Filipino Popular Tales
Dean S. Fansler
Part 6 out of 7
F5 Frightening robbers under tree by dropping hide or table on them.
F6 Borrowed measure returned with coins adhering to it.
As these last two occur in other stories, both droll and serious
(e.g., Grimm, No. 59; and "1001 Nights," "Ali Baba"), they may not
originally have belonged to our present group. However, see Cosquin's
notes on his No. xx, "Richedeau" (1 : 225 f.). It is hard to say with
certainty just what was originally the one basic motif to which all
the others have at one time or another become attached; but it seems
to me likely that it was incident H, the sack-by-the-sea episode,
for it is this which is the sine qua non of the cycle. To be sure,
our third story (c) lacks it, but proves its membership in the family
by means of other close resemblances.
Of the elements mentioned by Bolte-Polivka, our five stories
and two variants have the following: "How Salaksak became Rich,"
F4BE1HJ; "Clever Juan and Envious Diego," G1F5HJ; "Ruined because
of Invidiousness," F4F5F6; "The Two Friends," F2G2HJ; "Juan the
Orphan," F4H (modified) J; "Juan the Ashes-Trader," E1F5; "Colassit
and Colaskel," F3. In a Visayan tale (JAFL 19 : 107-109) we find
a combination of HJ with a variant of our No. 1. Incident D (hat
paying landlord) forms a separate story, which we give below,--No. 50,
"Juan and his Painted Hat." Incident B is also narrated as a droll by
the Tagalogs; the sharper of the story scattering silver coins about
the manure of his cow, and subsequently selling the "magic" animal
for a large sum. An examination of the incidents distributed among
the Filipino members of this cycle reveals the fact that episode A1
(hare as messenger) is altogether lacking. I have not met with it in
any native story, and am inclined to believe that it is not known in
the Islands. It is found widespread in Europe, but does not appear to
be common in India: among fifteen Indian variants cited by Bolte it is
found only twice (i.e., Indian Antiquary, 3 : 11 f.; Bompas, No. 80,
p. 242). These Indian versions show, however, that the story in one
form or another is found quite generally throughout that country, the
Santali furnishing the largest number of variants (six, in all). It
would seem reasonable to conclude, therefore, considering the fact
that at least seven forms of the tale are known in the Philippines,
extending from the Visayas to the northernmost part of Luzon, that the
source of the incidents common to these and the Indian versions need
not be sought outside the Orient. The case of incidents F1F2F3 seems
different. They are lacking in the Far-Eastern representatives of this
cycle; and their appearance in the Philippines may be safely traced,
I think, to European influence. However, an Indian source for these
incidents may yet be discovered, just as sources already have been for
so many Italian novella and French fabliaux of a similar flavor. The
fact that the earliest form of the "Master Cheat" cycle known is a
Latin poem of the eleventh, possibly tenth, century (Koehler-Bolte,
233-234), is of course no proof that elements F4G1HJ, found in that
poem, were introduced into India from Europe, though it might be
Is He the Crafty Ulysses?
Narrated by Lorenzo Licup, a Pampango from Angeles, Pampanga.
Balbino and Alaga had only one child, a son named Suguid, who was at
first greatly beloved by them. The couple was very rich, and therefore
the boy wanted nothing that was not granted by his parents. Now,
the son was a voracious eater. While still a baby, he used to pull
up the nails from the floor and eat them, when his mother had no
more milk to give him. When all the nails were exhausted, he ate the
cotton with which the pillows were stuffed. Thus his parents used to
compare him to a mill which consumes sugarcane incessantly. It was
not many years before the wealth of the couple had become greatly
diminished by the lavish expenditure they had to make for Suguid's
food. So Suguid became more and more intolerable every day. At last
his parents decided to cast him away into a place from which he might
not be able to find his way home again.
One day they led him to a dense forest, and there abandoned
him. Luckily for Suguid, a merchant soon passed by that place. The
merchant heard him crying, and looked for him. He found the boy, and,
being a good-natured man, he took the boy home with him. It was not
long before the merchant realized that Suguid was a youth of talent,
and he put him in school. In a few weeks the boy showed his superiority
over his classmates. In time he beat even the master in points of
learning. And so it was that after only five months of studying he left
the school, because he found it too small for his expanding intellect.
By some mathematical calculation, so the tradition says, or by certain
mysterious combinations of characters that he wrote on paper, Suguid
discovered one day that a certain princess was hidden somewhere. She
had been concealed in such a way that her existence might not be known
other than by her parents and the courtiers. Suguid immediately went
to the palace of the king, and posted a paper on the palace-door. The
paper read as follows: "Your Majesty cannot deny me the fact that he
has a daughter secluded somewhere. Your humble servant, Suguid Bociu."
When the king read this note, he became very angry, as he could
now no longer keep the secret of his daughter's existence. He
immediately despatched his soldiers to look for the presumptuous
Suguid. The soldiers found the boy without much difficulty, and
brought him before the king. Bursting with anger, the king said,
"Are you the one who was bold enough to post this paper?"
"Yes, your Majesty."
"Can you prove what you have stated?"
"Yes, your Majesty."
"Very well," said the king; "if you can, I will give you my daughter
for your bride. If within three days you fail to produce her before
me, however, you shall be unconditionally executed."
"I will not fail to fulfil my promise, your Majesty," said Suguid.
After this brief interview, Suguid went directly home. He told the
merchant all about his plan to marry the princess.
"Why did you dare tell the king that you know where his daughter is,"
said the merchant, "when there is no certainty at all of your finding
her or of gaining her consent?"
"Oh, do not be afraid, father!" said Suguid. "If you will but
provide me with twelve of the best goldsmiths that can be found in
the whole city, I have no doubt of finding and captivating the fair
princess." As the merchant was a rich man, and influential too, he
summoned in an hour all the good goldsmiths that could be found in
the city. When all the goldsmiths were assembled, Suguid ordered them
to make a purlon. This purlon was made of gold, silver, and precious
stones. It was oblong in shape, and hollow inside, being five feet
high, three feet deep, and four feet long. Inside it were placed a
chair and a lamp. By means of a certain device a person inside the
purlon could breathe. Altogether its construction was so beautiful,
that it seemed as if it were intended for the sight of the gods alone.
When all was ready, Suguid entered the purlon, taking with him all
the necessary provisions,--food, fine clothes, a poniard, and a
guitar. Every part of the purlon was so well joined, that no opening
whatever could be detected. Before going into the purlon, Suguid
told the merchant to take the goldsmiths home, and not to allow
them to leave the house for three days, lest they should reveal the
secret. Suguid then ordered five men to carry the purlon towards the
king's palace. In the mean time he was playing the sweetest piece of
music that mortal ears had ever heard. When the purlon was near the
palace, the king was so charmed by the melodious music, that he asked
the master of the carriers to halt for a moment. "Pray," he said,
"are you the owner of that thing?"
"No, sir! a certain man in our district owns it," said the carrier.
"Who gave him this divine gift?"
"Your Majesty, this purlon, as it is called, is of a rather mysterious
origin. The owner of this (pointing to the purlon) was a religious
man. He was formerly very wealthy; but because he gave much alms to
the poor and the needy, his riches soon came to an end. He is now
so poor, that his silken clothes have all been exchanged for ragged
cotton ones. Early one morning, when he was about to go to the church,
he was surprised to find this purlon at his door, giving out music
as you hear it now."
