Telling stories as a medium of teaching children with blindness in pre-school

1. Introduction

Vision is the most important of the senses in term of development as it affects so much of how and what we learn. Children use their sight to develop and understand the permanence of object i.e. peoples and things continue to exist even if they can not be seen. They then use their vision to gain an awareness of space, of where their bodies are in space and of how they can use what they see. There is a strong interplay between vision and our ability to handle objects and to understand the world (Newman, 1999).

Total or partial lack of vision inevitably creates difficulties in understanding the world. Besides that lack of vision can hamper cognitive development because it limits the integration of experiences and the understanding of those experiences that visual sense brings, naturally, to sighted children. This can be particularly true if these children do not receive early stimulation in the pre-school (Kirk and Gallagher, 1989). The cognitive skills which children acquire in pre-school years underlie later development in reading, writing and mathematics as well as conceptual and logical thought (Newman, 1999).

Blindness is one kinds of visual impairment, which is reported as vision of some light perception or less. Children with blindness have problems in understanding the numerous words, which are related to sight and the experience of seeing. They have limitation in development of language, whereas language is crucial to all social and educational functioning and children learn language in order to socialise and to direct the behaviour of other (Bernstein and Tiegerman, 1993). For children with blindness, the senses of hearing and touch must obviously be developed as fully as possible to compensate for defective sight. The earlier such skills can be encouraged the quicker the child can become more independent and lead a fuller life (Lear, 1986).

Pre-school is a basic elemental stage of the educational system. In pre-school children learn to develop basic capabilities such as cognitive skills, language and thinking capability, creativity, skills and physical ability. Pre-school teachers who are teaching children with blindness must teach auditory awareness for them and the teachers must provide opportunities to develop good listening skills (Best, 1992).

To teach auditory awareness and to develop listening skills, media such as music and sociodrama can be used. But telling stories is one of the best ways for teaching auditory awareness because stories, narratives and portrayals have become important instruments for educational and researches (Calderhead, 1996 in Bennett, Wood and Rogers children learn how to analyse sentences and understand language.

The result of Patricia Ward’s research mentions that from a list of seventeen common activities in pre-school, highest ratings are give to books and stories. A notable feature of the results is the high value placed upon the provision of books and materials, especially by teacher. (Ward, 1982 in Hutt, Tyler, Hutt and Cristopherson, 1990)

The description above is the reason for me to choose a topic, the telling of stories as a medium of teaching children with blindness in pre-school.

2. The importance of language development in pre-school children

Children all over the world develop language in a similar ways and sequence, although there are individual variations. The basic sequence begins with crying and moves through cooing, babbling and echoing the use of single words, multiple words and then complete sentences. Language development is not complete at the end of infancy. It continues throughout one’s lifetime. Children continue to make rapid gains in vocabulary during their early-childhood years.

In early pre-school years, children’s vocabulary continues to grow, and children learn many new words and their meanings. They learn new concepts and how to code these concepts linguistically. They also learn how to transform their ideas into sentences and they begin to use a variety of sentence types. By age 4, most children’s syntax is adult-like (Menyuk, 1977 in Bernstein and Tiegerman, 1993). Their utterances contain expanded noun and verb phrases, negative sentences, yes/no questions, and wh-questions. Causal constructions and conditional constructions are also evident.

Children learn more complex ways to use language socially and they begin to develop discourse skills such as participating in conversations, giving instructions and providing descriptions about objects, events and people. But during the pre-school years, reversible passive sentences are difficult for children to understand and produce because the passive sentence violates the child’s strategy of seeking “who did what to whom” from the word order. Children do not begin to abandon this strategy until after 6 years of age, at which time heir comprehension of passive sentence begins to improve (Bridges, 1980 in Bernstein and Tiegerman, 1993).

