Rentung: Reading for the Mid-Break

p. 52- 53 Chapter 3 of  Rentung written by Shahnon Ahmad.  1983.  Teks Publishing, Kuala Lumpur.

Pagi itu Semaun turun ke bendang dengan penuh kebimbangan.  Semalaman orang tuanya batuk.  Dan sering pula batuk itu dituruti dengan muntah darah.  Beberapa kali direbusnya akar-akar ramuan yang diketahui tetapi darah dan muntah menyembur keluar juga.  Kadang-kadang terkeluar ketul-ketul darah beku yang menakutkan.  Semek dan ibunya tak jemu-jemu mengurut dada Pak Kasa.  Sekali, Pak Kasa muntah bukan main banyak.  Hampir setengah cawan darah beku.  Dan Semek menangis teresak-esak bila pergi ke tingkap menuangi darah setengah cawan itu.  Hampir subuh baru reda sedikit batuknya.  Dan bila ayam berkokok waktu itu Semaun turun juga ke sawah.  Masih lagi ada sepetak yang belum dirantas menerungnya.

That morning Semaun went to the paddy field worriedly.  His old man coughed the whole night. Often times the coughing was followed by vomits of blood.  The roots that he knew were boiled many times but the blood and vomit still spewed. Sometimes the blood clogs were scary.  Semek and her mother keep rubbing the chest of Pak Kasa.  Once, Pak Kasa threw up so much.  It was almost half a cup full of hard blood.  And Semek was sobbing incessantly when she went to pour away the half a cup of blood at the window.  Only when the day began to dawn that the coughing subsided a little.  And only when the rooster began crowing that Semaun went to the paddy fields.  There was one more patch with the grasses remained uncut.

Kesemakannya ditokok pula dengan ingatan pada Dogol yang cuba hendak memusnahkannya.   Apabila mengingatkan adiknya yang sedang besar, ibu dan bapanya yang sering sakit-sakit Semaun bersabar.  Dia tidak suka membiar keluarganya hidup tanpanya.  Lebih mudah lagi keluarganya menjadi sasaran orang.  Dia teringat pada Lebai Debasa dan Jusoh yang begitu garang menerpa hendak mengusiknya beberapa tahun yang lalu.  Semaun tahu segala-galanya tentang muslihat hendak menghapuskan keluarganya dari kampung datuk neneknya itu. 

His tangled mind became more disturbed with his memory of Dogol who wanted to destroy him.  When he recalled that his sister was still young, and his parents were often ill Semaun found his composure.  He did not like the thought of his family living without him.  It would be easier for his family to be the target of others. He remembered Lebai Debasa, and Jusoh’s hard grab in his attempt to challenge him a few years ago.  Semaun knew that all these were tricks to eliminate his family from the village of his grandparents. 

My Translation to assist comprehension, I have yet to read Harry Aveling’s translation of Rentung  Rope of Ash]

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