Filipino Popular Tales
Dean S. Fansler
Part 2 out of 7
are defeated by Pusong, and captured with all their slaves. Among the
wounded slaves are the parents of Pusong. On recognizing their son,
they instantly die of shame for their past cruelty to him. Nor can
the hero bear the shock any better than they: he too falls dead.
ADDITIONAL NOTES.--The three weeks' swim in 3 suggests Beowulf's
swim of a week and his fight with the sea-monsters (Beowulf 535
ff.). The mistaking of a monster fish for an island seems to be an
Oriental notion. It occurs in the "1001 Nights" ("First Voyage of
Sindbad the Sailor;" see Lane's note 8 to this story).
G The denouement. Cabagboc finally reaches home, and spends the
rest of his life with his parents (b); Sandapal (c) is bought by the
king, and amuses the court lords and ladies by his feats of strength;
Sandangcal (d) distributes ten billion pesos among his three helpers,
and lives the rest of his days feasting on carabao-livers; Greedy
Juan (e) comes back home with a magic money-producing goat, which he
leaves to his parents, while he by chance finds a wonderful house in
the forest with plenty to eat, and there he remains; Juan Tapon (f)
joins the king's army to fight a neighboring monarch; Dangandangan
(g) becomes a general in the king's army; Tangarangan (h) performs
marvellous deeds abroad, but never returns home again.
Two other variants remain to be noticed briefly. One of these I have
only in abstract, the other is avowedly a confusion of two stories
by the narrator. Both are Ilocano tales. The hero's name in both is
Kakarangkang (from kaka, a term of respect given to either a senior
or a junior; and dangkang, "a span"). In both, the hero is a great
eater and prodigiously strong. The only adventure of Kakarangkang
recorded in the abstract is an adventure with a crocodile. Kakarangkang
goes fishing and hooks a crocodile; but, while trying to draw it to
shore, he is thrown into the air, falls into the reptile's mouth,
and is swallowed. He manages, however, to cut his way out. In the
other story, besides some incidents properly belonging to the story
of "The Monkey and the Turtle" (cf. also 4 [b]), we find this same
adventure with the crocodile, the slaying of a seven-headed giant
(F5), and the removal of an enormous decaying fish (F3). The diminutive
hero receives the hand of the king's daughter in return for this last
service,--an honor which the heroes of our other versions decline. The
incident of the small hero being swallowed by an animal and ultimately
emerging into the light of day alive, at once suggests Tom Thumb's
adventure in the cow and the wolf. For "swallow" tales in general,
see Macculloch, 47-51; Bolte-Polivka, 1 : 395-398; Cosquin, 2 :
150-155. The combination of the "interrupted-cooking" episode (F1),
which properly belongs to the "John the Bear" cycle, with motifs from
"The Monkey and the Turtle" and "The Monkey and the Crocodile" stories,
will be discussed in the notes to Nos. 4, 55, and 56.
Suac and His Adventures.
Narrated by Anastacia Villegas of Arayat, Pampanga, who heard the
story from her grandmother.
Once upon a time, in a certain town in Pampanga, there lived a boy
named Suac. In order to try his fortune, one day he went a-hunting with
Sunga and Sacu in Mount Telapayong. When they reached the mountain,
they spread their nets, and made their dogs ready for the chase, to
see if any wild animals would come to that place. Not long afterwards
they captured a large hog. They took it under a large tree and killed
it. Then Sunga and Suac went out into the forest again.
Sacu was left to prepare their food. While he was busy cooking,
he heard a voice saying, "Ha, ha! what a nice meal you are
preparing! Hurry up! I am hungry." On looking up, Sacu saw on the top
of the tree a horrible creature,--a very large black man with a long
beard. This was Pugut.
Sacu said to him, "Aba!  I am not cooking this food for you. My
companions and I are hungry."
"Well, let us see who shall have it, then," said Pugut as he came
down the tree. At first Sacu did not want to give him the food; but
Pugut knocked the hunter down, and before he had time to recover had
eaten up all the food. Then he climbed the tree again. When Sunga
and Suac came back, Sunga said to Sacu, "Is the food ready? Here is
a deer that we have caught."
Sacu answered, "When the food was ready, Pugut came and ate it all. I
tried to prevent him, but in vain: I could not resist him."
"Well," said Sunga, "let me be the cook while you and Suac are the
hunters." Then Sacu and Suac went out, and Sunga was left to cook. The
food was no sooner ready than Pugut came again, and ate it all as
before. So when the hunters returned, bringing a hog with them,
they still had nothing to eat.
Accordingly Suac was left to cook, and his companions went away to
hunt again. Suac roasted the hog. Pugut smelled it. He looked down,
and said, "Ha, ha! I have another cook; hurry up! boy, I am hungry."
"I pray you, please do not deprive us of this food too," said Suac.
"I must have it, for I am hungry," said Pugut. "Otherwise I shall eat
you up." When the hog was roasted a nice brown, Pugut came down the
tree. But Suac placed the food near the fire and stood by it; and when
Pugut tried to seize it, the boy pushed him into the fire. Pugut's
beard was burnt, and it became kinky.  The boy then ran to a
deep pit. He covered it on the top with grass. Pugut did not stay to
eat the food, but followed Suac. Suac was very cunning. He stood on
the opposite side of the pit, and said, "I pray you, do not step on
"I am going to eat you up," said Pugut angrily, as he stepped on the
grass and fell into the pit. The boy covered the pit with stones
and earth, thinking that Pugut would perish there; but he was
mistaken. Suac had not gone far when he saw Pugut following him;
but just then he saw, too, a crocodile. He stopped and resolutely
waited for Pugut, whom he gave a blow and pushed into the mouth of
the crocodile. Thus Pugut was destroyed.
Suac then took his victim's club, and returned under the tree. After a
while his companions came back. He related to them how he had overcome
Pugut, and then they ate. The next day they returned to town.
Suac, on hearing that there was a giant who came every night into
the neighborhood to devour people, went one night to encounter the
giant. When the giant came, he said, "You are just the thing for me
to eat." But Suac gave him a deadly blow with Pugut's club, and the
giant tumbled down dead.
Later Suac rid the islands of all the wild monsters, and became the
ruler over his people.
The Three Friends,--The Monkey, the Dog, and the Carabao.
Narrated by Jose M. Hilario, a Tagalog from Batangas, Batangas.
Once there lived three friends,--a monkey, a dog, and a carabao. They
were getting tired of city life, so they decided to go to the
country to hunt. They took along with them rice, meat, and some
The first day the carabao was left at home to cook the food,
so that his two companions might have something to eat when they
returned from the hunt. After the monkey and the dog had departed,
the carabao began to fry the meat. Unfortunately the noise of the
frying was heard by the Bungisngis in the forest. Seeing this chance
to fill his stomach, the Bungisngis went up to the carabao, and said,
"Well, friend, I see that you have prepared food for me."
For an answer, the carabao made a furious attack on him. The Bungisngis
was angered by the carabao's lack of hospitality, and, seizing him
by the horn, threw him knee-deep into the earth. Then the Bungisngis
ate up all the food and disappeared.
When the monkey and the dog came home, they saw that everything was
in disorder, and found their friend sunk knee-deep in the ground. The
carabao informed them that a big strong man had come and beaten him
in a fight. The three then cooked their food. The Bungisngis saw
them cooking, but he did not dare attack all three of them at once,
for in union there is strength.
The next day the dog was left behind as cook. As soon as the food
was ready, the Bungisngis came and spoke to him in the same way he
had spoken to the carabao. The dog began to snarl; and the Bungisngis,
taking offence, threw him down. The dog could not cry to his companions
for help; for, if he did, the Bungisngis would certainly kill him. So
he retired to a corner of the room and watched his unwelcome guest
eat all of the food. Soon after the Bungisngis's departure, the monkey
and the carabao returned. They were angry to learn that the Bungisngis
had been there again.
The next day the monkey was cook; but, before cooking, he made a
pitfall in front of the stove. After putting away enough food for
his companions and himself, he put the rice on the stove. When the
Bungisngis came, the monkey said very politely, "Sir, you have come
just in time. The food is ready, and I hope you'll compliment me by
The Bungisngis gladly accepted the offer, and, after sitting down in
a chair, began to devour the food. The monkey took hold of a leg of
the chair, gave a jerk, and sent his guest tumbling into the pit. He
then filled the pit with earth, so that the Bungisngis was buried
with no solemnity.
When the monkey's companions arrived, they asked about the
Bungisngis. At first the monkey was not inclined to tell them what had
happened; but, on being urged and urged by them, he finally said that
the Bungisngis was buried "there in front of the stove." His foolish
companions, curious, began to dig up the grave. Unfortunately the
Bungisngis was still alive. He jumped out, and killed the dog and
lamed the carabao; but the monkey climbed up a tree, and so escaped.
One day while the monkey was wandering in the forest, he saw a beehive
on top of a vine.
"Now I'll certainly kill you," said some one coming towards the monkey.
Turning around, the monkey saw the Bungisngis. "Spare me," he said,
"and I will give up my place to you. The king has appointed me to
ring each hour of the day that bell up there," pointing to the top
of the vine.
"All right! I accept the position," said the Bungisngis. "Stay
here while I find out what time it is," said the monkey. The monkey
had been gone a long time, and the Bungisngis, becoming impatient,
pulled the vine. The bees immediately buzzed about him, and punished
him for his curiosity.
Maddened with pain, the Bungisngis went in search of the monkey,
and found him playing with a boa-constrictor. "You villain! I'll not
hear any excuses from you. You shall certainly die," he said.
"Don't kill me, and I will give you this belt which the king has
given me," pleaded the monkey.
Now, the Bungisngis was pleased with the beautiful colors of the belt,
and wanted to possess it: so he said to the monkey, "Put the belt
around me, then, and we shall be friends."
The monkey placed the boa-constrictor around the body of the
Bungisngis. Then he pinched the boa, which soon made an end of
The pugut, among the Ilocanos and Pampangos, is a nocturnal spirit,
usually in the form of a gigantic Negro, terrifying, but not
particularly harmful. It corresponds to the Tagalog cafre. 
Its power of rapid transformation, however, makes it a more or less
formidable opponent. Sometimes it takes the form of a cat with fiery
eyes, a minute later appearing as a large dog. Then it will turn into
an enormous Negro smoking a large cigar, and finally disappear as a
ball of fire. It lives either in large trees or in abandoned houses
and ruined buildings.
