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Cerita rakyat from West Sumatra

Pak Lebai Malang

Pak Lebai was an old man living in a village by the river. Everyday, he used his sampan for travelling at the river. Pak Lebai had a bad habit. He always changed his mind before he did something. He was an inconsistent man. One day, Pak Lebai was invited to a party by his neighbor. Pak lebai was happy. He loved party because he could eat delicious food. He also could get a buffalo's head from the party. Still on the same day, he got another invitation. Those two party invitations made him confused. The two parties were held at the same time, but at different places. The two neighbors who invited him lived in different sides of the river. One neighbor lived on the east side and the other one lived in the west side. "If I go to the west side, I will only get one buffalo’s head. If I go to the east side, I can have two heads of buffalo. But the host at the west side is friendlier,” he said to himself. He was confused.

On the following day, Pak Lebai paddled his sampan to the party at the west side of the river. But then he changed his mind and went to the east side. On the way there, he met with some friends. "The party is awful. There are not many buffalo's heads," said one of them. So, Pak Lebai turned back his sampan again and went to the west side. Unfortunately, the party was already over when he arrived there. Pak Lebai immediately paddled his sampan to the east side again. But he also missed the party.

Pak Lebai was upset and blaming himself for being so inconsistent. He was so hungry and tired because he was padding back and forth in the river. He then fell asleep in his sampan. He did not realize that his sampan was drifting away at the river. When he woke up, he was already in the different village. That’s why all his neighbors started to call him Pak Lebai Malang (poor mister Lebai).***