Filipino Popular Tales
Dean S. Fansler
Part 4 out of 7
people who saw them were wondering. They said, "Were this deed not
by enchantment, they could not sail on dry land. Where do you think
this ship came from, if not from the land of enchanters?"
When the sailors reached the city, they found King Palmarin looking
out of the window of his palace. Don Juan then disembarked from
his ship and went before the king to greet him. Don Juan said,
"Your Majesty's servant is here. He is ready to obey your will: so,
if there is anything more to be done, let your Highness order him."
The king felt ashamed for being a liar, and did not ask Don Juan to
perform any more miracles. "Don Juan, I have now seen your wonderful
wisdom. You may return to your country, for I will not give you the
hand of my daughter," said King Palmarin.
"Farewell, O king! Your own order has caused all that has
happened. Though I have not succeeded in accomplishing my purpose,
I have no reason to be ashamed to face anybody. What troubles me is,
that, in spite of your widespread reputation for honor, you do not
keep even one of your thousand million words. After some one has
done you some service, you turn him away. Farewell, king! To my own
country I will return," said Don Juan as he left the palace.
The king did not say anything, for he realized the truth of the
knight's statement. Don Juan went to the boat. He and his companions
sailed back to their station. As they passed out of the city, the
people hailed them. His companions cheered him up and encouraged
him. When they arrived at their lodging-place, Noet Noen said, "Let
us stay a little longer and wait for God's aid, which He always gives
to the humble! All that has happened is God's will, so do not worry,
"I will do whatever you wish," said Don Juan.
So they staid in the ship. Several months passed by, but nothing was
heard. At last the Moors invaded Marsella. They put to death many
of the inhabitants, and shut up the king and the rest of his men in
jail. He, the queen, and the princess grieved very much, for they
suffered many hardships in their narrow prison. When news of this
conquest reached the seven, Noet Noen said to his companions, "Now is
our turn to help Marsella. Use all your skill; for in driving away
the Moors we serve a double purpose: first, we help the Christians;
second, Don Juan."
"Let me be general!" said Curan Curing. "If I rush at the Moors,
they will not know what to do."
Supla Supling said, "As for me, no Moor can stay near me, for I will
blow him away, and he will be lost in the air."
"Though I have no weapons, no one can face me in battle without
tumbling down in fear," said Miran Miron.
Carguen Cargon joined in. "I will pull up a tree and carry it with
me; so that, even if all the Moors unite against me, they shall lie
prostrate before me."
"My arrow is enough for me to face Moors with," said Punta Punting.
At the command of Noet Noen they set out. Curan Curing walked with
one leg; still he was far ahead of his companions. He then would stop,
return to his friends, and say impatiently, "Hurry up!"
At last they told him that he would be overtired. "The general ought
to get weary if he commands," said Curan Curing. "But I shall never
get tired from walking at this rate!"
When they arrived at Marsella, Noet Noen encouraged his
companions. Carguen Cargon pulled up a tree fifteen yards tall and six
yards in circumference. He rushed at the Moors, and, by swinging the
tree constantly, he swept away the enemy. Curan Curing walked with
both his legs. He crushed the enemy, who fell dead as he stepped on
them. Miran Miron shouted. His loud voice frightened the Moors. Punta
Punting shot with his arrow. Whenever it had killed a Moor, it returned
to its master. After many Moors had fallen, the rest could not maintain
the fight, and they fled. Noet Noen then gathered together his men,
and said, "Let us look for the king!"
They opened all the jails and freed the prisoners. The six victors
cried, "Hurrah for Don Juan!" and said to the released persons,
"All of you who have been held prisoners must thank Don Juan; for,
were it not for him, we should not have come to your aid."
"Who is this benefactor? We wish to know to whom we owe our lives,"
said the king.
Noet Noen said, "By God's will we gained the victory. It is Don Juan
who brought us here to save you from the hands of the infidels. So
he is indeed the benefactor."
"Don Juan!" the crowd then shouted. "Our lives we owe to you.--Hurrah
for our savior! Hurrah for the whole kingdom!"
The king, queen, princess, counsellors, and the victors went to the
palace. They were all happy. When they had taken their seats, the king
spoke thus: "What shall we give the victor? As for me, even the whole
kingdom is too small a reward for saving us. Lend me your advice."
Noet Noen answered, "Let me make a suggestion, O king! You already
know what Don Juan desires. Do him justice, for he not only beat you in
the wager, but also succeeded in accomplishing all your commands. Now
he saves you and your kingdom, and restores you to power. Let your
issued decree be carried out." The king then consulted the queen,
and said that the stranger was right.
The counsellors said, "King, Don Juan deserves the reward named in
the edict; for, were it not for him, your people and even you would
now be slaves."
So at last the king agreed, and, as a bishop was present, the
marriage was performed immediately. After the marriage ceremony,
the king said, "Hear me, counsellors! As I am now too old to rule,
and can no longer perform the duty of king, I am going to abdicate
in favor of my son-in-law.--Don Juan, on your head I lay the crown
with its sceptre. Do whatever you will, for you are now full king."
The queen rose from her seat, and, taking off the diadem from her
head, she placed it on her daughter, saying, "My darling, receive
the diadem of the kingdom, so that all may recognize you as their new
queen." All the counsellors then rose, and shouted, "Hurrah for the
new couple! May God give them long lives! May they be successful!" The
entire kingdom rejoiced, and held banquets.
When Don Juan had become king, he made a trip with his six
companions throughout the entire kingdom, giving alms to the needy
and sick. When the royal visit was over, he returned with his friends
to the palace. Then Noet Noen said to the king, "Our king, Don Juan,
do not be astonished at what I am going to tell you. Since you have
now got what you wanted, we now bid you farewell."
"Why are you going away? What is there in me that you do not like? Pray
do not leave me until I have repaid you!" He then called each of the
six, and expressed his great gratitude to him, and begged him not
to go away. "I will even abdicate the throne if you want me to," Don
Juan said, "for your departure will kill me." The queen also begged
the six men not to leave.
At last Noet Noen said, "Don Juan, long have we lived together; yet
you know not whence we come, for we have never told you. We cannot be
absent from there much longer." The prophet then related minutely to
the king who they were, and why they had come to his aid. Then the
six men disappeared.
The course of events common to these three stories is this: A king
proclaims that he will give the hand of his daughter to the one who
can furnish him with a very costly or marvellous conveyance. The poor
young hero, because of his kindness to a wretched old man or woman (or
corpse), is given the wonderful conveyance. On his way to the palace
to present his gift, he meets certain extraordinary men, whom he takes
along with him as companions. The king, realizing the low birth of the
hero, refuses the hand of his daughter until additional tasks have
been performed. With the help of his companions, the hero performs
these, and finally weds the princess. This group of stories was almost
certainly imported into the Philippines from Europe, where analogues
of it abound. I know of no significant Eastern variants. Parallels
to certain incidents can be found in Malayan and Filipino lore,
but the cycle as a whole is clearly not native to the Islands.
In a broad sense, our stories belong to the "Bride Wager" formula
(see Von Hahn, 1 : 54, Nos. 23 and 24). The requirement that a
suitor shall guess correctly the kind of skin from which a certain
drum-head is made (usually a louse-skin) is to be found in Italian
(Basile, 1 : 5; cf. Gonzenbach, No. 22; Schneller, No. 31), Spanish
(Caballero, trans, by J. H. Ingram, "The Hunchback"), German (Grimm,
2 : 467, "The Louse," where the princess makes a dress, not a drum,
from the skin of the miraculous insect). Only Basile's story combines
the louse-skin motif with the wonderful companions,--a combination
found in our "King Palmarin." There seems to be no close connection,
however, between these two tales. Although Oriental Maerchen turning
on this motif of the louse-skin drum are lacking, the Filipino corrido
need not have got the conception from Europe: it is Malayan. In a list
of the Jelebu regalia occurs this item: "The royal drums (gendang
naubat); said to be 'headed' with the skins of lice (kulit tuma)"
(see Skeat 2, 27).
We have already met with the extraordinary companions (No. 3;
see especially variant d, "Sandangcal," which relates a contest
between the hero's runner and the king's messenger). For the formula,
see Bolte-Polivka's notes to Grimm, No. 71. Benfey (Ausland, 1858,
pp. 1038 et seq., 1067 et seq.) believes the "Skilful Companions"
cycle as represented by Grimm, Nos. 71 and 134; Basile, Nos. 28 and
36; Straparola, 4 : 1, etc.--to be a kind of humorous derivative
of the cycle we shall call the "Rival Brothers" (q.v., No. 12 of
this collection), and which he shows to have spread into Europe
from India. There are significant differences, however, between
these two groups; and Benfey's treatment of them together causes
confusion. In the "Skilful Companions" cycle, the extraordinary men
are in reality servants of the hero, who sets out and wins the hand
of a princess. They are picked up by chance. In the "Rival Brothers"
cycle, on the other hand, the three (or four) brothers set out to learn
trades and to win their fortunes, often wonderful objects of magic;
the brothers meet later by appointment, combine their skill to succor
a princess, and then quarrel as to which deserves her most. In stories
of the "Strong Hans" type (e.g., Grimm, No. 166) or "John the Bear"
(Cosquin, No. 1), where the extraordinary companions also appear,
they turn out to be rascals, who faithlessly desert the hero. In
our stories, however, the specially-endowed men are supplied by a
grateful supernatural being, to help the kind-hearted hero win in his
contests with the stubborn king. (Compare Gonzenbach's Sicilian story,
No. 74, which includes a thankful saint, with characteristics of the
"Grateful Dead," a "Land-and-water Ship," and "Skilful Companions.")
The names of the companions in "King Palmarin" and "Juan and his
Six Friends" are clearly derived from the Spanish. In Caballero's
story of "Lucifer's Ear" we find these names: Carguin ("carrier"),
Oidin ("hearer"), Soplin ("sigher or blower"). All three occur in
"Juan and his Six Friends." In the three Filipino tales the total
number of different strong men is only seven,--Know-All, Blower,
Farsight, Runner, Hunter, Carrier, Sharp-Ear. This close conformity,
when we consider the wide variety to be found in the European stories
(see Bolte-Polivka, 2 : 87-94; Panzer, Beowulf, 66-74), suggests an
ultimate common source for our variants. The phrase "Soplin Soplon,
son of the great blower" (in "Juan and his Six Friends") is almost
an exact translation of "Soplin Soplon, hijo del buen soplador"
(Caballero, "Lucifer's Ear"). This same locution in the vernacular
is found in the Tagalog folk-tale of "Lucas the Strong."
The ship that will sail on land is often met with in European
stories. See R. Koehler, "Orient und Occident," 2 : 296-299; also
his notes to Gonzenbach, No. 74. Compare also the Argonaut saga;
and Bolte-Polivka, 2 : 87-95 passim.
In two of our stories the hero's runner is almost defeated by
the king's messenger, who treacherously makes use of a magic
sleep-producing ring. One of the other companions, however, discovers
the trick, and the skilful hunter awakens the sleeper with a well-aimed
shot. For this feat of Sharpshooter's, see Gonzenbach, No. 74; Grimm,
No. 71; Meier, No. 8; Ey, Harzmaerchenbuch, 116.