Bungisngis is defined by the narrator as meaning "a large strong man
that is always laughing." The word is derived from the root ngisi,
"to show the teeth" (Tag.). This giant has been described to me as
being of herculean size and strength, sly, and possessing an upper
lip so large that when it is thrown back it completely covers the
demon's face. The Bungisngis can lift a huge animal as easily as if
it were a feather.
Obviously these two superhuman demons have to be overcome with
strategy, not muscle. The heroes, consequently, are beings endowed with
cleverness. After Suac has killed Pugut and has come into possession
of his victim's magic club, he easily slays a man-eating giant (see
F4 in notes to preceding tale). The tricks played on the Bungisngis
by the monkey ("ringing the bell" and the "king's belt") are found in
the Ilocano story "Kakarangkang" and in "The Monkey and the Turtle,"
but in the latter tale the monkey is the victim. It would thus seem
that a precedent for the mixture of two old formulas by the narrator
of "Kakarangkang" already existed among the Tagalogs (cf. the end of
the notes to No. 3).
We have not a large enough number of variants to enable us to determine
the original form of the separate incidents combined to form the cycles
represented by stories Nos. 3, 4, and 55; but the evidence we have
leads to the supposition that Carancal motifs ABCDF1 are very old in
the Islands, and that these taken together probably constituted the
prototype of the "Carancal" group. I cannot but believe that the
"interrupted-cooking" episode, as found in the Philippines, owes
nothing to European forms of "John the Bear;" for nowhere in the
Islands have I found it associated with the subsequent adventures
comprising the "John the Bear" norm,--the underground pursuit of the
demon, the rescue of the princesses by the hero, the treachery of the
companions, the miraculous escape of the hero from the underworld,
and the final triumph of justice and the punishment of the traitors
(see No. 17 and notes).
For a Borneo story of a "Deer, Pig, and Plandok (Mouse-Deer)," see
Roth, 1 : 346. In this tale, as well as in another from British
North Borneo (Evans, 471-473, "The Plandok and the Gergasi"), it
is the clever plandok who alone is able to outwit the giant. In the
latter story there are seven animals,--carabao, ox, dog, stag, horse,
mouse-deer, and barking-deer. The carabao and horse in turn try in
vain to guard fish from the gergasi (a mythical giant who carries
a spear over his shoulder). The plandok takes his turn now, after
his two companions have been badly mishandled, and tricks the giant
into letting himself be bound and pushed into a well, because the
"sky is falling." There he is killed by the other animals when they
return. With this last incident compare the trick of the fox in the
Mongolian story in our notes to No. 48. In two other stories of the
cunning of the plandok, "The Plandok and the Tiger" (Evans, 474) and
"The Plandok and the Bear" (ibid.), we meet with the "king's belt"
trick and the "king's gong" trick respectively. For an additional
record from Borneo, see Edwin H. Gomes, "Seventeen Years among the
Sea Dyaks of Borneo" (Lond., 1911), 255-261.
How Suan Became Rich.
Narrated by Bonifacio Ynares, a Tagalog living in Pasig, Rizal.
Pedro and Suan were friends. Pedro inherited a great fortune from his
parents, who had recently died; but Suan was as poor as the poorest
of beggars that ever lived. Early one morning Suan went to his friend,
and said, "I wonder if you have a post that you do not need."
"Yes, I have one," said Pedro. "Why? Do you need it?"
"Yes, I need one badly, to build my house."
"Very well, take it," said Pedro. "Do not worry about paying for it."
Suan, who had not thought evil of his friend, took the post and built
his house. When it was finished, his house was found to surpass that
of his friend. This fact made Pedro so envious of Suan, that at last
he went to him and asked Suan for the post back again.
"Why, if I take it from its place, my house will be destroyed. So
let me pay you for it, or let me look for another post in the town
and get it for you!"
"No," said Pedro, "I must have my own post, for I wish to use it."
Finally Suan became so greatly annoyed by his friend's insistence,
that he exclaimed, "I will not give you back your post."
"Take heed, Suan! for I will accuse you before the king."
"All right! do as you please."
"We will then go to the king Monday," said Pedro.
"Very well; I am always ready."
When Monday came, both prepared to go to the palace. Pedro, who cared
for his money more than for anything else, took some silver coins along
with him for the journey. Suan took cooked rice and fish instead. Noon
came while they were still on the road. Suan opened his package of
food and began to eat. Pedro was also very hungry at this time, but
no food could be bought on the way. So Suan generously invited Pedro
to eat with him, and they dined together.
After eating, the two resumed their journey. At last they came to a
river. The bridge over it was broken in the middle, and one had to jump
in order to get to the other side. Pedro jumped. Suan followed him,
but unfortunately fell. It so happened that an old man was bathing
in the river below, and Suan accidentally fell right on him. The old
man was knocked silly, and as a consequence was drowned. When Isidro,
the son, who dearly loved his father, heard of the old man's death, he
at once made up his mind to accuse Suan before the king. He therefore
joined the two travellers.
After a while the three came to a place where they saw Barbekin
having a hard time getting his carabao out of the mire. Suan offered
to help. He seized the carabao by the tail, and pulled with great
force. The carabao was rescued, but its tail was broken off short
by a sudden pull of Suan. Barbekin was filled with rage because of
the injury done to his animal: so he, too, resolved to accuse Suan
before the king.
When they came to the palace, the king said, "Why have you come here?"
Pedro spoke first. "I have come," he said, "to accuse Suan to you. He
has one of my posts, and he won't return it to me."
On being asked if the accusation was true, Suan responded with a nod,
and said in addition, "But Pedro ate a part of my rice and fish on
the way here."
"My decision, then," said the king, "is that Suan shall give Pedro
his post, and that Pedro shall give Suan his rice and fish."
Isidro was the next to speak. "I have come here to accuse Suan. While
my father was bathing in the river, Suan jumped on him and killed him."
"Suan, then, must bathe in the river," said the king, "and you may
jump on him."
When Barbekin was asked why he had come, he replied, "I wish to accuse
Suan. He pulled my carabao by the tail, and it was broken off short."
"Give Suan your carabao, then," said the king. "He shall not return
it to you until he has made its tail grow to its full length."
The accused and the accusers now took their leave of the king.
"Give me the carabao now," said Suan to Barbekin when they had gone
some distance from the palace.
The carabao was young and strong, and Barbekin hated to give it up. So
he said, "Don't take the carabao, and I will give you fifty pesos."
"No; the decision of the king must be fulfilled," said Suan. Barbekin
then raised the sum to ninety pesos, and Suan consented to accept
the offer. Thus Suan was rewarded for his work in helping Barbekin.
When they came to the bridge, Suan went down into the river, and told
Isidro to jump on him. But the bridge was high, and Isidro was afraid
to jump. Moreover, he did not know how to swim, and he feared that he
would but drown himself if he jumped. So he asked Suan to pardon him.
"No, you must fulfil the decision of the king," answered Suan.
"Let me off from jumping on you, and I will give you five hundred
pesos," said Isidro.
The amount appealed to Suan as being a good offer, so he accepted it
and let Isidro go.
As soon as Suan reached home, he took Pedro's post from his house,
and started for Pedro's house, taking a razor along with him. "Here
is your post," he said; "but you must lie down, for I am going to
get my rice and fish from you."
In great fright Pedro said, "You need not return the post any more."
"No," said Suan, "we must fulfil the decision of the king."
"If you do not insist on your demand," said Pedro, "I will give you
half of my riches."
"No, I must have my rice and fish." Suan now held Pedro by the
shoulder, and began to cut Pedro's abdomen with the razor. He had no
sooner done that, than Pedro, in great terror, cried out,--
"Don't cut me, and you shall have all my riches!"
Thus Suan became the richest man in town by using his tact and
knowledge in outwitting his enemies.
The King's Decisions.
Narrated by Jose M. Hilario, a Tagalog from Batangas, who heard the
story from his father.
Once a poor man named Juan was without relatives or friends. Life
to him was a series of misfortunes. A day often passed without his
tasting even a mouthful of food.
One day, weakened with hunger and fatigue, as he was walking along
the road, he passed a rich man's house. It so happened that at this
time the rich man's food was being cooked. The food smelled so good,
that Juan's hunger was satisfied merely with the fragrance. When the
rich man learned that the smell of his food had satisfied Juan, he
demanded money of Juan. Juan refused to give money, however, because
he had none, and because he had neither tasted nor touched the rich
man's food. "Let's go to the king, then," said Pedro, the rich man,
"and have this matter settled!" Juan had no objection to the proposal,
and the two set out for the palace.
Soon they came to a place where the mire was knee-deep. There they saw
a young man who was trying to help his horse out of a mud-hole. "Hey,
you lazy fellows! help me to get my horse out of this hole," said
Manuel. The three tried with all their might to release the horse. They
finally succeeded; but unfortunately Juan had taken hold of the
horse's tail, and it was broken off when Juan gave a sudden hard pull.
"You have got to pay me for injuring my horse," said Manuel.
"No, I will not give you any money, because I had no intention of
helping you until you asked me to," said Juan.
"Well, the king will have to settle the quarrel." Juan, who was not
to be frightened by threats, went with Pedro and Manuel.
Night overtook the three on their way. They had to lodge themselves in
the house of one of Pedro's friends. Juan was not allowed to come up,
but was made to sleep downstairs.
At midnight the pregnant wife of the host had to make water. She
went to the place under which Juan was sleeping. Juan, being suddenly
awakened and frightened, uttered a loud shriek; and the woman, also
frightened because she thought there were robbers or ghosts about,
miscarried. The next morning the husband asked Juan why he had cried
out so loud in the night. Juan said that he was frightened.
"You won't fool me! Come with us to the king," said the husband.
When the four reached the palace, they easily gained access to the
royal presence. Then each one explained why he had come there.
"I'll settle the first case," said the king. He commanded the servant
to fetch two silver coins and place them on the table. "Now, Pedro,
come here and smell the coins. As Juan became satisfied with the
smell of your food, so now satisfy yourself with the smell of the
money." Pedro could not say a word, though he was displeased at the
"Now I'll give my decisions on the next two cases. Manuel, you must
give your horse to Juan, and let him have it until another tail
grows.--And you, married man, must let Juan have your wife until she
gives birth to another child."
Pedro, Manuel, and the married man went home discontented with the
decisions of the king,--Pedro without having received pay, Manuel
without his horse, and the other man without his wife.