Lastly, in the pre-school years, children progress from talking about events in the here-and-now to talking about events in the “there and then” (Lucariello and Nelson, 1982 in Bernstein and Tiegerman, 1993). According to them, young children generally talk about events and objects in the immediate environment for example they refer to what they are doing or what another person is doing. Also, maternal input to younger children focuses on events and objects in the immediate environment. As children develop cognitively, they begin to refer to people, object, actions and events that are displaced in terms of time and place. They talk about past and future events and about objects and activities in the absence of external props or contextual support.

Some researchers mention that in general, language development of children with blindness is actually the same as with sighted children. There are no major differences in language usage. Blindness does not interfere with children’s ability to communicate (Matsuda, 1984 in Kirk and Gallagher, 1989) and intellectually, children with blindness do not differ from their sighted peers in communication ability (Civelli, 1983 in Kirk and Gallagher, 1989).

On the surface language of children with blindness is the same as their sighted peers. But as far as quality, children with blindness have less understanding of words as symbolic vehicles and are slower to form hypotheses about word meaning than sighted children (Anderson, Dunless and Kekalis, 1984 in Kirk and Gallagher, 1989). This is because sighted children acquire language by listening, reading and watching but children with blindness acquire language in much the same way with the exception that their language concepts are not helped by visual input. Children with blindness respond with words that are unrealistic to them and these responses are learned associate visual responses. They do not reflect the children’s own tactile or hearing experiences. Children with blindness use verbalism (words not verified by concrete experience) for social approval (Cutsworth, 1951 in Kirk and Gallagher, 1989). This is because they have a limitation in understanding of the words so they have verbalism.

Based on the description above, for children with blindness the hearing and touch senses need to be developed to a higher degree of sensitivity so that they can be useful to them as a mobility guide and source information.

As mentioned above, we can see that language is crucial to all social and educational functioning. Language deficiency may have a serious effect on future educational, social and vocational opportunities (Bernstein and Tiegerman, 1993). Language development of children is very important especially in pre-school and the importance of language development in the pre-school has recently been given a great deal of emphasis. Not only does language facility play a crucial role in communication but also, arguably, in conceptualisation and the symbolic manipulation of the environment (Moyles, 1989). That is underlying later development in language that will be used in reading, writing or mathematics in the school years.

By knowing about language development of children with blindness, teachers will understand the special needs of children. It is important for planning activities and strategies that they will help each child maximise their language development. So teachers can manage the classroom better, understand methods, that is according to the children and they can choose media, which is adjusted to the children’s needs.

Early stimulation in pre-school especially for children with blindness is an important point to develop their language ability better. So when the children enter first grade, they are able to use language for a variety of functions, such as to contribute new information on a topic (Bloom, Rocissano and Hood, 1976 in Bernstein and Tiegerman, 1993). They can also use language to describe objects, events, past experiences and plans (Moerk, 1975 in Bernstein and Tiegerman, 1993), and to use language to demonstrate, instruct and reason more better that in pre-school (Tough, 1877 in Bernstein and Tiegerman, 1993).

3. Telling stories
3.1. About telling stories
Language encompasses complex rules that govern sounds, words, sentences, meaning and use. By making up words that express feelings children push their imaginative construction of the total scene, of which they themselves are a part, to the boundary of their language and understanding.
To develop imagination, more opportunities need to be made for this imaginative use of language. Stories are important. It does not matter that they do not understand the words. Hearing them is what is important (Moyles, 1989).

Over the last five years, it appears that “stories are, at long last, coming into their own as a text – a data base – for researchers” (Jensen, 1989) and for researchers stories have become important instruments of data collection (Bennett, Wood and Rogers, 1997).

