The Story of Cengnge' Bird

Folklore from West Sulawesi

ONCE upon a time in Mandar, South Sulawesi, there lived a farmer and his wife. They were poor. They lived alone and did not have any children. They prayed to cod days and nights to give them a baby.

The farmer even prayed, "Dear God, if you give us a son, I will put him in a golden cradle."

One day, God answered their prayer! The wife was pregnant. They were very happy but it did not last long. The farmer was confused. He had promised to put his baby boy in a golden cradle. He knew he had to work hard to buy a golden cradle. He planned to go to ]ava to work. Before he left, he told his wife a message.

"If the baby is a boy, please take care ofhim very well. However, if the baby is a girl, kill her!" ordered the farmer.

Yes, he did not like daughters. The wife did not understand why her husband hated daughters. She just hoped that the baby was a boy.

The farmer went to'Java by ship. It took months. When the farmer arrived in fava, the baby was born. lt was a baby girl! The wife was so sad. She loved the baby very much and she did not want to lose her.

The wife went to her sister's house. She lived in another viliage and she a,sked her to raise her baby. "Please take care of her. My husband is hoping to have a baby boy and she asked me to kill the baby if the baby is a girl," the farmer's wife explained to her sister.

In order to convince her husband that she already killed the baby girl, the wife dug the land and built a grave.

Later the farmer went home from Java. He had worked very hard and he was finally able to buy a golden cradle.

He brought a golden cradle to home. He asked, "Where is our baby?"

"I am so sorry. Our baby is a girl and I did what you asked me. I already killed her," said the wife. The farmer was so speechless. He had been dreaming to have a baby boy.

Meanwhile, the baby girl grew as a beautiful girl and one day she knew that her real parents lived in another village. She was so sad when she knew the reason why her parents did not want her.

The gul prayed to God. She did not want to live as a human anymore. She wanted to be a bird so she could fly and go anywhere she liked.

"Dear God, please change me into a bird. I don't want to be a human anyrnore. I am so sad with my life. I want to go anywhere I like."

The girl kept on praying. She really wanted to be a bird. And her wish came truel She slowly changed into a beautiful bird.

The bird was so beautiful and she also had a great voice. The bird then went to her real parents'house. The bird sang a song, "I'm very sad. My parents do not love me."

The bird was flying above her parents'house. She kept on singing the song. It attracted her parents' attention. When they knew that their lovely daughter had changed into a bird, they regretted it. However it was too late, their daughter had changed into a bird. The people name it as Cengnge' Bird. ***

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