The Epic of Bidasari is the verse translation of the romantic folk fairy tale poem, originally published in a 1901 volume of translated traditional tales from the Malayan archipelago. It’s stunning how similar this is to European tales of the Sleeping Beauty or Snow White, and one wonders if there is a connection. In this volume, it compiles with three other Malay classical tales which are Sedjarat Melayou, The Princess Djouher-Manikam, and Makota Radja-Radja.
Easily the most charming poem of Malayan literature, the Epic of Bidasari has all the absorbing fascination of a fairy tale. The reader is led into the dreamy atmosphere of a haunted palace and a beauteous Plaisance; glide in the picturesque imaginings of the oriental poet of the charm of all that is languorously seductive in nature into the shadowy realms of the supernatural. At one moment, the sturdy bowman or lithe and agile lancer is before the reader in a hurrying column, and at another, we are told of the mystic sentinels from another world, of djinns and demons and spirit-princes. All seems shadowy, vague, mysterious, entrancing.
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