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The next morning he awoke with a new idea. He would go to the king and
ask for work, that he might in that way be able to help his father
and mother. He was a long time in persuading his parents to allow
him to go, however, for it was a long journey, and they feared that
the king might not be gracious. But at last they gave their consent,
and the boy started out The journey proved tiresome. After he reached
the palace, he was not at first permitted to see the king. But the
boy being very earnest at last secured a place as a servant.

It was a new and strange world to Benito who had known only the life
of a little village. The work was hard, but he was happy in thinking
that now he could help his father and mother. One day the king sent
for him and said:

"I want you to bring to me a beautiful princess who lives in a land
across the sea. Go at once, and if you fail you shall be punished

The boy's heart sank within him, for he did not know what to do. But
he answered as bravely as possible, "I will, my lord," and left the
king's chamber. He at once set about preparing things for a long
journey, for he was determined to try at least to fulfil the command.

When all was ready Benito started. He had not gone far before he
came to a thick forest, where he saw a large bird bound tightly
with strings.

"Oh, my friend," pleaded the bird, "please free me from these bonds,
and I will help you whenever you call on me."

Benito quickly released the bird, and it flew away calling back to
him that its name was Sparrow-hawk.

Benito continued his journey till he came to the sea. Unable to find
a way of crossing, he stopped and gazed sadly out over the waters,
thinking of the king's threat if he failed. Suddenly he saw swimming
toward him the King of the Fishes who asked:

"Why are you so sad?"

"I wish to cross the sea to find the beautiful Princess," answered
the boy.

"Well, get on my back," said the Fish, "and I will carry you across."

So Benito stepped on his back and was carried to the other shore.

Soon he met a strange woman who inquired what it was he sought,
and when he had told her she said:

"The Princess is kept in a castle guarded by giants. Take this magic
sword, for it will kill instantly whatever it touches." And she handed
him the weapon.

Benito was more than grateful for her kindness and went on full of
hope. As he approached the castle he could see that it was surrounded
by many giants, and as soon as they saw him they ran out to seize him,
but they went unarmed for they saw that he was a mere boy. As they
approached he touched those in front with his sword, and one by one
they fell dead. Then the others ran away in a panic, and left the
castle unguarded. Benito entered, and when he had told the Princess
of his errand, she was only too glad to escape from her captivity
and she set out at once with him for the palace of the king.

At the seashore the King of the Fishes was waiting for them, and they
had no difficulty in crossing the sea and then in journeying through
the thick forest to the palace, where they were received with great
rejoicing. After a time the King asked the Princess to become his wife,
and she replied:

"I will, O King, if you will get the ring I lost in the sea as I was
crossing it"

The King immediately thought of Benito, and sending for him he
commanded him to find the ring which had been lost on the journey
from the land of the giants.

It seemed a hopeless task to the boy, but, anxious to obey his master,
he started out. At the seaside he stopped and gazed over the waters
until, to his great delight, he saw his friend, the King of the Fishes,
swimming toward him. When he had been told of the boy's troubles,
the great fish said: "I will see if I can help you," and he summoned
all his subjects to him. When they came he found that one was missing,
and he sent the others in search of it. They found it under a stone
so full that it could not swim, and the larger ones took it by the
tail and dragged it to the King.

"Why did you not come when you were called?" inquired the King Fish.

"I have eaten so much that I cannot swim," replied the poor fish.

Then the King Fish, suspecting the truth, ordered it cut open,
and inside they found the lost ring. Benito was overjoyed at this,
and expressing his great thanks, hastened with the precious ring to
his master.

The King, greatly pleased, carried the ring to the Princess and said:

"Now that I have your ring will you become my wife?"

"I will be your wife," replied the Princess, "if you will find my
earring that I lost in the forest as I was journeying with Benito."

Again the King sent for Benito, and this time he commanded him to
find the earring. The boy was very weary from his long journeys, but
with no complaint he started out once more. Along the road through
the thick forest he searched carefully, but with no reward. At last,
tired and discouraged, he sat down under a tree to rest.