Of native beliefs found in our stories, two are deserving of
comment. The method by which Lucas becomes possessed of great strength
reflects a notion held by certain old Tagalogs. Some of the men around
Calamba, Laguna province, make an incision in the wrist and put in
it a small white bone taken from the end of the tail of the sawang
bitin (a species of boa). The cut is then sewed up. Those who have
a talisman of this sort believe that at night it travels all over
the body and produces extraordinary strength. (For similar Malayan
superstitions, see Skeat 2, 303-304.) The legend (in "King Palmarin")
about the origin of Mount Arayat and the swamp of Candaba is but one
of many still told by old Pampangans. Its insertion into a romance
with European setting is an instance of the Filipino romance writers'
utter disregard or ignorance of geographical propriety.
In conclusion, attention may be called to the fact that while
these three stories have the same basic framework, each has its own
peculiar variations. The testimony of the narrator of "Juan and his
Six Companions," that his informant, an old Balayan woman, said that
the story was very popular in her section of the country, is a bit of
evidence that the tale has been known in the Philippines for decades,
probably. Whether or not her form of the story was derived from
a printed account, I am unable to say; but I suspect that it was;
the diction sounds "bookish." Nevertheless I have found no external
evidence of a Tagalog corrido treating the story we have printed.
The Three Brothers.
Narrated by Clodualdo Garcia, an llocano, who was told the story by
his mother when he was a small boy.
There was once an old woman who had three sons. The father died when
Tito, the youngest brother, was only five years old; and the mother was
left alone to bring up her three boys. The family was very poor; but
the good woman worked hard, and her sons grew into sturdy young men.
One day the mother called her sons before her, and said, "Now, my sons,
as you see my strength is failing me, I want each of you to go into
the world to seek his fortune. After nine years, come back home and
show me what you have learned to do." The three brothers consented,
and resolved to leave home the very next morning.
Early the following day the three brothers--An-no the oldest, Berto
the second, and Tito the youngest--bade their mother good-by, and
set out on their travels. They followed a wide road until they came
to a place where it branched in three directions. Here they stopped
and consulted. It was at last agreed that An-no should take the north
branch, Berto the south branch, and Tito the east branch. Before they
separated, An-no proposed that at the end of the nine years they should
all meet at the cross-roads before presenting themselves to their
mother. Then each, wishing the others good luck, proceeded on his way.
Well, to make a long story short, at the end of the nine years the
three brothers met again at the place designated. Each of them told
what he had learned during that time. An-no had been in the company of
glass-makers, and he had learned the art of glass-making. Berto had
been employed in a shipyard, and during the nine years had become an
expert boat-builder. The youngest brother, unfortunately, had fallen
into the company of bad men, some notorious robbers. While he was
with this band, he became the best and most skilful robber in the
gang. After each had heard of the others' fortunes, they started for
their home. Their mother felt very glad to have all her sons with
her once more.
Shortly after this family had been re-united, the king issued a
proclamation stating that his daughter, the beautiful princess Amelia,
had been kidnapped by a brave stranger, and that whoever could give
any information about her and restore her to the palace should be
allowed to marry her. When the three brothers heard this news, they
resolved to use their knowledge and skill to find the missing princess.
An-no had brought home with him a spy-glass in which everything hidden
from the eyes of men could be seen. With this instrument, he told his
brothers, he could locate the princess. He looked through his glass,
and saw her confined in a tower on an island. When An-no had given
this information to the king, the next question was how to rescue
her. "We'll do the rest," said the two younger brothers.
Accordingly Berto built a ship. When it was finished, the three
brothers boarded her and sailed to the island where the princess
was confined; but there they found the tower very closely guarded by
armed soldiers, so that it seemed impossible to get into it. "Well,
that is easy," said Tito. "You stay here and wait for my return. I
will bring the princess with me."
The famous young robber then went to work to steal the
princess. Through his skill he succeeded in rescuing her and bringing
her to the ship. Then the four sailed directly for the king's
palace. The beautiful princess was restored to her father. With great
joy the king received them, and a great feast was held in the palace
in honor of the rescue of his daughter. After the feast the king asked
the three brothers to which of them he should give his daughter's
hand. Each claimed the reward, and a quarrel arose among them. The
king, seeing that all had played important parts in the rescue of the
princess, decided not to bestow his daughter on any of them. Instead,
he gave half his wealth to be divided equally among An-no, Berto,
Three Brothers of Fortune.
Narrated by Eugenio Estayo, a Pangasinan, who heard the story from
Toribio Serafica, a native of Rosales, Pangasinan.
In former times there lived in a certain village a wealthy man who
had three sons,--Suan, Iloy, and Ambo. As this man was a lover of
education, he sent all his boys to another town to school. But these
three brothers did not study: they spent their time in idleness and
extravagance. When vacation came, they were ashamed to go back to
their home town, because they did not know anything; so, instead,
they wandered from town to town seeking their fortunes.
In the course of their travels they met an old woman broken with
age. "Should you like to buy this book, my grandsons?" asked the old
woman as she stopped them.
"What is the virtue of that book, grandmother?" asked Ambo.
"My grandsons," replied she, "if you want to restore a dead person
to life, just open this book before him, and in an instant he will
be revived." Without questioning her further, Ambo at once bought
the book. Then the three continued their journey.
Again they met an old woman selling a mat. Now, Iloy was desirous of
possessing a charm, so he asked the old woman what virtue the mat had.
"Why, if you want to travel through the air," she said, "just step
on it, and in an instant you will be where you desire to go." Iloy
did not hesitate, but bought the mat at once.
Now, Suan was the only one who had no charm. They had not gone far,
however, before he saw two stones, which once in a while would
meet and unite to form one round black stone, and then separate
again. Believing that these stones possessed some magical power,
Suan picked them up; for it occurred to him that with them he would
be able to unite things of the same or similar kind. This belief of
his came true, as we shall see.
These three brothers, each possessing a charm, were very happy. They
went on their way light-hearted. Not long afterward they came upon
a crowd of persons weeping over the dead body of a beautiful young
lady. Ambo told the parents of the young woman that he would restore
her to life if they would pay him a reasonable sum of money. As they
gladly agreed, Ambo opened his book, and the dead lady was brought
back to life. Ambo was paid all the money he asked; but as soon as he
had received his reward, Iloy placed his mat on the ground, and told
his two brothers to hold the young woman and step on the mat. They
did so, and in an instant all four were transported to the seashore.
From that place they took ship to another country; but when they were
in the middle of the sea, a severe storm came, and their boat was
wrecked. All on board would have been drowned had not Suan repaired
the broken planks with his two magical stones. When they landed, a
quarrel arose among the three brothers as to which one was entitled
to the young woman.
Ambo said, "I am the one who should have her, for it was I who restored
her to life."
"But if it had not been for me, we should not have the lady with us,"
"And if it had not been for me," said Suan, "we should all be dead now,
and nobody could have her."
As they could not come to any agreement, they took the question
before the king. He decided to divide the young woman into three
parts to be distributed among the three brothers. His judgment was
carried out. When each had received his share, Iloy and Ambo were
discontented because their portions were useless, so they threw them
away; but Suan picked up the shares of his two brothers and united
them with his own. The young woman was brought to life again, and
lived happily with Suan. So, after all, Suan was the most fortunate.
Pablo and the Princess.
Narrated by Dolores Zafra, a Tagalog from La Laguna. She heard the
story from her father.
Once upon a time there lived three friends,--Pedro, Juan, and
Pablo. One morning they met at the junction of three roads. While
they were talking, Pedro said, "Let each of us take one of these
roads and set out to find his fortune! there is nothing for us to
do in our town." The other two agreed. After they had embraced and
wished each other good luck, they went their several ways. Before
separating, however, they promised one another to meet again in the
same plate, with the arrangement that the first who came should wait
for the others.
Pedro took the road to the right. After three months' travelling,
sometimes over mountains, sometimes through towns, he met an old
man. The old man asked him for food, for he was very hungry. Pedro
gave him some bread, for that was all he had. The old man thanked the
youth very much, and said, "In return for your kindness I will give
you this carpet. It looks like an ordinary carpet, but it has great
virtue. Whoever sits on it may be transported instantly to any place
he desires to be." Pedro received the carpet gladly and thanked the
old man. Then the old man went on his way, and Pedro wandered about
the town. At last, thinking of his two friends, he seated himself on
his carpet and was transported to the crossroads, where he sat down
to wait for Juan and Pablo.
Juan had taken the road to the left. After he had travelled for three
months and a half, he, too, met an old man. This old man asked the
youth for something to eat, as he was very hungry, he said. So Juan,
kind-heartedly, shared with him the bread he was going to eat for his
dinner. As a return for his generosity, the old man gave him a book,
and said, "This book may seem to you of no value; but when you know of
its peculiar properties, you will be astonished. By reading in it you
will be able to know everything that is happening in the world at all
times." Juan was overjoyed with his present. After thanking the old
man and bidding him good-by, the youth returned to the meeting-place
at the cross-roads, where he met Pedro. The two waited for Pablo.
Pablo took the road in the middle, and, after travelling four months,
he also met an old man, to whom he gave the bread he was going to eat
for his dinner. "As you have been very kind to me," said the old man,
"I will give you this ivory tube as a present. Perhaps you will say
that it is worthless, if you look only at the outside; but when you
know its value, you will say that the one who possesses it is master
of a great treasure. It cures all sick persons of every disease,
and, even if the patient is dying, it will restore him instantly to
perfect health if you will but blow through one end of the tube into
the sick person's nose." Pablo thanked the old man heartily for his
gift, and then set out for the meeting-place. He joined his friends
The three friends congratulated one another at having met again
in safety and good health. Then they told one another about their
fortunes. While Pedro was looking in Juan's book, he read that a
certain princess in a distant kingdom was very sick, and that the king
her father had given orders that any person in the world who could cure
his daughter should be her husband and his heir. When Pedro told his
companions the news, they at once decided to go to that kingdom. They
seated themselves on the carpet, and were transported in a flash to
the king's palace. After they had been led into the room of the sick
princess, Pablo took his tube and blew through one end of it into her
nose. She immediately opened her eyes, sat up, and began to talk. Then,
as she wanted to dress, the three friends retired.
While the princess was dressing, Pablo, Juan, and Pedro went before
the king, and told him how they had learned that the princess was sick,
how they had been transported there, and who had cured her. The king,
having heard all each had to say in his own favor, at last spoke thus
wisely to them:--
"It is true, Pablo, that you are the one who cured my daughter; but
let me ask you whether you could have contrived to cure her if you
had not known from Juan's book that she was sick, and if Pedro's
carpet had not brought you here without delay.--Your book, Juan,
revealed to you that my daughter was sick; but the knowledge of her
illness would have been of no service had it not been for Pedro's
carpet and Pablo's tube. And it is just the same way with your carpet,
Pedro.--So I cannot grant the princess to any one of you, since each
has had an equal share in her cure. As this is the case, I will choose
another means of deciding. Go and procure, each one of you, a bow and
an arrow. I will hang up the inflorescence of a banana-plant. This will
represent the heart of my daughter. The one who shoots it in the middle
shall be the husband of my daughter, and the heir of my kingdom."
