Author: Dewi Rieka Editor: Aan Wulandari Illustrator: Jack Son Translator: Sari Nursita Proofreader: Ratih Soe Origin: Sulawesi

Once upon a time, there was a vast kingdom at Simbai Island, Sulawesi. Its king was Datu Simbau, a king known for his wisdom. Datu had a beautiful daughter named Sangiang Mapaele.

When Sangiang grew up, Datu Simbau thought to seek a proper husband for Princess Sangiang. He longed someone who would love Sangiang with all his heart. So the king made a contest. Whoever could bring a special gift as the proof of his love would be chosen to marry Sangiang Mapaele.

Somewhere in a remote village, Takatuliang heard the good news. He had been in love with Sangiang Mapaele for a long time. Takatuliang first saw the Princess at a festival in the palace. Princess Sangiang wasn’t only beautiful, she was also kindhearted. She never hesitated to talk to her people and show her concern.

What should I give to the Princess as a proof of my love? Takatuliang mused.

He was just a poor carpenter. Compared to the Princess, she and he were like heaven and earth. But Takatuliang refused to give up. He was going to participate in the contest!

After thinking about it for a long time, Takatuliang decided to make a wooden doll. Takatuliang went to the forest to find the wood and found it from the best tree. He cut the wood down and work all night long.

“Takatuliang, what are you doing this time of night? Please, go to sleep,” said his mother.

“I will, mother. I’m crafting a gift for the Princess.”

“You’re participating in the contest? But that’s only for princes. Why won’t you come around, son? Forget your dream, we’re just a nobody.” Takatuliang’s mother ran her hand on her son’s head, saddened by his decision.

“I’m going to participate no matter what, mother. Please, you should take a rest first. I’ll get some rest once I have finished.” Takatuliang continued his work.

The following morning, Takatuliang finished his work on the wooden doll. He stared at the doll, finding himself unsatisfied with the result.

“How can I give the Princess this naked and bald doll?”

He sat in front of his hut pensively. Then he suddenly got an idea.

“Mother, can I use Father’s fabric for the doll’s dress?”

“Son, that is the only remaining gift from your late father, for you to wear at your wedding day.”

“Please, mother, it will make this doll look nice,” asked Takatuliang, kissing his mother’s cheek.

His mother finally nodded.

Takatuliang fetched the beautiful fabric from the wardrobe, cut it, and put it on the doll. It wasn’t good enough. He then cut his long hair and carefully arranged it on the doll’s head.

The day after that, Takatuliang went to the palace.

His mother hugged him before he went. “Take care, son. I wish you the best.”

Takatuliang nodded.

At the royal palace, the princes from other kingdoms had gathered. Everyone brought a lot of guards, all carried chests of gift to the Princess.

Takatuliang was ushered to the palace along with three other princes in elegant robes. The three of them looked down on him.

“Welcome to my palace. Please show your gift to the Princess,” said the king with a smile.

The first prince was from Tetelu Island.

“Princess, here is the proof of my love to you. An ivory comb encrusted with bright diamonds!”

The Princess smiled as she received the gift from the Prince. It was so beautiful.

“How many combs like this that you own?” asked Prince Sangiang.

“Oh, I have many chests full of them!”

The Princess glanced to the other Prince. “And you? What have you brought for me, honored Prince?”

The Prince from Darua Island handed her a box with small jewelries as the ornaments.

“A sheet of the finest silk for you, glorious Princess,” he said proudly.

“Marvelous! How many silks like this do you own, dear Sir?” asked the Princess as she fingered the soft silk.

“I have the softest silks you could ever find, Princess. Wardrobes upon wardrobes of them,” said Prince Darua.

The third prince was from Epa Island. He gave her a golden necklace threaded with shiny pearls.

“How beautiful! How many necklaces like this do you have?” asked the Princess again.

“I have a lot of those pearly necklaces, my Lady. I have boxes of them.”

The Princess put the necklace down, disappointed. She then looked at Takatuliang, who sat with drooped shoulder. He was embarrassed by the meager gift he brought.

“What have you brought for me?”

“This is the proof of my love. I brought you a handmade wooden doll, Princess.”

“How many dolls do you have, I wonder?”

“Only this one, Princess. I made it myself. I used the only fabric I inherited from my late father, as the dress for the doll. I used my hair for the doll’s hair. Had I have two fabrics from my father and a thicker hair, I would’ve used them to make more dolls for you.”

Princess Sangiang beamed. “Father, I choose Takatuliang as my husband.”

The three Princes threw a fit. “Why is that ugly doll beats our expensive gifts?”

“Takatuliang gave all he has, pour all his soul to make that gift, as a proof of his love. He worked hard, sacrificing his father’s inheritance and even his own hair, all of it for the Princess. You have a lot of similar items at home, but you only bring one of them for her gift.” Datu Simbau answered.

The Princes all quieted and regretted their arrogance. Takatuliang and Princess Sangiang got married and lived happily ever after.


This post is also available in Bahasa Indonesia.

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One Response so far.

  1. Sari Nursita says:

    One of the things I like in this story is Takatuliang’s respect to his mother. He is firm but gentle. He cares about her well being and asks for her permission to use his inheritance. With the way he treats his mother, no wonder Sangiang falls for his kind heart.

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