Who doesn’t love a love story? Fairy tales and love stories sometimes can be a cure for some when they’re sad, disappointed, or needed to restore their faith in romance. Even though others might debate that fairy tales and love stories are the problem to why many women and girls nowadays are over-fantasising and obsessed with love. Still, we can’t help but to flutter inside when it comes to romance.
As little girls, we were told many, many stories on fairy tales by our mothers and grandmothers before we went to bed. Not only that, it’s a common thing for them to tell folklore — which some has interesting love story too in it — as a way to introduce us to our culture. So, as a way to revisit our childhood, here are a few stories from Southeast Asia.
Daragang Magayon and Panganoron
Coming from the Philippines, this tragic love story between Daragang Magayon and Panganoron is quite similar to Romeo and Juliet. This popular folktale tells a story of Daragang Magayon, a beautiful daughter of a great chieftain, and a son of a chief from the Tagalog region, Panganoron. The beautiful maiden was sought after men, but Magayon wasn’t interested in anyone, not even Pagtuga the great hunter and chief of the Iniga people who showered her with gifts. Not until she met with Panganoron who rescued her when she was on the verge of drowning, and as you can tell, romance blossomed from that point on.
As the romance grew, Panganoron proposed and with the blessing from Magayon’s father, the two were all set for a happily ever after. However, Pagtuga became mad with jealousy learning the situation, he decided to take Magayon’s father hostage and demand her hand in marriage in exchange for her father’s life. Naturally, Panganoron rallied his warriors together and marched against Pagtuga to save both the maiden and her father.
Magayon was overjoyed for both her lover and her father, running onto the battlefield and into Panganoron’s arms to kiss him. Until, a tragedy occurred as one of Pagtuga’s men fired an arrow, piercing Panganoron’s heart and killing him just as the two embraced. In distress and disbelief, Magayon took a knife from Panganoron’s belt and took her own life, crying out his name one final time.
Tam and Cam
Best described as the Vietnamese Cinderella tale, the folklore tells a story of Tam, an overworked and overjoyed woman, who’s cast into a life of servitude and misery at the hands of her jealous stepmother and her sister Cam. Came one day the king announced that he’s in search for a queen to gather women all over. Just as Cinderella, Tam gets all dressed up and loses a slipper on the way which was discovered by the king, knowing that the wearer must be his future queen. Ah, typical right? However, the next part was where the story gets quite twisted.
As Tam married the king, the two didn’t live happily ever after just yet… The stepmother and Cam are incensed and murder the poor Tam, then had Cam replaced Tam as the queen. From then on, the story takes a turn into a series of supernatural incidents where it was told that Tam reincarnates as a bird which the king perspectively recognises as his dead queen. The jealous Cam butchered the bird and buried the feathers in the palace gardens, which later on grow into two peach trees that Cam cuts down and turn into a loom. One day, she heard Tam’s voice scolding her so she decided to burn the loom and scattered the ashes to the wind, which the fallen ashes later grew into a tree that bears one golden apple.
The supernatural occurrence ended as an old lady found the golden apple and peeled the skin, releasing the spirit trapped inside. The old lady then adopted Tam as her daughter and the two lived together peacefully, until one day they came across with the king. The two reunited and eventually Tam was brought back to live in the palace once again. Originally, Tam was very annoyed by her relentless sister for killing her so many times, that she tricked Cam into bathing in boiling water where she dies in agony.