She came close to Malin and said, “Ow Malin my son, why have you gone this long without sending me any news?” And then she hugged him.

With full of disgust, malin pushed the old woman away from him. “You disgraceful woman!! How dare you claim yourself as my mother!!”

Malin pretended not to know his mother because he felt ashamed of her, a poor old woman.

“Is she your mother, darling?” asked his wife.

“NO!! She is just a beggar pretending to be my mother so that she can get my money!” answered Malin.

Hearing what Malin said about her made her really sad and furious at the same time. She never expected her son to be such an insolent son. Out of sadness and rage, she lifted her hands and started praying, “Ow God, if this man is really my son, please put a curse on him to turn him into stone forever!”

Not long after his ship sailed away, the wind blew so hard, thunders were showering from the sky and the sea was tossing the ship here and there. The storm crashed Malin’s ship and Malin’s body slowly turned into a stone in prostration position.

The rock of Malin Kundang

This photo DO NOT belong to me. It belongs to
This photo DO NOT belong to me. It belongs to Ruangan Kitani

You can find another version of Malin Kundang at Free Stories To Learn English

Here’s a video I found in youtube that might interest you 🙂

I hope you enjoy this story and see you again in another edition of Indonesian folklore….soon 🙂


  1. It’s been a while since I read the story of Malin Kundang Nov, I didn’t realize how sad it is. Thanks and hope you’re doing well now that you’re settled a bit in your new home!

    1. It is sad but I think it has great value…never deny your parents 🙂

      I have enjoyed my new house so much….it is better than before even though my room is far smaller.

    1. Hi Sandro 🙂
      Yes we should and that’s why I make Indonesia Banget, Indonesia has so many things to share, both bad and good things. Folktale is one of the good side.

  2. Thank you so much for your story! I live in Ireland and have Indo roots… It is hard to find folktales! I am in toastmasters international and am to do a speech entitled “A Folktale” so hope to use this one! Many thanks, Debby

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