Author: Novia Erwida Editor: Veronica Widyastuti Illustrator: Maman Mantox & Rizky Adeliasari Translator: Ratih Soe Proofreader: Dameria Damayanti Origin: West Sumatera

“I am the most handsome prince in the world. Nobody is more handsome than I am,“ said the Prince in front of the mirror. He smoothed his hair, touching the skin of his clean face, and smiling proudly. Vanity appeared.

The Prince approached his beloved bird in the cage. The bird was very beautiful. Its fur was golden-green.

“Am I gorgeous or what?” asked the Prince to the bird.

The bird was the Prince’s best friend. Each time he left the kingdom, the Prince always carried the bird with him in a cage. Not once did the Prince ever leave the bird.

The Prince liked to talk about anything to the bird. When the servant made him upset, the Prince told the bird. When the Prince managed to hunt tigers, he also told the bird. Although the bird never answered, the Prince was relieved he could let off steam. The bird was his faithful company, a friend in joys and sorrows.

One day came the news that the king of the north was looking for a potential husband for his daughter. Many men applied, but the Princess liked no one. Even the richest man was rejected.

The news reached the ears of the Prince. He was eager to propose to the beautiful Princess. The Prince said goodbye to the King and Queen. The King advised that the Prince not act proud of his good looks. The Princess might want a husband who was virtuous, not merely handsome.

The Prince ignored his father’s advice. He was confident that the Princess would accept him because of his good looks. People would be stunned when seeing the Prince for the first time. Most probably, so would the Princess.

The Prince started his long journey. Besides carrying supplies, his hands carried a bird in a cage.
Tired of walking, the Prince took a rest and ate his lunch. While feeding the birds, the Prince asked, “O bird, do you think the Princess would be my wife or not?”

The bird was silent while pecking its food.

The Prince went on the trip. The Bird swung in the a cage. Along the way, the Prince kept talking to the Bird about many things.

The Prince got tired. He stopped again, taking a short break to reduce fatigue. Again, the Prince asked the bird, “Do you think the Princess would be my wife or not?”

The Bird pecked at the food again, as if it did not listen to his master.

The Prince began to doubt. Could this be a hint from the bird? The bird seemed indifferent each time it was asked about the Princess. But when the Prince talked of other things, the bird listened carefully.
If the Princess did not want to be the wife of the Prince, it would be a shame. If the most handsome prince were rejected by the princess, people would scoff. The Prince would be very embarrassed.

The Prince strengthened himself. He still had a bit of confidence that the Princess would yield his handsome face. No one had ever turned his or her face when confronted with the Prince. He kept walking and he almost got to the palace of the Princess.

Once again the Prince asked the bird. “O bird, do you think the Princess would be my wife or not?”

Again the bird ignored the Prince.

The Prince began to get angry. The bird had never ignored him before. Finally the Prince said loudly, “O bird, if the Princess would not love me, then you would turn into a stone.”

The bird immediately became stiff and turned into a stone. The Prince was shocked. His beloved bird was gone. The prince lamented the stone in the cage. He apologized and wished the bird would be alive again. But, the bird remained stiff and motionless.

Finally the prince returned to his palace. He was embarrassed. It turned out that the Princess did not love her. The Prince was sad. Even sadder after losing his best friend. The Prince regretted what he did.  The bird was actually innocent. Just because of his selfishness, the bird became a stone.

Now, the spot where the bird turned into a stone has been used to name an area in West Sumatra. The name is Batusangkar, which means a stone in a cage. In Batusangkar, there is a Minang castle called Pagaruyung. If you go to West Sumatra, come to Batusangkar, okay?

This post is also available in Bahasa Indonesia.

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