The king turned to the queen, who was sitting beside him, and said,
"Oh, how happy our daughter would be if she should hear this enchanting
piece of music!--Sir, if you will lend me this purlon, you may ask
of me as a compensation any favor that you may want."
"Your Majesty, I will lend it to you with all my heart, but on
condition that it be returned within two days, lest the owner scold
me for having given it up."
"Yes," answered the king, "I will give it back as soon as my daughter
has seen it." The king and queen then immediately ordered that the
purlon be carried before the princess. The princess's joy need not
be described if we only think how happy we should be if we were in
the same situation as she. She was so bewitched by the music, that
she told her father never to take it away from her.
"O daughter!" said the king, "we have just borrowed this purlon,
and we promised to return it as soon as you had seen it. However,
you may have it the whole night."
The king and the queen, convinced that their daughter was quite happy,
soon bade her good-by. Before leaving, the king said, "You must not
spend the whole night in listening to the sweet music."
"Have no fear, father! I will go to sleep early."
Suguid, who was inside the purlon, listened very carefully to the
retreating footsteps of the king and queen. As soon as he thought
they were too far away to hear their daughter in case she should cry
out, he came out from the purlon, poniard in hand. The princess,
of course, was very much frightened when she saw Suguid kneeling
before her, and saying, "Fair princess, let not my presence cause any
fear! In coming here, I had no other purpose than to reveal to you
a secret that I have long cherished in my heart. It is universally
acknowledged that you are the most beautiful, the most virtuous,
the most accomplished living mortal on earth, and as such you have
awakened in me an intense love. So, taking no heed of the danger
that I might encounter on the way, I ventured to search for you,
Lily of the Valley and Rose of the Town--to love you, to adore you as
a living saint. Your ring, my adored princess, will give me life or
death,--life, because I shall be spared from being beheaded; death,
for I have promised your father to present your ring to him within
three days as a token of your acceptance of my suit. Therefore, Queen
of Beauty, choose, your ring, or my death. I have my poniard ready,
and I prefer a hundred times to die--nay, die smiling--at your hands."
The princess was so moved by this passionate speech, that she was mute
for some time. After a difficult struggle within herself, she said,
"Seeing your intense love and devotion for me, I cannot but consent
to your proposal. Were not the matter pressing, however, I should not
give my consent in so short a time. Here is the ring, if pleasure it
will give you."
Suguid took the ring courteously, and said, "How can I paint in
words my pleasure and gratitude! As it were, you have snatched me
from the cold hands of Death. You have saved me from the fury of your
father. You have given me a heaven of joy. Oh, how shall I describe
it! I thank you very much. But now I must leave you and go into the
purlon,--the blessed purlon,--as it is almost morning. Your father
will soon come and take this purlon away. But I must let you know
this one fact: as soon as I have presented this ring to the king,
you will be taken away from here. You will be made my beloved wife."
"Yes, I have no objection to that," said the princess. Suguid, being
thus assured of his success, entered the purlon again.
Morning came, and the king and queen went to the princess's palace at
ten o'clock. They talked a while with their daughter, who assured them
of her great satisfaction with the purlon. Then they bade her good-by,
as there was important business to be transacted that day. They took
the purlon with them, and returned it to the agent.
On the appointed day Suguid appeared at the king's palace, carrying
with him the emblem of his victory,--the ring. On seeing Suguid
approaching so cheerfully, the king knew that he was lost. He therefore
swooned, but on recovering he realized that he had to abide by his
promise. He reluctantly caused the princess to be summoned from her
palace, and she and Suguid were married together; and it was not long
before the king and queen began to appreciate the talent of their
humble and lowly son-in-law. By Suguid's wise policy the kingdom
prospered, and for the first time learned what peace really meant.
I have a variant of this story, "Juan the Poor," told more briefly,
narrated by Andrea Mariano, a Tagalog, who heard it from her little
brother. It runs thus in outline:--
Juan is the son of a beggar. The beggar dies, and the son sells himself
to a merchant for money to bury his father properly. After Juan has
been educated, he posts this sign in front of the merchant's house:
"I can trace everything that is lost.--Juan." The king sees the sign,
and requires the boy to discover his hidden daughter. Method: Golden
carriage with Juan playing music inside; old man hired to push it. The
king borrows the carriage and takes it to his daughter. When alone
with the princess, Juan declares his love, and she gives him her
ring. Next day the carriage is returned to the old man. Juan takes
the ring to the king, and is given the princess's hand in marriage
because he is so wise.
For another Tagalog variant see "The King, the Princess, and the
Poor Boy" (JAFL 20 : 307). This is almost identical with the variant
above, except that the hero is advised by two statues how to discover
where the princess is. Furthermore, the hero is discovered with
the princess after he has gained access to her by means of the gilt
carriage and music-box.
The fullest form of the story, however, is the Tagalog metrical romance
popularly known under the title "Juan Bachiller." The full title runs
as follows: "The Sad Life of a Father and of his Son named Juan, in
the Kingdom of Spain. The son sold himself to a merchant on condition
that he would bury the corpse of his father." My copy bears the date
1907, but this is merely a reprint of an older edition. Retana cites
an edition dated 1902 (No. 4337) and one before 1898 (No. 4156). The
poem is in 12-syllable lines, and contains 350 quatrains. It is still
very popular among the Tagalogs, but does not appear to have been
printed in any of the other Philippine languages. Inasmuch as there
is a close connection between our variants and the verse form of the
story, I give a prose paraphrase of the latter:--
There was once a poor beggar, Serbando, who had an only son named
Juan. They lived in the kingdom of Spain. They had a little hut outside
the city in which Serbando used to go to beg their living. One morning,
when Juan returned home from school and was playing around their
little hovel, he heard many kinds of birds speaking to him thus:
"Juan, be patient and toil in poverty. The time will come when God
will reward you." Then a large bird flew to him, and said, "Juan,
leave your little miserable hut; go and seek your fortune." When
his father returned home, Juan told him all about the advice of the
birds. Serbando did not believe that birds could talk, and doubted,
of course, the truth of what his son said.
Now, it happened that Serbando became sick, and after a short time
died, leaving his son alone in the world. Poor Juan wept bitterly over
the dead body. He did not know what to do. He covered the corpse of
his father, and then went crying out through the streets of the city,
"Who wants to buy a slave?" A merchant heard him. "I will serve you as
long as I live if you will only see to the burial of my dead father,"
said Juan to the merchant. Without hesitation the merchant assented,
and together they went to the little hut. The merchant ordered and paid
for a funeral; there was a procession, a mass, and after the burial a
banquet. Then the merchant took the boy to live with him in the city
where the king and queen lived. Moreover, this kind merchant sent Juan
to school, and treated him as a son. In time Juan took his bachelor's
degree, and was greatly admired and respected by his teachers.
One afternoon Juan put a notice on the door of the merchant's
house, which read thus: "If we use money, there is nothing we cannot
discover." It happened that on that same afternoon the king and queen
were driving through the streets of the city. The king chanced to
fix his eyes on the sign which Juan had put up. He did not believe
that the notice was true; and so, when he arrived at the palace,
he ordered the merchant to appear before him. The merchant was very
much frightened at the summons, so Juan himself went and presented
himself before the king.