The main claim for the use of telling stories is caused by human, who are telling their stories, individually and socially, organised to lead the storied lives. Because the persons who are telling the stories have to organise their stories individually and socially so that the listener relives the stories just as the teller of the stories themselves does relive the experience they are talking about. The story tellers convey personal knowledge, experience, passion, pain, feelings, awareness and emotion which are all passed on to the listener. Bruner (1985) supports this claim, he mentions that:
Telling stories is one of two fundamentally different modes of human
thought, standing in contrast to the analytic, linear way of thinking
prevalent in logic, mathematics and the sciences (in Bennett, Wood
and Rogers, 1997:24)

Vygotsky (1978) has argued for the value of stories noting that:
Telling stories is … a meaning-making process. When people tell
stories, they select details of their experience from their stream of
consciousness … It is this process of selecting constitutive details of
experience, reflecting on them, giving them order, and thereby making
sense of them that makes telling stories a meaning-making experience

… Every word that people use in telling their stories is a microcosm of
their consciousness (Vygotsky, 1978 in Taylor and Dorsey-Gaines,

Telling stories is a useful strategy for building oral language experiences (Lerner, 1997:384). Frequently telling stories to small groups of children with blindness helps them to acquire language, figure out grammar and learn the structure of stories.

According to Vygotsky and from the description above, telling stories is a meaning-making process with consciousness to building oral language experiences. In my opinion, telling stories is an activity that is done by adults or children themselves to express thoughts and imagination through oral expression.

Telling stories in pre-school has some advantages. One of the advantages is that there is direct communication between children as the audience and the teacher as the storyteller. Through telling stories children and teacher share a common experience and a relationship between them is created. Another advantage of telling stories is that children are required to use their own imaginations to create images from the story in their heads and telling stories can give children a real opportunity to think.

Through telling stories, children acquire good listening skills because children who listen to the stories must listen actively. If children are tuned out, they miss the essence of the story that goes on, and there is no instant replay. Telling stories also invite children to become active by participating in the stories, such as : repeating phrases or words, creating voices or gesture for the characters in the stories.

Telling stories can introduce children to classic stories that they may not get if they just read the book alone. Telling stories also continues an ancient tradition because for thousands of years before the emergence of the written language, telling stories was used as a strategy for passing on bits of wisdom about how to live in the world (Brewer, 1992). The teacher can continue this tradition of sharing the intimacy of telling stories to children.

In my own experiences, telling stories helps get children to pay attention in the class. This is very important when they start school and for concentration in learning to read and write.

The result of Wells’s research about children’s language development and their school experience, mentions that the children who had the most experience with stories had about six thousand story experiences before beginning school. The children who were ranked lowest on language abilities when beginning school had not been exposed to any stories (Wells, 1986 in Brewer, 1992:228). So, homes, that do not read stories, do not enjoy books or participate in other literacy activities with their children, do not prepare their children for success in reading.

The implication of the above result is very important for teachers. Teachers can use telling stories as a medium for teaching children with blindness in pre-school because telling stories contributes to comprehension, language development, listening abilities and motivation to read. Besides that, telling stories can provide information on whatever interests or fascinates the children. Telling stories also helps children to gain a sense of the stories themselves. But, telling stories also has disadvantages if teachers do not give stimuli for reading because children will depend solely on telling stories. Scheduling story time in pre-school activities makes it clear to the children that stories are important and valuable.

3.2. The purpose and function of teaching by using stories

In pre-school, children start pre-reading and writing. To motivate children in order that they become interested to read and write teachers can use the telling of stories. So, telling stories can have a very positive effect on children’s literacy development. Telling stories helps children build their vocabularies and develop listening skills.

In the previous childhood period, fantasy changes in accordance with development of children’s thinking. In pre-school, fantasy gets guidance and opportunity to develop. It can hamper children’s development if fantasy does not get the opportunity to develop. To develop fantasy, telling stories can be used as the media and telling stories is also being used to stimulate the curiosity of children. Besides that, by telling stories teachers can teach new words that have meaning, many kind of sentences, train to answer and ask questions, learn ethics and morals. Teachers can also transfer culture when teaching by using stories.

