Tag Archives: folktale

#Folktale and #EngQuiz: Why cats bury their poo

In this article, we will share an interesting Indonesian #folktale in English.

Why #folktale? Because Indonesia is rich in local folktales and we think it’s good to share some of them to you all. While reading and knowing more about Indonesian folktales, you can also learn English at the same time. Isn’t that fun? :)

All folktales are taken from @Story4Children‘s site http://www.learn-english-through-stories.com/ (visit to see more). Or find them on our site.

The #folktale we will share this is about… drum roll cats! Do you like cats, fellas? Do you know cats bury their poo? Do you know why they do this? Well, you’ll know why soon after you read this #folktale. This story is from Lampung, Sumatera. Is anybody from or living in Lampung?

Why cats bury their poo

Once upon a time, animals could talk to one another. They talked just like humans. They lived peacefully in the jungle.

They had a king, and it was the cat. All animals chose the cat as their king because he had all the knowledge and the skills.

He was the wisest and the cleverest animal in the jungle. He was also generous and kind. Other animals became his students.

One of the cat’s students was the tiger. He was the most obedient student. He did whatever the cat asked him to do.

One day, the tiger wanted to master all the cat’s skills. He asked the cat to teach one skill that he didn’t have. What is it?

“Master, you are good at climbing trees. You haven’t taught me and I want to have that skill,” said the tiger to the cat.”

The cat did not believe in the tiger. He was afraid that the tiger would be a super animal if he mastered this skill.

“You have to wait. You are not ready to study how to climb the tree. Let me teach you how to sneak instead,” said the cat.

In a very short time, the tiger mastered the skill. This was actually the cat’s trick. He prolonged the tiger’s request.

“Teach me how to climb a tree,” said the tiger. “Wait, you haven’t mastered the skill how to swim,” answered the cat.

The cat hoped that the tiger could not swim, but he was wrong. The tiger was a great animal. He could swim in just a minute.

When the tiger became very tired, he felt his teacher did not want to teach him how to climb trees. He became very angry.

“Master, I’m your best and most obedient student. But why don’t you teach me how to climb trees?” begged the tiger.

The cat knew he had to tell the truth. “My student, I have a reason. I am afraid you will use the skill to do something bad.”

“What?!” the tiger burst into anger. “Teach me now! Otherwise I will kill you!” He attacked the cat. The fight was inevitable.

The tiger was bigger and had more strengths than the cat. The cat was cornered and had no other choice but to save himself.

The cat ran away. When he found a big tree, he climbed it. The tiger did not know how to climb, so he waited under the tree.

The tiger screamed, “Wherever you go, I will chase you. And not only that! When you defecate, I will eat your feces!”

Why would he do that? Because the tiger once heard that the cat’s power was in his feces. A little bit strang, isn’t it?

Well, however strange the #folktale might be, this happens until now. That’s why if cats defecate, they bury their feces with sand/soil.

Back to my question earlier: why do cats bury their poo? Well, according to the #folktale: they are afraid tigers will eat their feces!


Answer the questions based on the story above:

  1. Still remember “degrees of comparison”?(read: #EngClass: Degrees of comparison) Can you mention 3 superlative adjectives in the #folktale?
  2. “The fight was inevitable.” What does “inevitable” mean?
  3. Still remember “quoted/direct speech”? (read:  #EngClass: Quoted speech (Direct speech)) Can you count how many sentences use this?
  4. “When you defecate, I will eat your feces!” What does “defecate” mean?
  5. If both the cat and the tiger had the same chance to become a king, who would make the best king, and why?

Compiled and written by @NenoNeno at @EnglishTips4U on Monday, July 16, 2012

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#Folktale and #EngQuiz: The legend of Surabaya

This #folktale article is brought to you by @EnglishTips4U and @Story4Children. All stories are taken from @Story4Children‘s website.

Before we start the #folktale, may I ask you a question, fellas? Does anyone here come from Surabaya? Do you know the symbol of the city?


Correct, fellas. The symbol of Surabaya is shark and crocodile (see photo). Do you know the story behind it?The statue depicts the fight between a shark and a crocodile. There are some versions of the story, and this one is one of them.

The legend of Surabaya

Long time ago, all animals could talk to each other. Some lived in the jungle, some in sea, and some others in the river.

There was a crocodile who lived in a river. He had not been eating for days. There was no fish in the river because of dry season.

The river was dry and he was starving. He planned to leave the river and head into the sea to catch some fish. So there he went…

It was a one hot day. The crocodile arrived at the sea and started to swim. He was happy because there was plenty of fish.

