Mon, 17 Sep 2001

C. Java locals entertain 'Queen'

SEMARANG, Central Java: Residents of the Tembalang subdistrict believe the Javanese mythical Ratu Kidul (Queen of the Southern Seas) is in town.

Word has it that the queen has been roaming the village in search of her missing selendang, a shawl worn over the shoulders, Antara reported.

Residents decorated their houses with colorful plastic bags containing water hung on the front door for the queen to drink whenever she is thirsty.

"Water is the only thing we can offer," said a resident who hung nine red, green and yellow plastic bags of water on his front door.

But another version of the story has it that in fact the plastic bags are meant to ward off the queen so that she will not intimidate residents.

It is unclear who started the rumors on the presence of the queen who is portrayed in Javanese mythology as "very beautiful and gracious."