Image by Alexey Komarov, CC BY 3.0,

Once there lived a well respected couple in Bali. They didn't have any children, though they had been married for a long time. The couple prayed to Sang Hyang Widi Wasa day and night. They hoped that the god would grant their request, so they could have a baby.

Eventually, the wife was pregnant and bore a baby boy a few months later.

It was strange that the baby boy grew extremely fast. He had a strong appetite and ate four or five plates of food every day. His body became very big and tall. That was why everybody called him Kebo Iwa, which meant Uncle Buffalo.

After he grew up, he was as tall as a hill and his strength was as furious as the hurricane. He was known as the destroyer. Whenever he was angry, he ruined every single thing around him easily.

He would destroy the houses in the village while he lost his temper. However, he was glad to help villagers build houses, temples, dig well for water or cultivate rice fields when he wasn't angry.

Kebo Iwa never asked for payment but he hoped that everyone would serve him with tasty food.

As he was a giant, he needed to eat a huge portion of food. The rice, meat and vegetables he ate were enough to serve 1.000 villagers.

The villagers still had to serve food to him because they were afraid that he would flatten their houses if he got angry.

When it was in hot season, most rivers and wells dried up and the farmers didn't have enough water to fill their rice fields and watered their vegetable gardens.

The severe drought ruined the crops, causing shortage of food. The villagers began to worry as Kebo Iwa would get angry if he was hungry.

One day, Kebo Iwa felt hungry but the food wasn't ready yet. He was very unhappy and started destroying the houses and temples. The villagers ran hurriedly because they were scared of getting hurt.

"Where is my food? Where is my food?" shouted Kebo Iwa, in a thundering voice.

Kebo Iwa turned scarier. Not only did he ruin the buildings, but also ate the animals. Everyone became the victim of his bad temper.

Seeing many people suffer, the villagers felt dejected and they started planning how to get rid of Kebo Iwa.

"How can we eliminate the giant?" a man asked with anger.

"We should have a strategy to trap him," another man replied.

All the villagers agreed and they believed that Sang Hyang Widi Wasa would be on their side.

The villagers promised to serve him food if Kebo Iwa helped them rebuild the houses. He accepted the offer and didn't suspect that the villagers would harm him.

The next day, Kebo Iwa began to work. He rebuilt a lot of houses in a few hours. Meanwhile, the villagers collected a large quantities of limestone. In fact, the limestones for rebuilding the houses and temples were enough.

"Why do you collect so many limestones?" asked Kebo Iwa.

"We're going to build a luxurious house for you in return for your kindness.

Kebo Iwa was very glad to hear that. He was full of spirit and joy to help the villagers. All the houses and temples were completely built in several days.

The only work that should be done is digging the well. This was a hard task because he only used his hands to dig.

The well turned deeper and deeper day after day. A large amount of sand and gravel were dug out and placed around the mouth of the well.

As he was extremely hungry, he ate a large portion of food. He fell asleep after eating. He slept soundly in the well he had dug.

Loud snoring could be heard clearly near the well. The villagers were sure that it was time to take action.

"We must do something before he gets up," said a villager.

Many of the villagers gathered around the well. The village head gave an order to throw limestones in the well.

As Kebo Iwa was too tired, he wasn't aware of the danger. While the water and limestones reached his nose, he woke up and realized that he was in a difficult situation.

Kebo Iwa couldn't do anything or escape from the well. The villagers threw the limestones into the well continuously.

Finally, Kebo Iwa was buried alive. As the well was full with limestones, the water ran out of the well and flooded the village and then it formed a lake. The pile of earth near the well formed itself into a mountain.

Nowadays, the lake is known as Lake Batur and the mountain is called Mount Batur.


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