"Is the notice on your door true?" asked the king.
"It is true, your Majesty," said Juan.
"Then go and find my daughter. If you can find her, she shall be
your wife; if not, you shall lose your head three days from now,"
said the king, who hid his daughter in a secret room in the palace.
Juan went home and called all the best goldsmiths in the kingdom. He
told them to make a little wagon of pure gold, with a secret cell
inside in which a man could sit with a musical instrument and play
it. The goldsmiths finished the wagon in two days and were paid
off. Then Juan called a man and told him to drag this little wagon
along the street toward the palace, and then to the plaza. After
entering the secret cell with his musical instrument, he told the
driver to do as he had been directed. The man began to drag the wagon
along the street toward the palace. Men, women, and children crowded
both sides of the street to see this wagon of pure gold, which gave
out such sweet music. When the wagon passed in front of the palace,
the queen was amazed at it. She asked the king to summon the driver
before him. So the king called the driver, and asked him to bring
the golden wagon into the hall where the queen was.
"How much will you sell this for?" asked the queen.
"I will not sell it," answered the driver.
"Can you not lend it to me until this afternoon?" said the king;
and at last the driver agreed to lend the wagon for a few hours.
The queen then dragged the wagon along the hall, and took it to her
daughter in the secret room. The princess was delighted. As she pushed
it forwards and backwards, sweet music charmed her ears. At last
Juan came out of the secret cell in the wagon and knelt before the
princess. He told her why he had been led to play this trick, and last
of all he told her that he would have lost his life on the morrow if he
had not been able to find her. He also began to express his love for
her. At first she hesitated to accept his protestations of affection;
but at last she accepted him, and gave him one of her rings as a sign
that she would marry him. Fearing that he might be caught in the room
by some one else, Juan now entered the secret cell of the wagon again.
At last the king came, and started to drag the wagon out of the palace
to the place where the driver was waiting. Juan suddenly opened the
door of the secret cell and stood before the king. "O king!" he said,
"now I have accomplished your command. I have found and seen your
daughter in the secret room, and she has given me this ring."
The king was amazed, and said to himself that, had he known that
the wagon contained any one inside, he would not have allowed it to
be brought to his hidden daughter. He said to Juan, "You have told
the truth, that anything can be discovered if money is used; but you
shall not marry my daughter."
"Remember your promise," said Juan.
"Wait, and I will ask the princess," said the king. "She might refuse."
"Whether she refuses or not, she is to be my wife, for I have seen
her and found her," replied Juan.
"Then you shall have her," said the king.
So Juan was married to the princess, and there was great rejoicing
in the kingdom. The king, however, was very sorry that his daughter
had married Juan, who had now the right to inherit the throne from
him. He could not endure the idea, so he pondered night and day how
to kill Juan under some pretext or other. Juan learned of the king's
plot, and decided to leave the city for a while. He asked his wife
for permission to go and visit the little hut in which he was born,
and at last she consented.
One day Juan left the palace and went to the country. While he was
walking in the woods near his old home, two birds flew to him. "Juan,
take this ring with you: it has magic power, and will furnish you
whatever you ask of it," said the male bird.
"Here, take this pen-point, and use it whenever the king asks you to
write for him," said the female bird. "Remember, Juan, you do not
need to have any ink; you can use your saliva," it continued. "Now
go back to the kingdom, and do not be afraid of the king's plots,"
said the two birds together. So Juan went back to the palace, and
lived there with his wife.
One day the king called Juan, and ordered him to write something. The
king thought that if Juan should make any mistakes in the writing,
he would order him to be executed. Juan used the pen-point which the
second bird had given him. The king furnished him only paper, but no
ink, so Juan used his saliva. "Write this, Juan," said the king:
"'It is not right that you should be heir to my crown, and successor
to the throne.'"
Juan wrote the words just as the king had given them, and they appeared
on the paper in letters of pure gold. The king was very much surprised
by this demonstration of Juan's ability.
Then the king continued, "Write this: 'You ought not to inherit the
crown, you who were born in a little village, and whose ancestors are
unknown.'" Juan wrote this dictation, and, as before, the letters
were of pure gold. Again the king said, "Write now what I shall say:
'You cannot cheat a king like me; you saw my daughter the princess
because you were hiding in the wagon of gold.'"
Juan wrote these words, and they were in pure gold too. The king was
now sad, for he could think of no other way in which to detect a fault
in Juan. So he dismissed his son-in-law, and showed the queen the
golden letters that Juan had written. Juan returned to his apartments.
When night came, Juan decided to ask his magic ring for a tower which
should stand beside the palace of the king. During the night the
tower was erected; it was garrisoned with field-marshals, colonels,
and soldiers. Early in the morning the king was surprised to see this
tall tower standing beside his palace. He said to himself, "I rule
the kingdom, and the kingdom is mine; this tower is in my kingdom,
therefore the tower is mine." So the king went out of the palace and
entered the tower. No one saluted him. Then he called Juan, and asked
him about the tower. Juan answered that its presence there was due to
the will and power of God. When Juan and the king together entered
the tower, all the soldiers lined up and saluted Juan, and music
was heard everywhere. Everything inside was made of solid silver and
gold. The king was astounded at the magic power of his son-in-law,
whom he was trying to kill.
"Juan," said the king, "wipe away this tower and erect at this moment
a palace in its place. If you can do this, you shall be the king of
the whole of Spain." By the magic power of the ring, Juan was able
to fulfil the command, and the tower was changed into a beautiful
palace. The council of the kingdom, at the order of the king, agreed
to crown Juan and his wife king and queen. There was great rejoicing
throughout the realm. The old king and his wife abandoned the palace,
and went to live in an abbey, where they died.
Juan now called the merchant, his former master, to the palace. The
merchant was afraid, for he feared that the king wished to do him
mischief; he did not know that Juan was now king. But Juan received
him affectionately, and from that time on the merchant, Juan, and
the beautiful princess lived together happily in the palace.
It will be noticed that the Tagalog poem differs from the three
oral versions, in that after Juan has won the first wager from
the king, his skill is subjected to further tests, which he comes
out of successfully through the aid of magic objects given him by
birds. In other words, the poem carries on the folk-tale by adding
some additional episodes. The fact that the folk-tales, both Pampango
and Tagalog, preserve the simple structure, while only the printed
Tagalog verse-form seeks to elaborate and extend the tale, suggests
that the simpler form is the older, and that the anonymous author of
the romance added to the oral material for mere purposes of length. As
it is, the poem is very short compared with the other popular metrical
stories, which average well over 2000 lines. The localization of the
events in Spain signifies nothing.