Suddenly there appeared before him a mouse of great size, and he was
surprised to find that it was the King of Mice.

"Why are you so sad?" asked the King Mouse.

"Because," answered the boy, "I cannot find an earring which the
Princess lost as we were going through the forest together."

"I will help you," said the Mouse, and he summoned all his subjects.

When they assembled it was found that one little mouse was missing,
and the King sent the others to look for him. In a small hole among
the bamboo trees they found him, and he begged to be left alone,
for, he said, he was so full that he could not walk. Nevertheless
they pulled him along to their master, who, upon finding that there
was something hard inside the mouse, ordered him cut open; and inside
they found the missing earring.

Benito at once forgot his weariness, and after expressing his great
thanks to the King Mouse he hastened to the palace with the prize. The
King eagerly seized the earring and presented it to the Princess,
again asking her to be his wife.

"Oh, my King," replied the Princess, "I have one more request to
make. Only grant it and I will be your wife forever."

The King, believing that now with the aid of Benito he could grant
anything, inquired what it was she wished, and she replied:

"Get me some water from heaven and some from the lower world, and I
shall ask nothing more."

Once more the King called Benito and sent him on the hardest errand
of all.

The boy went out not knowing which way to turn, and while he was
in a deep study his weary feet led him to the forest. Suddenly he
thought of the bird who had promised to help him, and he called,
"Sparrowhawk!" There was a rustle of wings, and the bird swooped
down. He told it of his troubles and it said:

"I will get the water for you."

Then Benito made two light cups of bamboo which he fastened to the
bird's legs, and it flew away. All day the boy waited in the forest,
and just as night was coming on the bird returned with both cups
full. The one on his right foot, he told Benito, was from heaven,
and that on his left was from the lower world. The boy unfastened
the cups, and then, as he was thanking the bird, he noticed that the
journey had been too much for it and that it was dying. Filled with
sorrow for his winged friend, he waited and carefully buried it,
and then he hastened to the palace with the precious water.

When the Princess saw that her wish had been fulfilled she asked the
King to cut her in two and pour over her the water from heaven. The
King was not able to do this, so she cut herself, and then as he
poured the water over her he beheld her grow into the most beautiful
woman he had ever seen.

Eager to become handsome himself, the King then begged her to pour
over him the water from the other cup. He cut himself, and she did
as he requested, but immediately there arose a creature most ugly
and horrible to look upon, which soon vanished out of sight. Then
the Princess called Benito and told him that because he had been
so faithful to his master and so kind to her, she chose him for
her husband.

They were married amid great festivities and became king and queen of
that broad and fertile land. During all the great rejoicing, however,
Benito never forgot his parents. One of the finest portions of his
kingdom he gave to them, and from that time they all lived in great
happiness. [156]

The Adventures of Juan


Juan was always getting into trouble. He was a lazy boy, and more
than that, he did not have good sense. When he tried to do things,
he made such dreadful mistakes that he might better not have tried.

His family grew very impatient with him, scolding and beating him
whenever he did anything wrong. One day his mother, who was almost
discouraged with him, gave him a bolo [157] and sent him to the forest,
for she thought he could at least cut firewood. Juan walked leisurely
along, contemplating some means of escape. At last he came to a tree
that seemed easy to cut, and then he drew his long knife and prepared
to work.

Now it happened that this was a magic tree and it said to Juan:

"If you do not cut me I will give you a goat that shakes silver from
its whiskers."

This pleased Juan wonderfully, both because he was curious to see
the goat, and because he would not have to chop the wood. He agreed
at once to spare the tree, whereupon the bark separated and a goat
stepped out. Juan commanded it to shake its whiskers, and when the
money began to drop he was so delighted that he took the animal and
started home to show his treasure to his mother.

On the way he met a friend who was more cunning than Juan, and when
he heard of the boy's rich goat he decided to rob him. Knowing Juan's
fondness for tuba [158], he persuaded him to drink, and while he was
drunk, the friend substituted another goat for the magic one. As soon
as he was sober again, Juan hastened home with the goat and told his
people of the wonderful tree, but when he commanded the animal to
shake its whiskers, no money fell out. The family, believing it to
be another of Juan's tricks, beat and scolded the poor boy.

