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The Nightingale

Once there was a fat old merchant whose father died and left him much money. He also
owned many shops in which he sold expensive rugs, fine silks and jewels.
The old man and his wife had no children although they prayed each day for a son. We
have everything we want. I wish we had a son, said the merchant to his wife.
Each month he travelled to cities far from his home. He bought carpets from Persia,
silk from China and satin coats from Turkey with which he filled his shops. People came
from distant lands to buy from him for the merchant was known for his good taste and
On each journey he always bought something for his wife. One day, he brought her a
nightingale in a large, silver cage. It was a magnificent cage. The roof was made of silverplate and the floor of the cage was covered with gold. This is for you, Wife, he said.
There was nothing that was too good for the bird. A special servant fed it twice a
day, bringing the bird seeds in a mother-of-pearl shell. The cage was kept
spotless. The nightingale sang all day. It had not a care in the world.
Why, its life in my house is better than that of my servants from India, said the
merchant to his wife one day.
It's true. The bird is well cared for and you can see how happy it is by the way it
sings, said his wife, smiling.
The nightingale overheard them talking and thought sadly to himself. Nothing would
make me happier than to be free.
But when the merchant asked the bird if it was happy living in his home, the
nightingale replied, Master, you are the world's most generous man. How could I not be
happy in such a home? This made the merchant happy for the nightingale had taken the
place of the son he had never had.
One day the merchant announced that he had to go on a long journey overseas. I've
heard that there are rare gems there. I wish to buy some for my shops, he told his wife. So
preparations were made for the journey which would take several weeks.
One day the merchant was feeding the nightingale when the bird said: Master,
take me with you. You're going to the land I was born in. I left it when I was very young
for a merchant sold me. The merchant shook his head. The bird had become very precious
to him and his wife.

My wife would miss you and besides, the journey would take many weeks. What if
you fell ill and died? She'd never forgive me, he said. The bird bowed its head and said
The next day, the merchant was ready to leave on his long journey. He noticed
how sad the nightingale looked. Tell me what you'd like as a present from your
country, he asked the bird.
Master, you've always treated me well. There's nothing I want. But would you do me a
great favour? I've many relatives who live in the Pomegranate Garden. Please see them
and tell them that I send my good wishes to them. Tell them that I'm very well and have
the best Master in the world, said the bird.
Certainly, I shall. I'll also tell them what a beautiful home you live in and
how happy you are here, said the merchant, smiling.
After many weeks, the merchant arrived in the capital city. He spent some time doing
business and buying goods for his shops. The day before he was to leave, he suddenly
remembered his promise to the nightingale. Do you know where the Pomegranate Garden
is? he asked the hotel-keeper.
The hotel-keeper told him where to go and the merchant set off. He walked for some
time and as it was a hot day, he stopped to rest. He saw a man selling drinks. He bought a glass
of cool fruit juice-and drank it thirstily. Tell me, where is this garden, the Pomegranate
Garden where the nightingales liver he asked.
Just behind those gates, said the man, pointing to some heavy iron gates opposite.
The merchant thanked him and hurried across. It was already getting quite late.
He opened the gates and went in. There were beds full of fragrant flowers. The trees
hung with all types of fruit. On every tree and on every branch there were nightingales. The
air was filled with their merry singing.
One nightingale flew from tree to tree, coming closer and closer to have a better look at
the merchant. How sweetly it sings. It must be a relative of the nightingale at home,
thought the merchant to himself.
Excuse me, but I have a message from a brother of yours who lives in a lovely, silver
cage in my home. My wife and I are very fond of it. A special servant takes care of it. In fact I
think it's better off there than here, as it gets a great deal of care and attention from us, said
the merchant. Your brother sends his good wishes.
The nightingale heard these words but said nothing. Instead it fell to the ground as if
something had hit it. It lay there as if it was dead. Its wings were spread out, its beak wide
open. It did not move.
The merchant was very upset. Oh dear, I think the shock of hearing about his brother
must have been too much, he said. Tenderly he picked the bird up and laid it in some
bushes. But the nightingale was not dead. Instead it flew from tree to tree singing merrily.
Where are you going? Tell me what I must say to your brother, he said.
But the bird did not reply. It flew away singing happily. Puzzled, the merchant left the
garden. When he returned home he went to see the nightingale.
Well, Master, did you give my relatives my best wishes? How are they? asked the
bird eagerly.
I told all your relatives about you but one of your brothers behaved very strangely,
said the merchant.
Why, what did my brother say? asked the bird curiously.
That's just it. He didn't say anything. When I said how happy you were here and what
a fine-loge you live in, he didn't even bother to listen. And then he pretended to be dead. He
dived, with his wings spread. Thinking he was dead I laid him in some bushes. No sooner had