The story is known also in southern Europe: e.g., in Greece (Von Hahn,
No. 13), in Sicily (Gonzenbach, No. 68; Pitre, Nos. 95, 96). In the
Greek version, after the hero has decided to risk his neck for the
hand of the hidden princess, he goes to a shepherd and has himself
covered with the hide of a lamb with golden fleece. In this disguise
he is taken to the princess. In the night he throws off his fleece
covering and makes love to the princess, who finally accepts him,
and tells him how he may be able to recognize her among her maidens,
all of whom, herself included, her father will change into ducks,
and then will require the youth to pick out the duck which is the
princess. He succeeds, and wins her hand in marriage. In Gonzenbach,
No. 68, the hero is one of three brothers who set out to seek
their fortunes. They each come in succession to the beautiful city
where the king has issued the proclamation that whoever can find his
hidden daughter within eight days shall receive her hand in marriage;
whoever tries and fails, loses his head. The first two brothers fail
and are killed. The youngest, arriving in the city and reading the
proclamation, determines to take the risk. He is advised by an old
beggar-woman how to find the princess. He has goldsmiths make a
golden lion with crystal eyes. The animal is so contrived that it
plays continually beautiful music. The hero hides inside, and the
old woman takes the lion to the king, to whom she lends it. Then
follow the discovery of the princess, her acceptance of the hero's
love, the token given to the hero, etc. The hero is obliged to pick
the princess out from among her eleven maids who look exactly like
her. In Pitre, No. 95, we find practically the same incidents recorded:
two older sons of a merchant go off to seek their fortunes, and lose
their heads because they cannot discover the princess "within a year,
a month, and a day." The youngest comes in turn to the same country,
wagers his head, and searches a year and fifteen days in vain. On the
advice of an old woman, he has built a golden acula (just what this
word means I have been unable to determine) large enough to contain
a person playing a musical instrument. Four men carry the acula to
the palace; discovery of the princess follows. Second test: to pick
the princess out from twenty-four maidens dressed exactly alike.
In none of these three stories (nor in Pitre, No. 96, which is a
shorter variant of No. 95) does the opening resemble our forms of the
tale. Nor in any of the three, either, does the hero bring the wager
on himself because of the announcement he makes that he who has gold
can discover anything. With this detail, however, compare the couplet
which the hero displays in Pitre, No. 96:--
"Cu' havi dinari fa chiddu chi voli,
Cu' havi bon cavallu va unni voli."
The line "He who has gold can do whatever he wishes" is almost
identical with the corresponding line in the Tagalog verse story.
It is to be noted that the bride-wager incident in this group of
stories resembles closely the same episode in our No. 19. The opening
of our No. 21 has been influenced by the setting of the stories of
the Carancal group (No. 3).
The Reward of Kindness.
Narrated by Elisa Cordero, a Tagalog from Pagsanjan, La Laguna,
who heard the story from a Tagalog friend.
In a certain town there once lived a couple who had never had a
child. They had been married for nearly five years, and were very
anxious for a son. The name of the wife was Clara; and of the man,
One cloudy night in December, while they were talking by the window
of their house, Clara said to her husband that she was going to pray
the novena,  so that Heaven would give them a child. "I would
even let my son serve the Devil, if he would but give us a son!" As
her husband was willing that she should pray the novena, Clara began
the next day her fervent devotions to the Virgin Mary. She went to
church every afternoon for nine days. She carried a small prayer-book
with her, and prayed until six o'clock every evening. At last she
finished her novenario;  but no child was born to them, and the
couple was disappointed.
A month had passed, when, to their great happiness, Clara gave birth to
a son. The child they nicknamed Ido. Ido was greatly cherished by his
parents, for he was their only child; but he did not care much to stay
at home. He early began to show a fondness for travelling abroad, and
was always to be found in the dense woods on the outskirts of the town.
One afternoon, when the family was gathered together around a small
table, talking, a knock was heard at the door. "Come in!" said Philip.
"No, I just want to talk with your wife," answered a hoarse voice
Clara, trembling, opened the door, and, to her great surprise,
she saw standing there a man who looked like a bear. "A devil, a
devil!" she exclaimed, but the Devil pacified her, and said, "Clara,
I have come here to get your son you promised me a long time ago. Now
that the day has come when your son can be of some service to me,
will you deny your promise?"
Clara could make no reply at first. She merely called her son; and
when he came, she said to the Devil, "Here is my son. Take him, since
he is yours." Ido, who was at this time about seventeen years old,
was not frightened by the Devil.
"Come," said the Devil, "and be my follower!" At first Ido refused;
but he finally consented to go, because of his mother's promise.
The Devil now took Ido to his cave, far away outside the town. He
tried in many ways to tempt Ido, but was unable to do so, because
Ido was a youth of strong character. Finally the Devil decided to
exchange clothes with him. Ido was obliged to put on the bear-like
clothes of the Devil and to give him his own soldier-suit. Then the
Devil produced a large bag full of money, and said to Ido, "Take this
money and go travelling about the world for seven years. If you live
to the end of that time, and spend this money only in doing good,
I will set you free. If, however, you spend the money extravagantly,
you will have to go to hell with me." When he had said these words,
Ido now began his wanderings from town to town. Whenever people saw
him, they were afraid of him, and would refuse to give him shelter;
but Ido would give them money from his bag, and then they would gather
about him and be kind to him.
After many years he happened to come to a town where he saw an old
woman summoned before a court of justice. She was accused of owing
a sum of money, but was unable to pay her debt and the fine imposed
on her. When Ido paid her fine for her and thus released her from
prison, the woman could hardly express her gratitude. As most of the
other people about were afraid of Ido and he had no place to sleep,
this woman decided to take him home with her.
Now, this old woman had three daughters. When she reached home with
the bear-like man, she called her eldest daughter, and said, "Now,
my daughter, here is a man who delivered me from prison. As I can do
nothing to reward him for his great kindness, I want you to take him
for your husband."
The daughter replied, "Mother, why have you brought this ugly man
here? No, I cannot marry him. I can find a better husband."
On hearing this harsh reply, the mother could not say a word. She
called her second daughter, and explained her wishes to her; but the
younger daughter refused, just as her sister had refused, and she
made fun of the man.
The mother was very much disappointed, but she was unable to persuade
her daughters to marry her benefactor. Finally she determined to try
her youngest daughter. When the daughter heard her mother's request,
she said, "Mother, if to have me marry this man is the only way by
which you can repay him for his kindness, I'll gladly marry him." The
mother was very much pleased, but the two older daughters were very
angry with their sister. The mother told the man of the decision of
her youngest daughter, and a contract was signed between them. But
before they were married, the bear-like man asked permission from the
girl to be absent for one more year to finish his duty. She consented
to his going, and gave him half her ring as a memento.
At the end of the year, which was the last of his seven years'
wandering, the bear-like man went to the Devil, and told him that he
had finished his duty. The Devil said, "You have beaten me. Now that
you have performed your seven years' wandering, and have spent the
money honestly, let us exchange clothes again!" So the man received
back his soldierlike suit, which made him look like a knight, and
the Devil took back his bear-skin.
Then the man returned to Clara's  house. When his arrival was
announced to the family, the two older daughters dressed themselves in
their best, for they thought that he was a suitor come to see them;
but when the man showed the ring and asked for the hand of Clara's
youngest daughter, the two nearly died with vexation, while the
youngest daughter was very happy.
This story is a variant of Grimm, No. 101, "Bear-Skin," which it
follows fairly closely from the point where the hero makes his pact
with the Devil. The bibliography of this cycle is fully given in
Bolte-Polivka, 2 : 427-435, to which I have nothing to add except
this story itself! Our version is the only one so far recorded from
the Orient, and there can be no doubt that it is derived directly
from Europe. Ralston and Moe seem to detect a relationship between
this cycle and a Hindoo saga translated into Chinese in the seventh
century, and from the Chinese into French in the middle of the
nineteenth century, by the French orientalist Stanislas Julien; but
Bolte is of the opinion (p. 435) that there is probably no connection
between the two. In any case, to judge from recorded variants, the
Tagalog story is an importation from the Occident.