He went back to the tree and threatened to cut it down for lying to
him, but the tree said:

"No, do not cut me down and I will give you a net which you may cast on
dry ground, or even in the tree tops, and it will return full of fish."

So Juan spared the tree and started home with his precious net, but
on the way he met the same friend who again persuaded him to drink
tuba. While he was drunk, the friend replaced the magic net with
a common one, so that when Juan reached home and tried to show his
power, he was again the subject of ridicule.

Once more Juan went to his tree, this time determined to cut it
down. But the offer of a magic pot, always full of rice and spoons
which provided whatever he wished to eat with his rice, dissuaded him,
and he started home happier than ever. Before reaching home, however,
he met with the same fate as before, and his folks, who were becoming
tired of his pranks, beat him harder than ever.

Thoroughly angered, Juan sought the tree a fourth time and was
on the point of cutting it down when once more it arrested his
attention. After some discussion, he consented to accept a stick to
which he had only to say, "Boombye, Boomba," and it would beat and
kill anything he wished.

When he met his friend on this trip, he was asked what he had and
he replied:

"Oh, it is only a stick, but if I say 'Boombye, Boomba' it will beat
you to death."

At the sound of the magic words the stick leaped from his hands and
began beating his friend until he cried:

"Oh, stop it and I will give back everything that I stole from
you." Juan ordered the stick to stop, and then he compelled the man to
lead the goat and to carry the net and the jar and spoons to his home.

There Juan commanded the goat, and it shook its whiskers until his
mother and brothers had all the silver they could carry. Then they
ate from the magic jar and spoons until they were filled. And this
time Juan was not scolded. After they had finished Juan said:

"You have beaten me and scolded me all my life, and now you are glad
to accept my good things. I am going to show you something else:
'Boombye, Boomba'." Immediately the stick leaped out and beat them
all until they begged for mercy and promised that Juan should ever
after be head of the house.

From that time Juan was rich and powerful, but he never went anywhere
without his stick. One night, when some thieves came to his house,
he would have been robbed and killed had it not been for the magic
words "Boombye, Boomba," which caused the death of all the robbers.

Some time after this he married a beautiful princess, and because of
the kindness of the magic tree they always lived happily. [159]

Juan Gathers Guavas


One day Juan's father sent him to get some ripe guavas, for a number of
the neighbors had come in and he wanted to give them something to eat.

Juan went to the guava bushes and ate all the fruit he could hold,
and then he decided to play a joke on his father's guests instead
of giving them a feast of guavas. A wasp's nest hung near by. With
some difficulty he succeeded in taking it down and putting it into
a tight basket that he had brought for the fruit. He hastened home
and gave the basket to his father, and then as he left the room where
the guests were seated he closed the door and fastened it.

As soon as Juan's father opened the basket the wasps flew over the
room; and when the people found the door locked they fought to get
out of the windows. After a while Juan opened the door, and when he
saw the swollen faces of the people, he cried.

"What fine, rich guavas you must have had! They have made you all
so fat!".

The Sun and the Moon [160]


Once upon a time the Sun and the Moon were married, and they had many
children who were the stars. The Sun was very fond of his children,
but whenever he tried to embrace any of them, he was so hot that he
burned them up. This made the Moon so angry that finally she forbade
him to touch them again, and he was greatly grieved.

One day the Moon went down to the spring to do some washing, and
when she left she told the Sun that he must not touch any of their
children in her absence. When she returned, however, she found that
he had disobeyed her, and several of the children had perished.

She was very angry, and picked up a banana tree to strike him,
whereupon he threw sand in her face, and to this day you can see the
dark marks on the face of the Moon.

