The Life of Amat Rhang Manyang || Aceh Folklore || Part 1
Once there in Pasie village, near Paya Senara in Krueng Raya, Aceh, lived a family consisted of a father, mother, and a son named Amat. Amat was usually called “Agam.” (In Aceh tradition, Agam is a nickname given to a son while a daughter will be called “Inong”).
That family was poor, the parents’ job was collecting the coconuts’ fiber and making salt. The coconut fibers that were commonly thrown by people were gathered by them. Then, they soaked the collected fibers into mud. Then after a while, they took the fibers and washed them then they were made as ropes. To cook what they were going to eat, the family took the coconut midribs and used them as the firewood. To the poor family like them, all that coconuts parts were useful while for rich families, they were not considered as something that can be used. So that they usually throw the midrib, and fibers away. If those rich families want to use them, they may just use them as a bonfire that was set near the ox’s cage to get rid mosquitoes.
The salt that they made the sell to the people in Kampung Pasier. They money they got, then were used to buy food. Unfortunately, the food that they bought everyday seemed not enough to fulfill their needs. Despite the difficulty the family faced, the affection that they gave to their son was more than enough, as he was the only child that they had. 5. They always tried hard to give a good life for their only son. All hard work had been done, but the result was not satisfying. They wanted to do a new venture, but the only problem they faced was that they had no money that they would use as a venture capital. In their hard life, they still had a faith in God. Every day, they prayed to God and asked Him to give a better life, if not for them, at least for their son.
One day, a disaster came to this family. The father was died, and there were now Amat and his mother. His mother was so sad to know the fact that his husband passed away. She couldn’t face the reality that now she had to struggle alone to feed the family. All the hope that once she and her husband had talked about seemed to tremble down now. But she realized that she was not supposed to dwell for long. Then for a better future of his son’s life, he took his son to Teungku Meunasah. She took her son to his place in order that his son can learn Al-Quran. Together with other children in the village, Amat started to learn how to recite Al-Quran.
While learning in Teungku Meunasah, Amat often had a bad treat from his friends as he wore a bad clothes. The clothes he wore had torn up in most part of it and it had so many clothes fillings. And every time he was mocked by his friends, he would go home crying and told his mother about what had happened to him. Knowing that his son was not treated well by his friends, the mother can only smile because she knew that she couldn’t do anything that could change the way Amat’s friends behave towards him. She can only tell his son to be patient and to believe that every actions that people do whether it is bad or good will back to them. If people do bad things to other people, someday bad thing will be back to them, and vice versa. Every night, his mother often told him a story that full of value of life. She wanted his son to get the value from the story she told and she often told the story of rebellious children.
Above all, Amat’s mother wanted his son to understand that the quality of a person was not defined by the clothes that they wear. Usually, after being told the story, Amat would fall asleep. Sometimes, the mother herself fell unsure whether his son would be a good person when he grew up. She was afraid if his son became a bad person. She couldn’t imagine what her life would be if her son didn’t become a good person. Day after day, year after years passed by, and Amat had been growing up. Meanwhile, the life that he had hadn’t changed much. He still lived in poverty