And yet there are not a few deviations in our version from the norm,
if Grimm's tale may be considered representative of the cycle. The most
important of these is the opening, which is one form of the "Promised
Child" opening (see Macculloch, 415 ff.). This formula of a childless
couple finally promising in despair to let their child serve even
the Devil if they are granted offspring, or to be satisfied with an
animal-child or some other monstrosity, is a favorite one in Filipino
Maerchen (cf. Nos. 3 and variants, 19 and variant, and 23), and its
use here may have been influenced by the beginning of the next tale.
Other differences may be noted briefly: (1) The compact made between
the hero and the Devil does not include the characteristic prohibitions
in the European versions; namely, that the hero is not to comb his
hair, wash himself, trim his beard, etc., during his seven years of
wandering. The Devil seems to rely merely on his bear-suit, which
he makes the hero wear, to produce insurmountable difficulties. It
may be that the prohibitions mentioned above were omitted because
they involved conditions wholly foreign to Filipino conception. The
natives take great pride in their hair, and always dress it carefully,
are scrupulously clean personally, and are beardless! I can cite no
parallel in folk-tales for the condition substituted; i.e., if the
wanderer does good with his money, the Devil will have no power over
him at the end of the seven years, while, if he spends it extravagantly
and foolishly, he goes to hell. Perhaps none need be sought outside
of actual experience. (2) The hero is supplied with money from a large
bag which the Devil gives him, not from the inexhaustible pockets of a
magic green coat, as in Grimm. The mention of the hero's soldier-suit,
by the way, since nothing has been said earlier in the story of his
having followed the profession of arms, is likely a reminiscence of
the characteristic opening of the European versions, where it is a
poor soldier who has the experience with the Devil. (3) The person
ransomed by the hero in our story is an old woman instead of an old
man. (4) The two disappointed sisters do not kill themselves, and hence
the Devil does not reappear at the end of the story,--as he does in
Grimm,--and say, "I have now got two souls in the place of thy one!"
The broken-ring recognition on the return home is a feature which I
believe occurs in no other Filipino folk-tale, but is met with not
infrequently in European saga and story (cf. Koehler-Bolte, 117, 584;
see also Bolte-Polivka, 1 : 234; 2 : 348).
Pedro and Satan.
Narrated by Pedro D. L. Sorreta, a Bicol from Catanduanes, who heard
the story when he was a little boy.
Once upon a time there lived a very rich man, whose wife had
never given birth to a child. The couple had already made several
pilgrimages, and had spent great sums of money for religious
services, in the hope that God might give them a child, even though
a sickly one, to inherit their money; but all their efforts were
in vain. Disappointed, the man resolved to rely upon Satan for the
performance of his wish.
One dark night, when he was thinking hard about the matter, he heard
a voice say, "Your wish will be quickly fulfilled if you but ask me
for it." The rich man was so filled with joy, that he turned towards
the voice and knelt before the invisible speaker: "I will give you
my life, and even my wife's, in return for a son who will be the heir
to my riches," said the man. Meanwhile he perceived in front of him a
figure which in an instant assumed the form of Satan. At first he was
frightened; but his fear was only momentary, and he was eager to hurry
up the agreement with Satan, so that he might receive the child. They
therefore made a golden document which provided that the first child
of the heir was to be given to the Devil at the age of ten, and that
the man and his wife were no longer God's subjects, but Satan's.
After the agreement had been made, the Devil promised the rich man
that his wife would give birth to the longed-for son early the next
morning. Then he disappeared. The child was born at the appointed
time, and grew wonderfully fast, for in five days he was a full-grown
youth. But the parents could not but blame themselves for their
impious act. They intended to keep the secret from their son; but
they could not do so, for the boy was always asking about the nature
of his existence. So when Pedro--they called him by this name--knew
of his pitiful lot, he decided not to marry until he had succeeded
in wresting the golden document from the hands of Satan.
Now, Pedro knew that devils do not like crosses, and cannot even stay
where they have to look at them. So one day he asked his mother to make
for him two gowns, one having little crosses hanging from it. When
these had been finished, Pedro asked his father to give him over to
Satan, so that he might work with the demons in hell. No sooner had
he expressed his desire to his father than the Devil appeared and took
the young man off to his kingdom. There Pedro was assigned the task of
directing the demons in hauling the logs that were to be used for fuel.
Pedro ordered the demons to tie a strong piece of rope to one end of a
log, and ordered them to pull it while he stood on the other end. Every
time he counted "One, two, three!" he would hold up his outer gown;
and the demons, seeing the crosses, would run away in confusion. As
the devils could not endure Pedro's conduct, they ran to their master
Satan, and asked him to send the young man away, for he could not
do any work. The demons could not say anything about Pedro's trick,
however, for they did not dare even speak the word "cross." Satan
then summoned Pedro to his office, and had him work there.
Now, the young man had put a strong piece of rope under his gown. One
day, when Satan was taking his siesta in a rocking-chair, Pedro
tied him fast to the chair. Then he removed his outer gown and woke
Satan. The Devil with closed eyes struggled hard to escape; but he
could not get loose. So he humbly requested Pedro to go away and
leave him alone; but Pedro would neither leave him nor let him go. He
demanded the document, but Satan would not give it up. So Pedro kept on
frightening the Devil until at last Satan said that he would give up
the document if Pedro would release him. Pedro put on his outer robe,
and the Devil called his secretary and told him to give the golden
document to the young man. Pedro threw the bond into the fire; and when
he saw that it was completely melted, he took off his outer robe again,
and turned Satan loose. The Devil ran away exceedingly terrified.
Then Pedro went home, where his parents received him with great
joy. Thus by his cleverness he saved his parents and his future child
from a terrible fate.
Like the preceding, this story is doubtless also an importation into
the Islands from Europe. It belongs to the general family of tales
known as the "Promised Child," but the narrative takes a turn which
leads into a special group of this family. The members of this group
are usually not long; and the stories, on the whole, are simple. A
parent promises, wittingly or unwittingly, his child to the Devil in
return for some service, and gives his signature to the bond. The
child grows up, and, noticing the dejection of his parents, forces
from them the secret of the pact. After equipping himself for the
struggle, he sets out for hell to recover the contract. In hell he
frightens or annoys the devils in various ways, and becomes such a
nuisance that finally the arch-fiend is glad to get rid of him by
surrendering the bond.
In a Lorraine story (Cosquin, No. LXIV, "Saint Etienne") "a woman
in confinement is visited by a grand gentleman, who persuades her to
sell her child to him for a large sum of money. He is to come for the
child in six or seven years. One day after a visit of the stranger,
the mother begins to suspect him of being the Devil. Her son notices
her sadness, and learns the secret that is troubling her. 'I'm not
afraid of the Devil,' he says boldly, and tells her to provide him with
a sheep-skin filled with holy water. Thus equipped, he sets off with
the stranger when the time comes, and, reaching hell, so frightens the
devils by sprinkling them with the holy water, that they are glad to
leave him in peace to return to his mother." In this story nothing
is said of a contract; but in a variant mentioned by Cosquin (2 :
232) a poor man signs in blood a bond according to which he agrees to
give up his son at the age of twenty to the rich stranger (Devil in
disguise) who has consented to be godfather to the infant. The demon
is finally put to flight with the aid of an image of the cross and
with the liberal use of holy water.
