A story from the Minahasa*)

A long time ago there were two brothers named Dondo and Gimon. Dondo, the eldest was tall, strong and well-built. The younger, by the name of Gimon, was short and rather thin. They loved one another and always helped each other. Gimon always did what his brother told him to do.When the parents were not able to go to their farming site, they went to work there. Although they were still small they were able to assist their parents. They did not go to school because at that time there were no schools yet.

One day Dondo got the idea to enlarge their farming site. He cut down the trees of the forest around their site. The forest animals, especially birds, moved away. The forest which before, was full of sounds of singing birds, became silent.

Not long after that it started to rain heavily. Dondo and Gimon looked for shelter in a sabuah, which is a small cottage at the farming site. Unfortunately there was no food to eat They did not yet have the oportunity to pull the sweet potatoes out of the earth. The rain poured dowb nore and more heavily. Thunder was heard and lightning appeared repeatedly. Black clouds surrounded their farm. What sign was this ?

It became midday, and they were hungry. Dondo told Gimon to pull the sweet potatoes out of the earth to bake it in the hot ashes of a fire which they made. Without thinking further Gimon rushed away to the sweet potato plants. Although he was small he succeeded in pulling an ammount of sweet potatoes, collected them and rushed it to the sabuah .

Arriving there, the soaked Gimon shuddered of the cold, whilst Dondo only looked at him. Because he thought that the ammount of sweet potatoes collected by Gimon was still not enough, Dondp again ordered Gimon to fetch more potatoes. Although he felt very cold Gimon went out again to the sweet potato plants. Gimon was following Dondo’s orders, indeed too fearfull of his elder brother.

There was no single banana leaf to protect Gimon further from the rain and therefore became fully soaked. No other tree was there anymore, because they were already cut down. From afar Dondo could see the shuddering body of Gimon. He started feeling sorry for Gimon’s situation.

With a shrill voice Dondo called his brother: “Gimon! Gimon! Huw! Huw!” But there was no answer to his call. The only sound was the thunder, which sounded as if to buest the ears. Dondo repeated his call : “Huw! Huw! Huhuw! My little brother!”

However, Gimon ran farther and farther away from the sabuah. Only the echo of his voice was heard from afar, “Kakakku(My brother) I am cold, I am feeling cold!”

Dondo stood up and shouted, “Come on back to me Gimon, it does not matter there are not enough potatoes. Come Utu(young boy), come back, I have baked the sweet potatoes. There is enough for us. We shall seek for more after the rain stops!”

But this was seemingly not heard by Gimon. He couldn’t be seen anymore, and his voice couldn’t be heard anymore, only the falling heavy rain was heard.

Dondo sat down and thought of what could have happened to Gimon, “Poor Gimon, why did I let Gimon go again whilst the rain didnot stop pouring down? Poor little brother, eyeapple of mother and father, what could have happened to you? Have you been drown with the streaming rain turrents? Have you been hit by lightning? I feel myself very guilty.I have to tell father and mother.” He tried to call again, “Gimon! Gimon! Where are you?”

Then, he heard an answer from up above in a tree, but what he saw was only a bird. The voice was like that of Gimons. Dondo was shocked and very sad. He asked himself, “Could it be possible that Gimon has turned into a bird?”

The bird gave again a cry, “Kokoku! Kokoku!” which actually meant, “Kakakku! Kakakku!(my elder brother)” The sound of the bird was like Gimon’s voice. Poor Gimon, apparently he turned out to be changed into a bird.

Translated by Manda Ratulangi from “Kokokuk” from the book “Cerita Rakyat dari Minahasa” by Aneke Sumarauw Pangkerego, produced by : Penerbit PT Grasindo, Jakarta 1993*) Minahasa is the most northern part of Indonesia’s island Celebes (Sulawesi)