These two Tagalog stories, together with another, "How Piro
became Rich," which is almost identical with No. 5(a), may
possibly be descended directly from an old Buddhist birth-story
("Gamani-canda-jataka," No. 257),--a tale in which W. A. Clouston
(see Academy, No. 796, for Aug. 6, 1887) sees the germ of the
"pound-of-flesh" incident. An abstract of the first part of this Jataka
will set forth the striking resemblance between our stories and this
old Hindoo apologue,  The part of the Jataka that interests us
is briefly the account of how a man was haled to the king's tribunal
for injuries done unwittingly, and how the king passed judgment
thereupon. The abstract follows:--
Gamani, a certain old courtier of the ruling king's dead father,
decided to earn his living by farming, as he thought that the new
king should be surrounded with advisers of his own age. He took up
his abode in a village three leagues from the city, and, after the
rainy season was over, one day borrowed two oxen from a friend, with
which to help him do his ploughing. In the evening he returned the
oxen; but the friend being at dinner, and not inviting Gamani to eat,
Gamani put the oxen in the stall, and got no formal release from his
creditor. That night thieves stole the cattle. Next day the owner of
the oxen discovered the theft, and decided to make Gamani pay for the
beasts. So the two set out to lay the case before the king. On the
way they stopped for food at the house of a friend of Gamani's. The
woman of the house, while climbing a ladder to the store-room for rice
for Gamani, fell and miscarried. The husband, returning that instant,
accused Gamani of hitting his wife and bringing on untimely labor:
so the husband set off with Gamani's first accuser to get justice
from the king. On their way they met a horse that would not go with
its groom. The owner of the horse shouted to G. to hit the horse
with something and head it back. G. threw a stone at the animal, but
broke its leg. "Here's a king's officer for you," shouted the man;
"you've broken my horse's leg." G. was thus three men's prisoner. By
this time G. was in despair, and decided to kill himself. As soon as
opportunity came, he rushed up a hill near the road, and threw himself
from a precipice. But he fell on the back of an old basket-maker and
killed him on the spot. The son of the basket-maker accused G. of
murder and went along with the three other plaintiffs to the king. (I
omit here the various questions that persons whom G. meets along the
road beg him to take to the king for an answer.)
All five appearing in the presence of the king, the owner of the oxen
demanded justice. In answer to the king's question, he at first denied
having seen G. return the oxen, but later admitted that he saw them
in the stall. G. was ordered to pay twenty-four pieces of money for
the oxen; but the plaintiff, for lying, was condemned to have his
eyes plucked out by G. Terrified at the prospect, he threw money
to G. and rushed away. The judgment in the case of the second false
accuser was this: G. was to take his friend's wife and live with her
until she should bear another son to take the place of the child that
miscarried. Again G. was bought off by the plaintiff. In the third
case the owner of the horse at first denied having requested G. to
hit the beast, but later admitted the truth. Judgment: G. was to pay
a thousand pieces (which the king gave him) for the injured animal,
but was also to tear out his false accuser's tongue. The fellow gave
G. a sum of money and departed. The fourth decision was as follows:
inasmuch as G. could not restore the dead father to life, he was to
take the dead man's widow to his home and be a father to the young
basket-maker; but he, rather than have his old home broken up, gave
G. a sum of money and hurried away.
It is to be regretted that this Buddhistic birth-story was not known
to Theodor Benfey, who, in his exhaustive discussion of our present
cycle, particularly from the point of view of the "pound-of-flesh"
incident (1 : 393-410), writes, "I may remark that this recital [i.e.,
of the decisions], which here borders on the comic, is based upon
serious traditional legends which have to do with Buddhistic casuistry"
(p. 397). Benfey's fragmentary citations are not very convincing; but
this Jataka proves that his reasoning, as usual, was entirely sound.
An Indo-Persian version called the "Kazi of Emessa," cited by Clouston
(op. cit.), might be mentioned here, as it too has close resemblances
to our stories.
While a merchant is being taken by a Jew before the king because the
merchant will not pay his bond of a pound of flesh, he meets with
the following accidents: (1) In attempting to stop a runaway mule, he
knocks out one of the animal's eyes with a stone; (2) while sleeping on
a flat roof, he is aroused suddenly by an uproar in the street, and,
jumping from the roof, he kills an old man below; (3) in trying to
pull an ass out of the mud, he pulls its tail off. The owner of the
mule, the sons of the dead man, and the owner of the ass, go along
with the Jew to present their cases before the king, whose decisions
are as follows: (1') The owner of the mule, valued at 1000 dinars,
is to saw the animal in two lengthwise, and is to give the blind
half to the merchant, who must pay 500 dinars for it. As the owner
refuses, he is obliged to pay the merchant 100 dinars for bringing in
a troublesome suit. (2') Merchant must stand below a roof and allow
himself to be jumped on by the sons of the dead man; but they refuse
to take the risk, and are obliged to pay the merchant 100 dinars
for troubling him. (3') The owner of the tailless ass is compelled
to try to pull out the tail of the Kazi's mule. Naturally the animal
resents such treatment, and the accuser is terribly bruised. Finally,
to avoid further punishment, he says that his own animal never had a
tail. Hence he is forced to give the merchant 100 dinars for bringing
in a false suit.
In the "Katha-sarit-sagara" (translated by C. H. Tawney, 2 : 180-181)
occurs this story:--
One day, when Brahman Devabhuti had gone to bathe, his wife went into
the garden to get vegetables, and saw a donkey belonging to a washerman
eating them. She took up a stick and ran after the donkey; the animal,
trying to escape, fell into a pit and broke its hoof. When the master
heard of that, he came in a passion, and beat and kicked the Brahman
woman. Accordingly she, being pregnant, had a miscarriage; but the
washerman returned home with his donkey. Her husband, hearing of it,
went, in his distress, and complained to the chief magistrate of the
town. The foolish man, after hearing both sides of the case, delivered
this judgment: "Since the donkey's hoof is broken, let the Brahman
carry the donkey's load for the washerman until the donkey is again fit
for work; and let the washerman make the Brahman's wife pregnant again,
since he made her miscarry." When the Brahman and his wife heard this
decision, they, in their despair, took poison and died; and when the
king heard of it, he put to death that inconsiderate judge.
The Tagalog story of "How Piro became Rich," which I have not printed
here, is identical with "How Suan became Rich," with this exception,
that a horse's tail, instead of a carabao's, is pulled off by the
hero. And there is this addition: while travelling to the king's court,
Piro hears cries for help coming from the woods. He rushes to the spot,
and sees a young lady fighting a swarm of bees. Piro helps kill the
bees with his stick, but, in doing so, injures the woman somewhat
severely. Her father, angered, joins the accusers, and requests the
king that he order Piro to cure his daughter. The king rules that if
Piro is to do this, and if the young woman is to get the best care,
she must become Piro's wife. For relinquishing his right to the girl,
Piro receives a hundred alfonsos from the father.
All in all, the close agreement between our stories and the three
Eastern versions cited above makes it reasonably certain that the
"Wonderful Decisions" group in the Philippines derives directly
The Four Blind Brothers.
Narrated by Eutiqiano Garcia, a Pampangan, who said he heard the
story from a boy from Misamis, Mindanao.
There was once a man who had eight sons. Four of them were blind. He
thought of sending the children away, simply because he could not
afford to keep them in the house any longer. Accordingly one night
he called his eight children together, and said, "He who does not
provide for the future shall want in the present. You are big enough
and are able to support yourselves. To-morrow I shall send you away
to seek your fortunes."
When morning came, the boys bade their father good-by. The blind sons
went together in one party, and the rest in another. Now begins the
pathetic story of the four blind brothers.
They groped along the road, each holding the hand of the other. After
a day of continuous walking, the four brothers were very far away
from their town. They had not tasted food during all that time. In
the evening they came to a cocoanut-grove.
"Here are some cocoanut-trees," said one of them. "Let us get a bunch
of cocoanuts and have something to eat!"
So the eldest brother took off his camisa china  and climbed up
one of the trees. When he reached the top, the tree broke.
"Bung!" Down came the poor fellow. "One!" cried the youngest
brother. "Three more!" shouted the rest.
"Don't come down until you have dropped four!" they all cried at
once. Who would answer them? Their brother lay dead on the ground.
While they were waiting for the second "Bung!" the second brother
climbed up the same tree. What had happened to the first happened
also to him, and so to the third in turn. As soon as the youngest
brother heard the third fall, he thought of looking for his share. He
crept about to find the cocoanuts. Alas! he discovered that his three
brothers lay dead on the ground. He went away from the place crying
Now, his crying happened to disturb the patianac,  who were
trying to sleep. They went out to see what was the matter. When
they found the poor helpless blind man, they were very much moved,
and they gave him food and shelter for the night. They also gave
him the tail of a pagui,  which would help him find his fortune,
they said. At daybreak they showed him the way out of the grove.
The blind man walked on and on, until he was hailed by a lame man
resting under a shady tree. "Friend, carry me on your shoulders,
and let us travel together!" said the lame man to the blind.
"Willingly," replied the blind man.
They travelled for many hours, and at last came to a big, lonely
house. They knocked at the open door, but nobody answered. At last
they entered, and found the place empty. While they were searching
through the house, the owner came. He was a two-headed giant. The
blind man and the lame man were upstairs.
The giant was afraid to enter the house, but he called in a voice of
thunder, "Who's there?"
"We are big men," answered the two companions.
"How big are you?" asked the giant.
"We are so big that the foundation of the house shakes when we walk,"
the two replied.
"Give me a proof that you are really big men!" cried the giant again.
"We will show you one of our hairs," they answered, and they dropped
from the window the tail of the pagui.
The giant looked at it in wonder. He was immediately convinced that
they were more powerful than he was. So, picking up the "hair,"
the giant went away, afraid to face such antagonists in single combat.
So the prediction of the patianac came true. The house and all the
property of the giant fell into the hands of the blind man and the
lame man. They lived there happily all the rest of their lives.
Juan the Blind Man.
Narrated by Pedro D. L. Sorreta, a Bicol from Virac, Catanduanes,
where the story is common.
Many years ago there lived in a little village near a thick forest
eight blind men who were close friends. In spite of their physical
defects, they were always happy,--perhaps much happier than their
fellow-villagers, for at night they would always go secretly to one
of the neighboring cocoanut-groves, where they would spend their time
drinking tuba  or eating young cocoanuts.
