We are back in "The Untold Story" series, where we discuss different folklore from Southeast Asia. This time we will be discussing a folklore from the country of Malaysia, Kuda Semberani, The Enchanting Flying Creature of Malay.
Kuda Semberani, also known as Koeda Sembrani, is an enchanting mythical creature from Malaysian folklore. In oral histories, he is described as a magnificent royal pegasus, a divine horse with the ability to fly at unimaginable speeds.
From the Kitab Raja-raja, Sulalatus Salatin - also known as the Malay Annals - it is revealed that Kuda Semberani was a mythical creature who became a divine horse capable of flying at incredible speeds, almost like teleportation. Because of this amazing ability, this horse was considered the fastest creature in the sky.
This miraculous creature was given the name Faras-ul Bahri, which refers to the Arabic term Faras al-Bahri, meaning "sea horse". In this case, it can be interpreted that Kuda Semberani also has the ability to swim.
In the Malay historical story, the Semberani horse only follows the orders of Raja Suran, the ruler of the sea world known as Negara Dika. Raja Suran rode the flying stallion back to the mainland from the underwater kingdom.
His presence in folklore is often depicted as a figure who fights evil, helps the king or hero overcome various obstacles, and protects the kingdom from danger. As a symbol of courage, Kuda Sembrani inspires people to not be afraid to face life's challenges and difficulties.
In another version, the origin of Kuda Sembrani in Malaysian folklore is told through different versions and oral stories. It is said that Kuda Sembrani emerged from the legendary forest as a gift from the gods or supernatural beings. Some stories say that it is an animal that comes from the underwater realm and has the ability to swim in the sea like a seahorse. In all versions, it is always described as a special being with extraordinary and praiseworthy features.
In the world of mythical art and theater, Kuda Semberani is often depicted as a brave creature and a prized possession of kings. He stars in plays such as Hikayat Serat Selarasa and Hikayat Berma Syahadan, bringing to life epic scenes that mesmerize audiences. The Indonesian Kuda Kepang dance, he says, is inspired by the same mythological creature. Usually performed by dancers "riding" on horses made of bamboo canes and colorful cloth, the dance is also popular in Malaysia.
Kuda Semberani's influence also extends to the world of cinema, especially through the movie "Koeda Sembrani", which was released during the Dutch East Indies era. The touching love story between the actors Roekiah and Djoemala is the centerpiece of the story, which draws inspiration from the Arabian Thousand and One Nights, showing how folklore from different cultures blend into Malaysian mythology.
Aside from being a symbol of grace and beauty, the Semberani horse reflects strength, speed and the wonderful connection between the land and sea realms. Through its depiction in various art forms and stories, it continues to be an enduring presence in Malaysian culture. In each story, the Semberani horse is a source of inspiration and a lesson of courage and prowess, leaving its unforgettable mark on the hearts of Malaysians.