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The King, the Witch and the Priest : A Twelfth-Century Javanese Tale (Calon Arang)

Book / Collection of Short Stories


The King, the Witch and the Priest : A Twelfth-Century Javanese Tale (Calon Arang)

by Pramoedya Ananta Toer
Translated by Willem Samuels

Format: Paperback, English
128 page(s)
ISBN/ISBN13: 9799589835/9789799589835
Published Oct 31, 2006 by Equinox Publishing

View on Goodreads | Google Books



“Centuries ago, there was, in the eastern part of the island of Java, a kingdom by the name of Daha…” So begins The King, the Witch and the Priest, a fable with contemporary allure that is based on the story of Calon Arang, a Javanese legend dating from the twelfth century. As tradition tells it, Calon Arang was a powerful witch from the village of Girah who had a beautiful daughter named Ratna Manggali who could find no husband. No man would have her for fear of her mother. Calon Arang became so angered by her daughter’s plight that she spread pestilence throughout the kingdom. To deal with the problem, King Erlangga ordered his most respected priest, Empu Baradah, to get rid of Calon Arang. This proved to be no easy task as Calon Arang owned a book containing all the secrets of sorcery.

This ancient tale, as retold by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, exhibits a remarkable relevance to contemporary life with timeless lessons such as the triumph of good over evil and the ever-possible eternal salvation of one’s soul. Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006) is Indonesia’s most celebrated writer, with over thirty works of fiction translated into over thirty languages. A recipient of many major international awards, he was most recently awarded the Grand Prize in the 2000 Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize competition, Japan’s highest literary honor.



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