Folk Story (Lakon Godogan)
by Donald Stuart Leslie Friend (1915–1989). Watercolor and ink on paper, 56 × 76 cm.
From the 1967 portion of The Diaries of Donald Friend, Volume 4, edited by Paul Hetherington (Canberra: National Library of Australia, 2006).
Now in addition to Sudijah (the polite husky-voiced extrovert, full of jokes and action, already an adroit merchant) and Dolog (thoughtful and sweet and quietly happy) there is Pudjan—Ida Bagus Rata Pudjan to give his full name, of a priestly Brahmin family, about 12 years old, of incredible dreamy beauty, of a withdrawn and contemplative nature, and yet, I’d guess, very very sexy. A silent child who smiles only if smiled at, and speaks only to answer. My sketchbook is filling up with drawings of these three. Sudijah and Dolog have switched from selling shell necklaces and terrible coconuts, carved to represent hairy monkeys, to ‘barag kuno’—‘old things’, under my tuition, so now there is always some small old object of good workmanship to look at with my morning coffee. That, and the sight of their brown faces and their chatter put me in a good temper to start the day. Or just to let the day get itself started without any active help from me.
With Beri, alert and smiling, in his fishing prahu, Dolog and Sudijah and Pudjan and I paddled and sailed a few miles down the coast to have a look at a small island called Sakenan—where a very simple fishing community live in tiny houses huddled together, walled with coral, about a bay where the thatched roof bamboo palisades stand in the shallows. These are full of turtles being fattened on seaweed. The creatures are caught in Indonesia and brought all the way here in crazy clumsy medieval looking sea-going prahus. It was a pleasant way to spend a morning, with the chattering children laughing and shouting at the waves. We swam and picnicked. Dolog kept giving me secret smiles and languid glances. I am understood to be his property now. Last night he quietly arrived and stayed again, and to my slightly horrified delight made passionate and expert love. Sudijah obviously knows all about this and amuses himself singing songs about me, lying in the water at the beaches edge, grinning with bawdy amusement.
Sometimes in the morning Wija, Tatie and Jimmy Pandy and I sit on the high terrace with its thatched roof, overlooking the beach, trying to catch a little of the intermittent sea breeze, chatting and playing scrabble. In the water, towards lunchtime, Dolog and Sudijah appear, splashing about in the water, making secret signals to me.
Dolog spent the night with me. I hope life will continue forever to offer me delicious surprises like Dolog, and that I will always be delighted and surprised. He goes about the act of love with a charmingly self-possessed grace—gaily, affectionately and enthusiastically; and in these matters he is very inventive and not at all sentimental, for all the caresses. I have a very small transistor radio—a silly toy, with so short a range that it can only pick up a few whispers late at night—but this instrument is the darling of his heart which he woos as assiduously as he applies himself to amorous dalliances. In fact, clinging and squirming in an embrace he sometimes seizes the radio and holds it to his ear, listening ecstatically to the bat-like squeaks of faint far foreign voices, or to jazz and more static, whispering and crooning to the radio and to me turn by turn. Now I have given the instrument to him and Sudijah to share equally.
by Donald Stuart Leslie Friend (1915–1989).