In a Wallachian story (Schott, No. 15) we find a close parallel
of incident to our story: the hero, acting on the advice of his
school-master, makes some ecclesiastical garments decorated with
crosses, and, dressed in these, he goes to hell and knocks on the
door. The demons, frightened by the sight, want to drive him away;
but he will not go until they surrender the parchment signed by his
father. This story differs from ours in the opening, however; for
the father is a poor fisherman, and promises unwittingly "that which
he loves most at home" in exchange for great riches. At the end of
the story, too, is added an episode of the conversion by the hero
of a band of robbers. With the beginning of this Wallachian story
compare the Italian "Lionbruno" (Crane, No. XXXVI). In a Lithuanian
tale (Chodzko, Contes des paysans et des patres slaves [Paris 1864],
p. 107), the hero, before setting out to meet the Devil, arms himself
with holy water and a piece of chalk blessed by the priest. With the
chalk he draws a magic circle about him, from which he throws water
on the demons until they give up the contract. For other variants,
see Cosquin, No. LXXV and notes.
Our story, while somewhat crude in style, is well motivated throughout,
and has one amusing episode for which I know no parallel, the tying
of Satan in his rocking-chair while he is taking his siesta, and
then frightening him into compliance, when he wakes, by displaying,
before him the cross-embroidered gown. The first task the hero is put
to when he enters hell--directing the hauling of logs for fuel--seems
more appropriate than that of draining two ponds, which the hero is
obliged to perform in Cosquin's "La Baguette Merveilleuse," No. LXXV.
The testimony of the narrator that he heard the story from one of
his playmates when he was a little boy, throws an interesting ray of
light on the way in which popular stories circulate in the Philippines.
The Devil and the Guachinango.
Narrated by Jose Laki of Guagua, Pampanga. He got the story from his
uncle, who heard it from an old Pampango story-teller.
There once lived in a suburb of a town a very religious old widow who
had a beautiful daughter, Piriang by name. Young men from different
parts of the town came to court Piriang, and the mother always
preferred the rich to the poor. Whenever Piriang's friends told her
that the man whom she rejected would have been a good match for her,
she always answered that she would rather have a devil for a husband
than such a man.
One day a devil heard Piriang giving this answer to one of her
friends. Thus encouraged, he disguised himself as a young man of
noble blood, and went to Piriang's house to offer her his love. The
mother and daughter received this stranger with great civility, for
he appeared to them to be the son of a nobleman. In the richness of
his dress he was unexcelled by his rivals. After he had been going to
Piriang's house for a few weeks, the old widow told him one day to
come prepared to be married on the following Tuesday. On the Sunday
before the wedding-day he had a long conversation with Piriang. He
calmly asked her to take off the cross that she had about her neck,
for it made her look ugly, he said. She refused to do so, however,
because she had worn this cross ever since she was a child. After he
had departed, Piriang told her mother what he had asked her to do.
The next day the mother went to the church. She told the priest that
Piriang's bridegroom had ordered her to take off her cross from her
neck. The priest said that that man was a devil; for no man, as a son
of God, would say that a cross made the one who wore it look ugly. The
priest gave the mother a small image of the Virgin Mary. He instructed
her to show the image to the bridegroom. If when he beheld it he turned
his back on her as she was holding it, she was to tie him around the
neck with her cintas.  Then she was to put him in a large jar,
and bury him at least twenty-one feet under the ground.
The mother went home very much distressed because she had allowed her
daughter to become engaged to a devil. She told Piriang not to talk
with her bridegroom, because she feared that he was a devil. That
night he came with his friend dressed like him. The mother was very
gracious to them. They talked about the wedding. When the old woman
held up the image of the Virgin Mary, the two men turned their backs
on her. She immediately wound her cintas around the neck of her
daughter's bridegroom, and Piriang came in with the dried tail of
a sting-ray in her right hand. She whipped him with this as hard as
she could.  Then the two together forced him to get into a large
jar. After warning him not to come back to earth again, the old woman
covered the jar with a piece of cloth wet with holy water. The other
devil suddenly disappeared.
The next morning a guachinango  happened to pass by the house of
the old woman. She called him in, showed him the jar, and told him
to bury it at least twenty-one feet deep. When he asked how much she
would pay him, she promised to give him ten pesos. He agreed: so,
putting the jar on his right shoulder, he set out. When he reached
a quiet place, he heard whispers behind him. He stopped and looked
around, but could see nothing. Then he put the jar on the ground to
rest a few minutes. Now he discovered that the whispers were coming
from inside the jar. He was very much surprised.
"What are you?" asked the guachinango. "Are you a man, or a devil?"
"I am a devil, my friend," answered the voice. "The old woman forced
me to go into this jar. Be kind to me, my friend, and liberate me!"
"I shall obey the old woman in order to get my pay," said the
guachinango. "I will bury you even deeper than twenty-one feet."
"If you will bury me just three feet deep," said the devil, "I will
give you a large sum of money."
"I will bury you just one and a half feet deep, if you can give me
much money," said the guachinango.
"I will give you five hundred pesos," said the devil. "Dig the ground
near the stump of that mabolo-tree. There you will find the money in
a dirty black purse."
After the guachinango had buried the devil, he went to the mabolo-tree
and took the money. Then he went to the nearest village and played
casino. As soon as he lost all his money, he returned to the devil. "I
have lost all the money you gave me," he said. "I will now bury you
twenty-one feet deep."
"No, do not bury me so deep as that, my friend!" said the devil
calmly. "I can give you twice as much money as I gave you before. You
will find it in the same place that you found the other."
The guachinango took the money and went to the village again
to gamble. Again he lost. He returned to the devil, and asked him
angrily why he always lost the money he gave him. "I don't know,"
answered the devil. "I have given you fifteen hundred pesos, but you
haven't even a cent now. You ought to set me free at once."
"Aha! I won't let you go," said the guachinango. "I will bury you
thirty-nine feet now."
"I have a plan in mind," said the devil, "which will benefit you
extremely; but before I explain my plan, let me ask you if you would
like to marry the daughter of the king."
"I have a great desire to be king some day," said the guachinango;
"but how can you make me the husband of a princess, when you are only
a devil, and I am nothing but a poor guachinango?"
"As soon as you set me free," said the devil, "I will enter the
mouth of the princess and go into her brains. Then I will give her
a very painful headache which no physician can cure. The king will
make an announcement saying that he who can cure his daughter of
her disease shall marry her. When you hear this announcement, go to
the palace at once, and offer your services to the king. As soon as
you reach the princess, tell me that you have come, and I will leave
her immediately. The princess will then recover her former health,
and you will be married to her. Do not fail to go to the palace,
for I am determined to reward you for your kindness to me."
After the guachinango had liberated the devil, he immediately set out
for the city. He had not been there three days when he met a group
of soldiers crying that "he who could cure the princess should have
her to wife." The guachinango stopped the soldiers, and said that
he could cure the princess. They took him before the king, where a
written agreement was made. If he could not cure the princess in three
days, he should lose his life; but if he cured her by the end of the
third day, he should marry her. The guachinango was then conducted
to the room of the princess. When he approached her, he said to
the devil that he had come. "You must leave the princess now; for,
if you don't, I shall be executed." But the devil refused to leave,
because he wanted to get revenge. He further told the guachinango
that he wanted him to die, for then his soul would go to hell.