When he ate the fish, a shark saw him. The shark did not like what he saw and asked the crocodile, “Hey, what are you doing here?”

“Eating some fish. Why?” answered the crocodile. “You don’t belong here! This is my place! Go!” the shark raised his voice.

“Eating some fish. Why?” answered the crocodile. “You don’t belong here! This is my place! Go!” the shark raised his voice.

“Oh, you think so? I don’t care. I’m hungry. I’m not gonna leave this place until I’m full!” the crocodile did not seem to care.

“Well, if you don’t leave, then I will have to attack you,” said the shark. “Attack me? I’m not scared,” the crocodile replied.

Then it happened.. The thing that we all might have guessed and thought it would happen. The shark and crocodile started a fight.

The shark got so furious. He bit the crocodile’s tail, but the crocodile could avoid the attack. He hit the shark back instead.

The shark and the crocodile were equally strong. The fight lasted for days and there was no sign that it would end.

Because it was so intense, the fight had finally caught people’s attention. They were amazed by the power of these two animals.

People talked about the news and it spread very fast. Many people came to see this fight between a shark and a crocodile.

This fight was where Surabaya got its name. Surabaya is taken from the words “Sura” (shark) and “Baya” (crocodile).

This fight was where Surabaya got its name. Surabaya is taken from the words “Sura” (shark) and “Baya” (crocodile).

What an interesting story about the legend of Surabaya city. As usual, there will be #EngQuiz after the #folktale.


Answer the questions based on the story above.

  1. “The statue depicts the fight between a shark and a crocodile.” What does “depict” mean? What is the part of speech?
    • I hope you still remember “part of speech”. Part of speech = jenis kata. Example: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc.
  2. “.. he was starving.” What does “starving” mean? What part of speech is it?
  3. “The shark got so furious.” What does “furious” mean? What part of speech is it?
  4. “.. the crocodile could avoid the attack.” What does “avoid” mean? What is the part of speech?
  5. “The shark and the crocodile were equally strong.” What does “equally” mean? What part of speech is it?
  6. “Because it was so intense ..”. What does “intense” mean? What part of speech is it?
  7. Last question.. What can you learn from this #folktale?

Compiled and written by @NenoNeno at @EnglishTips4U on Monday, May 28, 2012

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#Folktale and #EngQuiz: “The Hedgehog River (Sungai Landak)”

“Sungai Landak” or the Hedgehog River is a river in West Kalimantan. Apparently there is an interesting story behind its name…

The hedgehog river

Once upon a time, there lived a farmer and his wife. They did not have any children. They were old and poor, but happy. They never complained. The neighbors loved them very much. They were very helpful. They liked to help others.

One day the wife told her husband about her dream.

“It was so strange. I was standing in our pond and I saw something shining. I was curious, so I searched for it. I found a small statue! The statue had a shape of a hedgehog. And it could talk!” said the wife.

“The statue said we can get anything from him. We just have to touch his head and mention what we want. He will give it to us. The object will flow from his mouth like water. It will never stop until we touch his head again and say stop,” she continued.

The farmer kept on thinking about his wife’s dream. He planned for the search in his pond and finally did it.

All of sudden, he saw something shining and immediately grabbed it. Yes, it was a hedgehog statue!

“Let’s try it!” he screamed. He asked what the wife wanted.

She said shyly, “Jewelries?”

The farmer touched the statue’s head and said, “Jewelries!”

Amazingly, jewelries were flowing from the statue’s mouth.

They became happy and very rich! They then lived in a big house. They shared their money with their neighbors. Sadly, not all of them were happy.

There was a neighbor who got very jealous. He really wanted to know how the farmer became very rich.

The jealous neighbor secretly went to the farmer’s house. He saw how the statue gave them what they wanted.

“Now I know the secret. I will steal their statue and be richer than them!” the neighbor said to himself.

It was late. The farmer and his wife were asleep. The neighbor slowly went inside the house, took the statue, brought it home.

When the neighbor wanted to try the statue he was thirsty and wanted to drink. He touched the statue’s head and said, “Water!”

The water soon flowed. When he thought it was enough for him to drink, he wanted the statue to stop flowing the water.

He said, “Stop!” But water kept on flowing from the statue’s mouth. He repeated, “Stop!” However, the water did not stop.

Apparently, he forgot to touch the statue’s head. Water kept on flowing and slowly it flooded his house. He got panicked. He asked for help.

People came to see what happened. They were so scared. Slowly the house was swallowed by the water. They did not help, but ran away.

From a distance they saw the level of the water got higher. Slowly it became a river.

Because the river was made of the water flowing from the hedgehog statue, people then named the river as Hedgehog River.


