The Fascinating Story of Keong Mas: A Symbol of Hope, Resilience, and Bravery.

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The Fascinating Story of Keong Mas: A Symbol of Hope, Resilience, and Bravery


Indonesia is a country that is rich in folklore traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. One of the most famous tales is the story of Keong Mas or Golden Snail. This story has been widely known since it was written in ancient Javanese literature, Nagarakretagama, in the 14th century.

The Story of Keong Mas

The story of Keong Mas begins with the Kingdom of Daha, where the king is married to a beautiful queen. Sadly, the queen has been cursed by a jelmaan or a supernatural being. The curse made the queen brittle and ultimately cannot stand anymore.

The devastated king sought an oracle to find a solution to get rid of the curse. The oracle advised the king to find a golden snail or keong mas that could cure his queen’s illness.

As no one knows where the keong mas was, the King commanded his army to look for it. It was not until one of the soldiers met a hermit who gave him the whereabouts of the snail. That soldier caught the snail and brought it back to the palace.

When the king gave the golden snail to the queen, she was miraculously cured. The queen was again young and beautiful as before. But, the queen had a doubt about the golden snail. What if by giving the snail back, she would lose her beauty and youth?

Without thinking twice, the queen swallowed the golden snail. Not long after, the queen transformed into a giant golden snail and crawls to nowhere. She disappeared and never returned.

The Symbol of Hope, Resilience, and Bravery

The folklore of Keong Mas has been interpreted by Indonesians and foreigners alike. Some see the story as a symbol of hope, resilience, and bravery. They believe that even in the most challenging situations, there is always a way out if we remain determined and hopeful.

Others interpret the story as a symbol of greed and excessive desire. The queen could not accept the possibility of losing her youth and beauty and ultimately paid the price for that. That the story also serves as a warning against greed and the consequences that come with it.

The Influence of Keong Mas in Indonesian Culture

The story of keong mas not only influences Indonesian people but also becomes a cultural heritage. As a tribute to the legend of Keong Mas, there is an annual art performance in Surakarta or Solo. The show is called “Sendratari Keong Mas” or “The Ballet of Keong Mas.”

During the one-hour show, the audience can see the traditional Javanese dance and a reenactment of the story of Keong Mas. Interestingly, the performers incorporate modern dance and other performances from different parts of Indonesia, such as the “Jaipong” dance from West Java and “Kecak” from Bali.


The legend of Keong Mas has shaped the culture and traditions of Indonesia since ancient times. It symbolizes hope, resilience, and the consequences of being greedy. This folklore continues to inspire Indonesians and remind them of their traditional values and beliefs.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading The Fascinating Story of Keong Mas: A Symbol of Hope, Resilience, and Bravery.

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