The first to shoot was Pedro, whose arrow passed directly through the
middle of the banana-flower. He was very glad. Juan shot second. His
arrow passed through the same hole Pedro's arrow had made. Now came
Pablo's turn; but when Pablo's turn came, he refused to shoot, saying
that if the banana-flower represented the heart of the princess,
he could not shoot it, for he loved her too dearly.
When the king heard this answer, he said, "Since Pablo really loves
my daughter, while Pedro and Juan do not, for they shot at the flower
that represents her heart, Pablo shall marry the princess."
And so Pablo married the king's daughter, and in time became king of
Legend of Prince Oswaldo.
Narrated by Leopoldo Uichanco, a Tagalog from Calamba, La Laguna.
Once upon a time, on a moonlight night, three young men were walking
monotonously along a solitary country road. Just where they were
going nobody could tell: but when they came to a place where the road
branched into three, they stopped there like nails attracted by a
powerful magnet. At this crossroads a helpless old man lay groaning
as if in mortal pain. At the sight of the travellers he tried to
raise his head, but in vain. The three companions then ran to him,
helped him up, and fed him a part of the rice they had with them.
The sick old man gradually regained strength, and at last could speak
to them. He thanked them, gave each of the companions a hundred pesos,
and said, "Each one of you shall take one of these branch-roads. At
the end of it is a house where they are selling something. With
these hundred pesos that I am giving each of you, you shall buy the
first thing that you see there." The three youths accepted the money,
and promised to obey the old man's directions.
Pedro, who took the left branch, soon came to the house described
by the old man. The owner of the house was selling a rain-coat. "How
much does the coat cost?" Pedro asked the landlord.
"One hundred pesos, no more, no less."
"Of what value is it?" said Pedro.
"It will take you wherever you wish to go." So Pedro paid the price,
took the rain-coat, and returned.
Diego, who took the middle road, arrived at another house. The owner
of this house was selling a book. "How much does your book cost?" Diego
inquired of the owner.
"One hundred pesos, no more, no less."
"Of what value is it?"
"It will tell you what is going on in all parts of the world." So
Diego paid the price, took the book, and returned.
Juan, who took the third road, reached still another house. The owner
of the house was selling a bottle that contained some violet-colored
liquid. "How much does the bottle cost?" said Juan.
"One hundred pesos, no more, no less."
"Of what value is it?"
"It brings the dead back to life," was the answer. Juan paid the price,
took the bottle, and returned.
The three travellers met again in the same place where they had
separated; but the old man was now nowhere to be found. The first to
tell of his adventure was Diego. "Oh, see what I have!" he shouted
as he came in sight of his companions. "It tells everything that is
going on in the world. Let me show you!" He opened the book and read
what appeared on the page: "'The beautiful princess of Berengena is
dead. Her parents, relatives, and friends grieve at her loss.'"
"Good!" answered Juan. "Then there is an occasion for us to test
this bottle. It restores the dead back to life. Oh, but the kingdom
of Berengena is far away! The princess will be long buried before we
"Then we shall have occasion to use my rain-coat," said Pedro. "It
will take us wherever we wish to go. Let us try it! We shall receive
a big reward from the king. We shall return home with a casco full
of money. To Berengena at once!" He wrapped the rain-coat about all
three of them, and wished them in Berengena. Within a few minutes
they reached that country. The princess was already in the church,
where her parents were weeping over her. Everybody in the church wore
When the three strangers boldly entered the church, the guard at the
door arrested them, for they had on red clothes. When Juan protested,
and said that the princess was not dead, the guard immediately took
him to the king; but the king, when he heard what Juan had said,
called him a fool.
"She is only sleeping," said Juan. "Let me wake her up!"
"She is dead," answered the king angrily. "On your life, don't you
dare touch her!"
"I will hold my head responsible for the truth of my statement," said
Juan. "Let me wake her up, or rather, not to offend your Majesty,
restore her to life!"
"Well, I will let you do as you please," said the king; "but if
your attempt fails, you will lose your head. On the other hand,
should you be successful, I will give you the princess for a wife,
and you shall be my heir."
Blinded by his love for the beautiful princess, Juan said that he would
restore her to life. "May you be successful!" said the king; and then,
raising his voice, he continued, "Everybody here present is to bear
witness that I, the King of Berengena, do hereby confirm an agreement
with this unknown stranger. I will allow this man to try the knowledge
he pretends to possess of restoring the princess to life. But there
is this condition to be understood: if he is successful, I will marry
him to the princess, and he is to be my heir; but should he fail,
his head is forfeit."
The announcement having been made, Juan was conducted to the coffin. He
now first realized what he was undertaking. What if the bottle was
false! What if he should fail! Would not his head be dangling from the
ropes of the scaffold, to be hailed by the multitude as the remains
of a blockhead, a dunce, and a fool? The coffin was opened. With
these meditations in his mind, Juan tremblingly uncorked his bottle
of violet liquid, and held it under the nose of the princess. He held
the bottle there for some time, but she gave no signs of life. An hour
longer, still no trace of life. After hours of waiting, the people
began to grow impatient. The king scratched his head, the guards
were ready to seize him; the scaffold was waiting for him. "Nameless
stranger!" thundered the king, with indignant eyes, "upon your honor,
tell us the truth! Can you do it, or not? Speak. I command it!"
Juan trembled all the more. He did not know what to say, but he
continued to hold the bottle under the nose of the princess. Had
he not been afraid of the consequences, he would have given up and
entreated the king for mercy. He fixed his eyes on the corpse, but
did not speak. "Are you trying to joke us?" said the king, his eyes
flashing with rage. "Speak! I command!"
Just as Juan was about to reply, he saw the right hand of the princess
move. He bade the king wait. Soon the princess moved her other hand and
opened her eyes. Her cheeks were fresh and rosy as ever. She stared
about, and exclaimed in surprise, "Oh, where am I? Where am I? Am I
dreaming? No, there is my father, there is my mother, there is my
brother." The king was fully satisfied. He embraced his daughter,
and then turned to Juan, saying, "Stranger, can't you favor us now
with your name?"
With all the rustic courtesy he knew, Juan replied to the king,
told his name, and said that he was a poor laborer in a barrio far
away. The king only smiled, and ordered Juan's clothes to be exchanged
for prince's garments, so that the celebration of his marriage with
the princess might take place at once. "Long live Juan! Long live
the princess!" the people shouted.
When Diego and Juan heard the shout, they could not help feeling
cheated. They made their way through the crowd, and said to the king,
"Great Majesty, pray hear us! In the name of justice, pray hear us!"
"Who calls?" asked the king of a guard near by. "Bring him here!" The
guard obeyed, and led the two men before the king.
"What is the matter?" asked the king of the two.
"Your Majesty shall know," responded Diego. "If it had not been for
my book, we could not have known that the princess was dead. Our home
is far away, and it was only because of my magic book that we knew
of the events that were going on here."
"And his Majesty shall be informed," seconded Pedro, "that Juan's
good luck is due to my rain-coat. Neither Diego's book nor Juan's
bottle could have done anything had not my raincoat carried us here
so quickly. I am the one who should marry the princess."
The king was overwhelmed: he did not know what to do. Each of the three
had a good reason, but all three could not marry the princess. Even
the counsellors of the king could not decide upon the matter.
While they were puzzling over it, an old man sprang forth from
the crowd of spectators, and declared that he would settle the
difficulty. "Young men," he said, addressing Juan, Pedro, and Diego,
"none of you shall marry the princess.--You, Juan, shall not marry
her, because you intended to obtain your fortunes regardless of
your companions who have been helping you to get them.--And you,
Pedro and Diego, shall not have the princess, because you did not
accept your misfortune quietly and thank God for it.--None of you
shall have her. I will marry her myself."
The princess wept. How could the fairest maiden of Berengena marry
an old man! "What right have you to claim her?" said the king in scorn.
"I am the one who showed these three companions where to get their
bottle, rain-coat, and book," said the old man. "I am the one who
gave each of them a hundred pesos. I am the capitalist: the interest
is mine." The old man was right; the crowd clapped their hands; and
the princess could do nothing but yield. Bitterly weeping, she gave
her hand to the old man, who seemed to be her grandfather, and they
were married by the priest. The king almost fainted.
But just now the sun began to rise, its soft beams filtering through
the eastern windows of the church. The newly-married couple were
led from the altar to be taken home to the palace; but, just as
they were descending the steps that lead down from the altar, the
whole church was flooded with light. All present were stupefied. The
glorious illumination did not last long. When the people recovered,
they found that their princess was walking with her husband, not an
old man, however, but a gallant young prince. The king recognized
him. He kissed him, for they were old-time acquaintances. The king's
new son-in-law was none other than Prince Oswaldo, who had just been
set free from the bonds of enchantment by his marriage. He had been
a former suitor of the princess, but had been enchanted by a magician.
With magnificent ceremony the king's son-in-law was conducted to
the royal residence. He was seated on the throne, the crown and
sceptre were transferred to him, and he was hailed as King Oswaldo
I have still a fifth Filipino story (e) of three brothers setting out
to seek their fortunes, their rich father promising his estate to the
son who should show most skill in the profession he had chosen. This
Bicol version, which was narrated by Simeon Paz of Nueva Caceres,
Camarines, contains a long introduction telling how the youngest
brother was cruelly treated by the two older. After the three have
left home in search of professions, the older brothers try to kill
the youngest, but he escapes. In his wanderings he meets with an old
hermit, who, on hearing the boy's story, presents him with a magic
booklet and dagger. These articles can furnish their possessor with
whatever he wishes. At the appointed time the three brothers meet again
at home, and each demonstrates his skill. The oldest, who has become
an expert blacksmith, shoes a horse running at full speed. The second
brother, a barber, trims the hair of a running man. The youngest causes
a beautiful palace to appear instantly. The father, somewhat unfairly,
perhaps, bestows his estate on the youngest, who has really displayed
no skill at all.
These five Filipino stories belong to a large group of tales to which
we may give the name of the "Rival Brothers." This cycle assumes
various forms; but the two things that identify the relationship
of the members are the rivalry of the brothers and the conundrum or
"problem" ending of the stories. Within this cycle we can distinguish
at least three simple, distinct types, and a compound fourth made up
of parts of two of the others. These four types may be very generally
outlined as follows: (I) A number of artisans (usually not brothers),
by working cumulatively, as it were, make and bring to life a beautiful
woman; they then quarrel as to which one has really produced her and
is therefore entitled to have her. (II) Through the combined skill of
three suitors (sometimes brothers, oftener not), a maiden is saved
from death, and the three quarrel over the possession of her. The
difficulty is solved satisfactorily by her father or by some one
else appointed to judge. (III) A father promises his wealth to the
son that shall become most skilful in his profession; the three sons
seek their fortunes, and at an appointed time return, and are tested
by their father. He judges which is most worthy of the estate. (IV)
A combination of the first part of the third type with the second.