3.3. How to choose stories

Telling stories helps build oral language experiences. It is important that teacher should also tell and retell favourite stories.

To tell stories, teachers can choose stories, which are easy and can be understood by children and be of interest to them. When teachers choose the stories, they have to consider the age and ability level of the children. Charlotte Buhler who has done research about fantasy and children story-telling mentions that in the first period which is called Struswelpeter period, the children like to hear stories about children who are naughty and stories about life (Lubis, 1987). So, for children in pre-school, stories about that are very important.

The easiest stories to tell are those from the oral tradition. The stories that are ideal for telling are stories which have been told from generations to generations (Brewer, 1992). Fairy tales, folk stories and fables come from this oral tradition. A fairy tale is a story about fairies, magic, etc. It is usually used for children only and the story is not true. A folk story is a story of a community. This story is passed on in spoken form from one generation to the next. This is a traditional or popular legend or story. A fable is a short story that is intended to teach a moral lesson. Fables are not based on fact and often have animals as characters. Animals in this story type are represented as endowed with speech in order to convey a moral lesson. Many favourite fairy tales, folk stories and fables exist in Indonesia (see appendix 1).

Teaching by using stories can also be done through stories from the teacher’s or children’s own experiences. Teachers can create stories from their experiences in life or from the children’s experiences. The stories of personal experiences from the teacher or the children are also easy to tell.

Teachers who are teaching by using stories have to adjust them according to the themes in pre-school. For example, when the teacher will teach about an animal, they can choose fables such as A Crafty Monkey. If the teacher will teach about food, they can choose folk story such : Timun Emas (The Golden Cucumber) or they can choose fairy tale such as : The Golden Snail to teach about country (see appendix 1).

4. Teaching by using stories

In pre-school, teaching and learning activities are based on the principle of “Playing while learning or Learning while playing” and this principle is in base line with the consideration that playing is the nature of every child. In children’ play, children use language most of the time, even by talking to themselves or to toys and playthings. Pretend play does seem to be related to an increase in divergent thinking skills, verbal fluency and story-telling skills (Moyles, 1989). So, teaching by using stories can be done through play. It can also be done with role-play. As mentioned one of the functions of role-play is to develop storytelling and sequencing ideas, and to develop knowledge of stories they know by co-operation within the group. Role-play in particular is regarded as an ideal context for the development of social skills, language and imagination (Bennett, Wood and Rogers, 1997).
To teach children with blindness by using stories, a teacher’s voice will be their major source of information (Best, 1992). Variety is important in making the voice interesting and pleasant. Speed of talking, volume, pitch, emphasis can all be used to give variety and make the voice more interesting for all children. The tone of teacher'’ voice will help children visualise the story. Telling stories to children with appropriate intonation and stress helps them to understand the meaning of words (Moyles, 1989).

When teaching by using stories, teachers have to make a good communication with children. Teachers should tell stories frequently (at least once each day) to small groups children in pre-school. Besides that, teachers should tell stories to children and ask detailed question about the stories because asking question about content of stories and answer the children’s questions will make children interested in stories. To get the main idea, teachers should tell stories but unfamiliar stories and ask the children to make up good titles for the stories. Teacher can ask the children to choose the main idea from three choices.

For children with blindness, having good listening is very important. It means not only understanding what is said but also being able to listen critically and to make judgements and evaluations of what is being said. Telling short stories with a word or phrase that does not fit the stories can develop it. Teachers should ask the children to discover what is funny or foolish about the stories. Teachers can use relief figure pictures while telling stories and plan obvious errors through discrepancies between what is said and what is placed on the pictures. The last teachers should try asking children to correct the mistakes that what children listen.

Repetition and perseverance are needed when teaching by using stories for children with blindness. Teachers will probably repeat words, actions or gestures in order that, eventually, children will understand and respond (Newman, 1999). Giving the children with blindness plenty of time to understand and respond to the content of stories is also important.