One evening a severe typhoon  struck the little village, and most
of the cocoanut-trees were broken off at the top. The next afternoon
the joyous party went to the cocoanut-grove to steal fruits. As soon
as they arrived there, seven of them climbed trees. Juan, the youngest
of all, was ordered to remain below so as to count and gather in the
cocoanuts his friends threw down to him. While his companions were
climbing the trees, Juan was singing,--
"Eight friends, good friends,
One fruit each eats;
Good Juan here bends,
Young nuts he takes."
He had no sooner repeated his verse three times than he heard a fall.
"One," he counted; and he began to sing the second verse:--
"Believe me, that everything
Which man can use he must bring,
No matter at all of what it's made;
So, friends, a counter you need."
Crrapup! he heard another fall, which was followed by three in close
succession. "Good!" he said, "five in all. Three more, friends,"
and he raised his head as if he could see his companions. After a
few minutes he heard two more falls.
"Six, seven--well, only seven," he said, as he began searching for
the cocoanuts on the ground. "One more for me, friends--one more,
and every one is satisfied." But it was his friends who had fallen;
for, as the trees were only stumps, the climbers fell off when they
reached the tops.
Juan, however, did not guess what had happened until he found one
of the dead bodies. Then he ran away as fast as he could. At last he
struck Justo, a lame man. After hearing Juan's story, Justo advised
Juan not to return to his village, lest he be accused of murder by
the relatives of the other men.
After a long talk, the two agreed to travel together and seek a
place of refuge, for the blind man's proposal seemed a good one to
the lame man:--
"Blind man, strong legs;
Lame man, good eyes;
Four-footed are pigs;
Four-handed are monkeys.
But we'll walk on two,
And we'll see with two."
So when morning dawned, they started on their journey.
They had not travelled far when Justo saw a horn in the road, and
told Juan about it. Juan said,--
"Believe me, that everything
Which man can use he must bring,
No matter at all of what it's made;
So, friend, a horn too we need."
The next thing that Justo saw was a rusted axe; and after being told
about it, Juan repeated his little verse again, ending it with, "So,
friend, an axe too we need." A few hours later the lame man saw a
piece of rope; and when the blind man knew of it, he said,--
"Bring one, bring two, bring all,
The horn, the axe, the rope as well."
And last of all they found an old drum, which they took along with
Soon Justo saw a very big house. They were glad, for they thought
that they could get something to eat there. When they came near it,
they found that the door was open; but when they entered it, Justo
saw nothing but bolos, spears, and shields hanging on the walls. After
a warm discussion as to what they should do, they decided to hide in
the ceiling of the house, and remain there until the owner returned.
They had no sooner made themselves comfortable than they heard some
persons coming. When Justo saw the bloody bolos and spears of the
men, and the big sack of money they carried, he was terrified, for he
suspected that they were outlaws. He trembled; his hair stood on end;
he could not control himself. At last he shouted, "Ay, here?"
The blind man, who could not see the danger they were in, stopped
the lame man, but not before the owners of the house had heard them.
"Ho, you mosquitoes! what are you doing there?" asked the chief of
the outlaws as he looked up at the ceiling.
"Aha, you rascals! we are going to eat you all," answered the blind
man in the loudest voice he could muster.
"What's that you say?" returned the chief.
"Why, we have been looking for you, for we intend to eat you all up,"
replied Juan; "and to show you what kind of animals we are, here is
one of my teeth," and Juan threw down the rusted axe. "Look at one
of my hairs!" continued Juan, as he threw down the rope.
The outlaws were so frightened that they were almost ready to run
away. The chief could not say a single word.
"Now listen, you ants, to my whistle!" said Juan, and he blew
the horn. "And to show you how big our stomachs are, hear us beat
them!" and he beat the drum. The outlaws were so frightened that they
ran away. Some of them even jumped out of the windows.
When the robbers were all gone, Juan and Justo went down to divide
the money; but the lame man tried to cheat the blind man, and they
had a quarrel over the division. Justo struck Juan in the eyes with
the palm of his hand, and the blind man's eyes were opened so that he
could see. Juan kicked Justo so hard, that the lame man rolled toward
one corner of the house and struck a post. His lameness was cured,
so that he could stand and walk.
When they saw that each had done the other a great service, they
divided the money fairly, and lived ever after together as close
Teofilo the Hunchback, and the Giant.
Narrated by Loreta Benavides, a Bicol student, who heard the story
from her aunt.
Once there lived a hunchback whose name was Teofilo. He was an
orphan, and used to get his food by wandering through the woods. He
had no fixed home. Sometimes he even slept under large trees in the
forest. His one blind eye, as well as his crooked body, would make
almost any one pity his miserable condition.
One day, while he was wandering through the woods looking for something
to eat, he found a piece of large rope. He was very glad; for he
could sell the rope, and in that way get money to buy food. Walking
a little farther, he found a gun leaning against a fence. This gun,
he supposed, had been left there by a hunter. He was glad to have
it, too, for protection. Finally, while crossing a swampy place,
he saw a duck drinking in the brook. He ran after the duck, and at
last succeeded in catching it. Now he was sure of a good meal.
But it had taken him a long time to capture the duck. Night soon came
on, and he had to look for a resting-place. Fortunately he came to a
field, and his eye caught a glimpse of light on the other side. He went
towards the light, and found it to come from a house, all the windows
of which were open. He knocked at the door, but nobody answered;
so he just pushed it open and entered. He then began to feel very
comfortable. He prepared his bed, and then went to sleep. He did not
know that he was in a giant's house.
At midnight Teofilo was awakened by a loud voice. He made a hole in
the wall and looked out. There in the dark he saw a very tall man,
taller even than the house itself. It was the giant. The giant said,
"I smell some one here." He tried to open the door, but Teofilo had
"If you are really a strong man and braver than I," said the giant,
"let me see your hair!"
Teofilo then threw out the piece of rope. The giant was surprised at
its size. He then asked to see Teofilo's louse, and Teofilo threw
out the duck. The giant was terrified, for he had never seen such
a large louse before. Finally the giant said, "Well, you seem to be
larger than I. Let me hear your voice!"
Teofilo fired his gun. When the giant heard the gun and saw it
spitting fire, he trembled, for he thought that the man's saliva
was burning coals. Afraid to challenge his strange guest any more,
the giant ran away and disappeared forever.
And so Teofilo the hunchback lived happily all the rest of his days
in the giant's house without being troubled by any one.
Juan and the Buringcantada.
Narrated by Pacifico Buenconsejo, a Bicol, who heard the story from
A long time ago, when the Bicols had not yet been welded into one
tribe, there lived a couple in the mountains of Albay who had one son,
named Juan. Before the boy was five years old, his father died. As
Juan grew up, he became very lazy: he did not like to work, nor would
he help his mother earn their daily bread. Despite his laziness,
Juan was dearly loved by his mother. She did not want him to work
in the field under the hot sun. Because of his mother's indulgence,
he grew lazier and lazier.
Every afternoon Juan used to take a walk while his mother was
working. She was a kind-hearted woman, and often told her son to help
anybody he met that needed help. One afternoon, while he was walking
in a field, he saw two carabaos fighting. One was gored by the other,
and was about to die. Juan, mindful of what his mother told him,
went between the two animals to help the wounded one. Suddenly the
two animals gored him in the back, and he fell to the ground. A man,
passing by, found him, and took him to his home. When Juan's mother
learned why her son had been gored, she was greatly distressed that
her son was so foolish.
Juan soon recovered, and one day he invited his mother to go with
him to look for money. He insisted so hard, that finally she agreed
to accompany him. On their way they found an axe, which Juan picked
up and took along with him. They had not gone much farther, when
they saw a long rope stretching across the road. Juan's mother did
not want him to take it, but he said that it would be of some use to
them later. By and by they came to a river, on the bank of which they
found a large drum. Juan took this with him, too.
When they had been travelling about a week, they came upon a big
house. Juan said that he wanted to go see what was in the house, but
his mother told him that he should not go. However, he kept urging and
urging, until at last his mother consented, and went with him. When
they reached the hall, they found it well decorated with flowers and
leaves. They visited all the apartments of the house; and when they
came to the dining-room, they saw a large hole in the ceiling. Juan
told his mother that they had better hide in the ceiling until they
found out who the owner of the house was. The mother thought that
the plan was a wise one; so they went to the ceiling, taking with
them the axe, the rope, and the drum.
They had not been hiding many minutes, when the Buringcantada, a
giant with one eye in the middle of his forehead and with two long
tusks that projected from the sides of his mouth, came in with his
friends and servants. When the dinner was ready, the servant called
his master and his guests into the dining-room. While they were eating,
Juan said in a loud voice,--
Na ulaman." 
The Buringcantada was very angry to hear the voice of a man in the
ceiling, and he said in a thundering voice, "If you are a big man
like me, let me see one of your hairs!"
Juan showed the rope from the hole in the ceiling.
Astonished at the size of the hair, the Buringcantada said again,
"Let me see one of your teeth!" Juan showed the axe.
By this time Juan's mother was almost dead with fear, and she told
her son not to move.
After a few minutes the Buringcantada said again, "Beat your stomach,
and let me hear the sound of it!" When Juan beat the drum, the
Buringcantada and all the guests and servants ran away in fright,
for they had never heard such a sound before.
Then Juan and his mother came down from the ceiling. In this house
they lived like a rich family, for they found much money in one of
the rooms. As for the Buringcantada, he never came back to his house
after he left it.
Narrated by Arsenio Bonifacio, a Tagalog, who heard the story from
Once upon a time, in the small town of Balubad, there was a big
house. It was inhabited by a rich family. When the head of the family
died, the house was gloomy and dark. The family wore black clothes,
and was sad.
Three days after the death of the father, the family began to be
troubled at night by a manglalabas.  He threw stones at the house,
broke the water-jars, and moved the beds. Some pillows were even
found in the kitchen the next day. The second night, Manglalabas
visited the house again. He pinched the widow; but when she woke
up, she could not see anything. Manglalabas also emptied all the
water-jars. Accordingly the family decided to abandon the house.
A band of brave men in that town assembled, and went to the house. At
midnight the spirit came again, but the brave men said they were ready
to fight it. Manglalabas made a great deal of noise in the house. He
poured out all the water, kicked the doors, and asked the men who they
were. They answered, "We are fellows who are going to kill you." But
when the spirit approached them, and they saw that it was a ghost,
they fled away. From that time on, nobody was willing to pass a night
in that house.