Benfey (in Ausland, 1858 : 969, 995, 1017, 1038, 1067) has made
a somewhat exhaustive study of the Maerchen, which he calls "Das
Maerchen von den Menschen mit den wunderbaren Eigenschaften." As a
matter of fact, he examines particularly the stories of our type
II (see above), to which he connects the folk-tales of our types
III and IV as a later popular development. As has been said in the
notes to No. 11 Benfey thinks that the "Skilful Companions" cycle
is a droll or comic offshoot of this much older group. Our type I he
does not discuss at all, possibly thinking that it is not a part of
the "Rival Brothers" cycle. It strikes me, however, as being a part
fully as much as is the "Skilful Companions" cycle, which is perhaps
more nearly related to the "Bride Wager" group than to the "Rival
Brothers." Professor G. L. Kittredge, in his "Arthur and Gorlagon"
(Harvard Studies and Notes in Philology and Literature, No. 8),
226, has likewise failed to differentiate clearly the two cycles,
and his outline of the "Skilful Companions" is that of our type
II of the "Rival Brothers." I am far from wishing to quarrel over
nomenclature,--possibly "Rival Brothers" is no better name for the
group of tales under discussion than is "Skilful Companions,"--but,
as G. H. Gerould has remarked ("The Grateful Dead," Folk-Lore Society,
1907 : 126, note 3), Kittredge's analysis would not hold for all
variants, even when uncompounded. However, Mr. Gerould does not
attempt to explain the cause of the confusion, nor was he called upon
to do so in his study of an entirely distinct cycle. Consequently,
as no one else has yet done so, for the sake of clearness, I propose
a division of the large family of sagas and folk-tales dealing with
men endowed with extraordinary powers  into at least two cycles,
--the "Rival Brothers" and the "Skilful Companions" (see No. 11). The
former of these, which is the group discussed here, I subdivide,
as has already been indicated, into four types. Of intermixtures of
these types with other cycles we shall not concern ourselves here,
though they have been many.  We now turn to an examination of
the four types. 
(I) Type I had its origin in India, doubtless. The oldest form seems to
be that found in the Sanscrit "Vetalapancavincati," No. 22, whence it
was incorporated into Somadeva's story collection (twelfth century)
called the "Kathasaritsagara." An outline of this last version
(Tawney's translation, 2 : 348-350) is as follows.
Story of the Four Brahman Brothers who Resuscitated the Lion.
Four Brahman brothers, sons of a very poor man, leave home to
beg. After their state has become even more miserable, they decide
to separate and to search through the earth for some magic power. So,
fixing upon a trysting-place, they leave one another, one going east,
one west, one north, one south. In the course of time they meet again,
and each tells of his accomplishments: the first can immediately
produce on a bit of bone the flesh of that animal; the second can
produce on that flesh skin and hair appropriate to that animal; the
third can create the limbs of the animal after the flesh, skin, and
hair have been formed; the fourth can endow the completed carcass with
life. The four now go into the forest to find a piece of bone with
which to test their skill; they find one, but are ignorant that it
is the bone of a lion. The first Brahman covers the bone with flesh;
the second gives it skin and hair; the third completes the animal
by supplying appropriate limbs; the fourth endows it with life. The
terrible beast, springing up, charges the four brothers and slays
them on the spot.
The question which the vetala now asks the king is, "Which of these
four was guilty in respect of the lion who slew them all?" King
Vikramasena answers, "The one that gave life to the lion is guilty. The
others produced flesh, skin, hair, and limbs without knowing what kind
of animal they were making. Therefore, being ignorant, they were not
guilty. But the fourth, seeing the complete lion's shape before him,
was guilty of their death, because he gave the creature life."
The "Pancatantra" version (v, 4) varies slightly. Here, as in the
preceding, there are four brothers, but only three of them possess
all knowledge; the fourth possesses common sense. The first brother
joins together the bones of a lion; the second covers them with
skin, flesh, and blood; the third is about to give the animal life,
when the fourth brother--he who possessed common sense--says, "If
you raise him to life, he will kill us all." Finding that the third
brother will not desist from his intention, the fourth climbs a tree
and saves himself, while his three brothers are torn to pieces. For
a modern Indian popular form, see Thornhill, 289.
In the Persian "Tuti-namah" (No. 5) the story assumes a decidedly
different form, as may be seen from the following abstract. (I think
that there can be no doubt, however, that this tale was inspired
by some redaction of "Vetalapancavincati," No. 22, not unlikely in
combination with "Vetalapancavincati," No. 2.)
The Goldsmith, the Carpenter, the Tailor, and the Hermit who Quarrelled
about a Wooden Woman.
A goldsmith, a carpenter, a tailor, and a hermit, travelling together,
come to a desert place where they must spend the night. They decide
that each shall take a watch during the night as guard. The carpenter's
turn is first: to prevent sleep he carves out a wooden figure. When
his turn comes, the goldsmith shows his skill by preparing jewels and
adorning the puppet. The tailor's turn is next: he sees the beautiful
wooden woman decked with exquisite jewels, but naked; consequently
he makes neat clothes becoming a bride, and dresses her. When the
hermit's turn to watch comes, he prays to God that the figure may
have life; and it begins to speak like a human being.
In the morning all four fall desperately in love with the woman,
and each claims her as his. Finally they come to a fifth person,
and refer the matter to him. He claims her to be his wife, who has
been seduced from his house, and hails the four travellers before the
cutwal. But the cutwal falls in love with the woman, says that she
is his brother's wife, accuses the five of his brother's murder, and
carries them before the cazi. The cazi, no less enamoured, says that
the woman is his bondmaid, who had absconded with much money. After
the seven have disputed and wrangled a long time, an old man in the
crowd that has meantime gathered suggests that the case be laid before
the Tree of Decision, which can be found in a certain town. When they
have all come before the tree with the woman, the tree divides, the
woman runs into the cleft, the tree unites, and she has disappeared
forever. A voice from the tree then says, "Everything returns to its
first principles." The seven suitors are overwhelmed with shame.
A Mongolian form, to be found in the Ardschi-Bordschi saga (see
Busk, 298-304), seems to furnish the link of connection between the
"Tuti-namah" version and "Vetalapancavincati," Nos. 22 and 2:--
Who Invented Woman?
Four shepherd youths pasture their flocks near one another, and when
they have time amuse themselves together. One day one of them there
alone, to pass away the time, takes wood and sculptures it until he
has fashioned a beautiful female form. When he sees what he has done,
he cares no more for his companions, but goes his way. The next day
the second youth comes alone to the place, and, finding the image, he
paints it fair with the five colors, and goes his way. On the third
day the third youth finds the statue, and infuses into it wit and
understanding. He, too, cares no more to sport with his companions,
and goes his way. On the fourth day the fourth youth finds the figure,
and, breathing softly into its lips, behold! he gives it a soul that
can be loved,--a beautiful woman.
When the other three see what has happened, they come back and demand
possession of her by right of invention. Each urges his claim; but
they can come to no decision, and so they lay the matter before the
king. The question is, Who has invented the woman, and to whom does
she belong by right? The answer of the king is as follows: "The first
youth stands in the place of a father to her; the second youth, who
has tinted her fairly, stands in the place of a mother; the third,
is he not Lama (Buddhist priest, hence instructor)? The fourth has
given her a soul that can be loved, and it is he alone who has really
made her. She belongs to him, and therefore he is her husband."
I cannot refrain from giving a resume of "Vetalapancavincati,"
No. 2, because it has been overlooked by Benfey, and seems to be of
no little significance in connection with our cycle: it establishes
the connection between types I and II. This abstract is taken from
Tawney's translation of Somadeva's redaction, 2 : 242-244:--
Story of the Three Young Brahmans who Restored a Dead Lady to Life.
Brahman Agnisvamin has a beautiful daughter, Mandaravati. Three young
Brahmans, equally matched in accomplishments, come to Agnisvamin, and
demand the daughter, each for himself. Her father refuses, fearing to
cause the death of any one of them. Mandaravati remains unmarried. The
three suitors stay at her house day and night, living on the sight of
her. Then Mandaravati suddenly dies of a fever. The three Brahmans
take her body to the cemetery and burn it. One builds a hut there,
and makes her ashes his bed; the second takes her bones, and goes
with them to the sacred river Ganges; the third becomes an ascetic,
and sets out travelling.
While roaming about, the third suitor reaches a village, where he is
entertained by a Brahman. From him the ascetic steals a magic book
that will restore life to dead ashes. (He has seen its power proved
after his hostess, in a fit of anger, throws her crying child into
the fire.) With his magic book he returns to the cemetery before the
second suitor has thrown the maiden's bones into the river. After
having the first Brahman remove the hut he had erected, the ascetic,
reading the charm and throwing some dust on the ashes of Mandaravati,
causes the maiden to rise up alive, more beautiful than ever. Then
the three quarrel about her, each claiming her as his own. The first
says, "She is mine, for I preserved her ashes and resuscitated her
by asceticism." The second says, "She belongs to me, for she was
produced by the efficacy of sacred bathing-places." The third says,
"She is my wife, for she was won by the power of my charm."
The vetala, who has been telling the story, now puts the question to
King Vikramasena. The king rules as follows: "The third Brahman must
be considered as her father; the second, as her son; and the first,
as her husband, for he lay in the cemetery embracing her ashes,
which was an act of deep affection."
A modern link is the Georgian folk-tale of "The King and the Apple"
(Wardrop, No. XVI), in which the king's magic apple tells three
riddle-stories to the wonderful boy:--
(1) A woman is travelling with her husband and brother. The party
meets brigands, and the two men are decapitated. Their heads are
restored to them by the woman through the help of a magic herb
revealed to her by a mouse. However, she gets her husband's head on
her brother's body. Q.--Which man is the right husband? A.--The one
with the husband's head.
(2) A joiner, a tailor, and a priest are travelling. When night comes,
they appoint three watches. The joiner, for amusement, cuts down a
tree and carves out a man. The tailor, in his turn, takes off his
clothes and dresses the figure. The priest, when his turn comes,
prays for a soul for the image, and the figure becomes alive. Q.-Who
made the man? A.--He who gave him the soul.
(3) A diviner, a physician, and a swift runner are met together. The
diviner says, "There is a certain prince ill with such and such
a disease." The physician says, "I know a cure." The swift runner
says, "I will run with it." The physician prepares the medicine,
the runner runs with it, and the prince is cured. Q.--Who cured the
king's son? A.--He who made the medicine.
These three stories, with their framework, appear to be descended in
part from the Ardschi-Bordschi saga. A connection between the third
and our type II is obvious.
A Bohemian form of this type is No. 4 of Wratislaw's collection.
(II) Type II, according to Benfey, also originated in India. The
oldest known form of the story is the "Vetalapancavincati," No. 5. A
brief summary of Somadeva's version, "The Story of Somaprabha and
her Three Suitors" (Tawney, 2 : 258-260), may be given here:--
In Ujjayini there lived a Brahman who had an excellent son and a
beautiful proud daughter. When the time for her to be married came,
she told her mother to give the following message to her father and
her brother: "I am to be given in marriage only to a person possessed
of heroism, knowledge, or magic power."