A multi-sensory approach can be used by teachers for children with blindness because they benefit from a multi-sensory approach and it is clearly vital for them (Newman, 1999). Try to engage the other senses at the same time rather than just talk about an object, for example; if the teacher is talking about flowers or fruits, handle them, feel and touch them, smell them, shake them and taste them too. Try to us hand-over-hand method for children with blindness in order that children are much more likely to understand what teachers talking about.

To avoid verbalism for children with blindness, teachers must teach using concrete things in order that children do not feel bored. Telling stories will become more interesting by using tools that support the story itself, in order for children to succeed in tasks required of them (Moyles, 1989). Puppets, toys, models, a story-bag with items inside which link in some way with the story that will be told or read are some examples. The items of clothing, which are used by different people in the story, are also important. The most important are pictures that are made in according to children with blindness. The important point is to give children with blindness lots of opportunities to use different materials in a variety of situations according to the stories will help children with blindness learn to experiment, explore and expand their knowledge and understanding.

Indonesia, the country with 300 tribes, has many different cultural media that can support teaching by using stories. Many kinds of traditional tools, which can be use as supports it, are different types of clothing, multi-ethnic dolls, etc, and the wayang. Wayang is an important art/theatre form in Indonesia and is also found in other parts of Southeast Asia. Wayang is the traditional Javanese puppet show and no art form captures the essence of Indonesia, especially Java better than the wayang (see appendix 2)

5. Summary

In the past, parents told stories to their children before bedtime. Indirectly, parents teach children morals and ethics through the telling of stories. Because of the development of technology, parents, who are busy in their job, do not have enough time to do tell their children stories any longer. However, teaching by using stories will help children who have little or no familiarity with the stories before they come to school because their parent do not have time to tell them stories.

The children will gain experience and knowledge with stories and it can effect on the children’s literacy development in future because telling stories contributes to comprehension, language development, listening abilities, motivation to read and provide information on whatever interest or fascinates the children.

Teachers in Indonesia can use favourite folk stories, fairy tales or fables or they can create stories from their experiences in life or from the children’s experiences. The teacher’s voice is the most important thing when teaching children with blindness because the tone of teacher’s voice will help children visualise that story. To avoid verbalism, teachers have to use concrete tools that support the story itself. In Indonesia, wayang is the best for this support because wayang has good form of puppet, character of each puppet and stories. Giving the opportunity to children, if they want to retell the story in their own words, is very important. This is to build children’s vocabulary that can be used and benefit in their communication.

Bennett, neville., Wood, Liz., and Rogers, Sue. (1997). Teaching through Play: Teachers’ Thinking and Classroom Practice. Buckingham, Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Bernstein, Deena.K., and Tiegerman, Ellenmorris. (1993). Language and Communication Disorders in Children. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.

Best, Anthony.B. (1992). Children with Special Needs: Teaching Children with Visual Impairments. Milton Keynes, Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Brewer, Jo Ann. (1992). Introduction to Early Childhood Education: Pre-school through Primary Grades. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Hutt, S.John., Tyler, Stephen., Hutt, Corinne., and Christopherson, Helen. (1990). Play, Exploration and Learning: A Natural History of the Pre-school. London and New York: Routledge Education Books.

Jensen, J.M. (1989). Stories to Grow on: Demonstrations of Language Learning in K-8 Classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Kirk, Samuel.A., and Gallagher, James.J. (1989). Educating Exceptional Children. Dallas Geneva, Illinois Palo Alto Princenton, New Jersey: Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

Lear, Roma. (1986). Play Helps: Toys and Activities for Children with Special Needs. London: William Heinemann Medical Books.

Lerner, Janet.W. (1997). Learning Disabilities: Theories, Diagnosis and Teaching Strategies. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Lubis, Zulkifli. (1987). Psikologi Perkembangan. Jakarta: Gramedia.

