The False Sultan

Once there was an old sultan who had several wives. One of these wives was the mother of Prince Ibrahim. She was the sultan's favourite wife, and Prince Ibrahim was his favourite son. Another of the sultan's wives was called Fawziah, and she was the mother of Prince Hashim. Fawziah hated Prince Ibrahim because she knew that he would become sultan when the old sultan died. She wanted her own son, Prince Hashim, to become sultan.
One day Fawziah went to see a bomoh. The bomoh gave her a strong medicine made from roots. When Fawziah went back to the palace, she put this medicine in Prince Ibrahim's food.
The next clay Prince Ibrahim went hunting in the forest. Af­ter he ate lunch, he began to feel very ill. The poor prince felt so ill that he could not open his eyes or move. Luckily, a kind woodcutter found him and took him to his own house deep in the forest. When the prince was well again the woodcutter asked him who he was and where he had come from.
“I can't remember,” said Prince Ibrahim. “I don't know who I am or what I did before I came to the forest.”
“Well, in that case.” said the woodcutter, “I'll teach you how to cut wood. I can always use this help of a strong young man.” And so, the young prince became a woodcutter.
Meanwhile the old sultan had did. Before he died he had asked to seehis favourite son, but Fawziah told him thatPrince Ibrahim was outside the palace enjoying himself. This made the old man angry.
“So,” said the old sultan. “Prince Ibrahim thinks more of his own pleasure than of his old father. Bring me Prince Hashim instead.”
When Prince Hashim arrived, the old sultan gave him a beautiful keris. Its handle was made of gold and jewels, and its blade was of the finest steel. “Take thiskeris,” said the old sul­tan, “and the people will know that you are their ruler.” The old sultan gave the keris to Prince Hashim, but suddenly it flew out of his hand and fell to the floor with a loud crash.
Now the ministers who were watching began to worry. They knew that themagic keris would only stay in the hand ofthe true sultan. They said nothing though, because they did not know who the true sultan was.
When the old sultan died, Prince Hashim became the sul­tan. His first act was to send his mother away because he was afraid she might tell someone that she had poisoned Prince Ibrahim. Before she left, Fawziali asked the bomoh to curse her son, Sultan Hashim. She was never heard from again, but the bomoh's curse worked. The new sultan was cruel and unjust, there was little food, and many people were hungry and sick.
The ministerwent to see the sultan. “Your Majesty,”they said,“the people are unhappy. They are hungry and many of them are sick. They say all this is your fault, and we think you should let us rule the country for a time.”
“Then they will say it is your fault,” said Sultan Hashim, and that is fine with me. I will tell the people about this change tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is my birthday.”
Now next morning , the sultan showed himself to his people. He also showed them the magic keris which was always shown to the people on the sultan's birthday. Now the magic keris was kept in a fine box. When the box was opened, everyone could see it. But this year, .when the box opened, the keris flew out and began dancing through the crowd of people who had come to see it. In a flash, the royal keris had landed at the feet of a young woodcutter.
“You!” cried the sultan instantly recognising  Prince Ibrahim “What are you doing here?” my mother poisoned you.”
When the people heard this they began to shout. Then they chased the cruel sultan out of the palace. The ministers watched happily as the young woodcutter held the keris in his hand. They then put the royal crown on his head.
Sultan Ibrahim ruled well. The country grew rich and the people were happy. He did not forget to reward his old friend the woodcutter who came to live at the palace, and the ministers were glad to have true sultan on the throne at last.

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