Narration Materials for Little People Series #2

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  • Little People Series #2: Homo The Wildman of Asia- The Orang Pendek of Sumatra


    By John Michael Gorrindo

    Audio Track: Adventures of an Orang Pendek Family


    Hi Fiona and Will ! It’s Grandpa again speaking to you from far away Indonesia! I hope when you get older you can come and visit! Like I mentioned last time I spoke with you, Indonesia is a large country made up of many, many islands. Most of the islands are covered in rain forest and have a lot of different kinds of animals and birds. The oceans are full of fish and coral reefs.

    Last time I sent you a story and music, it was about the Tuyul. I heard that you liked it! So I am sending you another story about some other Little People of Indonesia. Today’s story is about the Orang Pendek that are believed to live on the island of Sumatra. I’ll show you guys some illustrations of an Orang Pendek a little further along in this narration.

    But first, take a look at this map of Sumatra and a couple of photos of the rain forest. You can imagine how difficult it would be to survive in such a place!

    The red strip are the mountains of Sumatra where the Orang Pendek live.

    Many of the mountains are volcanoes!

    Some people travel through the jungle on elephants!


    The Orang Pendek share the forest with many large and scary animals. Take a look!


    The Cloud Leopard

    The Tapir

    The Rhinoceros

    The Tiger

    The Elephant



    Above you see three illustrations of the Orang Pendek. (Orang means person or people, and pendek means short of little, so Orang Pendek means “little people”). Many people have said they have seen an Orang Pendek, but no one has ever taken a picture of these little people, so we are not sure what they really look like.

    The Orang Pendek looks like a cross between an ape and a human. But it stands up like we do and can walk and run like us.

    The Orang Pendek lives deep in the rain forest like the Tuyul, but unlike the Tuyul, the Orang Pendek never comes out. They are very secretive and scared of humans. When they see people, they run away! No one ever catches them because they are so fast and strong!

    Most of the people who have seen the Orang Pendek say they have long hair, that their bodies are covered in hair (not fur) and that they are short (taller than you, Fiona and Will, but a lot shorter than your Dad or Mom)! Here are two really interesting drawings by two people who saw a male and female Orang Pendek (the drawing on the right is from almost 400 years ago!

    What do you think?? I think they look more like people than they do monkeys or apes. But they sure look a lot different than the colored illustrations above! Remember- we really don’t know much about the Orang Pendek and what they really look like!

    I will now play you kids some music that I composed and narrate a story that goes along with the music. It is a story I made up about a family of Orang Pendek.


    An Orang Pendek’s Family Adventure

    We are deep in the rainforest up on a side of a volcano. Listen to the thunder and lightning! But listen again! There are birds all around. Each has its own unique song. An Orang Pendek family who live deep in the rainforest walk together on the steep side of the volcano. There are four of them- a mother and father and two young children- one male and one female. They walk and they walk up and up! Their goal is to reach the top of the volcano because up there they will find a special tree with delicious fruit. After they eat the fruit, they can rest and enjoy looking at the two strange lakes that lie at the bottom of the crater.

    They have arrived and begin to dance together as they have found the wonderful tree overgrown with delicious fruit! Listen to them prance and dance!

    When the family stopped dancing they began to stare down at the pair of lakes below them.

    Now, each of the lakes were said to be inhabited by spirits of the dead! The first and larger lake was supposedly home to the spirits of dead Orang Pendek who had been good hearted in life. The second and smaller lake was home to the spirits of dead Orang Pendek who had been evil at heart.

    Suddenly, the surface waters of the smaller lake began to swell up with waves and bubble with escaping gases!

    Evil spirits began to escape from the lake waters and rise into the air above, whirling and swirling and rocketing across the sky above!

    But before long, the evil spirits seemed to grow tired of their antics, and dove back into the waters of their lake. All became quite once again!

    The young male Orang Pendek, named Op, looked up at his shocked parents and said with bursting curiosity, “What was that?”

    His parents, who had only heard of such spirits and had never seen them, were quiet for a while. Then the mother said, “Those were some kind of spirits of our forefathers and mothers.”

    “Wow!” exclaimed Ubu, the female child. “That was the most amazing thing that’s ever happened in the rainforest!”

    But then the most amazing thing happened. The Orang Pendek family began to hear chanting coming from both of the lakes- voices were calling- one group answering the other in call and response! The good and evil spirits seemed to be speaking to each other!

    The voices suddenly went quiet. The family looked around them with sheer wonder. “Since the good spirits are in this larger lake, let’s go down to the shore and see if they will speak or sing to us!” suggested Ubu.

    The parents gazed at each other questioningly, and the father replied, “It appears that none of the spirits mean to harm us. We’ve come this far in our adventure. Sure, let’s climb down to the lakeside of the good spirits!” And so together the family did.

    And lo and behold! The good spirits began to make harmonious sounds!

    Suddenly the voices fell silent, just like before. But soon enough, the voices of the evil spirits started up from the smaller lake that lie over the ridge from where the family stood. The family was shocked and scared!

    The family quickly mobilized and climbed up and out of the crater. Before you could say lickety split they had reached the top and made a quick descent down the side of the volcano! Never had a family of Orang Pendek moved with such speed and determination! Just as they reached safety below the volcanic peak, they heard a huge clash of voices and beheld a cloud of skyrocketing spirits, good and evil, chase each other across the sky!


    Hope you enjoyed it! Stay tuned! I’ll be sending along to you another story about Indonesian Little People!


    Love you kids! Grandpa and Atty