Then the Sun started to chase her, and they have been going ever
since. Sometimes he gets so near that he almost catches her, but she
escapes, and by and by she is far ahead again. [161]

The First Monkey


Many years ago at the foot of a forest-covered hill was a small town,
and just above the town on the hillside was a little house in which
lived an old woman and her grandson.

The old woman, who was very industrious, earned their living by
removing the seeds from cotton, and she always had near at hand
a basket in which were cotton and a long stick that she used for
a spindle. The boy was lazy and would not do anything to help his
grandmother, but every day went down to the town and gambled.

One day, when he had been losing money, the boy went home and was
cross because his supper was not ready.

"I am hurrying to get the seeds out of this cotton," said the
grandmother, "and as soon as I sell it, I will buy us some food."

At this the boy fell into a rage, and he picked up some cocoanut
shells and threw them at his grandmother. Then she became angry and
began to whip him with her spindle, when suddenly he was changed into
an ugly animal, and the cotton became hair which covered his body,
while the stick itself became his tail.

As soon as the boy found that he had become an ugly creature he ran
down into the town and began whipping his companions, the gamblers,
with his tail, and immediately they were turned into animals like

Then the people would no longer have them in the town, but drove
them out. They went to the forest where they lived in the trees,
and ever since they have been known as monkeys. [162]

The Virtue of the Cocoanut


One day a man took his blow-gun [163]and his dog and went to the
forest to hunt. As he was making his way through the thick woods he
chanced upon a young cocoanut tree growing in the ground.

It was the first tree of this kind that he had ever seen, and it
seemed so peculiar to him that he stopped to look at it.

When he had gone some distance farther, his attention was attracted
by a noisy bird in a tree, and he shot it with his blow-gun. By and by
he took aim at a large monkey, which mocked him from another treetop,
and that, too, fell dead at his feet.

Then he heard his dog barking furiously in the distant bushes, and
hastening to it he found it biting a wild pig. After a hard struggle
he killed the pig, and then, feeling satisfied with his success,
he took the three animals on his back and returned to the little plant.

"I have decided to take you home with me, little plant," he said,
"for I like you and you may be of some use to me."

He dug up the plant very carefully and started home, but he had
not gone far when he noticed that the leaves had begun to wilt,
and he did not know what to do, since he had no water. Finally, in
despair, he cut the throat of the bird and sprinkled the blood on the
cocoanut. No sooner had he done this than the plant began to revive,
and he continued his journey.

Before he had gone far, however, the leaves again began to wilt, and
this time he revived it with the blood of the monkey. Then he hastened
on, but a third time the leaves wilted, and he was compelled to stop
and revive it with the blood of the pig. This was his last animal,
so he made all the haste possible to reach home before his plant
died. The cocoanut began to wilt again before he reached his house,
but when he planted it in the ground, it quickly revived, and grew
into a tall tree.

This hunter was the first man to take the liquor called tuba [164]
from the cocoanut tree, and he and his friends began to drink it. After
they had become very fond of it, the hunter said to his friends:

"The cocoanut tree is like the three animals whose blood gave it life
when it would have died. The man who drinks three or four cups of
tuba becomes like the noisy bird that I shot with my blow-gun. One
who drinks more than three or four cups becomes like the big monkey
that acts silly; and one who becomes drunk is like the pig that sleeps
even in a mud-hole."



One day a man said to his wife: "My wife, we are getting very poor
and I must go into business to earn some money."

"That is a good idea," replied his wife. "How much capital have you?"

"I have twenty-five centavos," [165] answered the man; "and I am
going to buy rice and carry it to the mines, for I have heard that
it brings a good price there."

So he took his twenty-five centavos and bought a half-cavan of rice
which he carried on his shoulder to the mine. Arriving there he told
the people that he had rice for sale, and they asked eagerly how much
he wanted for it.

"Why, have you forgotten the regular price of rice?" asked the man. "It
is twenty-five centavos."

They at once bought the rice, and the man was very glad because he
would not have to carry it any longer. He put the money in his belt
and asked if they would like to buy any more.

"Yes," said they, "we will buy as many cavans as you will bring."

When the man reached home his wife asked if he had been successful.