A noble Brahman (No. 1) in time came to the father and asked for
his daughter's hand. When told of the conditions, he said, "I am
possessed of magic power," and to demonstrate, he made a chariot and
took the father for a ride in the clouds. Then Harisvamin, the father,
promised his daughter to the Brahman possessed of magic power, and
set the marriage day seven days hence.
Another Brahman (No. 2) came and asked the son for his sister's
hand. When told the conditions, he said that he was a hero, and he
displayed his skill in the use of weapons. The brother, ignorant of
what his father had done, promised his sister's hand to this man,
and by the advice of an astrologer he selected the same day for the
wedding as his father had selected.
A third Brahman (No. 3) on that same day asked the mother for her
daughter's hand, saying that he was possessed of wisdom. Ignorant of
what her husband and her son had done, she questioned this Brahman
about the past and the future, and at length promised him her
daughter's hand on the same seventh day.
On the same day, then, three bridegrooms appeared, and, strange to say,
on that very day the bride disappeared. No. 3, with his knowledge,
discovered that she had been carried off by a Rakshasa. No. 1 made a
chariot equipped with weapons, and the three suitors and Harisvamin
were carried to the Rakshasa's abode. There No. 2 fought and killed the
demon, and all returned with the maiden. A dispute then arose among
the Brahmans as to which was entitled to the maiden's hand. Each set
forth his claim.
The vetala, who has been telling the story, now makes King Vikramasena
decide which deserves the girl. The king says that the girl ought to
be given to No. 2, who risked his life in battle to save her. Nos. 1
and 3 were only instruments; calculators and artificers are always
subordinate to others.
The story next passed over into Mongolia, growing by the way. The
version in the "Siddhi-Kuer," No. 13, is interesting, because it
shows our story already linked up with another cycle, the "True
Brothers." Only the last part, which begins approximately where
the companions miss the rich youth, corresponds to the Sanscrit
above. (This Mongolian version may be found in English in Busk,
105-114.) The story then moved westward, and we next meet it
in the Persian and the Turkish "Tuti-namah," "The Story of the
Beautiful Zehra." (For an English rendering from the Persian, see
"The Tootinameh; or, Tales of a Parrot," Persian text with English
translation [Calcutta, 1792], pp. 111-114.)
W. A. Clouston (Clouston 3, 2 : 277-288) has discussed this group of
stories, and gives abstracts of a number of variants that Benfey does
not mention: Dozon, "Albanian Tales," No. 4; a Persian manuscript text
of the "Sindibad Nama;" a Japanese legend known as early as the tenth
century; the "1001 Nights" story of "Prince Ahmed and the Peri Banu;"
Powell and Magnussen's "Icelandic Legends," pp. 348-354, "The Story
of the Three Princes;" Von Hahn, "Contes Populaires Grecs" (Athens
and Copenhagen, 1879), No. II, p. 98. Of these he says (p. 285),
"We have probably the original of all these different versions in the
fifth of the 'Vetalapanchavinsati,'"--but hardly from No. 5 alone,
probably in combination with Nos. 2 and 22 (cf. above). At least,
the Arabian, Icelandic, and Greek forms cited by Clouston include
the search for trades or magic objects by rival brothers, a detail
not found in No. 5, but occurring in Nos. 22 and 2. Clouston calls
attention to the fact that in No. 5 and in the "Tuti-namah" version the
damsel is not represented as being ill, while in the "Sindibad-Nama"
and in the Arabian version she is so represented.
(III) The third type seems to be of European origin. It is perhaps
best represented by Grimm, No. 124, "The Three Brothers." In his
notes, Grimm calls this story an old lying and jesting tale, and says
that it is apparently very widespread. He cites few analogues of it,
however. He does mention an old one (sixteenth century) which seems
to be the parent of the German story. It is Philippe d'Alcripe's
"Trois freres, excellens ouvriers de leurs mestiers" (No. 1 in the
1853 Paris edition, Biblioth. Elzevirien). As in Grimm, the three
skilled brothers in the French tale are a barber, a horse-shoer, and
a swordsman; and the performances of skill are identical in the two
stories. The French version, however, ends with the display of skill:
no decision is made as to which is entitled to receive the "petite
maison," the property that the father wishes to leave to the son who
proves himself to be the best craftsman. Our fifth story, the Bicol
variant, clearly belongs to this type, although it has undergone some
modifications, and has been influenced by contact with other cycles.
(IV) The fourth type represents the form to which our four printed
stories most closely approximate. As remarked above, it is a
combination of the third and the second types. This combination
appears to have been developed in Europe, although, as may be seen
from the analysis of "Vetalapancavincati," No. 2, it might easily have
been suggested by the Sanscrit. Compare also the "Siddhi-Kuer" form
of type II, where, although not brothers, and six in number instead
of three, the six comrades set out to seek their fortunes. But here
there is no suggestion of the six acquiring skill: they have that
before they separate.
The earliest known European version of this type is Morlini's, Nov. 30
(about 1520). His Latin was translated by Straparola (about 1553)
in the "Tredici piacevoli Notti," VII, 5. In outline his version runs
about as follows:--
Three brothers, sons of a poor man, voluntarily leave home to seek
their fortunes, promising to return in ten years. After determining on
a meeting-place, they separate. The first takes service with soldiers,
and becomes expert in the art of war: he can scale walls, dagger in
hand. The second becomes a master shipwright. The third spends his
time in the woods, and becomes skilled in the tongues of birds. After
ten years they meet again, as appointed. While they are sitting in
an inn, the youngest hears a bird say that there is a great treasure
hidden by the corner-stone of the inn. This they dig up, and return
as wealthy men to their father's house.
Another bird announces the imprisonment of the beautiful Aglea in a
tower on an island in the AEgean Sea. She is guarded by a serpent. The
second brother builds a swift ship, in which all three sail to the
island. There the first brother climbs the tower, rescues Aglea, and
plunders all the serpent's treasure. With the wealth and the lady
the three return. A dispute now arises as to which brother has the
best claim over her. The matter is left undecided by the story-teller.
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Basile, working very
likely on oral tradition, and independent of Straparola (with whose
work he does not appear to have been acquainted), gives another
version, "Pentamerone," v, 7:--
Pacione, a poor father, sends his five good-for-nothing sons out into
the world for one year to learn a craft. They return at the appointed
time. During the year the eldest son has learned thieving; the second
has learned boat-building; the third, how to shoot with the cross-bow;
the fourth has learned of an herb that will cause the dead to rise;
the fifth has learned the language of birds. While the five sons are
eating with their father, the youngest son hears sparrows saying that a
ghoul has stolen the princess, daughter of the King of Autogolfo. The
father suggests that his five sons go to her rescue. So a boat is
built, the princess is stolen from the ghoul, the ghoul pursues and
is blinded by a shot from the bow, the princess falls in a dead faint
and is restored by the life-giving herb. After the five brothers have
returned the princess to her father, they dispute as to who did the
greatest deed of prowess, so as to be worthy of being her husband. Her
father the king decides the dispute by giving his daughter to Pacione,
because he is the parent-stem of all these branches.
Benfey thinks that the brother who knows of the life-restoring herb
is an original addition of Basile's or of his immediate source; but
this character is to be found in the cycle from earliest times (see
"Vetalapancavincati," No. 2; and "Siddhi-Kuer," No. 13).
The story is next found as a Maerchen pretty well scattered throughout
Europe. German, Russian, Bohemian, Italian, Greek, and Serbian forms
are known (see Benfey's article, and Grimm's notes to No. 129). We
may examine briefly six interesting versions not mentioned by Benfey
Greek (Von Hahn, No. 47).--A king with three sons wishes to marry
off the eldest. He seeks a suitable wife for the prince; but when
she is found and brought to the court, she is so beautiful, that all
three brothers want her. To decide their dispute, the king, on advice,
sends them abroad, promising the hand of the princess to the one who
shall bring back the most valuable article. The three brothers set
out; they separate at Adrianople, agreeing to meet there again at an
appointed time. On his travels, the eldest buys a telescope through
which he can see anything he wishes to see. The second buys an orange
that will restore to life the dying if the sick person but smells
of the fruit. The third buys a magic transportation-carpet. They all
meet as agreed. By means of the telescope one of the brothers learns
that the princess is dying. The magic carpet carries them all home
instantaneously, and the orange cures the maiden. A quarrel arises
as to which brother deserves her hand. The king, unable to decide,
marries her himself.
Bohemian (Waldau [Prag, 1860], "Das Weise Urteil").--In this there are
three rival brothers. One has a magic mirror; another, a magic chariot;
and the third, three magic apples. The first finds out that the lady
is desperately ill; the second takes himself and his rivals to her;
and the third restores her to health. A dispute arising, an old man
decides that the third brother should have her, as his apples were
consumed as medicine, while the other two still have their chariot and
mirror respectively. (Compare the decision in the Georgian folk-tale
under type II.)
Serbian (Mme. Mijatovies, 230 ff., "The Three Suitors").--Three
noblemen seek the hand of a princess. As the king cannot make a
choice, he says to the three, "Go travel about the world. The one who
brings home the most remarkable thing shall be my son-in-law." As in
the Greek story, one gets a transportation-carpet; another, a magic
telescope; and the third, a wonder-working ointment that will cure all
diseases and even bring the dead to life. The three noblemen meet,
learn through the telescope of the princess's mortal illness, and,
hastening to her side with the help of the magic carpet, cure her
with the ointment. A dispute arises as to which suitor shall have
her. The king decides that each has as good a claim as the others,
and persuades all to give up the idea of marrying the princess. They
do so, go to a far-off desert, and become hermits, while the king
marries his daughter to another noble. The story does not end here,
but thus much is all we are interested in.
Italian Tyrolese (Schneller, No. 14, "Die Drei Liebhaber").--This story
is like Von Hahn, No. 47. The magic objects are an apple, a chair,
and a mirror. In the magic mirror the three suitors see the bride
on the point of death. They are carried to her in the magic chair,
and she is saved by means of the apple. The story ends as a riddle:
Who married the maiden?
Icelandic (Rittershaus, No. XLIII, "Die drei Freier um eine
Braut").--This story, which closely follows the "1001 Nights" version
and is probably derived from it, agrees in the first part with Von
Hahn, No. 47. When a folk-tribunal is called to decide which brother
most deserves the princess and is unable to agree, the king proposes
another test,--a shooting-match. The princess is to be given to the one
who can shoot his arrow the farthest. The youngest really wins; but, as
his arrow goes out of sight and cannot be found, the princess is given
to the second brother. From this point on, the adventures of the hero
are derived from another cycle that does not belong with our group.
Icelandic (Rittershaus, No. XLII, "Die Kunstreichen Brueder").--Although
this story is very different from any of ours, I call attention to
it here because Dr. Rittershaus says (p. 181) that in it we have,
"in allerdings verwischter Form, das Maerchen von 'der Menschen
mit den wunderbaren Eigenschaften,'" and she refers to Benfey's
"Ausland" article. The collector states, however, that the story is
so different from the other Maerchen belonging to this family, that no
further parallels can be adduced. As a matter of fact, this Icelandic
story is a combination of the "Skilful Companions" cycle with the
"Child and the Hand" cycle. For this combined Maerchen, see Kittredge,
"Arthur and Gorlagon," 222-227.
