There is a stone on Air Manis Beach in Sumatra, not far from where I was born.

My mother made a practice of showing me this stone (which has more than a passing resemblance to a prostrate man) because it is attached to a legend of an ungrateful son who forgets his mother.

“Malin Kundang left home to go out into the world,” she’d say, “as I expect you one day to do. This is not why the gods punished him.”

She would usually pause, waiting for me to ask why.

To humor her, I always would.

“It was because when he came back wearing his fine clothes and golden jewels, he saw his ragamuffin mother and was ashamed of her. He forgot to honor the woman who had brought him into this world.”

I usually think of this story when making my vacation plans.

What Pegman Saw


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  1. pennygadd51

    You may not have felt that your heart was in this story, Josh, but the words suggest otherwise. There’s a ring of truth about it, and, while the writing is not elegant, it is strong and (dare I say it) masculine. I like the story rather a lot!

  2. Kelvin M. Knight's blog

    The tone of this one is downbeat, Josh, without your usually historical zing, if you don’t mind me saying so. I liked the picture you choose though and the failed fabled feel of this, if that makes sense.

  3. Lynn Love

    Fantastic picture choice Josh and a great, human story you built around it too. We mothers are very good at the guilt thing … Made me smile

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