Atu Belah Atu Betangkup

This story was originated from Gayo highland, Middle Aceh, Aceh Indonesia. Most of the civilians in Middle Aceh believe that this story was real so this story is categorized by the local as the Legend rather than a fairytale. The big stone in about 35 miles away from the town of Takengon is considered as Atu Belah which was mostly shown to the public and opened as a tourism destination in Takengong.  This story is mostly told to the children in Gayo since it has a ton of moral values for children to respect the elder especially their parent.

A long time ago, there was a poor family who lived in Gayo. The family had two children, the eldest one named Sulung who was 8th years old and he is very intractable, naughty and disobedient child, and the youngest called bungsu who was still a year old girl. The only property they had was a narrow field and two thin goats. Because of their poorness, the father should work so hard beside his own job to fulfill the daily family needs, he went to the river to catch the fishes, and to the jungle to set a trap for the animals. The mother worked as a clay pot maker.

At that time, Gayo was attacked by a long drought. All the plants were failed to be harvested and the goats were getting leaner. Their life becames more destitute. To overcome it, there was no option except selling their two goats. Sulung was ordered to bring the goats to a nice green pasture to fatten it for the best price.

When Sulung was bringing the goats to the pasture, he said to himself “I don’t need to go so far, it is better for me to sleep under this tree and take rest” Sulung sat under a big tree to take rest and sleep. When he woke up from her sleep he found that the goats were not there. He came back to the house and said to his father that the goats were sunk in the rivers. His father in great passion said to Sulung how stupid he was leaving the goats being sunk in the river because that was one of the only property they had.

The father never gave up he tried to find another source to earn some money for their life. He went to the jungle to see the trap which had been set before. He found that there was a deer snared in his trap. He was really happy finally he could earn some money to buy some food for his family. But sadly, the mother of the deer came up and run at him. He dropped to the ground, his head collided at the big stone. And he dead with no one know it.

In the house, the mother was advising Sulung angrily because Sulung was thrown the last rice of them into a well. She intended to sell a pot to the market for buying some food. She ordered Sulung to take the pot to the kitchen, “Sulung takes the pot from the kitchen and bring here, I will sell it for buying some food. Watch your young brother until your father come home” Sulung argued his mother said angrily “do you know, because of watching this baby I can’t play with my friends, instead of bringing it to you, it’s better for me to break this shit” Sulung thrown the pot on the floor till it smashed.

This makes her mad at Sulung. While crying she said “ Sulung, what you broke is the only thing we got to buy some food, why did you break it”. Sulung was not keeping quiet, he shouted at his mother in a harsh manner. He didn’t stop yelling at his mother until someone come into the house and informed them that the father was found dead in the jungle. The mother lamented loudly. But Sulung was smiling thinking of her freedom to do what he want after her father dead.

While crying the mother said “Sulung, I can’t stand anymore to live in the world. I feel like I am failed to educate you. Take care of your brother, I will come to atu belah to follow your father” after saying that words the mother come to a big stone called Atu Belah. After arriving the mother sang sadly.


Atu belah atu betangkup………….

Tankupen peh kapik kedengku……….

The stone became alive and swallowed her feet. And the mother sang for the second time.

Atu belah atu betangkup…………

Tankupen peh bedenku ini……………..

Finally, after the second song, all of her body was already in the stone. Bungsu cried out loud watching her mother being swallowed alive right in front of his eyes. She yelled as if she wanted the God to hear his vow that he would never be mischievous anymore. But this regret was no longer usefull. He had to face the fact that he was the only person her sister had then.


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