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A Story by R. Soemawinata

Literature | Monday, September 17, 2012 | sundanesecorner.org

Hawé Setiawan

R. Soemawinata, Wawatjan Moehamad Hasan, Weltevreden: Bale Poestaka, 1922, 23 pp.

Soemawinata’s wawacan
(Photograph: Hawé Setiawan)

Wawatjan Moehamad Hasan by R. Soemawinata tells a story about Moehamad Hasan, a pious Moslem, which was expelled by his father, Haji Ali Ahmad, because his stepmother, Nji Siti, maligned the young man. Frustrated by her failure to seduce the young man when her husband was performing the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, the lady later said to her husband that his son had forced her to commit adultery. The young man then left the house. In his wandering he came into a forest and fell asleep. When he woke up it happened that he heard a couple of forest spirits talking to each other about a sick princess in Nagara Baroe and the secret of curing her. Moehamad Hasan then went to the palace and by the king’s permission he cured the princess. Moehamad Hasan married the princess, and became a new king in the palace. And there came a day when Haji Ali Ahmad, who has become an old and poor man, came to the kingdom and sent to the palace. After being questioned by the king, the old man realized that the wise young sovereign was his expelled son. Haji Ali Ahmad was finally welcomed by the king, yet the Nji Siti was expelled from the country.

Wawacan (or wawatjan in old Sundanese spelling) is a literary genre that commonly contains a story or specific account in a series of poetic form that is called pupuh. There are 17 pupuhs known in Sundanese literature. In his wawacan, R. Soemawinata tells his story in three pupuhs, i.e. asmarandana, sinom, and pangkur.***

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