I done that when he suddenly came to life and flew away, singing merrily. He behaved most
rudely. He didn't even ask how you were! said the merchant angrily.
The nightingale heard all this in silence. It thought longingly of its home across the seas.
It was very sad and it neither ate nor drank. The next morning, when the servant came to feed
it he found the bird lying at the bottom of the cage. Its beak was wide open and its wings
spread out. It appeared to be dead.
When the merchant and his wife were told, they hurried to the cage. They tried
everything they could to bring the bird back to life. Water was poured into the bird's beak but
it trickled down the side. Gently the merchant laid the nightingale in the sunshine, thinking
that the warm sun would give it life. But still the bird lay as if dead.
His wife began to cry. It has given us such pleasure for so many months with its fine
singing. I am so sad that it has died.
That afternoon the servant took the body of the bird and threw it on a rubbish heap. As
soon as the bird landed on the heap it came to life. It flew round and round the garden singing
and calling out. Thank you, Master, for everything, my brother did send me a message
although you did not understand it. Being free like all the birds in the Pomegranate Garden
was much better than life in a silver cage, no matter how comfortable it was, said the
nightingale, as it flew merrily off to its own home across the seas.

A naughty schoolboy
Everyone agreed that John Tsui was a naughty boy. He had a bad temper and did not study hard
at school. His father paid for a private teacher to teach him at home. But John was rude to his teacher.
His teacher said he did not want to teach him anymore. Johns father tried to find another teacher, but
it was not easy to do so.
At last, a teacher who had just come from Singapore agreed to teach him. Johns father was
very pleased. He sent for John to come and meet his new teacher. John was very rude. He took no
notice of his new teacher and left the room without saying a word. The next day, john arrived late for
his first lesson. He hoped this would make his teacher angry. But his teacher did not seem to mind.
The next day, he was again late. This time, his teacher was playing the piano.
can you teach me to play the piano? he asked his teacher.
Yes, if you really want to learn, his teacher replied.
After that, his teacher gave him piano lesson twice a week. John was really very clever and he
did not need much teaching.
In a short while, he could play quite well.
Can you teach me anything else? he asked his teacher.
I dont know what you would like to learn, his teacher said. Perhaps you can teach me
I only know how to box, John replied. If you want to learn, I can teach you.
John asked his teacher to stand up. As soon as he did so, he tried to hit his fist. But his teacher
was too quick for him. He caught hold of his arm and held it tight. John could not move. He had to
ask his teacher to forgive him. He promised that he would study harder in future.
If you want to study harder, his teacher said, It is not enough to learn from one man. You
must learn from many men.
How can I do that? John asked.
His teacher pointed to the books in front of him. You must study hard and read as many books
as you can. Each book contains knowledge. If you do that, you will soon be able to learn many new
things for yourself.
John studied hard after that. When he grew up, he became a very famous man.

