Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman

Abdullah si Nelayan dan Abdullah si Merman | Edisi Indonesia

A Tale from Persia/Arab

Long ago, there was a poor fisherman named Abdullah. He had a large family and he was only able to support his family on that day. He never had a problem with this lifestyle, but one day he could not catch any fish.

He walked at the city sadly, for he came home empty-handed and worried that his family may became hungry. Abdullah's friend, the baker, saw his misery and gave him enough money to feed his family for that day. Abdullah promised he would repay the baker’s kindness as soon as possible.

But on the next day, Abdullah still could not catch any fish. The baker still gave him money to feed his family without asking for anything in return.

Abdullah cried to his wife about the his guilty for not being able to support the family. His wife assured him that God would provide it.

On the 40th day, when Abdullah pulled back his net, there was a merman in it. A Merman is a man half-fish creature.

At first Abdullah was frightened, but the merman explained that he was a follower of  the faith and would not harm the fisherman. Merman introduced himself as Abdullah. The Merman was very happy to hear that the name of the fisherman was also Abdullah, because it was a sign of God's will.

Abdullah of the Sea suggested that the two begin a partnership. The Merman wanted the fruits that grows abundantly on land. In return, the merman will give Abdullah of the Land the valuable jewelries that easily found under the sea. The fisherman happily approved the plan, and thus the partnership between Abdullah of the Land and Abdullah of the Sea began.

Now the fisherman already had a lot of valuable jewelries, Abdullah of the Land can return the favor of the baker and support his family easily. Every day, Abdullah of the Land went into the sea with a basket of fruits and returned to the city with a basket of jewelries. With a lot of luggage, the fisherman headed to a local jewelry store to sell his goods.

However, an unexpected incident happened to Abdullah. The Queen's Jewelries had been stolen. A sheikh came to the town to find the culprit. He was at the jewelry store, waiting for the thief to pawn off the goods. When Abdullah, a poor fisherman, came with a basket of jewelry for sale, the sheikh immediately considered Abdullah to be the thief.

Abdullah of the Land arrested and brought to the King. The Queen checked the seized jewelries. Apparently, the Queen found that the quality of the jewelries were far superior than the quality of her own. Abdullah from the Land was immediately released and got an official apology from the King. The king not only bought all of Abdullah's jeweleries to overcome the mistake, but the King also allowed Abdullah to marry his daughter, the Princess. Abdullah's family moved and lived in splendor, and Abdullah became highly respected as King's son-in-law.

Abdullah the fisherman continued to cooperate with Abdullah the merman. One day, both of them have survived in their usual encounters with long, pleasant chats. They talked about many things, but eventually they came to the point of faith. Merman asked if the fisherman had made a pilgrimage to the tomb of the prophet. Abdullah from the Land admitted that he never did it because he was too poor to travel before.

Realizing he had a chance, Abdullah of the Land asked him if he could stop their trade for awhile when he made the pilgrimage. Abdullah of the Sea happily let him take time off, but only if the fisherman could bring the merman's deposit during the pilgrimage. Abdullah of the Sea could not travel on land and felt sad about the fact that he could not do the pilgrimage, but he may feel peaceful if Abdullah of the Land can fulfill his wish.

Abdullah  of the Land accepted his friend's humble request. To show gratitude, the Merman invited Abdullah of the Land to his home for a party. Abdullah of the Land explained that he actually wanted to accept his offer, but it was impossible because he can not breathe underwater. Then the merman disappeared for a moment under the waves, and he returned with a container of ointment like the fat of the beef with golden-colored and smells good. The ointment is the fat of a ferocious fish liver, larger than any animal on land. The fish is called Dandan.

After the ointment is smeared on the fisherman, he can breathe and swim under water without any problem. Abdullah from the Land saw many amazing sights under the sea.

Late in the afternoon, he was taken to Abdullah's house of the Sea and had a big party. Although the fisherman felt honored, he was uncomfortable because of the party served with raw fish. There was no fire underwater.

As the Merman explains their culture, other things begin to complicated the fishermen. When Abdullah of the Sea asked what disturbed his guest, the fisherman explained that all the mermen were naked, which he thought was something improper.

Not only that, while the mermen  had been showing his guest around, there's a funeral going on. All the "mourners" cheered and celebrated with joy, such a scene bothered him.

The Merman was confused and asked of what the humans do when someone died. Abdullah of the Land explained that they were crying and saddened over the loss of their loved ones.

At that time, Abdullah of the Sea became very irritated and returned his guest to the land.

"Give me the deposit!" So the fisherman gave it to him.

Then the merman said to him, "I have severed our relationship and our family; therefore from this day on, you have not seen me and I have not seen you either."

The fisherman could not understand his mistake. The Merman angrily explained that he can not trust someone who does not rejoice when the soul has return to God.

"Is it grievous to you that God should take back His deposit, so you cry for it? How can I trust you to bring the deposit to the Prophet? While a child was born, you rejoiced it, even though you know the Almighty put the soul in him as a deposit. And when He took it again, is it very sad for you so you cry and grieve? Because it's difficult for you to give up God's deposit, how can you easily send my deposit to the Prophet? Therefore, we do not need your friendship," said the Merman.

After that the Merman left him and disappeared in the sea.

That was the end of their relationship, and Abdullah of the Land returned to his palace home in despair. Although his family continued to live well for the rest of his life, Abdullah of the Land would still visit the sea and summon his lost friend, even though the merman had left him forever. **

The End


Did you know?

Dandan or Dendan is a marine mythological creature that appears in volume 1001 night volume 9. It appears in the story of Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman, where a merman said that Dandan was the largest and most vicious fish in the sea and the enemy of the mermen, greater than any beast, and if he can meet a camel or an elephant, he will be able to swallow it in one gulp.

There are many of Dandan in the ocean. Dandan was afraid of humans or Son of Adam. Therefore if the Dandan ate a human, it will die. Human fat was a deadly poison for such being.

The mermen collected the liver fat of the Dandan that had died. When a man fell into the sea and drown and then his form has been damaged and changed, the Dandan ate it because of thinking it as the meat of the sea creature. It died instantly because of eating it. Then the mermen took his liver fat and grease themselves in order to travel in the ocean in safety.

And wherever there was a Son of Adam, although there were a hundred or two hundred or a thousand or more of Dandans, all will die by hearing humans' voices, even they could not move from their spot. So if any Son of Adam fell into the sea, the mermen applied him with the liver fat of the Dandan and asked the man to cry out if they met Dandan. The animal would die instantaneously because of a single cry. **

Date: Before 850

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