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The Origin of Minangkabau

The Origin of Minangkabau
A Folklore from West Sumatra, Indonesia

As we know that the roofs of houses in West Sumatra, Indonesia, have the shape of buffalo horns. Do you know why do like that? Here is the story.

Once upon a time there was a kingdom in West Sumatra. The people worked as farmers. Their lives were full of happiness. The land was fertile and the weather was always beautiful. The people also had a wise king. He always protected the people.

However, soon their happy lives would be disturbed. Majapahit, a kingdom from Java would attack them. The people were so scared. They were so restless. They went to the king to talk about it. The king tried to calm them down.

"Don't worry, my fellow country men. I know Majapahit have many soldiers. They are also great in war. If we fight them, maybe we lose. But I have an idea how to beat them," said the king.

Then he continued :

"We can challenge them to a buffalo fight. If their buffalo dies, we win. But if our buffalo dies, they win."

"We have to make sure our buffalo will win, Your Majesty. How?" asked one of the people. The king smiled.

He continued :

"We just need to find a strong baby buffalo."

The king then ordered his people to give him the strongest baby buffalo. After that, the strong baby buffalo was separated from his mother. They did not give any food to the baby buffalo for several days. The baby buffalo was very hungry! The baby buffalo cried and cried. He asked for food.

Then the king took two sharp knives and attached them strongly to the baby buffalo's horn. Now it was time for the buffalo battle. Everyone gathered on the field. The Majapahit soldier released a big and wild buffalo out of his cage. Everyone was surprised with the size of the buffalo.

Later, the West Sumatran released their baby buffalo. The Majapahit soldiers were laughing.

"Ha ha ha. It's so small. How can you win?"

They did not know that the hungry baby buffalo had two sharp knives on the horn. The baby buffalo ran fast towards the big buffalo and went straight under the big buffalo's stomach to find the teat.

The knives at the baby buffalo's horns cut through the big buffalo's stomach. The big buffalo fell down to the ground and died.

"Yes! We win, we win, we win!" The people of West Sumatra cheered.

Then, the king changed the name of the kingdom into Minangkabau. It means the buffalo won. That is why the roofs of the houses in West Sumatra are similar to the form of buffalo horns and the traditional headdress of the women of West Sumatra is also like buffalo horns.


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