Moyles, Janet.R. (1989). Just Playing?: The role and Status of Play in Early Childhood Education. Milton Keynes, Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Newman, Sarah. (1999). Small Steps Forward: Using Games and Activities to Help Your Pre-school Child with Special Needs. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Taylor, D., & Dorsey-Gaines, C. (1988). Growing up Literate: Learning from Inner-city Families. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Appendix 1
Kinds : Fable
Theme : Animal
The message from this story is that in life we should arm ourselves with reason and intelligence


Once upon a time, a monkey, which was known as a naughty and crafty animal, was taking a walk through the jungle. Suddenly, he heard the sound of a keker ( Wild rooster). The monkey came closer and asked the keker for food. Unfortunately, the Keker refused, as he knew the monkey’s naughty, lying, and tricky behaviour.

Seeing Keker’s apathetic attitude, the monkey was offended, and immediately tried to think of ways to trick him. He told Keker not to believe any unpleasant rumours about him, and he even said, “To live our dharma (lesson of good values in life) is important to strengthen the ties of our lives in this jungle. Therefore, let me be your friend for you are an honourable descendant of Batara Indra’s creation. “Persuaded by the monkey’s sweet words, Keker took him as his friend.

Early in the morning of the next day, both the monkey and Keker went to the river to look for fish. They were so carried away that they did not realise that they had reached the middle of the river. The monkey was so frightened that he was shivering. Seeing this, Keker asked him to hold on to his legs so that he could fly him to the river’s edge.

When they got to the river’s edge, the monkey refused to let Keker go, but instead he tightened his grip amnd tied Keker’s legs while plucking his feathers, which caused Keker great pain. After that, the monkey went to find some fire to roast Keker and make him his meal for the morning. When the monkey was out of sight, Keker hid behind a bush and cried regretting that he so easily believed the cunning monkey and relishing that now he was in deep trouble. Just then a kind-hearted cow came along. He felt sorry for Keker and promised to help him take revenge.

The cow went around the jungle looking to find the monkey. When he saw him, he asked him for help to look for food in the middle of the river, but when they got there, the cow left him there. The monkey was crying, asking for help, as he could not swim to the edge of the river. Fortunately, a turtle heard him and came to help. But that an ungrateful animal, instead of thanking the turtle for his help, he started thinking of ways to deceive him.

The monkey asked the turtle how he was able to swim, and after the turtle explained this, the monkey begged him to show him his chest. Naively, the turtle asked the monkey to turn him around so that the monkey could see his chest. When the turtle as upside down, the monkey laughed at him and left him there. The turtle then realised that he had been deceived and felt sorry for himself and also regretted that he had believe a stranger so easily.

Meanwhile, the monkey met a tiger, and told him that a delicious meal was waiting for them at the middle of the river. Of course, the hungry tiger was happy to hear this and followed the monkey to the place he meant, i.e. where he had left the Keker. When they go there, the roasted, and when it was done, the monkey took it to the top of the tree and ate it all by himself.

The tiger was very angry and roared loudly so much so that it shocked monkey. He lost his grip on the tree, fell down and was caught by the tiger. However, the monkey really was sly, and he tricked the tiger once again by telling him that his “power” was in his tail. The tiger believed him and let go of his body in order to grab the monkey’s tail. Knowing that he had got this chance, the monkey quickly ran and jumped onto the tree.

So finally, the monkey also deceived the tiger, the king of the jungle.

Kinds : Fairy tale
Theme : Country


Prince Raden Putra was married to a princess named Dewi Limaran. One day when Dewi Limaran was walking in the palace garden, she saw a snail among her lovely flowers and she had one of her servants pick it up and throw it away. The snail was actually an old witch who had disguised herself as a snail. The witch was very angry, so she cursed Dewi Limaran and changed her into a golden snail and threw it into the river. The stream carried it far away from the palace.

