The Magic Mirror

Cermin Ajaib | Edisi Indonesia

Folklore from Central Sulawesi

THERE was an old king. He had three sons from his concubine. The queen had long been gone. No one knew where she went. The king was not physically healthy. His old age had made him unable to work well. He got sick easily.

The king felt it was time for him to step down and chose the new king. The kingdom had a unique tradition. Unlike other kingdoms, the oldest child of the king would not automatically become a new king. So, how did they get the new king? The king had a magic mirror. When someone saw his face in the mirror, the mirror could show his true and real personality.

The king spoke to his three sons.

"It's time for us to have a new king. I will step down soon, my children. So, please prepare yourselves. Tomorrow I will present the magic mirror and I want the three of you to look at your faces in the mirror. Remember, the mirror is able to show your real personality." The three sons were happy.

Well, they had been waiting for this moment. They prepared themselves. They cut their hair and wore their best clothes.

On the following day, the three sons were standing in front of the king. Their mother, the king's concubine, was also there. She was very happy that one of her sons would become the new king.

The king asked his first son to come forward and see his face in the mirror. He was handsome and smiled nicely. He walked confidently. When he saw his face in the mirror, the king was surprised. The mirror reflected a face with horns! The oldest son was so ashamed.

The second son came forward. He was also handsome. However when he saw his face in the mirror, there was a reflection of his face with long and sharp teeth!

Then it was time for the third son. He was also handsome. Sadly, the mirror did not show his handsome face. Instead, there was a reflection of his face with his red eyes. He looked
so scary! The king was so disappointed.

He realized that his three sons had bad personalities that he did not know. However the king felt relief. If one of his sons became a new king, the kingdom would be in trouble. It was because the king had bad personalities.

The king had an idea. He invited his people and asked them to see their faces in the mirror. If the mirror showed a reflection of a person with handsome face, the man would become the new king.

Many men were so eager when they heard the king's invitation. One by one, men came to the palace. Sadly, the mirror always showed them their bad sides.

An old and ugly woman came with her son. He was also ugly. People were laughing at them. They said that the mirror would show the man his uglier face.

The old woman and her son did not care at all. The ugly man saw his face in the mirror. The king was surprised! The mirror showed a very handsome man. The king was so happy. He finally found a new king.

The king asked, "Who are you?"

The man did not answer. He let his mother answer the king's question.

"Your Majesty, don't you recognize me? I'm your wife and he is your son. The concubine asked a witch to me. I became very ugly and I had to leave this palace because I did not want to disappoint you. I was pregnant when I left the palace. The spell can be broken when our son see his face in the magic mirror."

Amazingly, the old woman and her son slowly changed. She was still old but looked beautiful and her son became very handsome.

The king was so surprised when he saw his long lost wife. He thought his wife had died. He immediately asked his soldiers to put the concubine in the jail. He was angry at her! However he was grateful that he finally found his wife and his son became the new king. ***

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