  1. “One day the wife told her husband about her dream, “..I was standing in our pond..”” What is a pond?
  2. [‘s] (apostrophe + “s”) can mean: is, has, or possessive. Mention 3 words in the story with [‘s] that mean possessive.
  3. “I was curious, so I searched for it.” What is curious?
  4. Find the word in the story that is similar to “envy.”
  5. As we have discussed in the first , in this kind of story we always use Past Tense. Find 10 past verbs in the story.
    • Alright fellas, questions 6-10 require your comprehension on the story, plus a little imagination and creativity.
  6. Why do you think the farmer and his wife got the hedgehog statue?
  7. Why did the neighbors love the farmer and his wife very much?
  8. Do you think the neighbor got what he deserved? Why?
  9. What is the moral of the story?
  10. If the statue came to your dream and became yours, what would you do?

Compiled and written by @NenoNeno at @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, May 5, 2012

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#folktale and #EngQuiz: “The tiger and the baby”

We’d like to introduce a new article on EnglishTips4u.com. We call the program “Learning English through Indonesian Folktales” and this is brought to you by and .

Do you know what folktale is? Do you like folktale? Yes, folktale means ‘cerita rakyat.’ Many folktales have been made into popular movies (esp. by Disney) such as Aladdin (Iraq), Mulan (China), Hansel and Gretel (Germany), etc.

Do you know that you can learn English through , esp. by reading it? Do you wish someday Indonesian folktales will be famous? We can learn English and Indonesia’s cultural heritage at the same time. It’s fun!

We’ll start with a story from ‘s web, then there will be an  at the end. The  we will be sharing is called “The Tiger and The Baby”. Anyone ever heard about this folktale before? Well, let’s just start.

The Tiger and The Baby

On one beautiful day, a farmer and his wife finished working in their rice field when they saw a tiger cub on the way home. At first they were afraid. They thought the mother was near. But soon they saw a dead tigress near the cub.

“What should we do?” asked the wife. The farmer insisted to ignore the cub. Apparently it followed them home.

“Don’t follow us! Go back to the jungle!” said the farmer to the cub.

“He just lost his mother, he is lonely. Why don’t we keep him?” asked the wife.

When the farmer agreed to his wife’s wish, the cub looked happy. After a while, he grew bigger and stronger.. The tiger was obedient to the farmer and his wife. His task was to guard the house every time they went to the rice field.

Time went by.. The wife got pregnant and finally they had a cute baby son. Now the tiger’s duty was to guard the baby.

One day, when the farmer and his wife was working at the rice field, the tiger came to them, full of blood.

“Hey, what’s the matter with you?” asked the farmer. The tiger acted strange, as if tried to say something.

The wife suddenly remembered their baby and screamed, “Your mouth is full of blood. Oh my God! Did you eat my baby?”

The farmer was so furious. “You are really ungrateful! We have taken care of you since you were small!” He then grabbed a knife, stabbed the tiger. The tiger died instantly. They rushed home. When they arrived, the door was open.

They went to the bedroom and felt very surprised.. The baby was safe! He was sleeping soundly.

“Honey, look!” The wife pointed under the cradle. There was a big dead snake. Blood was all over its body.

“Oh no.. I’ve made a terrible mistake. The tiger did not eat our baby. He saved the baby from the snake!” said the farmer. The farmer regretted his wrongdoing. He killed an innocent animal. Not just any animal, but a loyal pet. But it was too late..

People knew about this incident. They later named the village “Penyalahan”. “penyalahan” means “wrong guess”.

That’s the end of our . How do you feel about it? FYI, Penyalahan is a village in Jatinegara, Tegal. Anybody’s from Tegal?


  1. Have you noticed that the uses past tenses to tell the story? Do you know why?
  2. “The farmer and his wife saw a cub on the way home.” What is a “cub”?
  3. Can you give examples of sentences using Simple Past Tense and Past Continuous Tense in the ?
  4. In the sentence “When the farmer agreed to his wife’s wish, the cub looked happy.”, which word is “linking verb”?
  5. In the , find the word that has the same meaning as unthankful or unappreciative.
  6. “The wife pointed under the cradle.” What is a “cradle”?
  7. [“The cub is lonely,” said the wife.] Within the quotation marks [“…”] is “direct speech”. What tense does it use?
  8. “The farmer insisted to ignore the cub.” What does the word “insist” mean?
  9. “Open the window!” is an example of an imperative. Can you give an example from the ?
  10. Last but not least.. What do you think the moral of the story is?

Leave your answers in the comment box below and don’t forget to number them.

Compiled and written by @NenoNeno at @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, April 21, 2012

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