On the side of a big forest, there lived a poor widow. She gained her living by fishing. One day it was a particularly bad day; she did not catch any fish. Again and again she spread her net, but nothing got caught in it. At last she pulled up the net to go home. Suddenly, she saw something shining at the bottom of it. It was only a snail. Nevertheless she picked it up and took it home. Its shell shone like gold. The old woman had never seen such a snail before.

At home she put it in an earthen pot. She then went to bed and was soon fast asleep, as she was very tired. The next morning when she woke up, she found to her amazement that the floor had been swept clean and there was some food on the table. She wondered who had done all this? She thought she was dreaming, but she was not. She thought and thought but could not think of anybody who could have been so generous to her.

Some days passed, she then got an idea. The next morning she took her basket and went out as usual, but shortly she returned to her hut and hid herself. Suddenly she heard a soft movement inside the earthen pot and saw the snail creeping out of it. It grew bigger and bigger and in a moment a lovely young girl stood where the snail had been. The empty shell fell to the ground behind her. Quickly the young girl swept the floor. Then she took rice, vegetables, meat, eggs, etc., out of the pot and began cooking.

When the old woman saw all this, she noticed that it was not an ordinary snail she had caught, but a person who lived under a spell, and she knew what she had to do to break it.

She crept stealthily to the empty shell, took it, and then rushed out of the hut to throw it into the river. Now she had broken only a part of the spell, and the rest of it had still to be broken before she could return the girl to her husband.

The young girl then made herself known to the old woman. “I shall pray to the Gods that the prince might be led to his place,” said the old woman.

Many years passed after loosing his princess. The king persuaded his son to look for another bride, but at first Prince Raden Putra refused, as he could not forsake his wife. In the end, however, the prince asked his father if he could go out to find a bride, but one who was a look-alike of his former wife. An Old Faithful servant accompanied him on his trip. They went from town to town and from village to village until one day they were travelling through a big forest and they lost their way. Finally the two men came to a big river and not far from it they saw a hut. They went to it to ask for some food and drink, as they were hungry, thirsty and dead tired. The old woman welcomed them warmly. Raden Putra found the meal served by the old woman excellent. She told him that her daughter had prepared it. Raden Putra then asked whether he might meet and thank her daughter. The old woman had no objections and called her daughter to come out. The young girl appeared and knelt down in front of Raden Putra with her head bent.

When Raden Putra saw her, he caught his breath in great surprise as the young girl looked exactly like his former wife, princess Dewi Limaran. “You are the bride I am looking for!” he cried out. But the girl shook her head and said that she had made a promise: when a man wanted to marry her, he had to obtain the holy gamelan (Javanese Orchestra) from heaven which could make music without being touched.

Raden Putra was willing to try and went out into the forest. He then fasted and meditated. After a hundred days the Gods heard and granted his wish. On their wedding day the holy gamelan played its heavenly music. It was so beautiful that every person who heard it felt happier than ever. The young girl than revealed her secret, that she was Dewi Limaran herself. The music of the gamelan had broken the evil witch’s spell.

The old woman was invited to remain with them in the palace. Now she had everything she wanted and sorrow had left her forever.

Kinds : Folk story
Theme : Food


A long time ago, a farmer and his wife lived in a jungle. Everyday they went to the sacred tree where they prayed begging for a child. When they were praying, a giant passed and heard their prayed. The giant gave them a cucumber seed. He said to the farmer, “You will have a baby girl, but you have to promise me to give the child to me when she is seventeen years old. They agreed, because they wanted a baby very much. The giant gave them the seed, then they went home.

Next day, they planted the seed in the yard. They watered it everyday. They made fences around it to keep it from animal’s disturbances. Day by day the vine got bigger and bigger. A flower bloomed and finally it became a small gold cucumber. The cucumber grew rapidly, then became a big cucumber. The farmer picked it when it was ripe and brought it home. When they arrived, they laid it on the floor. Slowly the farmer cut it. Wow! They were surprised. The farmer said to his wife, “Look! My wife, there is a baby in it. His wife replied, “Yeah! How cute the baby is” They were very happy and they named her Timun Emas, means the golden cucumber.

