Monday, February 2, 2015

Panji Semirang

When I was in elementary school, I loved reading the story of Panji Semirang by R.A. Kosasih, even though my aunt only had several first books so I never knew how it ended. The story of two princesses fighting over a gold doll amazed me.

The books have been republished again, and of course I bought it. I think the front cover, which had been redrawn by someone else, is disappointing. I am also disappointed with the quality of the text, re-handwritten, which was not as tidy as the original. It had to be re-written, because since 1972 the spelling was changed.
The lower balloon is the original text, which I think is tidier. This panel shows dialogues between Mahadewi and Singamentri.
The King of Daha - Daha is the name of a country - has 2 beautiful daughters: Candra Kirana - more beautiful than her spiteful sister - the daughter of Puspa Ningrat (the queen); and Galuh Ajeng - daughter from Paduka Liku (one of the2 concubines). The concubine obtains a powerful charm, poisons Puspa Ningrat and becomes the queen.

The King of Kuripan is the elder brother of King Daha and he has a handsome son, Inu Kertapati. Inu has been engaged to Candra Kirana. After the death of Candra Kirana's mother, Inu sends a gold version of him (a gold doll) to console his fiancée; but to avoid any fuss, he also sends a silver doll in the shape of one of his servants. The gold doll is wrapped in a plain box, but the silver one gets a beautiful wrapping. When Galuh Ajung chooses (for she gets to choose first), of course she chooses the beautiful wrapping and gets the silver doll. Candra Kirana gets the gold doll. Knowing how Galuh Ajeng has choosen first, Candra Kirana determines never to let the gold doll go.

an inner cover. Inu Kertapati, his two servants (Punta and Jeruje) and the gold doll.
When the two princesses meets in the garden, Galuh Ajeng sees the gold doll and asks the king to give it to her. The King goes to see Candra Kirana but she refuses to give it up. The king, who has been charmed by Paduka Liku, cuts Candra Kirana's long beautiful hair. After that, Candra Kirana - with her two loyal servants and Mahadewi (the king's other concubine) - flee from the palace into the woods.

The King lost his patience. Without mercy, he cut Princess Candra Kirana's long beautiful hair. The princess was so devastated by the cruel punishment.

Disguised as men, Candra Kirana - now called Panji Semirang - and her servants; become some kind of Robin Hood. They rob merchants who cross over the woods. Panji Semirang builds a beautiful village deep in the woods and the people he robs, he persuades to stay. They usually comply.

First appearance of Panji Semirang. To Mahadewi: Don't you recognize me, Mother? This is your daughter, Candra Kirana.
Inu Kertapati doesn't know that Candra Kirana has gone away from Daha. He sends a troop to Daha, precedes him, bringing gifts to his fiancée. In the woods, Panji Semirang's men rob the gifts and capture the troop. Panji Semirang promises to give them back if Inu Kertapati himself comes to the woods. Inu does come and Panji Semirang keeps the promise and let them continue their journey to Daha.

The King of Daha, persuaded by Paduka Liku, tells Inu to marry Galuh Ajeng instead. Inu doesn't want to cause trouble and stays silent. When the wedding party almost begins, Panji Semirang comes secretly and angrily ravages the palace. Inu Kertapati leaves immediately before the King back to his senses. Realized that Panji Semirang is his fiancée, Inu returns to the woods, but he is only met by Mahadewi who tells him that Panji Semirang has gone away.

Panji Semirang thinks that by then Inu must have married to Galuh Ajung, and broken hearted, Panji Semirang has left the woods. Inu Kertapati swears that he will not return to Kuripan without Candra Kirana. He travels from one country to another (the countries are not big) using an alias and marries two beautiful princesses.

Meanwhile, Panji Semirang and his little group now disguised as theatrical players. He has changed his name to Panji Asmara. Wherever they perform, it's always a big success.

One day, the theatrical group stay in the kingdom of Gagelang. Inu Kertapati's servants - who are also in Gagelang with their master - watch the show and one of them realizes that the star of the show is actually Candra Kirana. He reports to Inu Kertapati, who quickly commands him to fetch Panji Asmara. Thus Candra Kirana meets again with Inu Kertapati and they marry and live happily ever after.

A lot of things happen in between. There are a couple of wars between one country to another. In 'his' journey, Panji Semirang meets two princesses who don't know her real identity and follow 'him' everywhere because they fall in love with 'him'.

I don't like the parts where Inu Kertapati marry two more princesses in his journey to find Candra Kirana. He expects her to be loyal to him, but he marry others. Candra Kirana is very angry when Inu Kertapati almost marries Galuh Ajung, but she accepts his two concubines.

When I was little I wondered how this story ended, but now as I know, it turns out I don't really like it.

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