It might be noted, in passing, that a connection between this type of
the "Rival Brothers" and the "Skilful Companions" cycle is established
through Gonzenbach's Sicilian story of "The Seven Brothers who had
Magic Articles," No. 45. (See Koehler's notes to this tale and also
to No. 74; to Widter-Wolf, No. 6 [Jahrb. f. rom. und eng. lit., VII];
and to V. Tagic, No. 46 [Koehler-Bolte, 438-440].)
I have not attempted to give an exhaustive bibliographical account
of this cycle of the "Rival Brothers," but have merely suggested
points that seem to me particularly significant in its history and
development. So far as our four Filipino examples are concerned, I
think that it is perfectly clear that in their present form, at least,
they have been derived from Europe. There is so much divergence among
them, however, and they are so widely separated from one another
geographically, that it would be fruitless to search for a common
ancestor of the four.
The Ilocano story is the best in outline, and is fairly close to Grimm,
No. 129, though there are only three brothers in the Filipino tale, and
there is no skill contest held by the mother before the youths set out
to rescue the princess. The all-seeing telescope and the clever thief,
however, are found in both. The solution at the end is the same: the
king keeps his daughter, and divides half a kingdom among her rescuers.
The Pangasinan tale has obviously been garbled. The use of two magic
articles with properties so nearly the same, the taking ship by the
three brothers when they had a transportation-mat at their service,
and finally the inhuman decision of the king, --all suggest either
a confusion of stories, or a contamination of old native analogies,
or crude manufacture on the part of some narrator. It may be remarked,
however, that the life-restoring book is analogous to the magic book
in "Vetalapancavincati," No. 2, while the repairing of the shattered
ship by means of the magic stones suggests the stitching-together of
the planks in Grimm, No. 129. The setting appears to be modern.
In the first Tagalog story (c) the three men are not brothers. They
are given the magic objects as a reward for kindness. The sentimental
denouement reads somewhat smug and strained after all three men have
been represented as equally kind-hearted. The shooting-contest with
arrows to decide the question, however, may be reminiscent of the
"1001 Nights" version. For the resuscitating flute in droll stories,
see Bolte-Polivka's notes to Grimm, No. 61 (episode G1). The book of
knowledge suggests the magic book in the Pangasinan version.
The Rich and the Poor.
Narrated by Jose L. Gomez, a Tagalog from Rizal province.
Once upon a time there lived in the town of Pasig two honest men who
were intimate friends. They were called Mayaman  and Mahirap,
 because one was much richer than the other.
One pleasant afternoon these two men made up their minds to take a
long walk into the neighboring woods. Here, while they were talking
happily about their respective fortunes, they saw in the distance
a poor wood-cutter, who was very busy cutting and collecting fagots
for sale. This wood-cutter lived in a mean cottage on the outskirts
of a little town on the opposite shore of the lake, and he maintained
his family by selling pieces of wood gathered from this forest.
When they saw the poor man, Mayaman said to his friend, "Now, which
one of us can make that wood-cutter rich?"
"Well, even though I am much poorer than you," said Mahirap, "I can
make him rich with just the few cents I have in my pocket."
They agreed, however, that Mayaman should be the first to try to make
the poor man rich. So Mayaman called out to the wood-cutter, and said,
"Do you want to be rich, my good man?"
"Certainly, master, I should like to be rich, so that my family might
not want anything," said the wood-cutter.
Pointing to his large house in the distance, Mayaman said, "All
right. Come to my house this evening on your way home, and I will
give you four bags of my money. If you don't become rich on them,
come back, and I will give you some more."
The wood-cutter was overjoyed at his good luck, and in the evening
went to Mayaman's house, where he received the money. He placed
the bags in the bottom of his banca,  and sailed home. When he
reached his little cottage, he spread out all the gold and silver
money on the floor. He was delighted at possessing such wealth, and
determined first of all to buy household articles with it; but some
dishonest neighbors, soon finding out that the wood-cutter had much
money in the house, secretly stole the bags.
Then the wood-cutter, remembering the rich man's promise, hastily
prepared his banca and sailed across to Pasig. When Mayaman saw the
wood-cutter, he said, "Are you rich now, my good man?"
"O kind master!" said the wood-cutter, "I am not yet rich, for some
one stole my bags of money."
"Well, here are four more bags. See that you take better care of them."
The wood-cutter reached home safely with this new wealth; but
unfortunately it was stolen, too, during the night.
Three more times he went to Mayaman, and every time received four
bags of money; but every time was it stolen from him by his neighbors.
Finally, on his sixth application, Mayaman did not give the wood-cutter
money, but presented him with a beautiful ring. "This ring will
preserve you from harm," he said, "and will give you everything
you ask for. With it you can become the richest man in town; but be
careful not to lose it!"
While the wood-cutter was sailing home that evening, he thought he
would try the ring by asking it for some food. So he said, "Beautiful
ring, give me food! for I am hungry." In an instant twelve different
kinds of food appeared in his banca, and he ate heartily. But after he
had eaten, the wind calmed down: so he said to the ring, "O beautiful
ring! blow my banca very hard, so that I may reach home quickly." He
had no sooner spoken than the wind rose suddenly. The sail and mast of
his little boat were blown away, and the banca itself sank. Forgetting
all about his ring, the unfortunate man had to swim for his life. He
reached the shore safely, but was greatly distressed to find that he
had lost his valuable ring. So he decided to go back to Mayaman and
tell him all about his loss.
The next day he borrowed a banca and sailed to Pasig; but when Mayaman
had heard his story, he said, "My good man, I have nothing more to
give you." Then Mayaman turned to his friend Mahirap, and said, "It
is your turn now, Mahirap. See what you can do for this poor man to
enrich him." Mahirap gave the poor wood-cutter five centavos,--all
he had in his pocket,--and told him to go to the market and buy a
fish with it for his supper.
The wood-cutter was disappointed at receiving so small an amount,
and sailed homeward in a very downcast mood; but when he arrived at
his town, he went straight to the market. As he was walking around the
fish-stalls, he saw a very fine fat fish. So he said to the tendera,
 "How much must I pay for that fat fish?"
"Well, five centavos is all I'll ask you for it," said she.
"Oh, I have only five centavos; and if I give them all to you, I
shall have no money to buy rice with. So please let me have the fish
for three!" said the wood-cutter. But the tendera refused to sell the
fish for three centavos; and the wood-cutter was obliged to give all
his money for it, for the fish was so fine and fat that he could not
When he went home and opened the fish to clean it, what do you suppose
he found inside? Why, no other thing than the precious ring he had
lost in the lake! He was so rejoiced at getting back his treasure,
that he walked up and down the streets, talking out loud to his ring:--
"Ha, ha, ha, ha!
I have found you now;
You are here, and nowhere else."
When his neighbors who had stolen his bags of money from him heard
these words, they thought that the wood-cutter had found out that they
were the thieves, and was addressing these words to them. They ran up
to him with all the bags of money, and said, "O wood-cutter! pardon
us for our misdoings! Here are all the bags of money that we stole
With his money and the ring, the wood-cutter soon became the richest
man in his town. He lived happily with his wife the rest of his days,
and left a large heritage to his children.
So Mahirap, with five centavos only, succeeded in making the
Lucas the Rope-maker.
Narrated by Elisa Cordero, a Tagalog from Pagsanjan, Laguna. Miss
Cordero says that the story is well known and is old.
Luis and Isco were intimate friends. They lived in a country called
Bagdad. Though these two friends had been brought up together in the
same school, their ideas were different. Luis believed that gentleness
and kindness were the second heaven, while Isco's belief was that
wealth was the source of happiness and peace in life.
One day, while they were eating, Isco said, "Don't you believe, my
friend, that a rich man, however cruel he may be, is known everywhere
and has great power over all his people? A poor man may be gentle
and kind, but then he is disdainfully looked upon by his neighbors."
"Oh," answered Luis, "I know it, but to me everybody is the same. I
love them all, and I am not enchanted by anything that glisters."
"My friend," said Isco, "our conversation is becoming serious. Let
us take a walk this afternoon and see how these theories work out in
the lives of men."
That afternoon Luis and Isco went to a town called Cohija. On their
way they saw a rope-maker, Lucas by name, who by his condition showed
his great suffering from poverty. He approached Lucas and gave him a
roll of paper money, saying, "Now, Lucas, take this money and spend
Lucas was overjoyed: he hardly knew what to do. When he reached home,
he related to his wife Zelima what had happened to him. As has been
said, Lucas was very poor and was a rope-maker. He had six little
children to support; but he had no money with which to feed them, nor
could he get anything from his rope-making. Some days he could not
sell even a yard of rope. When Lucas received the money from Luis,
and had gone home and told his wife, he immediately went out again
to buy food. He had one hundred pesos in paper money. He bought two
pounds of meat, and a roll of canamo;  and as there was some more
money left, he put it in one of the corners of his hat. Unfortunately,
as he was walking home, an eagle was attracted by the smell of the
meat, and began flying about his head. He frightened the bird away;
but it flew so fast that its claws became entangled in his hat,
which was snatched off his head and carried away some distance. When
he searched for the money, it was gone. He could not find it anywhere.
Lucas went home very sad. When his wife learned the cause of his
sorrow, she became very angry. She scolded her husband roundly. As
soon as the family had eaten the meat Lucas bought, they were as poor
as before. They were even pale because of hunger.
One day Luis and Isco decided to visit Lucas and see how he was
getting along. It happened that while they were passing in the same
street as before, they saw Lucas weeping under a mango-tree near his
small house. "What is the matter?" said Luis. "Why are you crying?"
Poor Lucas told them all that had happened to him,--how the money was
lost, and how his wife had scolded him. At first Luis did not believe
the rope-maker's story, and became angry at him. At last, however,
when he perceived that Lucas was telling the truth, he pardoned him
and gave him a thousand pesos.
Lucas returned home with delight, but his wife and children were not in
the house. They were out asking alms from their neighbors. Lucas then
hid the bulk of the money in an empty jar in the corner of the room,
and then went out to buy food for his wife and children. While he was
gone, his wife and children returned. They had not yet eaten anything.
Not long afterward a man came along selling rice. Zelima said to him,
"Sir, can't you give us a little something to appease our hunger? I'll
give you some darak  in exchange."
"Oh, yes!" said the man, "I'll give you some rice, but you do not
need to give me anything."
Zelima took the rice gladly; and as she was looking for something
with which to repay the man, she happened to see the empty jar in
which her husband had secretly put his money. She filled the jar with
darak and gave it to the rice-seller.
When Lucas came home, he was very happy. He told his wife about the
money he had hidden. But when he found out that the money was gone,
he was in despair: he did not know what to do. He scolded his wife
for her carelessness. As he could not endure to see the suffering of
his children, he tried to kill himself, but his children prevented
him. At last he concluded to be quiet; for he thought, "If I hurt my
wife, and she becomes sick, I can't stand it. I must take care of her."