Timun Emas blossomed into a real beauty with black hair, slim body and bright eyes. When she was seventeen years old, the giant came and said to the farmer, “I am coming to take your daughter”. The farmer tried to calm the giant by saying, “Ooo … do not worry. She is playing in the garden now. Let my wife get her”

Meanwhile his wife found Timun Emas and gave her four things in a cloth bag and said to her, “My daughter, the giant has come to take you. Bring this bag with you for fighting him”
“What can I do, mother?” asked Timun Emas
“Run as fast as you can, “ said the farmer’s wife. “Throw one of three things whenever the giant comes close”
Then Timun Emas ran as fast as she could.

Meanwhile the giant was impatient. He broke the hut and looked for Timun Emas. From the garden he saw Timun Emas running towards the jungle. Then he ran after her. When he almost caught her, she took out the first thing from the bag, a handle of salt, and threw it towards the giant. Suddenly the ground between Timun Emas and the giant turned into a wide sea. The giant tried to catch Timun Emas by swimming. It was very hard of course. It was a good chance for Timun Emas to run further. But in a short time the giant almost caught Timun Emas again. Timun Emas threw a handful of chilies. In a flash, there grew a thorny dense bush around the giant. The giant screamed with a pain, but again, the giant got free and was almost able to catch Timun Emas. She took out the third thing from the bag, a handful of cucumber seeds. Suddenly, the ground turned into very wide field of cucumber vines. The giant felt thirsty and hungry, and then he ate lots of fresh cucumbers. The giant ate, ate and ate again and finally he feel asleep. When she saw this, Tminu Emas ran as far as she could but the giant woke up and ran after her quickly. Knowing the giant was coming closer and closer, Timun Emas threw out the last thing, a handful of shrimp paste. The ground where the giant running suddenly turned into a sea of mud. He was trapped there. He screamed and sank into the sea of mud. Timun Emas quickly went home. The farmer and his wife were very happy.
“Mother, Father, I am still life” shouted Timun Emas.
“Oh, my dear” said the farmer and his wife while embracing her.
“Thank God, our daughter is safe”, said the farmer and his wife again. They were very happy. No more fear. They did not want to lose their daughter anymore. The giant was died.

Appendix 2

Wayang is an important art/theatre form in Indonesia and is also found in other parts of Southeast Asia. Wayang is the traditional Javanese puppet show and no art form captures the essence of Indonesia, especially Java better than the Wayang. Wayang has been integrated in Javanese life for at least a thousand u\years. The stories in Wayang are based on the tales of the Hindu Mahabharata and Ramayana but now we can use other stories, which are not based on those tales. Wayang uses philosophic dialogue, high drama, blood and guts action, slapstick comedy and free wheeling satire to entertain, instruct and criticise Javanese society and contemporary life. Wayang is an essential component of any social ceremony and the vehicle of moral and ethical instruction. Wayang is at once an ancient classical art and a changing, adapting, popular one. The persuasiveness, variety, importance, depth and humour of wayang, the skills of the traditional puppeteers and the beauty of the presentations, often accompanied by full gamelan orchestra and female singers who are called sinden.

There are any kind forms of wayang, such as, flat leather puppets (wayang kulit), wooden figures or puppetry with 3-dimensional rod puppets (wayang golek) or wayang klitik. Wayang stories are also acted out on stage by human actors, that is called wayang orang.

Wayang kulit is shadow puppetry with flat leather puppets. In the Indonesian shadow puppet play beautifully painted and gilded leather puppets is used although only the shadows are visible to the audience. The stories come from the spirit world and are full of symbolism and myth. A highly skilled puppeteer who is called dalang, controls hundreds of puppets, speaks with a different voice for each character, and controls the musicians.

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