A Lesson for the Sultan

Long ago in Agamaniyog, the best-known, wealthy couple were Solotan sa Agamaniyog and his wife, Ba’i sa Agamaniyog. They were so wealthy that they owned almost half of the land in Agamaniyog. They had large herds of cows, carabaos, and horses. One morning, when the couple went down to the lakeshore to pray, they happened to pass by the small hut of a poor couple, Lokes a Mama and Lokes a Babay, who were quarreling and shouting at each other.

The quarreling couple blamed each other for their misfortune in life. Lokes a Babay blamed Lokes a Mama for being lazy and not knowing how to raise a family and to make a good living. On the other hand, Lokes a Mama put the blame on his wife who, he said, did not know how to be thrifty.

Overhearing the quarrel, the Sultan and Ba’i of Agamaniyog stepped in and admonished Lokes a Mama and Lokes a Babay. When they got home, the Sultan and Ba’i of Agamaniyog talked about the quarrel between the poor couple until they themselves began to argue. Solotan sa Agamaniyog blamed Lokes a Mama for being incapable of making life prosperous for his family. Ba’i sa Agamaniyog put the blame on Lokes a Babay. She said, “If Lokes a Mama were well managed by a good wife, he could be a good husband who could make a good living.”

The Sultan and Ba’i could not keep from arguing, each one insisting at being right, until their argument resulted in a serious quarrel. Each swore that he/she could reform the poor couple by managing one of them. In the heat of their argument, the Sultan and the Ba’i of Agamaniyog agreed to part ways.

The Sultan brought Lokes a Babay to live with him and Ba’i sa Agamaniyog in turn went to live with Lokes a Mama. Before she left the torogan (royal house), she said, “Someday Solotan sa Agamaniyog will pick up the leftovers of Lokes a Mama.” The sultan smiled and swore that, as long as he had the strength and the means, such an event would not happen.

The Sultan offered his new companion everything she wanted. Lokes a Babay demanded to have livers of a cow and carabao to eat every day at every meal, and these were given her.

One day the Sultan of Balantankairan came to visit. Solotan sa Agamaniyog was very embarrassed at the dry welcome that Lokes a Babay showed his royal visitor. She served neither his visitor nor him. It was at this time that he became convinced that Lokes a Babay was lazy and capricious. He also realized that his wealth had gradually vanished.

Meanwhile, Ba’i sa Agamaniyog could not even climb up the small hut of Lokes a Mama because it had no ladder. When she told him to make one, Lokes a Mama answered that he had no tools. She said, “You’re really silly. Why don’t you have any?” She gave him her knife and told him to use twigs if that were what it would take to make a ladder. Once inside the hut, Ba’i sa Agamaniyog told Lokes a Mama not to come near her, because in reality she was not yet divorced from her husband but had only a temporary arrangement with him. She asked him for food, but Lokes a Mama could not offer any. She told him to gather ferns from the forest for dinner.

Ba’i sa Agamaniyog would often send Lokes a Mama to the forest to gather plenty of firewood. Sitting by the window one day, she saw a huge tree that stood out from the others. She asked Lokes a Mama about it and learned that it was kaya-o sandana (sandalwood), a very useful tree. She told him to cut down the tree, chop it to pieces, separate the branches from the trunk, and store all the pieces under their hut.
The Sultan of Balantankairan was looking for sandalwood. Lokes sa Mama told him about the sandana stored in his hut. He said that in Agamaniyog no one would find such a tree except the one he had. The Sultan, very much interested, said he was willing to pay any price provided there was enough sandalwood to fill his boat. He said he was willing to leave behind all that he had in the boat, including his seven maids and seven servants. Lokes a Mama immediately led the Sultan to his stored sandalwood and the Sultan took all aboard his boat, paid Lokes a Mama generously and left.

Ba’i sa Agamaniyog and Lokes a Mama became rich. A beautiful torogan was soon erected, and Ba’i sa Agamaniyog ordered two kanter (beds). She bought a sultan’s tobao (headdress) for Lokes a Mama and changed his name to Maradiya Dinda. She was always surrounded by her seven maids, and Lokes a Mama, now Maradiya Dinda, was always escorted by his seven male servants.

One morning Solotan sa Agamaniyog found a tobao and was told that it was Maradiya Dinda’s. Taking it with him, he went up the torogan of Maradiya and saw him lying in bed like a sultan, while on the side was his former wife, whose demeanor teasingly reminded him of the good fortune they had before they were separated. Upon seeing him she said, “My dear Solotan, do you remember when I said that someday you will pick up leftovers from Lokes sa Mama?”

Blinded with tears, the Sultan hardly found his way out and went home. He then became sickly and nearly died from all his heartaches.