Limonu is the second son of King Naha and grandson of King Ilato from West Land Kingdom in Gorontalo. When he is in his mother’s womb, his father and brother Paha are killed in a war against his own master, Hemuto. The prince does not know this until he grows up. Will Limonu get even over the death of his father and brother? Find out in the following story of The Mighty Limonu!
A long time ago in the West Land of Gorontalo, there lived a mighty and handsome prince named Limonu. His father was killed in a war when his mother, Queen Ohihiya, was expecting him. So he was raised by his mother only. Getting older, Limonu went to a martial art master, from whom Limonu learnt silat.
One day, silat champions of the North Land were having an assembly in Otanaha Castle. There, the ruler of the kingdom who was also a well-known silat master, Hemuto announced that he wanted to test his ability by fighting some people as well as to perform a ceremony for his completed apprentices. Limonu intended to attend the event and see if Hemuto would be his master. He told his mother about his intention.
The queen was quiet for a while. Hearing the name of Hemuto reminded her of her late husband and son. The bitterness caused by the deaths of her beloved two was still too painful to her despite the years that went past. That feeling prevented her from letting his only son alive to become Hemuto’s pupil. However, she wanted to keep the reason a secret. She gave another reason to change Limonu’s mind.
“Limonu, my son. Isn’t the assembly only for invited people? You should not go there. You’d better train yourself more and perfect what you have. After that, you can go to this kind of meeting and see Hemuto,” said Queen Ohihiya to the prince.
Despite his mother begging him not to, Limonu insisted on attending the assembly. He wanted to be strong and so was sure about becoming a pupil of Hemuto. Queen Ohihiya did not have a choice. She had to let him go.
The next day, when it was getting dark, the champions began to gather up in a hall in Otanaha Castle. In the meantime, Limonu had just arrived. He got in the room and sat down. He observed the champions, one by one, carefully. Seeing Hemuto, he came up to him, bowing. Hemuto gave him a smile.
“Young man, who are you?” asked Hemuto.
“My name is Limonu. I live in the village outside this castle,” answered Limonu.
“Limonu, eh? You’re not invited aren’t you? So what are you doing here?” asked Hemuto again.
Limonu did not hesitate to tell him what he was there for. He wanted to be his pupil, learning silat from him.
Hemuto did not answer. He stared on Limonu carefully. It seemed like he liked the figure and bravery of the young man, as he looked him in the eye. He rarely met this kind of a courageous young man, given that he was one of the most feared silat masters in the kingdom. Taking him as pupil for Hermuto could mean his troop strengthened. Finally, he declared that he accepted Limonu as his pupil.
Limonu was so happy that his wish came true. From then on, Limonu learned under the tutelage of Hemuto. He was so diligent and quick to master every single move that it took him not so long to reach the same level of his master. Hemuto was amazed by the young man’s perseverance in training too. Limonu soon became his dearest pupil.
One afternoon, Limonu was cleaning up the kris legacy of his father, when his mother came near him.
“Limonu, son. There is something I need to tell you.”
“What is it, mother? Sounds like very important,” said Limonu, putting the kris down.
“Put the kris inside. I will tell you after that,” said the queen.
Limonu sheathed the kris and went in to put it in a carved wooden box in his room. He then came out again and sat next to his mother.
“What is it, mother? Tell me, I’m ready,” said Limonu curiously.
“Limonu, you have matured now. I think it is time to tell you this sad secret,” said the queen.
Queen Ohihiya told him everything that happened to his father, from when he was a king to his desire to rule two lands, the West Side and the North Land.
“While I was pregnant with you, your father ruled this kingdom. Everything was fine until he wanted to seize the North Land too, which was already ruled by Hemuto. I tried to change his mind, but your father was stubborn. War broke out between our West Land troop and the North Land’s soldiers. Your father and your brother died in the war,” revealed Queen Ohihiya.
“They… they were killed? Who did it, mother?” asked Limonu.
Queen Ohihiya took a deep breath. It was so hard for her to tell him that. She knew it would put him in trouble.
“Please, mother! Tell me! Who did that? I’m ready to avenge their deaths,” urged Limonu.
Queen Ohohiya finally told him the truth. The killer was Hemuto, the ruler of the North Land, Limonu’s master.
“What? Hemuto?” Limonu was taken aback. “That’s impossible, mother. My master wouldn’t do such a thing. He was kind to me. He has taught me everything.”
“I know how you’re feeling, but that’s the truth, son,” said Queen Ohohiya in a low voice.
Limonu could not believe what he just heard. At heart, he was so confused. On the one hand, he realized that as a son and prince, he was obliged to get even over his father and brother’s deaths. On the other, he knew it was a champion’s duty to honor his master. It was so difficult for him to decide. But then he decided that family should come first. It was only a coincidence that the one he should face was his own master.
Limonu was a wise man despite his age. He tried to find a way in which he could avenge for his father and brother without being disobedient to his master. He then started to form a troop and trained them.
Having a strong army, Limonu went to Hemuto. He wanted to ask his master directly about what happened in the past.
“Master, if a man is killed in a war of power, is his son obliged to get even for him?” asked Limonu.
Hemuto looked surprised. Now he realized that Limonu, his favorite pupil, was the son of King Naha. He sighed and answered, “If I say yes, are you going to kill me?” His answer meant it was right if Limonu, as his pupil, wanted to retaliate against him.
Limonu challenged his own master to fight. He gave Hemuto two choices: they fought and the winner would become the ruler of the two lands, or he could just give up his kingdom to him without war. That was the only way to pay the price of the killing he had done in the past.
As a well-respected man, Hemuto would not give up anything without a fight. The two sides eventually came to blow. Not long after, Hemuto and his troop were cornered and forced to run away. But the war did not end yet. Some days later, Hemuto came back to attack Limonu. The young man, however, was very sharp. Quickly, he led his troop to get upon a hill where they could clearly see Hemuto’s men moving closer. In the right distance, Limonu’s men rolled big rocks down and threw stone at them. “Dembenga!! Dembenga timongliyo!! Stone them! Stone them!!” they shouted.
Many of Hemuto’s men were killed, some others ran away. The hill where the stone-throwing started is now called Dembe I Village, while where it ended, in the northern area, is Dembe II Village.
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Thus the story of The Mighty Limonu ends. The moral of the story is that bravery and diligence are important. With his courageousness and perseverance, he managed to gather up brave troops and defeated Hemuto. The story also holds the message that one should be faithful to one’s family whatever happens. Limonu was not afraid to engage war against his own master, Hemuto, for his late father and brother.