Royal Weaver


“Is that what they call a vocation, what you do with joy as if you had fire in your heart, the devil in your body?” ― Josephine Baker After tea, the good King asked his son whom he would like to take as wife, for it was only proper that the Crown Prince of Cumbok celebrated his coming of age by choosing a wife.

The prince told the good King, that he had his heart set on marrying the woman of his dreams: a poor farmer's daughter in a nearby village.

As legends go, the king tried to dissuade the prince, the prince insisted on the same girl, the King relented, by and by, a royal convoy was dispatched to bring the girl back to the palace.

When the royal convoy finished reading aloud the royal declaration of intent in making her the second most powerful woman in the Kingdom, the farmer's girl said,

"What is the prince's job?"
"What does he do for a living?"
"Why, he is the prince," said the ambassador. "All is provided for him. What does he need a job for?"
"You're telling me that - with all due royal respect - he's good for nothing and is foolishly squandering his life away. Tell him to learn a skill - any skill - and get a job. I have no need for a man who does not know how make his own living."

Enamored as he was, rather than taking offense, the prince took the advice to heart and tried his hand at a number of skills until he found that weaving carpets was something that his soft, princely hands were pretty good at.

The prince trained diligently in the art of weaving carpets, an art that was quite popular (even today) in his Kingdom. When the Royal Convoy arrived again at the farmer girl's house, they had a carpet worthy enough of princely credit as proof to what the man had done (so far) in the name of love.

A gesture that romantic was too difficult to refuse even for the most pragmatic girl in Cumbok. Hence, that part of the fairy tale earned its happily for that month: The crown prince got a job, and his girl agreed to marry and move in with him, albeit it is to his parents' house.

A few months after their marriage, the prince took a stroll alone in the city. When tired, he entered a decent and clean cafe to rest. Unbeknownst to him, the cafe was actually a burglar's watering hole.

The burglars, in return, seeing that an impeccably dressed tourist - for no sane local would - had entered their nest, decided to kidnap him. All the while not knowing that their victim was a prince.

The burglars, though, were soon disappointed to discover that their catch had no money on him and the best thing they might do with him was cut him up and sell his organs.

Not exactly thrilled by his captors' proposed business plan, the prince offered them a bargain.

"I'm a carpet weaver by training. In fact, I'm so good at it that I once won a girl's heart by weaving for her. Rather than making a one-time profit out of this delicate circumstance of kidnapping me, why not invest in getting me tools of my trade and win yourselves an even more sustainable resource for as long as I keep both of my kidneys?"

Long story short, the prince weaved a bunch of carpets, each was more beautiful than the other, filled with intricate details that pleased all who saw and touched it.

The burglars, having made a small fortune from few of the carpets they had sold in the public market, thought that they could make even more gold by selling it to the King of Cumbok.

When the carpets were spread at court, the prince's wife - a.k.a. the poor farmer's daughter who once refused a royal proposal lest the man had a job - recognized the carpet as her absent husband's work of hand.

Conveniently, she saw the secret messages weaved into the carpet's decorative details, disclosing information on the prince's whereabouts and location.

What happened afterwards, I will not insult my readers' intelligence by spelling it out. Though, I will freely assume that my readers can guess why, in the evening after his rescue, the Royal Crown Prince of Cumbok was seen kissing his wife's feet for the life she had saved him.


  • Cumbok is in Pidie Regency, in Aceh Province, and it is still a carpet weaver's town.
  • The above legend was ripped from "Rangmanyang Menjadi Batu": A collection of Acehnese Folk Tales.
  • This post was a submission for another one(!) of my side projects: "Writing for 30 Days Movement on Social Media". This week's theme was Fairytales. Yesterday's story, in Indonesian, was posted on the other blog.
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