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The Legend of Timor Loro Sae
by Alexandra Pereira
2008-02-17 09:20:36
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This is the traditional tale about the origins of Timor Loro Sae, which in tetum means "orient land – the land of the rising sun", or "land of dawn", or just "East Timor", the land where the sun rises (by opposition to the West part of the Island, Indonesian domain).

Many, many years ago there was an old crocodile living in the Island of Celebes, but he was so old that he had no speed at all and couldn’t catch fish in the river in order to feed himself anymore. So one day, feeling really hungry, he decided to adventure through the margins of the river, in search of some unheeding boar to become his meal.

3_400He walked and walked, until he fell down completely exhausted and desperate, because he hadn’t found anything and, on top of that, he had lost the little strength he still had, as an old crocodile he was. How could he ever go back to the river in such poor condition? There was a kind boy walking by, who felt pity for him and pulled the crocodile by his tail, back to the river’s running water.

As a reward, the crocodile offered himself to carry the boy on his back whenever he wanted to navigate. The boy accepted and they made several trips together, becoming great friends.

However, that didn’t stop the crocodile, once feeling hungry again, from thinking about devouring his companion. Nonetheless, he wanted to hear the opinion of the other animals before doing so: they all showed great disgust. To think about devouring who had saved him? That was such ingratitude!

Feeling very ashamed and remorseful, the ungrateful animal decided to move somewhere very far away where no one would know or find him and start his life from the zero. As the boy was the only friend the crocodile had, he called him and said:

«Come with me in search of a golden disk which floats on the waves near the rising sun. Once we find it, we will be Happy!».

Once again, they travelled together, now furrowing the endless sea… until the crocodile realized he could not continue without having a rest. He reposed for a moment and his entire body begun to transform into stones and earth, sand and trees, forming a magnificent island.

The boy realized he had become a man and he saw delighted that the golden disk which the crocodile dreamt of was now hanging from his own human neck and swinging on his chest. He walked through the beaches, the hills, the mountains and concluded he would accomplish his destiny on that place. So he settled down and gave the island the name of Timor, which means Orient.

This legend was born, in part, to try to explain the shape of Timor Island, which resembles a swimming crocodile.

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Asa2008-02-17 18:12:23
Thanks for that alternative contribution to Ovi. Perhaps you should start a series on each of the world's countries.

AP2008-02-19 22:35:02
I'll think about, Asa, thanks. ps - forgot to tell about the golden disk the timorese use, hanging from their neck, as a part of their traditional costume. :)

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