Once upon a time, there was a kingdom in Lombok Island that was ruled by a king named Raja Tonjang Beru. He was a wise king. He had a queen named Dewi Seranting. He also had a beautiful daughter named Princess Mandalika. It is said that princess Mandalika was the prettiest girl in the whole island. Everybody knew about Princess Mandalika’s beauty and kindness, even the people from other kingdom around the island.
Princes from all over the place wanted to marry her. One by one, they came to propose her. Princess Mandalika was a kind girl. She hated to make people sad. So, when those princes came to propose her, she was very confused. She could not decide, and she didn’t want to make them sad. She also didn’t want to cause a war to happen because of her.
To solve the problem, Raja Tonjang Beru then held a competition in Seger Kuta beach. He asked all the princes to take part in archery competition. The rule was simple; whoever shot the target perfectly will be accepted as Princess Mandalika’s future husband. One by one, all participants tried their best. After some time, there was no winner. All the participants were great in archery.
Because there was no a winner, all the participants started to argue. They claimed to be the best. The argument was getting hotter. Finally, they all were fighting. Soon, the fighting got bigger. It was like a war, because all the princes brought their soldiers in the archery competition. Princess Mandalika was really worried. She did not want the war to get bigger and hurt many people. Finally, she had an idea. "Everybody, listen up! I know you all love me and want me to be your wife. But I don't want you to fight because of me. And I don't want you to be sad either. I want you all to have me, but not as your wife. I want to be someone that everybody can have," said Princess Mandalika.
Raja Tonjang Beru and all other people in the beach did not understand what she meant. The king then came to her. But suddenly, Princess Mandalika jumped to the sea. She disappeared in the big waves. Everybody was surprised. It was chaos on the beach. All the princes tried to swim to find the princess, but they found nothing.
After several hours trying to search the princess, suddenly they found a lot of colorful sea worms on the beach. Raja Tonjang Beru then realized that his daughter had returned as sea worms. The worms were then called nyale. Until now, people in Lombok always try to catch nyale. Nyale is very delicious and that is why a lot of people come to Lombok to catch it. However, they can only find it once a year, in February or March. The tradition to catch the sea worms is called Bau Nyale.***