In a certain barrio  of Balubad there lived two queer men. One
was called Bulag, because he was blind; and the other, Cuba, because
he was hunchbacked. One day these two arranged to go to Balubad to
beg. Before they set out, they agreed that the blind man should carry
the hunchback on his shoulder to the town. So they set out. After they
had crossed the Balubad River, Cuba said, "Stop a minute, Bulag! here
is a hatchet." Cuba got down and picked it up. Then they proceeded
again. A second time Cuba got off the blind man's shoulder, for he
saw an old gun by the roadside. He picked this up also, and took it
along with him.
When they reached the town, they begged at many of the houses, and
finally they came to the large abandoned house. They did not know
that this place was haunted by a spirit. Cuba said, "Maybe no one is
living in this house;" and Bulag replied, "I think we had better stay
here for the night."
As they were afraid that somebody might come, they went up into the
ceiling. At midnight they were awakened by Manglalabas making a great
noise and shouting, "I believe that there are some new persons in my
house!" Cuba, frightened, fired the gun. The ghost thought that the
noise of the gun was some one crying. So he said, "If you are truly
a big man, give me some proofs."
Then Cuba took the handle out of the hatchet and threw the head down
at the ghost. Manglalabas thought that this was one of the teeth of
his visitor, and, convinced that the intruder was a powerful person,
he said, "I have a buried treasure near the barn. I wish you to
dig it up. The reason I come here every night is on account of this
treasure. If you will only dig it up, I will not come here any more."
The next night Bulag and Cuba dug in the ground near the barn. There
they found many gold and silver pieces. When they were dividing the
riches, Cuba kept three-fourths of the treasure for himself. Bulag
said, "Let me see if you have divided fairly," and, placing his hands
on the two piles, he found that Cuba's was much larger.
Angry at the discovery, Cuba struck Bulag in the eyes, and they
were opened. When Bulag could see, he kicked Cuba in the back, and
straightway his deformity disappeared. Therefore they became friends
again, divided the money equally, and owned the big house between them.
A Pampango version, "The Cripple and the Blind Man" (I have it only
in abstract), is almost identical with the second part of "The Four
Blind Brothers." A blind man and a cripple travel together, blind
man carrying, cripple guiding. Rope, drum, hatchet, etc. But these
two companions do not quarrel over the distribution of the wealth:
they live peacefully together.
I have printed in full five of the versions, because, while they
are members of a very widespread family of tales in which a poor but
valiant hero deceives and outwits a giant, ogre, ghost, or band of
robbers, they form a more restricted brotherhood of that large family,
and the deception is of a very definite special sort. The hero and the
outwitted do not meet face to face, nor is there a contest of prowess
between them. Merely by displaying as tokens of his size and strength
certain seemingly useless articles which he has picked up and carried
along with him on his travels, the hero frightens forever from their
rich home a band of robbers or a giant or a ghost, and remains in
possession of the treasures of the deceived one.
Trolls, ogres, giants, robbers, dragons, are proverbially stupid,
and a clever hero with more wits than brawn has no difficulty in
thoroughly frightening them. Grimm's story of "The Brave Little Tailor"
(No. 20), with its incidents of "cheese-squeezing," "bird-throwing,"
"pretended carrying of the oak-tree," "springing over the cherry-tree,"
and "escape from the bed," and opening with the "seven-at-a-blow"
episode, is typical of one large group of tales about a giant
outwitted. (For an enumeration of the analogues, see Bolte-Polivka,
1 : 148-165; for a fuller discussion of some of them, see Cosquin,
1 : 96-102.) In another group the hero takes service with the giant,
dragon, etc., keeps up the deception of being superhumanly strong,
but gets the monster to do all the work, and finally wins his way to
wealth and release (see Grimm, No. 183; Von Hahn, No. 18 and notes;
Crane, 345, note 34; Dasent, Nos. v and xxxii). Then there is the
group of stories in which the cannibal witch is popped into her own
oven, which she had been heating for her victim (cf. Grimm, No. 15;
and Bolte-Polivka, 1 : 123).
Our particular group of stories, however, seems to owe little or
nothing to the types just mentioned. It appears to belong peculiarly
to the Orient. In fact, I do not know of its occurrence outside of
India and the Philippines. That the tale is well known in the Islands
at least as far north as central Luzon, our five variants attest;
and that it is fairly widespread in India,--I refer particularly to
the method of the deception, for on this the whole story turns,--three
Hindoo versions may be cited as evidence.
(1) "The Blind Man, the Deaf Man, and the Donkey" (Frere, No. 18)
presents many close correspondences to "Juan the Blind Man." In the
Indian tale a blind man and a deaf man enter into partnership. One day,
while on a long walk with his friend, the deaf man sees a donkey with
a large water-jar on its back. Thinking the animal will be useful
to them, they take it and the jar with them. Farther along they
collect some large black ants in a snuff-box. Overtaken by storm,
they seek shelter in a large, apparently deserted house, and lock
the door; but the owner, a terrible Rakshas, returns, and loudly
demands entrance. The deaf man, looking through a chink in the wall,
is greatly frightened by the appearance of the monster; but the blind
man boldly says that he is Bakshas, Rakshas's father. Incredulous,
the Rakshas wishes to see his father's face. Donkey's head shown. On
his desiring to see his father's body, the huge jar is rolled
with a thundering noise past the chink in the door. Rakshas asks
to hear Bakshas scream. Deaf man puts ants into the donkey's ear:
the animal, bit by the insects, brays horribly, and the Rakshas flees
in fright... (Rakshas returns the next morning, and seeing the blind
man, deaf man, and donkey, laden with treasures, leaving his house,
he determines to be avenged; but by a lucky series of accidents
the travellers succeed in discomfiting and thoroughly terrifying
the Rakshas and his six companions summoned to help him, and travel
on). In the division of the spoils, the deaf man attempts to cheat
the blind man, who in a rage gives him so tremendous a box on the
ear, that his hearing is restored! In return, the deaf man gives his
neighbor so hard a blow in the face, that the blind man's eyes are
opened. They are both so astonished, that they become good friends
at once, and divide the wealth equally.
(2) "The Brahmin Girl that married a Tiger" (Kingscote, No. x). In
this story, three brothers, on their way to rescue their sister who
had been married to a tiger, take along with them an ass, an ant,
a palmyra-tree, and a big iron washing-tub. The sister hides her
brothers and their possessions in a loft. The tiger comes home,
and frightens the brothers into making a noise and thus betraying
their presence. He asks to hear their voice. Youngest brother puts
his ant into the ear of the ass, which, when bit, begins to bawl out
horribly. Asking to see their legs, tiger is shown the trunk of the
palmyra-tree, and, on asking to see their bellies, is shown the iron
tub. Frightened, he runs away, and the sister is rescued.
(3) "Learning and Motherwit" (McCulloch, No. xxvi). Here Motherwit,
as in the other stories, deceives a Raghoshi by means of a thick rope
(shown for hair), spades (shown for finger-nails), and wet lime
(shown for spittle). At last with sharp-pointed hot iron rods,
Ulysses fashion, he puts out the monster's eyes.
In another Bengal story, "The Ghost who was afraid of being Bagged"
(Lal Behari Day, No. xx), a barber frightens a ghost with a
looking-glass and becomes rich.
An interesting parallel to the incident of the death of the blind
brothers by climbing up too high on palm-trees the tops of which have
been broken off, is to be found in the Arabian story of "The Blind
Thief" (JRASB 3 : 645-660, No. iii). A thief who used to steal dates
from off the trees became blind, but he still went on thieving. The
people planned to get rid of him. In the presence of the blind man,
some one praised the dates of So-and-so. (Now, this tree was withered,
and no longer had any leaves.) The covetous thief, with his rope,
started to climb the tree that night; but his rope slipped off over
the naked top of the palm, and he fell to the ground and was killed.
The situation of a blind man and a lame man joining forces and
travelling together, the blind man carrying the lame man, who directs
the way, is found in the Gesta Romanorum, tale LXXI.
Certain of the false proofs in the Filipino stories have no parallel
in the Indian tales; viz., duck for louse, gun or horn for voice,
tail of sting-ray (pagui) for hair. The suggestion for this last
comparison may have come from the belief among the Filipinos that the
tail of the sting-ray is a very efficacious charm against demons and
witches. It is a "specific" against the mangkukulam.  On the other
hand, there are certain details of the Indian versions lacking in the
Filipino,--the donkey, the palmyra-tree, the wash-tub. Nevertheless
the close agreement, not only of motifs, but of motifs in the same
sequence, makes it certain beyond all reasonable doubt that the story
as we find it in the Islands (most fully represented by the Bicol
"Juan the Blind Man") goes back directly to southern India, possibly
to the parent story of Miss Frere's old Deccan narrative.
Narrated by Lorenzo Licup, a Pampangan.
Long, long before the Spaniards came, there lived a man who had a
beautiful, virtuous, and, above all, clever daughter. He was a servant
of the king. Marcela, the daughter, loved her father devotedly, and
always helped him with his work. From childhood she had manifested a
keen wit and undaunted spirit. She would even refuse to obey unjust
orders from the king. No question was too hard for her to answer,
and the king was constantly being surprised at her sagacity.
One day the king conceived a plan by which he might test the ingenious
Marcela. He bade his servants procure a tiny bird and carry it to her
house. "Tell her," said the king, "to make twelve dishes out of that
The servants found Marcela sewing. They told her of the order of the
king. After thinking for five minutes, she took one of her pins, and
said to the servants, "If the king can make twelve spoons out of this
pin, I can also make twelve dishes out of that bird." On receiving
the answer, the king realized that the wise Marcela had gotten the
better of him; and he began to think of another plan to puzzle her.
Again he bade his servants carry a sheep to Marcela's house. "Tell
her," he said, "to sell the sheep for six reales, and with the money
this very same sheep must come back to me alive."
At first Marcela could not make out what the king meant for her to
do. Then she thought of selling the wool only, and not the whole
sheep. So she cut off the wool and sold it for six reales, and sent
the money with the live sheep back to the king. Thus she was again
relieved from a difficulty.
The king by this time realized that he could not beat Marcela in
points of subtlety. However, to amuse himself, he finally thought of
one more scheme to test her sagacity. It took him two weeks to think
it out. Summoning a messenger, he said to him, "Go to Marcela, and
tell her that I am not well, and that my physician has advised me to
drink a cup of bull's milk. Therefore she must get me this medicine,
or her father will lose his place in the palace." The king also issued
an order that no one was to bathe or to wash anything in the river,
for he was going to take a bath the next morning.