The guachinango became more and more hopeless. On the morning of
the third day he thought of a good plan to get rid of his enemy. He
asked the king to order all the bells of the neighboring churches
to be tolled, while every one in the palace was to cry out loud,
"Here she comes!" While all this noise was going on, the guachinango
approached the princess, and told the devil that the old woman was
coming with her cintas. When the devil heard this, he was terribly
frightened, and left the princess and disappeared. The next day the
guachinango was married to the princess.
From the testimony of the narrator, this capital story appears to
have been known in Pampanga for some time. The incident of the demon
entering the body of the princess, and then leaving at the request
of one who has befriended him, occurs in a Tagalog story also, which
I will give for the purpose of comparison. While the story is more
of a fairy-tale than a Maerchen proper, it appears to be a variant of
our No. 24. Significant differences between the two will be noted,
however. The Tagalog story was collected and written down for me by
Manuel Reyes, a native of Manila. It runs as follows:
Mabait and the Duende.
Menguita, a king of Cebu, had two slaves,--Mabait and Masama. Mabait
was honest and industrious, while Masama was envious and lazy. Mabait
did nearly all of the hard work in the palace, so he was admired very
much by the king. Masama, who was addicted to gambling, envied Mabait.
One night, while Mabait was asleep, a duende  awakened him, and
said, "I have seen how you labor here patiently and honestly. I want
to be your friend."
Mabait was amazed and frightened. He looked at the duende carefully,
and saw that it resembled a very small man with long hair and a white
beard. It was about a foot high. It had on a red shirt, a pair of
green trousers, a golden cap, and a pair of black shoes. At last
Mabait answered in a trembling voice, "I don't want to be a friend
of an evil spirit."
"I am not evil, I am a duende."
"I don't know what duendes are, so I don't want to be your friend."
"Duendes are wealthy and powerful spirits. They can perform magic. If
you are the friend of one of them, you will be a most fortunate man."
"How did you come into the world?" said Mabait.
"Listen! When Lucifer was an angel, a contest in creating animals
arose between him and God. He and his followers were defeated and
thrown into hell. Many angels in that contest belonged neither to
God's side not to Lucifer's. They were dropped on the earth. Those
that fell in the forests became tigbalangs, ikis, and mananangals;
 those in the seas became mermaids and mermen; and those in the
cities became duendes."
"Ah, yes! I know now what duendes are."
"Now let our friendship last forever," said the duende. "I am ready
at any time to help you in your undertakings."
From that time on Mabait and the duende were good friends. The duende
gave Mabait two or three isabels  every day, and by the end of
the month he had saved much money. He bought a fine hat and a pair
of wooden shoes.
Masama wondered how Mabait, who was very poor, could buy so many
things. At last he asked, "Where do you get money? Do you steal it?"
"No, my friend gives it to me."
"Who is your friend?"
Masama, in great envy, went to the king, and said, "Master, Mabait,
your favorite slave, has a friend. This friend is a duende, which
will be injurious to us if you let it live here. As Mabait said,
it will be the means of his acquiring all of your wealth and taking
your daughter for his wife."
The king, in great rage, summoned Mabait, and punished him severely by
beating his palms with a piece of leather. Then he ordered his servants
to find the duende and kill it. The duende hid in a small jar. Masama
saw it, and covered the mouth of the jar with a saint's dress. The
duende was afraid of the dress, and dared not come out. "Open the jar,
and I will give you ten isabels," said the little man.
"Give me the money first."
After Masama received the money, he went away to the cockpit without
opening the jar. On his way there he lost his money. He went back to
the duende, and said, "Friend, give me ten isabels more, and I will
open the jar."
"I know that you will cheat me," answered the duende. "Just let me
come out of the jar, and I promise that you shall have the princess
here for your wife."
"What! Will the princess be my wife?"
"How can you make her love me?"
"I will enter the princess's abdomen. I will talk, laugh, and do
everything to make her afraid. I will not leave her for anybody
"Good, good!" Masama opened the jar, and the duende, flew a way to
the princess's tower.
Only a few weeks after that time a proclamation of the king was read in
public. It was as follows: "The princess, my daughter, has something
in her abdomen. It speaks and laughs. No one knows what it is, and no
one can force it to come out. Whoever can cure my daughter shall be my
heir and son-in-law; but he who tries and fails shall lose his head."
When Masama heard this, he said to Mabait, "Why don't you cure the
princess? You are the only one who can cure her."
"Don't flatter me!" answered Mabait.
"I'm not flattering you. It is the duende, your friend, who is in her
abdomen, and no one can persuade it to come out but you. So go now,
for fortune is waiting for you."
Mabait was at last persuaded, and so he departed. Before going to the
king, he first went to a church, and there he prayed Bathala that
he might be successful in his undertakings. When Mabait was gone,
Masama said to himself, "It is not fortune, but it is death, that is
waiting for him. When he is dead, I shall not have anybody to envy."
After sitting for about a half-hour, Masama also set out for the
princess's tower, but he reached the palace before Mabait. There he
told the king that he could cure his daughter. He was conducted into
the princess's room. He touched her abdomen, and said, "Who are you?"
"I am the duende."
"Why are you there?"
"Because I want to be here."
"No, I won't."
"Don't you know me?"
"Yes, I know you. You are Masama, who cheated me once. Give your head
to the king." So the executioner cut Masama's head off.
Then Mabait came, and told the king that he could cure the
princess. After he was given permission to try, he said to the duende,
"Who are you?"
"I am the duende, your friend."
"Will you please come out of the princess's abdomen?"
"Yes, I will, for the sake of our friendship."
Mabait was married to the princess, was crowned king, and lived
happily with his friend the duende.
Before attempting to decide anything concerning the provenience of
these two tales, we shall first examine versions of the story from
other parts of the world. The nearest European analogue that I am
familiar with is an Andalusian story printed by Caballero in 1866
(Ingram, 107, "The Demon's Mother-in-Law"). An outline of the chief
elements of this tale follows:--
Mother Holofernes, while very neat and industrious, was a terrible
termagant and shrew. Her daughter Panfila, on the contrary, was so lazy
and thoughtless, that once, when the old woman burnt herself badly
because her daughter was listening to some lads singing outside,
instead of helping her mother with the boiling lye for washing,
the enraged Mother Holofernes shouted to her offspring, "Heaven
grant that you may marry the Evil One himself!" Not long afterward a
rich little man presented himself as a suitor for Panfila's hand. He
was accepted by the mother, and preparations for the marriage went
forward. The old woman, however, began to dislike the suitor, and,
recalling her curse, suspected that he was none other than the
Devil himself. Accordingly, on the night of the wedding, she bade
Panfila lock all the windows and doors of the room, and then beat
her husband with a branch of consecrated olive. So done. The husband
tried to escape from his wife by slipping through the key-hole; but his
mother-in-law anticipated this move. She caught him in a glass bottle,
which she immediately sealed hermetically. Then the old lady climbed
to the summit of a mountain, and there deposited the bottle in an
out-of-the-way place. Ten years the imp remained there a prisoner,
suffering cold, heat, hunger, thirst. One day a soldier, returning
to his native town on leave, took a short cut over the mountain, and
spied the bottle. When he picked it up, the imp begged to be released,
and told him of all he had suffered; but the soldier made a number of
conditions,--his release from the army, a four-dollar daily pension,
etc.,--and finally the imp promised to enter the body of the daughter
of the King of Naples. The soldier was to present himself at court
as a physician, and demand any reward he wished to, in return for
a cure. So done. The king accepted the services of the soldier, but
stipulated that if in three days he had not cured the princess, he
should be hanged. The soldier accepted the conditions; but the demon,
seeing that he had his arrogant enemy's life in his hands, and bent on
revenge, refused to leave the body of the princess. On the last day,
however, the soldier ordered all the bells rung. On the demon's asking
what all the noise was about, the soldier said, "I have ordered your
mother-in-law summoned, and she has just arrived." In great terror
the Devil at once quitted the princess, and the soldier was left
"in victorious possession of the field."
