The Story Of Minangkabau

Apero Fublic.- Do you know which part of Malaysia follows the customs and traditions of Minangkabau in west Sumatra ? it is the area around Negri Sembilan and Naning, Malacca. The old name for Minangkabau is Alam, or “the world”. the people of Alam were well known because they were clever and hard-working.

The country was green and beautiful. About six hundred years ago, the king of Java sent an army to Alam to tell the people that he was king of all the golden islands of Indonesia. When it reached Bukit Batu Patah, the army commander said to the leaders of Alam. You had better surrender. The king of Java is very strong. Otherwise we shall attack your country and kill many of your people.

“To fight is easy. Replied wise men of Alam. But who knowns who will win? why should we kill each other ? Let’s find a better way.

“Very well. Said army commander. What do you sugest ? “Let us each bring a buffalo to fight. Your buffalo can fight with ours. If you buffalo wins, then we shall surrender to the king of Java. If our Buffalo wins, then we shall continue to be free. “Excellent. Said the army commander.

After a few days, he told the the wise men of Alam that he had found a buffalo to fight for the King of Java. It was so huge and fierce that when the wise men of Alam saw it they cried. “Oh, we’re lost. Where can we find a buffalo strong enough to fight with it?.

So they held a meeting, and after talking for many hours, they made a plan. One of the men took a young Buffalo calf from its mother. Another man fastened nine sharp pieces of iron on to the tips of the calf’s horns.

They did not allow the calf to drink any of its mother’s milk for a day and night. Then, they went to see the army commander. “we have found our buffalo. They said. We are ready. There was a great shout of laughter when the king of Java’s Soldiers saw the little calf.

The wise men of Alam and all the assembled villagers kept quite. When they let the calf go it ran straight towards the large animal. It throught it was its mother. It pressed its nose into the stomach of the big buffalo, looking for milk.

The big buffalo gave a great cry of pain as the sharp pieces of iron fastened to the tips of the calf’s horns stuck into it. It pushed the little calf aside and ran away as fast as it could. The people of Alam shouted “Minangkabau! Minangkabau! (our buffalo has won).

The king of Java’s Soldier stopped laughing. They had lost. There was nothing left for them to do but to leave the country. The people of Alam were still free. But they changed the name of their land to “Minangkabau” or “The Buffalo’s Victory”. And that is way to this day the roofs of their houses are made to look like buffalo horns.

Oleh. Leon Comber.
Rewrite. Apero Fublic.
Editor. Selita. S.Pd.
Fotografer. Dadang Saputra.
Sember: Leon Comber. Favourite Stories From Malaysia. Remaja Rosdakarya. Bandung, 2000.
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