Pan (Balinese for “Mr.”) Kasim is a poor man who lives with his wife Men (“Mrs.”) Kasim in a ragged shack in a village in Bali. One day, when looking for firewood in the jungle, Pan Kasim helps a giant snake who turns out possessing supernatural power. In return of his service, he is given abundant wealth and good social status by the snake. But it is not for long. What happens to Pan Kasim? Find out in the following story of Pan Kasim and the Snake.
Pan Kasim and Men Kasim were husband and wife living in a small village in the island of Bali. The childless couple led a miserable, poor life. They only had a crude hut at the fringe of a jungle to shelter. To make a living, Pan Kasim collected and sold firewood in the market or had them bartered with other items they needed.
One day, early in the morning Pan Kasim was already in the wood. He had quite a few orders for firewood. Carrying only a blade and a rattan rope, he went by himself. In the mean time, Men Kasim stayed home to keep house.
In the jungle, Pan Kasim worked zealously collecting dry branches that time went so fast. It was almost midday when he decided to stop to have a rest under a shady tree. The breeze made the exhausted man fell asleep very quickly. However, he had just been closing his eyes when he heard someone crying for help.
“Help! Help me! Get me out of here!” it went.
Pan Kasim got up at once, looking for the voice. Not long after, he saw a big broken trunk covering a hole. He walked up to the trunk and got surprised to see a gigantic serpent trying to get out of the hole. Pan Kasim was terribly scared and intending to run away when the snake stopped him.
“Don’t be afraid, please," said the snake. “Help me get out, my friend.”
Things could not be weirder for the man. Now the snake talked like a human.
“Well, s…snake. Was it you who cried for help?” asked Pan Kasim.
“It was me, yes. I am a snake, but I can talk like you. I hope I don’t scare you anymore,” said the snake. “Now, come up here, my friend. If you can help me by taking this trunk away from my hole, I will give you anything you ask.”
A poor man he was, Pan Kasim did not mind at all. He pushed the trunk aside so that the snake could crawl out.
“Thank you,” said the snake. “Now, I’m going to keep my word. Tell me what you want.”
Pan Kasim was speechless for a while. For a moment he was thinking of his wretched life in poorness. Therefore he wanted to be a man of wealth.
“Hmm… If that is what you want. Done, you can go home now,” said the snake.
Pan Kasim ran home excitedly. He left out his firewood in the wood. Then, he was amazed to find that his shack had turned into a mansion, surrounded with green flower gardens. He got even more startled to see his wife waiting for him on the porch in a fancy dress and wearing beautiful jewelry.
“Oh, my wife, you look fantastic,” praised Pan Kasim.
Men Kasim only smiled.
“How did this happen?” asked her.
Pan Kasim then told her about his meeting with the magical snake.
“This is how he paid me back for helping him,” said Pan Kasim.
Men Kasim took her husband inside to enjoy delicious food she had prepared on the table. Ever since, Pan Kasim and Men Kasim became rich people. But their suspicious change made their neighbors curious and jealous. Being talked by many people, Men Kasim felt uncomfortable. She complained to her husband.
“My husband, our neighbors have been talking about us for sometime. They think we got all these by robbing,” said Men Kasim.
“Take it easy. Don't let them get you. They are jealous, that’s all,” said Pan Kasim.
Men Kasim then tried to turn away from her uneasiness. As days passed, however, the fuss did not wear out. Men Kasim could not take it anymore.
“Even though we are rich, life is not going to be comfortable with these people talking about us all the time. They are mocking us, you know,” said Men Kasim to her husband. “Go see the snake again, dear. Tell him to make us respected.”
Pan Kasim understood his wife’s feelings. He went to the jungle right away to meet the snake.
“Well, I will make you king and queen. Go home, you are a king now,” said the king. “But remember, be a just and wise ruler.”
Pan Kasim walked home unsure of what was going to happen. A moment after he came back, some royal guards knocked his door. They told him that the king had just stepped down to be a hermit in the mountain. They asked Pan Kasim to replace him. So, on that very day, he was crowned and taken to the palace with his wife.
Being a king, Pan Kasim held complete control inside the palace. They were so respected that everyone would do anything they told them to.
So there came a day when Men Kasim wanted to put on her favorite gown. She commanded her servants to prepare it for her but it was not dried yet. Rains fell often lately. Then, several days later, the sun was shining very brightly. The queen felt hot although some servants were always around fanning her.
“Now why is it so hot here?” murmured Men Kasim.
“The sun is shinning unusually bright, Your Honor,” said one of the servants.
Men Kasim took her servants to the pond in the garden to take a bath. But the sun was hot enough to burn the queen’s skin. Finishing her bath, the queen got sunburns all over her body. Men Kasim was infuriated at the sun.
“Wretched sun! You did not appear when I needed my gown and now, you just came up to burn my skin!” shouted her.
Men Kasim told her husband what happened to her.
“My dear, look at me! This is because of the bloody sun!” she showed her husband her skin. “See the snake again, my dear. Ask him to make the sun submit to us!”
So off Pan Kasim went to the wood again. He met the snake in a hole there. But the snake got angry this time.
“You’re too greedy, Pan Kasim! Go away now,” said the snake.
Disappointed, Pan Kasim went away wearily. When he got to the palace, alas, he saw the original king had come back from his meditation. It took not a long time before he was deprived of his kingship. He and Men Kasim were taken back to their village, only to be taken aback. Their mansion had turned back into a ragged shack. Insatiable Pan Kasim and Men Kasim ended up poor as they had used to be.
Thus ends the story of Pan Kasim and the Snake. The moral of story is that he who bears greed in wealth, rank, and status, will end up miserable. Readers can learn this from what happens to Pan Kasim and Men Kasim, his wife.
Translation by Reza Daffi