As soon as Marcela had received the command of the king and had
heard of his second order, she said, "How easy it will be for me to
answer this silly order of the king!" That night she and her father
killed a pig, and smeared its blood over the sleeping-mat, blanket,
and pillows. When morning came, Marcela took the stained bed-clothing
to the source of the river, where the king was bathing. As soon as
the king caught sight of her, he said in a voice of thunder, "Why do
you wash your stuff in the river when you know I ordered that nobody
should use the river to-day but me?"
Marcela replied, "It is the custom, my lord, in our country, to wash
the mat, pillows, and other things stained with blood, immediately
after a person has given birth to a child. As my father gave birth to
a child last night, custom forces me to disobey your order, although
I do it much against my will."
"Nonsense!" said the king. "The idea of a man giving birth to a
child! Absurd! Ridiculous!"
"My lord," said Marcela, "it would be just as absurd to think of
getting milk from a bull."
Then the king, recollecting his order, said, "Marcela, as you are so
witty, clever, and virtuous, I will give you my son for your husband."
Narrated by Leopoldo Faustino, a Tagalog, who says that the story is
popular and common among the people of La Laguna province.
Juan was a servant in the palace of King Tasio. One day King Tasio
heard Juan discussing with the other servants in the kitchen the
management of the kingdom. Juan said that he knew more than anybody
else in the palace. The king called Juan, and told him to go down to
the seashore and catch the rolling waves.
"You said that you are the wisest man in the palace," said the
king. "Go and catch the waves of the sea for me."
"That's very easy, O king!" said Juan, "if you will only provide me
with a rope made of sand taken from the seashore."
The king did not know what to answer. He left Juan without saying
anything, went into his room, and began to think of some more
The next day he called Juan. "Juan, take this small bird and make
fifty kinds of food out of it," said the king.
"Yes, sir!" said Juan, "if you will only provide me with a stove,
a pan, and a knife made out of this needle," handing a needle to the
king, "with which to cook the bird." Again the king did not know what
to do. He was very angry at Juan.
"Juan, get out of my palace! Don't you let me see you walking on my
ground around this palace without my consent!" said the king.
"Very well, sir!" said Juan, and he left the palace immediately.
The next day King Tasio saw Juan in front of the palace, riding on
his paragos  drawn by a carabao.
"Did I not tell you not to stand or walk on my ground around this
palace? Why are you here now? Do you mean to mock me?" shouted
"Well," said Juan, "will your Majesty's eyes please see whether I am
standing on your ground or not? This is my ground." And he pointed
to the earth he had on his paragos. "I took this from my orchard."
"That's enough, Juan," said King Tasio. "I can have no more
foolishness." The king felt very uncomfortable, because many of his
courtiers and servants were standing there listening to his talk
"Juan, put this squash into this jar. Be careful! See that you do
not break either the squash or the jar," said the king, as he handed
a squash and a jar to Juan. Now, the neck of the jar was small, and
the squash was as big as the jar. So Juan had indeed a difficult task.
Juan went home. He put a very small squash, which he had growing
in his garden, inside the jar. He did not, however, cut it from the
vine. After a few weeks the squash had grown big enough to fill the
jar. Juan then picked off the squash enclosed in the jar, and went
to the king. He presented the jar to the king when all the servants,
courtiers, and visitors from other towns were present. As soon as
the king saw the jar with the squash in it, he fainted. It was many
hours before he recovered.
A third version (c), a Bicol story entitled "Marcela outwits the
King," narrated by Gregorio Frondoso of Camarines, resembles closely
the Pampango story of Marcela, with these minor differences:--
The heroine is the daughter of the king's adviser Bernardo. To test
the girl's wit, the king sends her a mosquito he has killed, and tells
her to cook it in such a way that it will serve twelve persons. She
sends back a pin to him, with word that if he can make twelve forks
from the pin, the mosquito will serve twelve persons. The second and
third tasks are identical with those in the Pampango version. At last,
satisfied with her sagacity, the king makes her his chief counsellor.
In addition to the three popular tales of the "Clever Lass" cycle,
two chap-book versions of the story, containing incidents lacking in
the folk-tales, may be mentioned here:--
A Buhay nang isang pastorang tubo sa villa na naguing asaua nang hari
sa isang calabasa. ("Life of a Shepherdess who was born in a town,
and who became the Wife of a King because of a Pumpkin.") Manila,
1908. This story is in verse, and comprises sixty-six quatrains of
12-syllable assonanced lines. It is known only in Tagalog, I believe.
B Buhay na pinagdaanan ni Rodolfo na anac ni Felizardo at ni Prisca sa
cahariang Valencia. ("Life of Rodolfo, Son of Felizardo and Prisca,
in the Kingdom of Valencia.") Maynila, 1910. Like the preceding,
this corrido is known only in Tagalog, and is written in 12-syllable
Of these two printed versions, I give below a literal translation
of the first (A), not only because it is short (264 lines),
but also because it will be seen to be closely connected with the
folk-tales. For help in making this translation I am under obligation
to Mr. Salvador Unson, which I gratefully acknowledge. The second story
(B) I give only in partial summary. It is much too long to be printed
in full, and, besides, contains many incidents that have nothing to do
with our cycle. It will be noticed that "Rodolfo" (B) resembles rather
the European forms of the story; while A and the three folk-tales
are more Oriental, despite the conventional historical setting of A.
"Cay Calabasa: The Life of a Shepherdess born in a town, who became
the Wife of a King because of a Pumpkin."
1. Ye holy angels in the heavens, help my tongue to express and to
relate the story I will tell.
2. In early times, when Adoveneis, King of Borgona, was still alive,
he went out into the plains to hunt for deer, and accidentally became
separated from his companions.
3. In his wandering about, he saw a hut, which had a garden surrounding
it. A beautiful young maiden took care of the garden, in which were
growing melons and pumpkins.
4. The king spoke to the maiden, and asked, "What plants are you
growing here?" The girl replied, "I am raising pumpkins and melons."
5. Now, the king happened to be thirsty, and asked her for but
a drink. "We were hunting in the heat of the day, and I felt this
thirst come on me."
6. The maiden replied, "O illustrious king! we have water in a mean
jar, but it is surely not fitting that your Majesty should drink from
7. "If we had a jar of pure gold, in which we could put water from a
blest fountain, then it would be proper for your Majesty. It is not
right or worthy that you should drink from a base jar."
8. The king replied to the girl, "Never mind the jar, provided the
water is cool." The maiden went into the house, and presently the
king drank his fill.
9. After he had drunk, he handed her back the jar; but when the maiden
had received it (in her hands), she suddenly struck it against the
staircase. The jar was shattered to bits.
10. The king saw the act and wondered at it, and in his heart he
thought that the maiden had no manners. For the impudence of her
action, he decided to punish her.
11. (He said) "You see in me, the traveller, a noble king, and (you
know) that I hold the crown. Why did you shatter that jar of yours,
received from my hands?"
12. The maiden replied, "The reason I broke the jar, long kept for
many years by my mother, O king! is that I should not like to have
it used by another."
13. After hearing that, the king made no reply, but returned (back)
towards the city, believing in his heart that the woman to whom he
had spoken was virtuous.
14. After some time the king one day ordered a soldier to carry
to the maiden a new narrow-necked jar, into which she was to put a
15. He also ordered the soldier to tell the girl that she should not
break the jar, but that the jar and pumpkin should remain entire.
16. Inasmuch as the maiden was clever, her perception good, and her
understanding bold, she answered with another problem: she sent him
back a jar that already had a pumpkin in it.
17. She delivered it to the soldier, and the upshot of her reply was
this: "The pumpkin and the jar are whole. The king must remove the
pumpkin without breaking the jar."
18. The soldier shouldered it and went back to the king, and told him
that her answer was that he should take the pumpkin out of the jar,
and leave both whole.
19. When the king saw the jar, he said nothing; but he thought in
his heart that he would send her another puzzle.
20. Again by the soldier he sent her a bottle, and requested that it
be filled with the milk of a bull. (He further added,) that, if the
order was not complied with, she should be punished.
21. The girl's answer to the king was this: "Last night my father gave
birth to a child; and even though you order it, it is impossible for
me to get (you?) any bull's milk (to-day?)."
22. Who would not wonder, when he comes to hear of it, at the language
back and forth between the king and the girl! For what man can give
birth to a child, and what bull can give milk?
23. At a great festival which the king gave, attended by knights and
counts, he sent a pipit  to the girl, and ordered her to cook
seven dishes of it.
24. The maiden (in reply) sent the king a needle, and asked him to
make a steel frying-pan, knife, and spit out of it, which she might
use in cooking the pipit.
25. The king again sent to her with this word: "If you are really
very intelligent and if you are truly wise, you will catch the waves
and bind them."
26. The soldier returned at once to the maiden, and told her that
the orders of the king were that she should catch and bind the waves.
27. The maiden sent back word by the soldier that it is not proper
to disobey a king. "Tell the king to make me a rope out of the loam
I am sending."
28. Again the soldier returned to the palace, and, taking the black
earth to the king, he said, "Make her a rope out of this loam, with
which she will catch and bind the waves."
29. After the soldier had delivered his message, the king was almost
shaking with rage. "Who under heaven can make a rope out of loam?"
30. Now he ordered the soldier to fetch the maiden. "And for her
impudence," he said, "I will punish her."
31. He ordered the soldier to make haste and to return at once. The
maiden did not resist her punishment, and was placed in a well.
32. Now, this well into which she was cast lay in front of the window
of the king, so that whenever he should look out of the window he
might see her.
33. One morning, as he looked out and saw her there below him, she
asked him to give her fire.
34. The king said to her, "I am a world-famed king, and it is not
my desire to descend just because of your request. Go ask fire from
35. The girl made no answer to his jesting reply. Some time later
the king held some games, and ordered that the maiden be taken out
of the well.
36. The king told her that she was pardoned for all her offences. "But
as long as I have visitors (?)," he said, "you are to be my cook."
37. Then this order was given to the girl: "You are to cook the
food. Everything must be well prepared. All the food must be palatable
38. The maiden, however, deliberately left all the food unsalted;
but she fastened to the bottom of the plate the necessary salt.
