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Malayan Literature by Various
page 2 of 249 (00%)
we are told of mystic sentinels from another world, of Djinns and
demons and spirit-princes. All seems shadowy, vague, mysterious,

In this tale there is a wealth of imagery, a luxury of picturesqueness,
together with that straightforward simplicity so alluring in the story-
teller. Not only is our attention so captivated that we seem under a
spell, but our sympathy is invoked and retained. We actually wince
before the cruel blows of the wicked queen. And the hot tears of
Bidasari move us to living pity. In the poetic justice that punishes
the queen and rewards the heroine we take a childish delight. In other
words, the oriental poet is simple, sensuous, passionate, thus
achieving Milton's ideal of poetic excellence. We hope that no
philosopher, philologist, or ethnologist will persist in demonstrating
the sun-myth or any other allegory from this beautiful poem. It is a
story, a charming tale, to while away an idle hour, and nothing more.
All lovers of the simple, the beautiful, the picturesque should say to
such learned peepers and botanizers, "Hands off!" Let no learned
theories rule here. Leave this beautiful tale for artists and lovers of
the story pure and simple. Seek no more moral here than you would in a
rose or a lily or a graceful palm. Light, love, color, beauty,
sympathy, engaging fascination--these may be found alike by philosopher
and winsome youth. The story is no more immoral than a drop of dew or a
lotus bloom; and, as to interest, in the land of the improviser and the
story-teller one is obliged to be interesting. For there the audience
is either spellbound, or quickly fades away and leaves the poet to
realize that he must attempt better things.

We think that these folk-stories have, indeed, a common origin, but
that it is in the human heart. We do not look for a Sigurd or Siegfried
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