The Foolish Rich Man
An Excerpt from “The Giant Who Loved the Moon: A Collection of Balinese Folk Tales”
By Martini Fisher
I Cikampeng was a rich, yet foolish man.
He had a lot of money, but not because he was clever.
It was because he was very careful in his spending.
To save water, I Cikampeng never took a bath in the bathroom,
He always bathed in the river.
To save money, he never bought any soap.
He only had one very worn out clothes that he wore all the time.
He was very smelly.
If he wanted to eat, he divided his rice into three very small parts,
for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
He was also very thin.
One day, someone asked I Cikampeng why he was not married.
“I am looking for a wife,” He said,
“Of course, I am looking for a girl who doesn’t like to waste money.”
“I know a girl like that,” his friend said, and gave I Cikampeng her address.
I Cikampeng went to visit Ni Mayang Sari, the girl intended for him.
He fell in love with her and asked her to marry him.
Ni Mayang Sari said yes and they marry.
She was as smelly as him, and as thin as him,
Because she also didn’t like to spend any money.
They lived very happily together.
But, because they both ate so little, Ni Mayang Sari became ill.
One day, she died in her sleep.
When I Cikampeng woke to go to the field,
He thought his wife was still sleeping.
When he returned in the afternoon, she was still in the bed.
I Cikampeng was not worried at all.
He was happy!
It means they can save the food for tomorrow.
For days, his wife never woke.
For days, I Cikampeng thought they saved on food.
After a while, Ni Mayang Sari’s dead body produced a very bad smell,
Even smellier than her husband who never used soap.
The neighbors started to notice that Ni Mayang Sari was missing.
They asked I Cikampeng where his wife was.
He said that his wife was sleeping.
The neighbors were suspicious and insisted on seeing his wife.
When they saw her, they were very surprised.
“I Cikampeng, your wife is dead! Can’t you smell it?”
“Really?” asked I Cikampeng.
“Yes, you stupid man!” They cried,
“When someone smelled very bad, it means that their body is rotting!”
After I Cikampeng finally realized that his wife had died,
He cried and cried.
“Now, now I Cikampeng,” said one of his neighbors,
“the thing to do now is to bury your wife before her body rots even further.”
So, they all buried Ni Mayang Sari.
When they have finished, they all went home.
I Cikampeng still very sad because he was now all alone.
Later that evening, I Cikampeng farted.
The smell was very bad.
This upsets him greatly as he thought he was dead.
Trying to calm himself, he sat down to think carefully about his situation.
He did not want to tell his neighbors about his death,
Because he has had to spend money on his wife’s funeral.
If his neighbors have to bury him, he’ll have to spend more money!
He then resolved to bury himself.
Silly I Cikampeng dug the ground and covered his body with the soil.
Finally, his body were covered by soil, except for his head.
He couldn’t cover his own head.
So he had no choice but to wait for his neighbor to wake up in the morning to help him bury his head.
This is an excerpt of “The Giant Who Loved the Moon: A Collection of Balinese Folk Tales”, by Martini Fisher. “The Giant Who Loved The Moon” is available on Amazon Kindle. Get your copy by pressing this link.