39. When at the table the king and his council were not satisfied
with the food, because there was no salt in it, the maiden was again
40. "I ordered you to cook because you were clever; but you took no
care of the cooking. Why am I thus insulted and my honor destroyed
before my guests?"
41. The maiden at once returned answer to the council and to his
Majesty: "Look underneath the plates; and if there is not the necessary
salt, my lord, condemn me as you see fit."
42. She had those near the king lift their plates, and she had him
look under. The salt was found not lacking, and the king ceased from
his contention and thought about the matter.
43. Then he said, "If you had mixed in a little with the food, then
it would have been good and palatable. Explain to me the significance
of your act."
44. "O great king!" answered the maiden, "I can easily reply to your
question. By leaving the salt out, I meant me, and no one else [i.e.,
she meant to suggest her own case when she was in the well].
45. "You instructed me to get fire from the mountain. Why can you
not taste this salt, which is just under the plate?
46. "Because I am an unfortunate person, an unworthy shepherdess from
the woods. If I were a city-bred person, even though most ordinary,
I should be honored in your presence."
47. To the reply of the girl the king shook his head, and pressed
his forehead (in thought). He had fallen in love, and his heart was
oppressed. He determined to marry her.
48. They were married at once, and at once she was clothed as a queen;
although she was only a lowly shepherdess, she was loved because of
the sweetness of her voice.
49. After living together a long time, they had a quarrel: the king
had conceived a dislike for her cleverness.
50. "Return at once to your father and mother," he said. "Go back to
the mountains and live there.
51. "I will allow you to take with you whatever you want,--gold,
silver, dresses. Take with you also two maids."
52. The queen could not utter a word; silently she let her tears
fall. She thought that bad fortune had come upon her.
53. To be brief, the king got up from his chair and lay down in his
bed. He pretended to go to sleep in order that he might not see the
54. When the queen saw that the king was really sleeping, she covered
him up (in her sorrow), and summoned the servants.
55. She ordered them to lift him up and carry him to the mountains. "In
carrying him, be careful not to wake him until the mountains are
56. They lifted the bed and took him downstairs; but when they were
carrying it out of the palace, the bed struck against the front
door. The king awoke in surprise.
57. He said, "What is the reason for carrying away a sleeping man?" He
asked them whether they intended to throw away their sovereign.
58. At once he summoned the guards of the palace and ordered the
arrest of the servants; but they protested that they were merely
obeying the orders of the queen.
59. Then the king asked where the queen was who had ordered that. He
had her brought before him, and demanded of her why she wished to
cast him away.
60. The queen answered, reminding him thus: "My husband, my beloved,
what did you tell me some time ago when you were driving me away?
61. "Did you not tell me to select whatever I might desire, including
gold and silver, and take it with me? You are my choice.
62. "Even if I should become very good and very rich, I should still
be without honor before God and the people.
63. "It would be shameful to the Divine Word for us married people to
separate. You would be taunted by your counsellors for having married
some one beneath you."
64. Her reply reminded the king that whatever might happen, they were
married, and should remain together all their lives.
65. "Forgive me, my wife, light of my eyes! Forgive the wrongs I have
done! I am to blame for the mistake [i.e., for my thoughtlessness]."
66. From then on, they loved each other the more, and were happy
because they never quarrelled further.
The Story of Rodolfo.
Rodolfo was the only son of Felizardo and Prisca, who lived in
Valencia. When Rodolfo was seven years old, he was sent to school,
and proved to be an apt scholar; but his father died within a few
years, and the boy was obliged to abandon his studies because of
poverty. At the suggestion of his mother, Rodolfo one day set out for
the capital, where he sought a place in the palace as servant. In time
he was appointed head steward (mayor-domo) in the royal household. The
king became so fond of this trusty servant, whose bravery, executive
ability, and cleverness he could not help noticing, that finally he
determined to make him his son-in-law by marrying him to the princess
Leocadia. When Rodolfo was offered Leocadio's hand by her father,
however, he respectfully declined the honor, saying that though he
admired the beauty of the princess, he did not admire her character,
and could not take her as his wife. The king was so angry that he
ordered Rodolfo cast into prison; but after a few days' consideration,
he had him released, and promised to pardon him for the insult if
within a month he could bring before the king as his wife just such
a virtuous woman as he had stipulated his wife should be.
Rodolfo left the palace, taking with him only a pair of shoes and
an umbrella. On his way he saw an old man, whom he invited to go
along with him. Shortly afterwards they saw a funeral procession, and
Rodolfo asked his companion whether the man that was to be buried was
still alive. The old man did not reply, because he thought that his
companion was a fool. Outside the city they met many persons planting
highland rice on a mountain-clearing (kaingin). Again Rodolfo spoke,
and asked if the rice that the farmers were planting was already eaten;
but the old man remained silent. In the course of their journey
they reached a shallow river. Rodolfo put on his shoes and waded
across. When he reached the other bank, he removed his shoes again
and carried them in his hand. Next they passed a great plain. When
they became tired from the heat, they rested by the side of the road
under a big tree. Here Rodolfo opened his umbrella, which he had not
used when they were crossing the hot plain. Once more the old man
believed that his companion was crazy.
At last the travellers reached the old man's house, but the old man did
not invite Rodolfo to spend the night with him. Rodolfo went into the
house, however, for he saw that a young woman lived in the house. This
was Estela, the old man's daughter, who received the stranger very
kindly. That night, when Estela set the table for supper, she gave
to her father the head and neck of the chicken, the wings to her
mother, the body to Rodolfo, and the legs to herself. After eating
their meal, the old man and his wife left Estela and Rodolfo together
in the dining-room. Rodolfo expressed his love for her, for he had
already recognized her worth. When she found that he was in earnest,
she said that she would accept him if her parents consented to the
marriage. Then they joined the old couple in the main room; but there
the father scolded her for showing hospitality to a visitor whom he
considered a fool. He also felt insulted for having been given only
the head and neck of the chicken. Accordingly the old man told his
daughter how Rodolfo had foolishly asked him if the person to be buried
was still alive, and whether the rice that the farmers were planting
on the mountain-clearing had already been eaten. He also mentioned
the fact that Rodolfo wore his shoes only when crossing the river,
and that he had opened his umbrella only when they were in the shade
of the tree. Estela, in reply, cleverly explained to her father the
meaning of all Rodolfo had said and done. "The memory of a man who has
done good during his lifetime will never be forgotten. Rodolfo wished
to know whether the man to be buried was kind to his fellow-men. If
he was, he will always be remembered, and he is not dead. When Rodolfo
asked you whether the rice which the farmers were planting was already
eaten, he wished to know if those farmers had borrowed so much rice
from their landlords that the next harvest would only be enough to pay
it back. In a river it is impossible to see the thorns which may hurt
one's feet, so it is wise to wear shoes while crossing a river. The
idea of opening an umbrella under a tree is a very good one, because
it forms a protection against falling branches and fruits. I will
tell you why I divided the chicken as I did. I gave you the head
and neck because you are the head of the family; the wings I gave my
mother because she took care of me in my childhood; the body I gave
to Rodolfo, because it is courteous to please a visitor; the legs I
kept myself, because I am your feet and hands."
The anger of Estela's father was pacified by her explanation. He
was now convinced that Rodolfo was not a fool, but a wise man, and
he invited Rodolfo to live with them. Rodolfo staid and helped with
all the work about the house and in the field. At last, when the old
man realized that Rodolfo loved Estela, he gave his consent to their
marriage; and the next day they became husband and wife.
After his marriage, Rodolfo returned to Valencia, leaving Estela at
her home in Babilonia, and reported to the king that he had found and
taken as his wife a virtuous woman,--The rest of the story turns on the
"chastity-wager" motif, and ends with the establishment of the purity
of Rodolfo's wife. (For this motif, constituting a whole story, see
"The Golden Lock," No. 30.)
An examination of the five representatives of this cycle of the "Clever
Lass" in the Philippines reveals at least nine distinct problems
(tasks or riddles) to be solved. For most of these, parallels may be
found in other Oriental and in Occidental stories.
(1) Problem: catching waves of the sea. Solution: demanding rope of
sand for the work. This identical problem and solution are found in
a North Borneo story, "Ginas and the Rajah" (Evans, 468-469). In the
"Maha-ummagga-jataka," No. 546, a series of nineteen tasks is set the
young sage Mahosadha. One of these is to make a rope of sand. The wise
youth cleverly sent some spokesmen to ask the king for a sample of the
old rope, so that the new would not vary from the old. See also Child,
1 : 10-11, for a South Siberian story containing the counter-demand
for thread of sand to make shoes from stone.
(2) Problem: making many kinds of food from one small bird, or twelve
portions from mosquito. Solution: requiring king to make stove, pan,
and bolo (or twelve forks) from needle (pin). Analogous to this task
is Bolte and Polivka's motif B3 (2 : 349), the challenge to weave
a cloth out of two threads. Bolte and Polivka enumerate thirty-five
European folk-tales containing their motif B3.
(3) Problem: putting large squash whole into narrow-necked
jar. Solution: hero grows squash in the jar (and sometimes demands
that king remove the squash without breaking either it or the jar). I
know of no other folk-tale occurrences of this task; it is not found
in any of the European stories of this cycle, and may be an addition
of the Tagalog narrators. It is a common enough trick, however,
to grow a squash or cucumber in a small-necked bottle.
(4) Problem: getting milk from bull. Solution: hero tells king that
his father has given birth to a child. Compare "Jataka," No. 546
(tr. by Cowell and Rouse, 6 : 167-168), in which the king sends his
fattened bull to East Market-town with this message: "Here is the
king's royal bull, in calf. Deliver him, and send him back with the
calf, or else there is a fine of a thousand pieces." The solution
of this difficulty is the same as above. See also Child, 1 : 10-11,
for almost identical situation. This problem and No. 1 are to be
found in a Tibetan tale (Ralston 2, 138, 140-141).
(5) Problem: selling lamb for a specified sum of money, and returning
both animal and coin. Solution: heroine sells only the wool.
Two of these problems, (3) and (5), are soluble, and belong in kind
with the "halb-geritten" motif, where the heroine is ordered to come
to the king not clothed and not naked, not walking and not riding,
not in the road and not out of the road, etc. The other three problems
are not solved at all, strictly speaking: the heroine gets out of
her difficulties by demanding of her task-master the completion of
counter-tasks equally hard, or by showing him the absurdity of his
demands. (See Bolte-Polivka, 2 : 362-370, for a full discussion
of these subgroups.) "In all stories of the kind," writes Child,
"the person upon whom a task is imposed stands acquitted if another
of no less difficulty is devised which must be performed first. This
preliminary may be something that is essential for the execution of
the other, as in the German ballads, or equally well something that
has no kind of relation to the original requisition, as in the English
ballads." It will be seen that in the nature of the counter-demands
the Filipino stories agree rather with the German than the English.