The legend of coconut tree

Long ago a fairy called Batu Sumang Buyung was bathing in a river. Along came a
magician called Bayang. Bayang was a clever and wicked magician who could make
himself disappear. He wanted to marry the fairy because he thought it would increase his
magical powers.
'Good morning, Lovely One,' he called to the fairy.
Batu Sumang Buyung was so startled that she hid behind a tree. The clever magician ran
to the river bank and stole her magic sarong.
'Oh,' she cried, 'please give it back. Otherwise I cannot go home to the sky.'
The magician laughed. 'So, Lovely One, you will have to stay with me.' He took the
fairy back to his house, and forced her to marry him.
Some time later a son was born to the fairy and the magician. The fairy asked Bayang
to give her sarong back, for she wanted to take their son to visit his grandmother in the sky.
But the cruel magician knew that if he did that, she would never come back to him. So he
refused to let her go.
Batu Sumang Buyung and her son stayed in the village with the magician. Although the
villagers hated her husband, they knew that the fairy was kind and gentle. She did many
things to help whenever she could.
Now, the villagers had good reason to hate Bayang. Once he had made a clay figure
and stuck pins into it. The next morning one of the village leaders died.
The villagers went to see another, good, magician in the forest. They asked the good
magician to put a curse on Bayang, and a few weeks later Bayang died. They cut off his
fingers before he was buried, so that he could not do any more mischief.
At last Batu Sumang Buyung was alone with her son. She wanted to visit her family in
the sky, so she put on her magic sarong and flew there.
Her mother, the queen of the fairies, was not p l e a s e d w i t h B a t u S u m a n g
B u yu n g . 'You have stayed away for a long, long time,' the queen said, 'and now you
bring with you a child of the Earth. You must go back to where you came from, and take him
with you.'

And so, Batu Sumang Buyung and her small son returned to Earth. She was very sad,
and soon after that she gave her sarong to the headman for safekeeping and disappeared.
Before long, the villagers learned that the fairy had died. They cared for her son, and he
soon grew tall and strong.
When Batu Sumang Buyung's son was grown up, the headman came to see him. He
carried the sarong left with him by the fairy. 'This was your mother's,' he said. 'If you wear it,
you will fly to the sky. Your mother thought you might like to visit your grandmother.'
Batu Sumang Buyung's son took the sarong. He put it on and immediately flew to the
sky. His grandmother was no happier to see him this time than she had been when he was
a young child. Still, she gave him a gift in memory of his mother. The gift was a round brown
The fairy's son thanked his grandmother and returned to his village. He planted the seed
in the ground, and soon it grew into a tall tree.
When the tree bore fruit, he gave some to the villagers. They were very pleased.
'The outside of the fruit is hard and coarse, like your father,' they said. The flesh inside is soft
and white, like your mother. And the milk is sweet and reminds us that you are Batu Sumang
Buyung's son.'
Before long, people from all over came to buy the fruit. Batu Sumang Buyung's son
became a rich man. Those who bought his fruit also took the seeds back to their own
countries. And that is how the coconut came to grow all over the world.

The legend of Lau Kawar Lake

It was a beautiful day. Everybody in the Kawar village was happy. The farmers had just
had their best harvest. The villagers were planning to hold a party to celebrate the good
harvest. On one beautiful day, all the villagers gathered in a field. They wore beautiful
dresses and made delicious food. Everybody was having good times! They were singing,
laughing and, of course, eating delicious food.

Did everyone go to the party? Unfortunately, there was one old woman still staying at
her house. She was too old and weak to go to the party. Her son, her daughter-in-law, and her
grandchildren all went to the party. At home, the old woman felt very sad and lonely. She was
very hungry too. She tried to find some food in the kitchen, but she was very disappointed.
Her daughter-in-law did not cook that day. At the party, the son asked her wife, Why dont
you take some food from the party and give it to my mom? Ask our son to deliver it. Then
the little boy brought the food to her grandmother. The old woman was so happy. But her
happiness turned into sadness when she saw the food was not in a good condition. It seemed
that someone had eaten the food. She just got little rice and fish bones.
The old woman was very sad. She thought bad things about her son. The old woman
did not know that it was her grandson who had eaten the food on the way from the party to
the house. She cursed her son. Then, a terrible thing happened. There was a great earthquake!
Thunders struck the village. And heavy rains started to fall. All the villagers were so scared.

