Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Good Prince Bantugan

Technically a nice story about a prince in the kingdom of Bumbaran. It is based on the oral tradition of the Maranao Ttibe.



An old king ruled over the kingdom of Bumbaran. His kingdom was prosperous, his people were good ,and he should have been very happy .But the king was not contented. His heart was full of envy toward his younger brother, Prince Bantugan. Every time someone praised Prince Bantugan, the king frowned and looked angry. 
"Prince Bantugan is so handsome." he often heard the women say, and he would look in a mirror and see with sorrow that he was not good looking. 
"Prince Bantugan is so good." other people said, and the king grew more angry because he knew that he was not as good as his brother either. 
"Prince Bantugan is so brave," everybody said. The king grew tired of people saying so many good things about his brother while they said nothing nice about himself. 
The young ladies smiled at Prince Bantugan. They allowed him to hold their hands, and they gave him their love. But they did not like the older brother, the king. 
One day enemies attacked the kingdom of Bumbaran and Prince Bantugan led his men to defend the country. While he was gone, the evil king plotted against the good prince. He issued a proclamation that no one should speak to Prince Bantugan. He added that whoever dared to speak to Bantugan would be killed. 
Soon Prince Bantugan returned victorious from battle. To his astonishment no one met him, no one praised him, and no one even wanted to speak to him. This saddened the good prince. He knew that his brother hated him, so he decided to leave Bumbaran. He preferred to live in other countries and to travel to far lands and forget about his unkind brother. 
In his travels he heard about the beautiful land of the Kingdom-Between-Two-Seas. It was ruled by a good, kind king and his sister, the beautiful and kind Princess Datimbang.Prince Bantugan decided to go there. He traveled through forests and across rivers and mountains and at last reached the Kingdon-Between-Seas. 
Prince Bantugan was very weary from his travels. As he stood outside the gates of the great palace, he suddenly felt very weak .His legs could not carry his body ,and the prince fell to the ground and died. 
When the king of the Kingdom-Between-Two Seas heard of the stranger who had died at his palace gate, he and his sister, Princess Datimbang, went to see the body. even in death Prince Bantugan was very handsome. 
The heart of Princess Datimbang went out to him in love and sorrow." What a handsome young man, "She said weeping softly." I wish I could have spoken to him before he died. I am sure he was as good as he was handsome." 
"How unfortunate that he should die here, " the king said." Does anyone know who this young man is and where he came from? By his clothes and appearance, he must be a king or a prince." 
No one knew who the strange young man was. The king ordered his body to be brought into the palace. The king was afraid that the relatives or subjects of the dead man might wage war upon his kingdom. He therefore treated the body of the young man as he would a royal person. He had it dressed n magnificent clothes and placed it in a large hole in the palace. Princess Datimbang placed flowers upon the bed on which the body lay .She also decorated it with colored jewelry. Around the bed was an abundance of fragrant flowers in jars and vases. 
The king then ordered the great brass gong to be sounded. He made a proclamation that all his people and the people of the neighboring kingdoms must come to look at the prince or king so that he would know who he was and where he came from. 
People from far and near came to see the body, but no one knew who the man was. The beautiful Princess Datimbang watched nearby. She had fallen deeply in love with the handsome stranger. 
In another part of the kingdom, some parrots were talking about the young man and how he died in the Kingdom-Between-Two-Seas. Suddenly they noticed that the parrot from the kingdom of Bumbaran was silent and sad. 
"Why are you sad, my brother?" one of the parrots asked. "I lost my master, the Prince Bantugan." The parrot from Bumbaran answered. " He left Bumbaran never to return. I have looked for him everywhere but have not found him."
"Ah, your master is lost, indeed," another parrot said. "He is dead. But you can see his body in the palace where he is lying in royal state." 
Without another word, Prince Bantugan's parrot flew to the palace. He saw his master's body and shrieked in grief. 
Princess Datimbang heard him and asked him what the matter was. 
"My master is dead! The parrot cried in grief." My master, Prince Bantugan of Bumbaran, is dead-he who was so good to his people. He defended them in war, he gave them wise advice when they were in trouble, and cured the people when they were sick." 
When the king heard what the parrot had said, he was determined to put the body on a vinta and take it himself, with all honors, to the kingdom of Bumbaran. Princess Datimbang went with him. Before the royal party left the Kingdom-Between-Two Seas, the princess asked the parrot to go ahead of them and notify the King of Bumbaran of their coming. 
The parrot flew ahead to the kingdom of Bumbaran. When he told the king about the death of Prince Bantugan, the ladies shrieked and tore their hair and fainted. Everyone grieved for the Good Prince Bantugan. Even the king, his brother, was stricken with remorse and pain. He was full of repentance. He blamed himself for the death of his brother. He did not know what to do. 
Prince Madali was a brother of Prince Bantugan and loved him dearly. He volunteered to go to the region of the dead and bring Bantugan's soul back to his body. The king decided to go with him. It was a very dangerous journey, but the two were not afraid .They rode on their magic shields and rode up to the sky. 
For five days they flew. They reached the place of lightning, thunder, and endless rain. Five more days they travelled. They reached the land of burning heat. Their magic shields almost melted under them. So great was the distance that they went on for five more days. At last they reached the highest portals of the sky. 
The keeper of the gate asked them," Why are you here? What do you want?" 
"We have come to ask the angel of Death when we shall die and when the end of the world will come, the young men were answered , "Go to the next door" the gatekeeper told them." You will find the angel who guards the soul of the dead there. 
"Why are you here?" asked the guard. "You have no business here." You are not dead." 
"We have come to ask the Angel of Death when we shall die." Prince Madali answered . 
"Come in but only for a minute," the guardian said opening the door. "Then you must return to earth right away." 
The two entered and found themselves in a beautiful garden full of fragrant flowers and delicious fruits. On a large table were bottles of different colors which contained the souls of the dead. 
The two tricked the Angel of Death to go out for a minute. As soon as the angel was out of the room, Prince Madali whispered softly, "Bantugan, my brother where are you?" 
From a large blue bottle near them, the voice of Prince Bantugan answered, "I am here." 
Prince Madali seized the bottle and away the young men flew back to earth. 

When they reached the place, the king and the princess of the Kingdom-Between-Two Seas were just landing with the body of Prince Bantugan. Prince Madali transferred the soul of Prince Bantugan from the bottle to his body. The body stirred. Then Prince Bantugan sat up and stretched out as if just awakening from a deep sleep. 
The people shouted with joy. For many days they celebrated the return on their beloved prince. 
Later Prince Bantugan married the beautiful Princess Datimbang.


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