Bentala Naga: A Makyong Tale

NINOT AZIZ is an award-winning author and storyteller of many generations. Born in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, she grew up in the idyllic village of Chenor, Temerloh, Pahang, Malaysia.

Volume 2 of the Silverfish Malaysian Legend Series

Silverfish Books (First Edition, 2020)
78 pages

RM42.00

In stock

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Bentala Naga: A Makyong Tale is a tale authored by Ninot Aziz that narrates the idea of the under-sea kingdoms that originated in Benua Sunda. It was long before the Great Flood, and Benua Sunda was the continent that connected the rest of Asia to the Malay kingdoms. The warm and balmy winds caressed the Sea of the Seven Waves like a gentle lover. The ancient sea encircled Benua Sunda like a moat, protecting it from outsiders.

Home to the Naga folk, or the sea-serpents, the Sea of the Seven Waves could dance up a storm or bring ships to shore as gently as it pleased. Imbued with magic and conscious thought, the Seven Waves answered only to the royal family of the Naga.

The Naga lived in grand caverns beneath the Pulau, the enchanted islands of the Malay Archipelago. The stretch of islands from Langkapura of the Andaman all the way to the edge of the Samudera, the great ocean, and beyond was like a ring of emeralds scattered in the aquamarine waters. The favorite playgrounds of the Naga folk could be found surrounding the sunlit islands of Tioman to Tumasek and around the bend of the Semenanjung Tanah Melayu from Patani to Pangkor. While they roamed the deep oceans freely, the Sea of the Seven Waves was where the Naga felt safest—it was here that they kept their great horde of treasures—gemstones and pearls to lighten up their sunken homes under the sea.

Man and Naga seldom met.

But to the sailors who traveled the seas from the kingdom of Kadaram to Kembayat Negara, they had the greatest respect for the Naga—they, who could bring about massive destruction, storms, and hurricanes, yet were the wisest, strongest, and loyal creatures of the sea kingdoms.

Then the strangest thing happened. In an ancient human kingdom, the King and Queen eagerly awaited the birth of their firstborn. The queen suffered a difficult pregnancy throughout many full moons. After thirteen months, she gave birth to a pair of twins—the princess Puteri Seri Binara and her brother, Seri Naga Binata, a naga. There was a bright emerald light surrounding the princess and the naga that kept them safe and healthy, free from any blemish, pain, or sickness. The king and queen adored the twins who could speak both in naga and human tongue from the moment they were born.

After some time, Seri Naga Binata outgrew the cove nearby the palace where he lived. He roamed the seas beyond and swam out to the rest of the kingdoms in the Malay Archipelago. Too soon, he realized the cove was too restrictive so he bade farewell to his sister Puteri Seri Binara to join the other Naga folk. Whenever she needed him, the princess only had to call out his name and he would return to her.

Seri Naga Binata loved the wide, open space of the Sea of the Seven Waves. He was well accepted by the naga folk and after many years, became ruler. Under his reign, humans and sea serpents began to get to know each other. His sister, Puteri Seri Binara was coronated to rule her kingdom.

A peaceful and harmonious time came to pass. The people of the Malay kingdoms became the greatest seafarers known on earth. Their ships all bore the Naga masthead as a tribute to their naga kin.

Peaceful times however beget jealousy. There was an entourage who came to seek Puteri Seri Binara’s hand in marriage and alliance but it was refused. The dejected suitor attacked her kingdom, determined to take her away by force. Puteri Seri Binara cried out to her brother in distress. Alas, the enemy threw gold coins amongst her people who scurried to grab the riches. Seri Binara battled on. The Naga King rushed to the princess’s aid but she died at sea to save her honor. Seri Naga Binata found his sister floating upon the sea foams, cradled by the Seven Waves.

For a moment, the protective emerald light protecting Seri Naga Binata went out. The day plunged tonight, and yet his scales glittered in the darkness, reflecting light this way and that. The Naga King’s anguished cry was a deafening bellow, heard by all the Naga folk near and far. He was enraged. He was grieved. His sadness at losing his sister was terrible—as deep and as dark as the seas he roamed. He summoned the Sea of the Seven Waves to cause the greatest of floods. People were scattered far and wide to save themselves but many perished as the sea levels rose. The lands were divided into little kingdoms. The Naga King forbade interactions between humans and sea serpents anymore.

The Naga, together with the Seven Waves traveled out to the vast ocean until they had arrived at the furthest point, where no humans would venture—the sea kingdom of Dika. The king chose Pulau Tasik Pauh Janggi, a breathtaking island atop a grand canyon in the middle of Dika, as his new palace. Here lies the new Naga kingdom.
After a thousand years had passed, the Naga King went off to the great deep blue ocean to disappear, and he passed his reign to his daughter, Bentala Naga.

Weight 0.301 kg
Dimensions 25 × 20 × 0.7 cm
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