"Oh, my wife," he answered, "it is a very good business. I could not
take the rice off my shoulder before the people came to buy it."

"Well, that is good," said the wife; "we shall become very rich."

The next morning the man bought a half-cavan of rice the same as before
and carried it to the mine and when they asked how much it would be,
he said:

"It is the same as before - twenty-five centavos." He received the
money and went home.

"How is the business today?" asked his wife.

"Oh, it is the same as before," he said. "I could not take the rice
off my shoulder before they came for it."

And so he went on with his business for a year, each day buying
a half-cavan of rice and selling it for the price he had paid for
it. Then one day his wife said that they would balance accounts,
and she spread a mat on the floor and sat down on one side of it,
telling her husband to sit on the opposite side. When she asked him
for the money he had made during the year, he asked:

"What money?"

"Why, give me the money you have received," answered his wife;
"and then we can see how much you have made."

"Oh, here it is," said the man, and he took the twenty-five centavos
out of his belt and handed it to her.

"Is that all you have received this year?" cried his wife
angrily. "Haven't you said that rice brought a good price at the

"That is all," he replied.

"How much did you pay for the rice?"

"Twenty-five centavos."

"How much did you receive for it?"

"Twenty-five centavos."

"Oh, my husband," cried his wife, "how can you make any gain if you
sell it for just what you paid for it."

The man leaned his head against the wall and thought. Ever since then
he has been called "Mansumandig," a man who leans back and thinks.

Then the wife said, "Give me the twenty-five centavos, and I will try
to make some money." So he handed it to her, and she said, "Now you go
to the field where the people are gathering hemp and buy twenty-five
centavos worth for me, and I will weave it into cloth."

When Mansumandig returned with the hemp she spread it in the sun,
and as soon as it was dry she tied it into a long thread and put it
on the loom to weave. Night and day she worked on her cloth, and when
it was finished she had eight varas. This she sold for twelve and a
half centavos a vara, and with this money she bought more hemp. She
continued weaving and selling her cloth, and her work was so good
that people were glad to buy from her.

At the end of a year she again spread the mat on the floor and took
her place on one side of it, while her husband sat on the opposite
side. Then she poured the money out of the blanket in which she kept
it upon the mat. She held aside her capital, which was twenty-five
centavos, and when she counted the remainder she found that she
had three hundred pesos. Mansumandig was greatly ashamed when he
remembered that he had not made cent, and he leaned his head against
the wall and thought After a while the woman pitied him, so she gave
him the money and told him to buy carabao.

He was able to buy ten carabao and with these he plowed his fields. By
raising good crops they were able to live comfortably all the rest
of their lives.

Why Dogs Wag their Tails


A rich man in a certain town once owned a dog and a cat, both of
which were very useful to him. The dog had served his master for many
years and had become so old that he had lost his teeth and was unable
to fight any more, but he was a good guide and companion to the cat
who was strong and cunning.

The master had a daughter who was attending school at a convent some
distance from home, and very often he sent the dog and the cat with
presents to the girl.

One day he called the faithful animals and bade them carry a magic
ring to his daughter.

"You are strong and brave," he said to the cat "You may carry the ring,
but you must be careful not to drop it"

And to the dog he said: "You must accompany the cat to guide her and
keep her from harm."

They promised to do their best, and started out. All went well until
they came to a river. As there was neither bridge nor boat, there
was no way to cross but to swim.

"Let me take the magic ring," said the dog as they were about to
plunge into the water.

"Oh, no," replied the cat, "the master gave it to me to carry."

"But you cannot swim well," argued the dog. "I am strong and can take
good care of it."

But the cat refused to give up the ring until finally the dog
threatened to kill her, and then she reluctantly gave it to him.

The river was wide and the water so swift that they grew very tired,
and just before they reached the opposite bank the dog dropped
the ring. They searched carefully, but could not find it anywhere,
and after a while they turned back to tell their master of the sad

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Online LibraryUnknownPhilippine Folk Tales → online text (page 9 of 11)