They wanted to save themselves. They tried to find shelters. Slowly, the field turned into a
lake. The lake was getting bigger and bigger, and finally the whole village turned into a big
lake. People then named the lake Lau Kawar

The legend of seagull

Once there was a young fisherman who live on Pulau Hantu. His home on the northern
shore of the island was made of dried palm leaves, and he found it very comfortable. Though
he was often lonely.
Each morning the young fisherman went fishing, and then he took his fish to Singapore
where he would sell them in the market. One morning when he was pulling in his nets, he
heard someone crying. He looked down into the water and saw that he had caught a mermaid!
The young fisherman quickly pulled his net into the boat. Let me go. Cried the
mermaid. Let me go.
The fisherman was too surprised to move. What are you doing here? he asked.
I am on my way home to my fathers kingdom beneath the sea. I had stopped a
moment to look at those island over there when you caught me.
Do you like the island? asked the fisherman. I live on one of them myself.
They are beautiful. But dont you ever get lonely? There cant be many smiled people
on the island.
The fisherman smiled. Yes I do sometimes get lonely, he said. But my work keeps
me busy,
Tell me about it.
Well, there isnt much to tell. I catch fish, and then I sell them in the market. Then I
take my boat and go home.
Do you always catch so many fish? asked the mermaid. Looking at the many fish in
the nets.
Not always. In fact, some morning I dont catch any.
As the mermaid listened to the fisherman. She felt in love with him. Soon she wished to
marry him and live with him on the island, and so, the mermaid and the fisherman were
They were very happy. She helped him by swimming ahead of his boat and telling him
where the best fish were. She cooked for him and helped him repair his nets. The young
fisherman was a good husband. He worked hard and soon he was able to buy a fine new boat.
One evening the mermaid said to the fisherman. If you are ever lost at sea, I shall ask
the gods to turn me into a bird. Then I shall fly all over the earth to look for you.
Dont worry, said the fisherman. Im sure nothing like that will happen.
The fisherman was wrong. One day a terrible storm came to the sea near the island
while he was out in his boat. The mermaid, who was at home, prayed that he would come
home safely. She prayed and waited for several days, and she became very ill. Gods of the
sea and the earth, she prayed. change me into a bird, soon she died, and the gods granted
her wish; they changes her into a bird so she could look for her lost husband.
The young fisherman, meanwhile, was on another island where the sea had taken him
during the storm. After the storm had passed, he returned home, but the mermaid was gone.
He looked all over the island for her without success. Then he sat down to wait. The days of
waiting turned into weeks and the weeks into years. The fisherman grew old and sad, waiting
for his wife to come home.
Then one day a white seagull flew over the fishermans house. The seagull cried out,
but the fisherman didnt hear it because he was dreaming of his mermaid. A few hours later.
He died.

When the fisherman died. The gods of the sea and the earth turned him into a seagull.
He flew joy fully to his wife, and together they flew away.

The legend of Edelweiss Flower

Long time ago, there was a handsome young man who wanted to climb the Alp
Mountain. The mountain was so cold and covered with thick snow. People said that a
beautiful fairy lived in that mountain.
The young man wanted to meet the fairy. He also wanted to see the beautiful palace
made of ice. Many people tried to climb the mountain but all of them did not succeed. Some
of them gave up before they met the fairy and some others could not stand the cold.
This young man was different. He could climb the mountain and did not give up. He
climbed and climbed for the whole week. The weather as so cold, but he kept climbing to the
fairys palace.
He finally met the beautiful fairy, and they fell in love with other immediately. But, the
fairy was not happy.
We cant live together. My father would not allow me to marry a man, said the fairy.
Why not? asked the young man.
Because we live in two different worlds. I cant stay in your world because it is too hot
and you cant stay in my palace because it is too cold. Im afraid you will die, explained the
Therefore, they had to separate. Since that day, the young man promised to himself that
he would not marry anyone. The beautiful fairy was so sad that she cried every day. Every
time her tears flowed down on the mountain, it became a beautiful white flower called