Welcome to Irene Ritchie's website

Saturday 5th November 2016 -  The Power of Story, Fo Guang Yuan Gallery, 141 Queen St. Melbourne. 1.30pm - 3.30pm.  Si Kancil as a Wayang Story presented by Irene Ritchie.

View flyer (2 pages)







 News:  Central Java activities Jan/Feb 2016 View some Photos

Irene has received an award in 'Port Phillip Writes' for the Seniors' Festival Writing Awards 2015. The article was called "A Kooglhoupf Adventure in the Monarch Cake Shop".  View the article

One teacher's approach using Kancil stories and puppets - view image

A YouTube introduction to Kancil's Secret Life by Irene - view video

Summary of a recent talk by Irene View pdf

The British Library has accepted three Kancil books after assessment by the curator of Southeast Asian Studies at the library. "The British Library does not usually collect childrens' books, but we shall certainly add these to our collection because they draw on the rich seam of Indonesian and Malay folk lore, and complement other works on Kancil in the Library's collections, including two Malay manuscripts, which have just been digitised and you can read about in our recent blog: link to these manuscripts".

Recent Book

The Prince Who Loved Animals - by Irene Ritchie and Eddy Pursubaryanto  in stock.

The Prince of Nartaka did not like his father killing animals to make money so he went to the forest to help the animals. He stopped the collection of elephant tusks, trophy hunting for tiger heads and the taking of rhinoceros's horns for medical purposes. He got the approval of the forest animals to set up environmentally friendly activities so that animals and humans could live peacefully together. The Kancil was a great friend to the Prince and together with a Balinese myna bird helped him to find new solutions to all the problems faced by the Kingdom of Nartaka.


Kancil's Secret Life - Retold by Irene Ritchie and Eddy Pursubaryanto   YouTube introduction by Irene  in stock.






 Kancil The Clever Mouse Deer - Retold by Irene Ritchie and Eddy Pursubaryanto    more in stock.






 Kancil The Peace Maker - Retold by Irene Ritchie and Eddy Pursubaryanto   more in stock.






Kancil stories on YouTube:  An interesting program from Kompas TV is on You tube. The program is all in Indonesian and is suitable for all ages but most suitable for senior students. Go to links to view video at the Youtube site.



Kancil's Cancelled Wedding and other stories as told by Irene Ritchie.

The Kancil or mouse deer stories came from the ancient repertoire of Persia, Egypt and Turkey and found their way into Indonesian folk lore hundreds of years ago. A Kancil is a mouse deer, a tiny animal which looks like a combination of a mouse and deer. This little animal has no horns but tusks and its hind legs have projecting heel bones. It has very dark eyes and moves quite gracefully. As the kancil is so small, it must rely on its cunning and intelligence to survive in the jungle. The hilarious tales of the mischievous trickster, Kancil, who is very clever at outwitting the greedy and powerful characters in the jungle, have delighted generations of Indonesians, both adults and children.

 Today these stories are highly accessible through the story telling skills of Eyang Kendro, a Javanese man who spent a large part of his life in America and Hawaii. Irene Ritchie has retold these stories using the voice, dialect and wit of Eyang Kendro. Eyang Kendro first heard these stories as a child sitting on the veranda in the warm, balmy Javanese evenings listening to his parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents way back in the 1930's.

Irene Ritchie first came upon these stories in a book shop in Yogyakarta. She translated them from Indonesian into English for her school students in the early 2000's and found the task of translation so burdensome that she took it upon herself to ask her Javanese friends for the Kancil stories they remembered from their childhood and to make them available in English for all interested teachers and keen readers everywhere.

Irene met Eyang Kendro on the internet in an international gamelan list where lovers of the Indonesian percussion orchestra contributed information and ideas. Wayang Kancil or shadow puppet theatre using the kancil stories had a revival in Java in the 1980's and discussions about this genre led Eyang to tell his tales and he received a particularly enthusiastic response from Irene who became the recipient of all his stories over a 3 year period. Eyang Kendro died in 2007 and had already given permission, along with his family after his death, for Irene to write and publish these wonderful tales.

The book is illustrated with full colour watercolurs by Georgina Simmonds.

Stories included:
Kancil's Cancelled Wedding - Kancil finds himself stuck on a scarecrow brushed with sticky sap but is able to trick the farm dog to enable him to escape being made into Kancil stew.

Kancil and The Magic Belt - Kancil saves himself from being the tiger's next meal by tricking the tiger with a story about a magic belt with amazing powers.

Kancil and The Green Rice Puree - Kancil is busy guarding some green rice puree when the tiger comes along and wants it all.

Kancil the Census Taker - Mr. Tiger is chasing Kancil up and down the jungle tracks when Kancil arrives at a river teeming with crocodiles. He devises an ingenious plot to cross the river and escape from the tiger.

Kancil and The Magic Flute - Kancil sets out to teach the tiger the art of fine living by playing a flute. The flute is not what it appears to be and once again Kancil has saved his life by using his wit and intelligence.

Kancil and The Magic Gong - Kancil is enjoying the sounds of a magic gong when the tiger comes along. The tiger gives Kancil the choice of becoming a creeping slug or his afternoon snack. Kancil has a good trick to save himself from either of these choices.


Photos of story telling  view