(6) Hero is forbidden to walk on the king's ground. To circumvent the
king, hero fills a sledge with earth taken from his own orchard, and
has himself drawn into the presence of his Majesty. When challenged,
the hero protests that he is not on the king's ground, but his
own. This same episode is found in "Juan the Fool," No. 49 (q. v.).
(7) The stealing of the sleeping king by the banished wife, who has
permission to take with her from the palace what she loves best,
is found only in A. This episode, however, is very common elsewhere,
and forms the conclusion of more than seventy Occidental stories of
this cycle. (See Bolte-Polivka, 2 : 349-355.)
(8) The division of the hen, found in B and also at the end of "Juan
the Fool" (No. 49), is fully discussed by Bolte and Polivka (2 :
360). See also R. Koehler's notes to Gonzenbach, 2 : 205-206. The
combination of this motif with the "chastity-wager" motif found in
"Rodolfo" (B), is also met with in a Mentonais story, "La femme avisee"
(Romania, 11 : 415-416).
(9) For wearing of shoes only when crossing rivers, and raising
umbrella only when sleeping under a tree, see again "Juan the Fool." A
rather close parallel to this incident, as well as to the seemingly
foolish questions Rodolfo asks Estela's father, and the daughter's
wise interpretation of them, may be found in the Kashmir story,
"Why the Fish laughed" (Knowles, 484-490 = Jacob 1, No. XXIV). See
also a Tibetan story in Ralston 2 : 111; Benfey in "Ausland," 1859,
p. 487; Spence Hardy, "Manual of Buddhism," pp. 220-227, 364. Compare
especially Bompas, No. LXXXIX, "The Bridegroom who spoke in Riddles."
Finally mention may be made of two Arabian stories overlooked by Bolte
and Polivka, in one of which a woman sends supper to a stranger, and
along with the food an enigmatical message describing what she has
sent. The Negress porter eats a part of the food, but delivers the
message. The stranger shrewdly guesses its meaning, and sends back a
reply that convicts the Negress of theft of a part of the gift. The
other story opens with the "bride-wager" riddle, and later enumerates
many instances of the ingenuity of the clever young wife. See Phillott
and Azoo, "Some Arab Folk-Tales from Hazramaut," Nos. I and XVII
(in JRASB 2  : 399-439).
Benfey (Ausland, 1859, passim) traces the story of the "Clever Lass"
back to India. The original situation consisted of the testing of the
sagacity of a minister who had fallen into disgrace. This minister
aids his royal master in a riddle-contest with a neighboring hostile
king. Later in the development of the cycle these sagacity tests were
transferred to a wife who helps her husband, or to a maiden who helps
her father, out of similar difficulties. (Compare the last part of my
note to No. 1 in this collection.) Bolte and Polivka, however (2 :
373) seem to think it probable that the last part of the story--the
marriage of the heroine, her expulsion, and her theft of the sleeping
king--was native to Europe.
The Filipino folk-tales belonging to this cycle appear to go back
directly to India as a source. Incident 4 (see above) seems to me
conclusive evidence, as this is a purely Oriental conception, being
recorded only in India, Tibet, and South Siberia. The chap-book version
(A) doubtless owes much to popular tradition in the Islands, although
the anonymous author, in his "Preface to the Reader," says that he has
derived his story from a book (unnamed),--hango sa novela. I have not
been able to trace his original; there is no Spanish form of the tale,
so far as I know.
Compare with this whole cycle No. 38, "A Negrito Slave," and the notes.
The Story of Zaragoza.
Narrated by Teodato P. Macabulos, a Tagalog from Manila.
Years and years ago there lived in a village a poor couple, Luis and
Maria. Luis was lazy and selfish, while Maria was hard-working and
dutiful. Three children had been born to this pair, but none had lived
long enough to be baptized. The wife was once more about to be blessed
with a child, and Luis made up his mind what he should do to save its
life. Soon the day came when Maria bore her second son. Luis, fearing
that this child, like the others, would die unchristened, decided to
have it baptized the very next morning. Maria was very glad to know
of her husband's determination, for she believed that the early deaths
of their other children were probably due to delay in baptizing them.
The next morning Luis, with the infant in his arms, hastened to
the church; but in his haste he forgot to ask his wife who should
stand as godfather. As he was considering this oversight, a strange
man passed by, whom he asked, "Will you be so kind as to act as my
"With all my heart," was the stranger's reply.
They then entered the church, and the child was named Luis, after his
father. When the services were over, Luis entreated Zaragoza--such
was the name of the godfather--to dine at his house. As Zaragoza
had just arrived in that village for the first time, he was but too
ready to accept the invitation. Now, Zaragoza was a kind-hearted man,
and soon won the confidence of his host and hostess, who invited him
to remain with them for several days. Luis and Zaragoza became close
friends, and often consulted each other on matters of importance.
One evening, as the two friends were conversing, their talk turned
upon the affairs of the kingdom. Luis told his friend how the king
oppressed the people by levying heavy taxes on all sorts of property,
and for that reason was very rich. Zaragoza, moved by the news,
decided to avenge the wrongs of the people. Luis hesitated, for he
could think of no sure means of punishing the tyrannical monarch. Then
Zaragoza suggested that they should try to steal the king's treasure,
which was hidden in a cellar of the palace. Luis was much pleased with
the project, for he thought that it was Zaragoza's plan for them to
enrich themselves and live in comfort and luxury.
Accordingly, one evening the two friends, with a pick-axe, a hoe,
and a shovel, directed their way towards the palace. They approached
the cellar by a small door, and then began to dig in the ground at
the foot of the cellar wall. After a few hours of steady work, they
succeeded in making an excavation leading into the interior. Zaragoza
entered, and gathered up as many bags of money as he and Luis could
carry. During the night they made several trips to the cellar, each
time taking back to their house as much money as they could manage. For
a long time the secret way was not discovered, and the two friends
lost no opportunity of increasing their already great hoard. Zaragoza
gave away freely much of his share to the poor; but his friend was
selfish, and kept constantly admonishing him not to be too liberal.
In time the king observed that the bulk of his treasure was
considerably reduced, and he ordered his soldiers to find out what had
caused the disappearance of so much money. Upon close examination,
the soldiers discovered the secret passage; and the king, enraged,
summoned his counsellors to discuss what should be done to punish
In the mean time the two friends were earnestly discussing whether
they should get more bags of money, or should refrain from making
further thefts. Zaragoza suggested that they would better first get
in touch with the secret deliberations of the court before making
another attempt. Luis, however, as if called by fate, insisted that
they should make one more visit to the king's cellar, and then inquire
about the unrest at court. Persuaded against his better judgment,
Zaragoza followed his friend to the palace, and saw that their secret
passage was in the same condition as they had lately left it. Luis
lowered himself into the hole; but lo! the whiz of an arrow was heard,
and then a faint cry from Luis.
"What is the matter? Are you hurt?" asked Zaragoza.
"I am dying! Take care of my son!" These were Luis's last words.
Zaragoza knew not what to do. He tried to pull up the dead body of his
friend; but in vain, for it was firmly caught between two heavy blocks
of wood, and was pierced by many arrows. But Zaragoza was shrewd;
and, fearing the consequences of the discovery of Luis's corpse,
he cut off the dead man's head and hurried home with it, leaving
the body behind. He broke the fatal news to Maria, whose grief was
boundless. She asked him why he had mutilated her husband's body, and
he satisfied her by telling her that they would be betrayed if Luis
were recognized. Taking young Luis in her arms, Maria said, "For the
sake of your godson, see that his father's body is properly buried."
"Upon my word of honor, I promise to do as you wish," was Zaragoza's
Meantime the king was discussing the theft with his advisers. Finally,
wishing to identify the criminal, the king decreed that the body should
be carried through the principal streets of the city and neighboring
villages, followed by a train of soldiers, who were instructed to
arrest any person who should show sympathy for the dead man. Early
one morning the military procession started out, and passed through
the main streets of the city. When the procession arrived before
Zaragoza's house, it happened that Maria was at the window, and,
seeing the body of her husband, she cried, "O my husband!"
Seeing the soldiers entering their house, Zaragoza asked, "What is
"We want to arrest that woman," was the answer of the chief of
"Why? She has not committed any crime."
"She is the widow of that dead man. Her words betrayed her, for she
exclaimed that the dead man was her husband."
"Who is her husband? That remark was meant for me, because I had
unintentionally hurt our young son," said Zaragoza smiling.
The soldiers believed his words, and went on their way. Reaching a
public place when it was almost night, they decided to stay there
until the next morning. Zaragoza saw his opportunity. He disguised
himself as a priest and went to the place, taking with him a bottle
of wine mixed with a strong narcotic. When he arrived, he said that
he was a priest, and, being afraid of robbers, wished to pass the
night with some soldiers. The soldiers were glad to have with them,
as they thought, a pious man, whose stories would inspire them to
do good. After they had talked a while, Zaragoza offered his bottle
of wine to the soldiers, who freely drank from it. As was expected,
they soon all fell asleep, and Zaragoza succeeded in stealing the
corpse of Luis. He took it home and buried it in that same place
where he had buried the head.
The following morning the soldiers woke up, and were surprised to see
that the priest and the corpse were gone. The king soon knew how his
scheme had failed. Then he thought of another plan. He ordered that a
sheep covered with precious metal should be let loose in the streets,
and that it should be followed by a spy, whose duty it was to watch
from a distance, and, in case any one attempted to catch the sheep,
to ascertain the house of that person, and then report to the palace.
Having received his orders, the spy let loose the sheep, and followed
it at a distance. Nobody else dared even to make a remark about the
animal; but when Zaragoza saw it, he drove it into his yard. The spy,
following instructions, marked the door of Zaragoza's house with a
cross, and hastened to the palace. The spy assured the soldiers that
they would be able to capture the criminal; but when they began to
look for the house, they found that all the houses were similarly
marked with crosses.
For the third time the king had failed; and, giving up all hopes of
catching the thief, he issued a proclamation pardoning the man who
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