Two months passed by, and Luis and Isco again visited their friend
Lucas. While they were walking in the street, Luis found a big piece
of lead. He picked it up and put it in his pocket. When they reached
Lucas's house, they were astonished to see him in a more wretched
condition than before. Luis asked what was the matter. Lucas related
to him all that had occurred; but Luis just said, "Oh, no! you are
fooling us. We will not believe you." Lucas was very sad. He asked
pardon of Luis for his carelessness, and said, "Don't increase the
burden of my suffering by your scolding!"
Now, Luis was by nature gentle and pitiful. He could not endure to
see his friend suffering. So he gave him the lead he had found in
the street, saying, "Now, take care of that! Maybe your wealth will
come from it." Luis accepted the lead unwillingly, for he thought
that Luis was mocking him.
When Lucas went into the house, he threw the lead away in the corner,
and went to sleep. During the night a neighbor knocked at their door,
asking for a piece of lead for her husband. The neighbor said, "My
husband is going fishing early in the morning, and he asked me to buy
him some lead for his line, but I forgot it. I know he will scold me if
I don't have some ready for him." Lucas, who was wakened by the talk,
told his wife to get the lead he had thrown in the corner. When Zelima
found it, she gave it to their neighbor, who went away happy, promising
that she would bring them the first fish her husband should catch.
The next morning Lucas woke very late. The neighbor was already there
with a big fish, and Zelima was happy at having so much to eat. While
she was cleaning the fish, she found a bright stone inside it. As she
did not know of the value of the stone, she gave it to her youngest
son to play with; but when the other children saw it, they quarrelled
with their brother, and tried to take it away from him. Lucas, too,
was ignorant of the fact that the stone was worth anything.
In front of their house lived a rich man named Don Juan. When he
heard the noise of his neighbor's children quarrelling, he sent
his wife to see what was the matter. Don Juan's wife saw the stone,
and wanted to have it very much. She asked Zelima to sell it to her,
but Zelima said that she would wait and ask her husband. The rich
man's wife went home and told her husband about the jewel. He went
to Lucas's house, and offered the rope-maker a thousand pesos for the
stone; but Lucas refused, for now he suspected that it was worth more
than that. At last he sold it for twenty thousand pesos.
Lucas was now a rich man. He bought clothes for his wife and children,
renewed his house, which was falling to pieces, and bought a machine
for making rope. As his business increased, he bought another
machine. But although Lucas was the richest man in town, he was very
kind. His house was open to every comer. He supported crippled persons,
and gave alms to the poor.
When Luis and Isco visited Lucas the last time, they were surprised
and at the same time delighted to see him so rich. Lucas did not know
how to thank them. He gave a banquet in honor of these two men. After
the feast was over, Lucas told his friends every detail of all that
had happened to him, how he had lent the lead, how his wife had found
the stone in the fish, and how a rich man had bought it for twenty
Luis was now convinced that Lucas was honest, and had told the truth
on former occasions. Lucas lived in his big house happily and in
peace with his wife and children.
These two Tagalog stories are probably derived from the same ultimate
source; the second, "Lucas the Rope-Maker," being very much closer to
the original. That source is the "History of Khevajah Hasan al-Habbal"
in the "Arabian Nights Entertainments" (see Burton's translation,
Supplemental Nights, III : 341-366). There is also a Tagalog literary
version of this story,--"Life of a Rope-maker in the Kingdom of
Bagdad," by Franz Molteni. I have at present no copy of this chap-book;
but the work may safely be dated 1902-05, as those were the years in
which Molteni published. This story follows faithfully the "Arabian
Nights" tale. The two rich friends are Saadi and Saad, and the name
of the rope-maker is Cojia Hasan.
Our second folk-tale (b) seems to stand half way between this literary
version and "The Rich and the Poor,"--not chronologically, to be sure,
but so far as fidelity to the Arabian story is concerned. Although the
events are practically the same in (b) and in Molteni, the proper names
differ throughout. It is possible that (b) derives from an earlier
Tagalog literary version that is no longer extant. (a) is definitely
localized on Laguna de Bay, and the story as a whole seems thoroughly
native. It is likely much older than either of the other two forms.
A Bengal tale somewhat similar to these is to be found in McCulloch's
"Bengali Household Tales," No. III; it is also connected with
the Dr. Knowall cycle (our No. 1). Caballero has a Spanish story
(see Ingram, "Dame Fortune and Don Money"). For a discussion of the
continuously unlucky hero, see Clouston 2, 489-493. In Ralston 1, I95
f., may be found a group of stories dealing with luck. Compare also
Thorpe's "Yule-tide Stories," 460 f., for the North German story of
"The Three Gifts."
For the "ejaculation guess" in No. 13(a), see notes to No. 1 (pp. 7-8).
The King and the Dervish.
Narrated by Jose M. Hilario of Batangas, Batangas, who heard the
story from his father, a Tagalog.
Once there lived a young and brave king with his gentle and loving
wife. Both had enjoyed an easy, comfortable, and, best of all, happy
life. The king ruled his people well. The queen was a good wife as well
as a good sovereign: she always cheered her husband when he was sad.
One day a dervish came to the palace. He told the king that he
possessed magical power, and straightway they became friends. This
dervish had the power to leave his body and enter that of a dead
animal or person. Now, the king was fond of hunting, and once he
took his new friend with him to shoot deer. After a few hours of
hard chasing, they succeeded in killing a buck. To show his power,
the dervish left his body and entered that of the dead deer. Then he
resumed his former shape. The king was very anxious to be able to do
the same thing; whereupon the dervish gave him minute instructions,
and taught him the necessary charms. Then the king left his body,
and took possession of that of the deer. In an instant the dervish
entered the king's body and went home as the monarch. He gave orders
that a deer with certain marks should be hunted out and killed. The
true king was very unhappy, especially when he saw his own men chasing
him to take his life.
In his wanderings through the forest, he saw a dead nightingale. He
left the deer's body and entered the bird's. Now he was safe, so
he flew to his palace. He sang so sweetly, that the queen ordered
her attendants to catch him. He gladly allowed himself to be caught,
and to be cared for by the queen. Whenever the dervish took the bird
in his hands, the bird pecked him; but the beautiful singer always
showed signs of satisfaction when the queen smoothed his plumage.
Not long after the bird's capture, a dog died in the palace. The
king underwent another change: he left the bird's body and entered
that of the dog. On waking up in the morning, the queen found that
her pet was dead. She began to weep. Unable to see her so sad, the
dervish comforted her, and told her that he would give the bird
life again. Consequently he left the king's body and entered the
bird's. Seeing his chance, the real king left the dog's body and
resumed his original form. He then went at once to the cage and killed
the ungrateful bird, the dervish.
The tender queen protested against the king's act of cruelty; but when
she heard that she had been deceived by the dervish, she died of grief.
The Mysterious Book.
Narrated by Leopoldo Uichanco, a Tagalog from Calamba, La Laguna.
Once upon a time there lived a poor father and a poor son. The father
was very old, and was named Pedro. The son's name was Juan. Although
they were very poor, Juan was afraid of work.
One day the two did not have a single grain of rice in the house
to eat. Juan now realized that he would have to find some work,
or he and his father would starve. So he went to a neighboring town
to seek a master. He at last found one in the person of Don Luzano,
a fine gentleman of fortune.
Don Luzano treated Juan like a son. As time went on, Don Luzano became
so confident in Juan's honesty, that he began to intrust him with the
most precious valuables in the house. One morning Don Luzano went
out hunting. He left Juan alone in the house, as usual. While Juan
was sweeping and cleaning his master's room, he caught sight of a
highly polished box lying behind the post in the corner. Curious to
find out what was inside, he opened the box. There appeared another
box. He opened this box, and another box still was disclosed. One box
appeared after another until Juan came to the seventh. This last one
contained a small triangular-shaped book bound in gold and decorated
with diamonds and other precious gems. Disregarding the consequences
that might follow, Juan picked up the book and opened it. Lo! at once
Juan was carried by the book up into the air. And when he looked back,
whom did he see? No other than Don Luzano pursuing him, with eyes
full of rage. He had an enormous deadly-looking bolo in his hand.
As Don Luzano was a big man, he could fly faster than little Juan. Soon
the boy was but a few yards in front of his antagonist. It should also
be known that the book had the wonderful power of changing anybody
who had laid his hands on it, or who had learned by heart one of
its chapters, into whatever form that person wished to assume. Juan
soon found this fact out. In an instant Juan had disappeared, and in
his place was a little steed galloping as fast as he could down the
street. Again, there was Don Luzano after him in the form of a big
fast mule, with bubbling and foaming mouth, and eyes flashing with
hate. The mule ran so fast, that every minute seemed to be bringing
Juan nearer his grave.
Seeing his danger, Juan changed himself into a bird,--a pretty little
bird. No sooner had he done so than he saw Don Luzano in the form
of a big hawk about to swoop down on him. Then Juan suddenly leaped
into a well he was flying over, and there became a little fish. Don
Luzano assumed the form of a big fish, and kept up the chase; but the
little fish entered a small crack in the wall of the well, where the
big fish could not pursue him farther. So Don Luzano had to give up
and go home in great disappointment.
The well in which Juan found himself belonged to three beautiful
princesses. One morning, while they were looking into the water, they
saw the little fish with its seven-colored scales, moving gracefully
through the water. The eldest of the maidens lowered her bait, but
the fish would not see it. The second sister tried her skill. The
fish bit the bait; but, just as it was being drawn out of the water,
it suddenly released its hold. Now the youngest sister's turn came. The
fish allowed itself to be caught and held in the tender hands of this
beautiful girl. She placed the little fish in a golden basin of water
and took it to her room, where she cared for it very tenderly.
Several months later the king issued a proclamation throughout his
realm and other neighboring kingdoms, saying that the youngest
princess was sick. "To any one who can cure her," he said, "I
promise to give one-half of my kingdom." The most skilful doctors
had already done the best they could, but all their efforts were in
vain. The princess seemed to grow worse and worse every day. "Ay,
what foolishness!" exclaimed Don Luzano when he heard the news of
the sick princess. "The sickness! Pshaw! That's no sickness, never
in the wide world!"
The following morning there was Don Luzano speaking with the king. "I
promise to cure her," said Don Luzano. "I have already cured many
"And your remedy will do her no harm?" asked the king after some
"No harm, sir, no harm. Rely on my honor."
"Very well. And you shall have half of my kingdom if you are
"No, I thank you, your Majesty. I, being a faithful subject, need no
payment whatever for any of my poor services. As a token from you,
however, I should like to have the fish that the princess keeps in
"O my faithful subject!" exclaimed the king in joy. "How good you
are! Will you have nothing except a poor worthless fish?"
"No more" that's enough."
"Well, then," returned the king, "prepare your remedy, and on the
third day we shall apply it to the princess. You can go home now,
and you may be sure that you shall have the fish."
