Image by Sabrina Eickhoff from Pixabay

 Long ago, there lived a poor widow in a remote area of Central Java. She had a son who had a cooking pot shaped physique.

In Central Java, the pot used for cooking rice is called kendil. As the boy looked like a kendil, he was named Joko Kendil.

The widow didn’t feel shamed or disappointed, though her son looked like a cooking pot. She loved her son with all her heart.

When Joko Kendil was a child, he liked joking and was well like by his peers.

One day, there was a wedding party in his village and Joko sneaked in the kitchen. A woman praised the beauty of a pot, which could be used for keeping cakes and fruit. He didn’t know the pot she meant was a human being.

The woman didn’t know the pot was indeed Joko Kendil himself. After fully filled, Joko Kendil rolled out of the kitchen. The people seeing this strange happening couldn’t help shouting bravo. They struggled to snatch that strange pot. 

Joko Kendil was rolling faster to home. After reaching home, he met his mom immediately. His mom was so amazed that her son brought a lot of cakes home.

Later, Joko Kendil told his mom what had just happened to him. All the cakes he brought home were given by the women at the wedding party. A beautiful pot was more suitable to keep cakes than cook rice.

Years later, Joko Kendil had grown up but his body was still like the shape of a cooking pot. One day, he told his mom that he wanted to get married. His mom was at a loss as she thought there wasn’t anyone who wanted to get married with a guy like him. The mother became more puzzled because he said he wanted to marry a princess. 

Finally, the woman and her son came to meet the king. The king had three beautiful daughters. She told the king that her son wanted to marry one of the princesses. The king was very surprised and he asked his three daughters if one of them would accept the proposal. 

Several answers were given by the three princesses. Princess Dewi Kantil said she didn’t want to marry a poor man from the village. Princess Dewi Mawar told the king that she wanted to marry a handsome prince. While the king looked at princess Dewi Melati, she said she would sincerely accept the proposal. The king kept silent after hearing the answer. The king was so gentle and he approved his daughter’s request.

At last, the wedding of Joko Kendil and the princess was held glamorously. They loved each other and lived a very happy life.  However, it was disturbed by the violent outburst of princess Melati’s elder sisters. All the humiliation was accepted by princess Melati with the utmost patience.

One day, the king held a skills competition. Joko Kendil’s name wasn’t listed because he was sick. Princess Dewi Melati was sitting alone at that time. 

Meanwhile, the audience shouted joyfully while seeing the princes from various countries to show their skills.

Suddenly, all the onlookers were amazed to see a handsome prince coming into the arena. He wore sparkly clothes and was riding a gallant horse. All the people were asking one another who the handsome prince really was.

Princess Dewi Kantil and Dewi Mawar were awestruck, they tried to draw the prince’s attention. They showed a mocking expression while turning their eyes towards princess Dewi Melata who was sitting alone. As she couldn’t stand the mockery, princess Dewi Melati stood up and left the arena. 

Afterwards, she broke the pot in her room because she felt she always got the derision in the presence of the pot. After the pot was broken, a handsome prince showed up in front of her. Dewi Melati was so surprised as this prince looked alike with the one in the sports arena. She was frightened and asked how the prince came in. Much to her surprise, the prince was Joko Kendil who formerly had the potlike body. He would transform back into a handsome prince if a princess would marry him heartily.

Princess Dewi Kantil and Dewi Mawar felt so ashamed and jealous of their younger sister’s luck.  


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