Author: Lina Lina Editor: Veronica Widyastuti Illustrator: Maman Mantox & Rizky Adeliasari Translator: Sari Nursita Proofreader: Ratih Soe Origin: Central Sulawesi

Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom, there lived an old king. He often dallied in deep sorrow, for he was ill and he was worried about the legacy of his empire. “Who shall I choose to inherit my crown?” he thought.

The King had three sons from his mistress. Who amongst them should be the one to replace him? Knowing his sons’s attitudes, there was no doubt that they wouldn’t settle if he chose one of them. The other two would refuse and complain, or even start to rebel.

Finally, the King spoke to his three sons. “My sons, I am now old and it is time for me to let go of the throne. To find my replacement, you will have to see through this magic mirror. This mirror has been passed down from generation to generation by our ancestors. It is a mirror that can show your true heart, to show who you really are. Whoever gazes upon this mirror and sees a beautiful reflection, he is the one who I deem worthy to replace me. Now, please prepare yourself to look into this mirror.”

The three sons prepared themselves. The first son had someone tailor him a regal suit. He didn’t hesitate to learn some magics in hope to win the throne. The second son sought expensive jewelries. The third son bought the finest cosmetics to make himself look good.

“Are you ready now?” asked the King.

“We are ready, Your Highness.” The three sons chorused.

The first son came forward, walking with confident strides. As soon as he stood in front of the mirror, the King’s face turned to a grimace. His first son’s handsome face looked wrinkled and ugly. The first son stepped back slowly, fisting his hands. “How can this be? I have recited the spell repeatedly,” he mumbled to himself.

Now it was the second son’s turn. He didn’t want to lose to his brother, so he strode on with head held high. He stood in front of the mirror, and the King grimaced again. “Why does your face turn small and disfigured?” The King asked. The second son hid his face down and stepped back in shame.

The third son, who felt that he was the most handsome of the three, stalked forward. As he arrived in front of the mirror, the King perked up. His son’s face looked so beautiful. But then, suddenly the face turned pitch black.

The King was devastated. “If all of my sons look like this, then who shall replace me as a king? I am too old to rule this kingdom.” The King sighed.

And so, the King decided on a contest. Everyone was permitted to gaze into the mirror. Whoever found his reflection beautiful, the King would choose him as his successor. The King’s messengers announced the contest to every nooks and crannies of the country.

Not long after that, people gathered at the King’s palace. They all wished to try their luck in the contest.
One by one they looked into the mirror, but none of them succeeded. Their face’s reflection was worse than their look.

Day by day, week by week, month by month, the King still waited patiently for the contestants to arrive. Until one day, he found a small commotion at the palace’s gate.

“Go away!” One of the guards barked.

“My son wishes to participate in the contest. Please, let us in.” A mother with disheveled cloth asked him.

“Ha! That ugly face wants to join the contest?” The other guard sneered.

The mother paid them no heed. She begged and begged and tried to push the gate with all her might. Suddenly the gate opened.

“What is with all this ruckus?” asked the King who was patrolling the palace.

“Forgive me Your Majesty. This woman insists to come in. Her ugly son with this shabby cloth wants to see the mirror,” said the guard.

“Let them in!” The King ordered.

Under the King’s watchful eyes, the ugly son gazed into the mirror. His handsome reflection in the mirror shimmered with light.

“I wonder if it will be the same like my third son’s case. Will his face turn black now?” The King thought.
He waited for a few moments, but none of his worries happened. Instead, the face in the mirror shone brighter. The King gasped. The light from the ugly son’s true heart lit his reflection into a most beautiful sight.

The King was ecstatic. He had now found his successor.

“My Lord, he is actually your son. I was the queen you have exiled from the palace. It was all because of the Mistress. She has set me up in the scandal.” The mother said.

The King was surprised. The Mistress and her three sons cowered in fear. They slowly backed away, ready to run from the palace.

“So you haven’t conspired against me with the enemies?”

“If that was true, we wouldn’t be suffering like this. Your enemies probably would have taken us into their custody.”

“In that case, the Mistress and her sons have to be executed!” The King ordered. “Guards!”

“My King, please. Do not hasten to punish them, for we have forgiven their mistakes. Please, let us now build this kingdom together in harmony.” The ugly son said gently.

Everyone was touched with the ugly son’s kind words. The throne of the kingdom finally found its rightful place in the hands of the chosen man.

This post is also available in Bahasa Indonesia.

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One Response so far.

  1. Sari Nursita says:

    I like this story! It shows the chosen man’s forgiving nature as the quality that reflects in the mirror.

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