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The Story of Saidjah – Eduard Douwes Dekker (Multatuli) (1820—1887)
Dekker was for many years an Assistant Resident official of the Dutch government in Java. Out of his bitter experiences he wrote his famous novel Max Havelaar, which exposes the cruelty and corruption of the Dutch in regard to the native population of Java. Dekker was also a dramatist, though his fame rests chiefly on his novel.

The Story of Saidjah is a complete entity, introduced into Max Havelaar as an example of the sufferings undergone by the native Javanese under Dutch rule.

The present version is based upon the translation of Max Havelaar by Alphonse Nahuys, Edinburgh, 1868. It was made by the editors, who have omitted a number of long verse passages and here and there condensed a long and verbose passage.
The Story of Saidjah
(From Max Havelaar)

Caidjah’s father had a buffalo, which he used for plowing his O field. When this buffalo was taken away from him by the district chief at Parang-Koodjang he was very dejected, and spoke no Word for many a day. For plowing time was come, and he feared that if the rice- field was not worked in time, the opportunity to sow would be lost, and lastly, that there would be no paddy to cut, and none to keep in the store-room of the house.

I have here to tell readers who know Java, but not Bantam, that in that Residency there is personal landed prop-erty, which is not the case elsewhere. Saidjah’s father, then, was very uneasy. He feared that his wife would have no rice, nor Saidjah himself, who was Still a child, nor his little brothers and sisters.

And the district chief, too, would denounce him to the Assistant Resident if he was behindhand in the payment of his taxes, for this is punished by the law. Saidjah’s father then took a poniard, which he had inherited from his father. It was not very handsome, but there were silver bands round the sheath, and at the end a silver plate. He sold it to a Chinaman in the capital, and came home with twenty-four guilders, with which he bought another buffalo.

The Story of Saidjah part 12

An old woman led him to her cottage. She would take care of the piteous fool. His laugh gradually became less horrible, but he still spoke no word. During the night the inmates of...

The Story of Saidjah part 11

He would wait. …But what if she were ill—dead?Like a wounded stag he flew along the pathway toward the village. He saw nothing and heard nothing. Normally he would have heard, fiir there were...

The Story of Saidjah part 10

Saidjah had never learned to pray, and it would have been a pity to teach him: a more devout prayer and a more fervent expression of gratitude than his would have been impossible. He...

The Story of Saidjah part 9

Who would now be living in her father`s house? Then he thought of his childhood, and his mother, and how the buffalo had saved him from the tiger, of what would have become of...

The Story of Saidjah part 8

No, he had sublime visions in his mind`s eye. He looked for the Ketapan tree in the clouds when he was still far from Badoer. He caught at the air as if to embrace...

The Story of Saidjah part 7

He arrived at Batavia, and asked a certain gentleman to take him into his service, which the gentleman did, because Saidjah spoke no Malay—an advantage there, for servants who do not understand that language...

The Story of Saidjah part 6

Neither on the first nor the second day had he realized how lonely he was, because he was captivated by the grand idea of earning money enough to buy two buffaloes, whereas his lather...

The Story of Saidjah part 5

“I will gladly marry you, Saidjah, when you come back. I will spin and weave sarongs and slendangs, and be very diligent all the while.” “Oh, I believe you, Adinda, but—if I find you...

The Story of Saidjah part 4

Afterwards she hoped that the buffalo understood her, for he must have known why she wept when he was taken away, and that it was not Saidjah`s mother who caused him to be slaughtered....

The Story of Saidjah part 3

Once when they were in the field, Saidjah called in vain to his buffalo to make haste. The animal did not move. Saidjah grew angry at this unusual refractoriness, and could not refrain from...

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