A Lio-Ende Legend – Iya, Meja and Wongge

A Lio-Ende Legend – Iya, Meja and Wongge

Home to thousands of years of culture, religion and tradition, it is no surprise that Flores has quite a collection of its own folktales, fairytales and legends that are passed down from generation to generation. Today, we’re going to delve into a Lio-Ende Legend; the story of Iya, Wongge and Meja Mountains. This legend is almost forgotten but the story remains as mystifying and thrilling as ever and tells of three people; a girl named Iya and two boys named Wongge and Meja.

The story goes that once upon a time, in the ancient times in Flores, there was a beautiful girl named Iya whose beauty was so astounding that she was known throughout the region. Many young men dreamed of winning her hand, and many more made it their own personal mission to win her heart. Amongst all these men, two were even more determined to be her only suitor. These boys were Wongge and Meja. Meja, who came from a simple family, is handsome, calm, friendly and polite while Wongge, who was also just as handsome, was the exact opposite in character even though he came from a rich and important family. Arrogant, temperamental and jealous, Wongge was a chain-smoker; it was said that he was constantly surrounded by cigarette smoke everywhere he went.

Both boys did everything they possibly could to win Iya’s heart, but Iya had secretly made her decision to accept Meja, due to his kind and courteous manner. She accepted his proposal and the couple joyfully made plans to wed. This happy news spread throughout the land until inevitably, it reached Wongge’s ears. With his ego massively bruised, Wongge went to Iya to try to once again win her love, while promising to fulfill all of her heart’s desires if she would only return his love and accept him as her one and only true partner. Iya, who was by now in love with Meja, gently declined Wongge’s declaration of love and tried vainly to express her honest feelings towards Meja to Wongge. Hearing this, Wongge was outraged and was no longer rational. With anger so phenomenal, he began shouting and cursing Meja and Iya.

It was during this time that Meja came about with his best friend Kengo. Upon seeing Meja, Wongge’s anger burst forth like lava and jealousy overcame him. He decided that if he couldn’t have Iya, then no man can. Like a possessed man, he swung his parang and beheaded Meja, leading him to his untimely and unfortunate death. According to legend, Meja’s head, which rolled down the mountain and into the sea, is now the small island known as Pulau Koa. Upon completing the dirty deed, Iya threw his parang, which fell into the sea and turned into a small island, also known as Pulau Ende.

The legend goes on to say that Iya, Meja and Wongge were somehow turned into mountains, which are still standing until today. Gunung Iya is an active volcano – according to locals, Iya would erupt to showcase her heartbreak and sadness for her slain lover. As for how they were turned into mountains, we do not know, but nevertheless, this is a beautiful and charming legend that is great to hear from the locals on your travels to Ende.

Article & Photo Source: I and II

Main Photo Source: Indonesiakaya.com

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