Don Luzano took his leave of the king, and then went home. On the third
day this daring magician came back to the palace to apply his remedy
to the princess. Before he began any part of the treatment, however,
he requested that the fish be given to him. The king consented to
his request: but as he was about to dip his hand into the basin,
the princess boldly stopped him. She pretended to be angry on the
ground that Don Luzano would soil with his hands the golden basin of
the monarch. She told him to hold out his hands, and she would pour
the fish into them. Don Luzano did as he was told: but, before the
fish could reach his hands, the pretty creature jumped out. No fish
now could be seen, but in its stead was a beautiful gold ring adorning
the finger of the princess. Don Luzano tried to snatch the ring, but,
as the princess jerked her hand back, the ring fell to the floor,
and in its place were countless little mungo  seeds scattered
about the room. Don Luzano instantly took the form of a greedy crow,
devouring the seeds with extraordinary speed. Juan, who was contained
in one of the seeds that had rolled beneath the feet of the princess,
suddenly became a cat, and, rushing out, attacked the bird. As soon
as you could wink your eyes or snap your fingers, the crow was dead,
miserably torn to pieces. In place of the cat stood Juan in an
embroidered suit, looking like a gay young prince.
"This is my beloved," confessed the princess to her father as she
pointed to Juan. The king forgave his daughter for concealing from
him the real condition of her life, and he gladly welcomed his new
son-in-law. Prince Juan, as we shall now call our friend, was destined
to a life of peace and joy. He was rid of his formidable antagonist;
he had a beautiful princess (who was no longer sick) for a wife; and
he had an excellent chance of inheriting the throne. There is no more.
A third form (c) I have only in abstract; it is entitled "The Priest
and his Pupil:"--
A boy learns a number of magic tricks from the priest, his master. He
changes himself into a hog, and is sold to the priest; then he runs
away, transforms himself into a horse, and is again sold to his
master for much money. The horse breaks loose and runs off. The
priest now realizes the truth, and, transforming himself into a
horse, pursues the first horse. When they come to a river, the
first horse becomes a small fish, and the second a large fish, and
the chase continues. Then the two fish become birds wheeling aloft,
the larger chasing the smaller. As he flies over the palace of the
King of Persia, the boy becomes a small cocoanut-ring, and drops
on to the finger of the princess. The defeated priest returns home,
and threatens the King of Persia with war if he will not give up the
ring. When the priest calls at the court, the boy has changed himself
from a ring into a dog. The priest is told that he shall have the
ring provided he becomes a duck. Immediately when he has complied,
the dog seizes him and kills him. The hero later weds the princess.
A fourth form (d) is the Tagalog story "The Battle of the Enchanters,"
printed in JAFL 20 : 309-310.
Both of these variants (c and d) bear a close resemblance to our
second story of "The Mysterious Book," and all three probably go back
to a common source; but that source is not the "Arabian Nights" (as
Gardner hints, JAFL 20 : 309, note), although the second calendar's
tale in that collection represents one form of the "Transformation
Combat" cycle. These three Filipino variants are members of the large
family of Oriental and European folk-tales of which the Norse "Farmer
Weathersky" (Dasent, No. XLI) or the German "The Thief and his Master"
(Grimm, No. 68) may be taken as representatives. The essential elements
of this form of the "Transformation Combat" cycle have been noted by
Bolte-Polivka (2 : 61) as follows:--
A A father gives his son up to a magician to be taught, the condition
being that the father at the end of a year must be able to recognize
his son in animal form.
B The son secretly learns magic and thieving.
C In the form of a dog, ox, horse, he allows his father to sell him,
finally to the magician himself, to whom the father, contrary to
directions, also hands over the bridle.
D1 The son, however, succeeds in slipping off the bridle, and (D2)
overcomes the magician in a transformation combat (hare, fish, bird,
etc.). D3 Usually, after the hero has flown in the guise of a bird
to a princess and is concealed by her in the form of a ring, the
magician appears to the king her father, who has become sick, and
demands the ring as payment for a cure. The princess drops the ring,
and there lies in its place a pile of millet-seed, which the magician
as a hen starts to pick up; but the hero quickly turns himself into
a fox, and bites off the hen's head.
With slight variations from the formula as given above, these elements
are distributed thus in our stories:--
Bolte and Polivka (2 : 66) cite a number of Oriental versions of
the story (Hindoo and Arabian) which in their main outlines are
practically identical with our variants. In the absence of the story
in any Spanish version, it seems most reasonable to look to India as
the source of our tales; unless, as is possible, they were introduced
into the Islands from Straparola (viii, 5), whose collection of stories
might have found their way there through the Spaniards. For further
discussions of this cycle, see Macculloch, 164-166; Clouston 3, 1 :
413 ff.; Koehler-Bolte, 1 : 138 ff., 556 f.; Benfey, 1 : 410-413.
Our first story, "The King who became a Deer, a Nightingale,
and a Dog," while containing the "transformation combat" between
magician and pupil, differs from the other members of this group in
one important respect: the transformation cannot take place unless
there is a dead body for the transformer's spirit to enter. It is
also to be noted that, as soon as a spirit leaves a body, that body
becomes dead. There can be no doubt that this story of ours is derived
from the 57th to the 60th "Days" in the "1001 Days" (Persian Tales,
1 : 212 ff.; Cabinet des Fees, XlV, p. 326 f.), the story of Prince
Fadlallah. For other variants of this cycle, see Benfey, 1 : 122 f.,
especially 126. The Persian story might have reached the Philippines
through the medium of the French translation, of which our tale
appears to be little more than the baldest abstract.
Benfey explains the "transformation combat" as originating in the
disputes between Buddhists and Brahmans. Doubtless the story first
grew up in India. A very ancient Oriental analogue, which has not
hitherto been pointed out, I believe, is the Hebrew account of
Aaron's magical contest with the Egyptian sorcerers (see Exodus,
vii, 9-12). Compare also the betting-contest between the two kings
in No. 1 of this collection, and see the notes.
The Miraculous Cow.
Narrated by Adela Hidalgo, a Tagalog from Manila, who heard the story
from another Tagalog student.
There was once a farmer driving home from his farm in his
carreton.  He had tied his cow to the back of his cart, as he was
accustomed to do every evening on his way home. While he was going
along the road, two boys saw him. They were Felipe and Ambrosio. Felipe
whispered to Ambrosio, "Do you see the cow tied to the back of that
carreton? Well, if you will untie it, I will take it to our house."
Ambrosio approached the carreton slowly, and untied the cow. He handed
the rope to Felipe, and then tied himself in the place of the animal.
"Come on, Ambrosio! Don't be foolish! Come on with me!" whispered
"No, leave me alone! Go home, and I will soon be there!" answered
the cunning Ambrosio.
After a while the farmer happened to look back. What a surprise
for him! He was frightened to find a boy instead of his cow tied
to the carreton. "Why are you there? Where is my cow?" he shouted
furiously. "Rascal, give me my cow!"
"Oh, don't be angry with me!" said Ambrosio. "Wait a minute, and I
will tell you my story. Once, when I was a small boy, my mother became
very angry with me. She cursed me, and suddenly I was transformed
into a cow; and now I am changed back into my own shape. It is not
my fault that you bought me: I could not tell you not to do so, for
I could not speak at the time. Now, generous farmer, please give me
my freedom! for I am very anxious to see my old home again."
The farmer did not know what to do, for he was very sorry to lose his
cow. When he reached home, he told his wife the story. Now, his wife
was a kind-hearted woman; so, after thinking a few minutes, she said,
"Husband, what can we do? We ought to set him free. It is by the
great mercy of God that he has been restored to his former self."
So the wily boy got off. He rejoined his friend, and they had a good
laugh over the two simple folks.
Like the preceding, this story is of Oriental origin. It must
have grown up among a people to whom the idea of metempsychosis
was well known, but who at the same time held a skeptical view of
that doctrine. Whether or not this droll reached the Philippines by
way of the Iberian Peninsula, is hard to say definitely. A Spanish
folk-tale narrating practically the same incident is to be found
in C. Sellers, pp. 1 ff.: "The Ingenious Student." There the shrewd
but poverty-stricken Juan Rivas steals a mule from the pack-train of
a simple-minded muleteer; and while the companions escape with the
animal and sell it, Juan puts on the saddle and bridle, and takes the
place of the stolen beast. His explanation that he has just fulfilled
a long period of punishment imposed on him by Mother Church satisfies
the astonished mule-owner, and Juan escapes with only the admonition
never again to incur the wrath of his spiritual Mother.
The oldest version with which I am familiar is the "Arabian Nights"
anecdote of "The Simpleton and the Sharper" (Burton's translation,
v : 83). This story is practically identical with ours, except that
the Filipino version lacks the additional final comical touch of the
Arabian. The owner of the ass, after the adventure with the sharper,
went to the market to buy another beast, "and, lo! he beheld his
own ass for sale. And when he recognized it, he advanced to it, and,
putting his mouth to its ear, said, 'Wo to thee, O unlucky! Doubtless
thou hast returned to intoxication and beaten thy mother again. By
Allah, I will never again buy thee!'" The sharper had previously
given as the reason of his transformation the fact that his mother had
cursed him when he, in a fit of drunkenness, had beaten her. Clouston
tells this story in his "Book of Noodles" (81-83).
Stories of the transformation of a child into an animal because
of a parent's curse are found all over Europe. This motif is also
widespread in the Philippines among both the Christian and the Pagan
tribes. It is usually incorporated in an origin story, such as "The
Origin of Monkeys." For this belief among a non-Christian people in
northern Luzon, see Cole, Nos. 65-67. None of these tales, however,
assume the droll form: they are told as serious etiological myths.
The Clever Husband and Wife.
Narrated by Elisa Cordero, a Tagalog from Pagsanjan, La Laguna. She
heard the story from her servant.
Pedro had been living as a servant in a doctor's house for more than
nine years. He wanted very much to have a wife, but he had no business
of any kind on which to support one.
One day he felt very sad. His look of dejection did not escape the
notice of his master, who said, "What is the matter, my boy? Why do
you look so sad? Is there anything I can do to comfort you?"
"Oh, yes!" said Pedro.
"What do you want me to do?" asked the doctor.
"Master," the man replied, "I want a wife, but I have no money to
"Oh, don't worry about money!" replied his master. "Be ready to-morrow,
and I will let you marry the woman you love."
The next day the wedding was held. The doctor let the couple live in a
cottage not far from his hacienda,  and he gave them two hundred
pieces of gold. When they received the money, they hardly knew what
to do with it, as Pedro had never had any business of any sort. "What
shall we do after we have spent all our money?" asked the wife. "Oh,
we can ask the doctor for more," answered Pedro.
Years passed by, and one day the couple had not even a cent with
which to buy food. So Pedro went to the doctor and asked him for some
money. The doctor, who had always been kind to them, gave him twenty
pieces of gold; but these did not last very long, and it was not many
days before the money was all spent. The husband and wife now thought
of another way by which they could get money from the doctor.
Early one day Pedro went to the doctor's house weeping. He said that
his wife had died, and that he had nothing with which to pay for her
burial. (He had rubbed onion-juice on his eyes, so that he looked
as if he were really crying.) When the doctor heard Pedro's story,
he pitied the man, and said to him, "What was the matter with your
wife? How long was she sick?" "For two days," answered Pedro.
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