It will be noticed that the last episode is almost identical with the
ending of our story "The Devil and the Guachinango," while there is
a considerable amount of divergence between the two elsewhere.
For versions collected before 1860 I am indebted to Benfey's treatment
of this cycle. It is found in his "Pantschatantra," 1 : 519 ff. I take
the liberty of summarizing it in this place, first, because it is the
only exhaustive handling of the story I know of; and, second, because
Benfey's brilliant work, while constantly referred to and quoted,
has long been out of print, and has never been accessible in English.
The occasion for Benfey's dissertation on this particular tale is
the relationship he sees between it and the large family of stories
turning on the motive of a marvellous cure, a representative of which
is "Pantschatantra," 5 : 12, "The Miraculous Cure of a Blind Man,
a Humpback, and a Three-breasted Princess."  While the story we
are discussing cannot be considered in any sense an offshoot of the
Pantschatantra tale, it can scarcely be denied, says Benfey, that
between the two there is a definite internal relationship, which
is further manifested by the fact that in its later development the
latter is actually joined to the former (p. 519).
The earliest form of our story is found in the "Cukasaptati," where it
is told as the story for the 45th and 46th nights. In this version,--
A Brahman, driven away from home by the malice of his wife,
is befriended by a demon who had formerly lived in the Brahman's
house, but who had also fled in fear from her shrewish tongue. The
demon enters the body of a princess; and the Brahman, appearing as
a conjurer, forces him to leave, in accordance with their pact, and
wins half a kingdom and the hand of the princess. The demon now goes
to another city where he possesses the queen, an aunt of the Brahman's
new father-in-law. The Brahman, whose reputation as an enchanter has
become great, is summoned to cure this queen. When he arrives, the
demon threatens and insults him, refusing to leave the queen because
they are now quits. The Brahman, however, whispers in the woman's
ear, "My wife is coming here close on my heels, I have come only to
warn you;" whereupon the demon, terror-stricken, at once leaves the
queen. The Brahman is highly honored.
Benfey conjectures that this story must have passed over into the
Persian redaction of the "Cukasaptati" (i.e., the "Tuti-nameh"),
but what changes it underwent in the transmission cannot yet be
determined. The earliest European form of the tale is that found in
the Turkish "Forty Vezirs" (trans. by Behrnauer, p. 277).
Here a young wood-cutter saves money to buy a rope; but his shrewish
wife, thinking that he is going to spend it on a sweetheart, insists
on accompanying him to his work in the mountains, so that she can
keep him under her eye. In the mountains the husband decides to
abandon his wife in a well. He tells her to hold a rope while he
descends to fetch a treasure which he pretends is concealed at the
bottom; but she is so avaricious, that she insists on being let down
first. Then he drops the rope, and returns home free. A few days
later, conscience-smitten, he goes back to rescue his wife, and,
lowering another rope, he calls to her that he will draw her up;
but he hauls a demon to the surface instead. The demon thanks the
wood-cutter for rescuing him from a malicious woman "who some days
ago descended, and has made my life unbearable ever since." As in the
Cukasaptati story, the demon enters a princess and makes her insane,
and the wood-cutter cures her and marries her. Then the demon enters
another princess. The wood-cutter is summoned; he has to resort to
the well-known trick to force the imp to leave this second maiden.
In the Persian form of this story, in the "1001 Days" (Prenzlau ed.),
11 : 247, is added the death-penalty in case the hero fails to perform
the second cure, which consists in persuading the spirit, in the form
of a snake, to unwind itself from the body of the vezir's daughter. The
hero had already cured the sultan's daughter and married her.
A Serbian story (Wuk, No. 37) is closer to the "Forty Vezirs" version
than is the "1001 Days." The only essential difference is that the
opening of the Serbian tale is the well-known fabliau of the "Meadow
that was mowed."
Here the wife falls into a pit. When the husband attempts to draw
her out again, a devil appears. The devil is thankful; and, to reward
the man, it enters the body of the emperor's daughter. Here the hero
appears, not as an enchanter, but as a physician.
Practically identical is the story of "The Bad Wife and the Devil,"
in Vogl, "Slowenische Volksmaerchen" (Wien, 1837).
In a Finnish version of the story (Benfey, 524-525) the hero, as in
the preceding, assumes the role of a physician.
The husband pushes his bad wife into an abyss. When he attempts to
draw her out again, another woman appears. She is the Plague. 
Out of gratitude for her liberation from that other wicked woman,
she proposes to him that they travel together through the world: she,
the pest, will make people ill; he, as physician, will cure them. So
done. As a result the man becomes rich. But at last he grows weary
of his excessive work: so he procures a snappish dog, and puts it in
a sack. The next time he is called to the side of a person made sick
by the pest, he says to her, "Enter human beings no more: if you do,
I will liberate from this sack the woman that tormented you in the
abyss," at the same time irritating the dog so that it growls. The
Plague, full of terror, begs him for God's sake not to set the woman
free, and promises to reform.
It will be seen that in its method of the "sickness and the cure,"
this story is related to Grimm, No. 44, "Godfather Death," where
Death takes the place of the Plague, and where, instead of gratitude,
the motive is the godfather relationship of Death toward the hero.
This folk-tale, says Benfey (p. 525), was early put into literary form
in Europe. Among others, he cites Machiavelli's excellent version in
his story of "Belfagor" (early sixteenth century):--
Belfagor, a devil, is sent to earth by his master to live as a married
man for ten years, to see whether certain accusations made against
women by souls in hell are true or slanderous. Belfagor marries in
Florence; but his imperious wife causes him so much bad fortune,
that he is compelled to flee from his creditors. A peasant conceals
him, and out of gratitude Belfagor tells his rescuer his story, and
promises to make him rich by possessing women and allowing himself
to be driven out only by the peasant himself. So done. The peasant
wins great renown; and at last Belfagor says that his obligations
have been fulfilled, and that the peasant must look out for himself
if they meet again. The devil now enters the daughter of Ludwig II,
King of France. The peasant is summoned to cure her, but is afraid, and
refuses. At last he is compelled to go, like the physician, against his
will (see Benfey, 515 ff.). Belfagor rages when he sees the peasant,
and threatens him vehemently. At last the peasant employs the usual
trick: "Your wife is coming!" and the devil flees in consternation,
choosing rather to rush back to hell than into the arms of his wife.
Benfey considers a Bohemian story in Wenzig's collection
(West-slawische Maerchen, Leipzig, 1857, p. 167) to be the best of
all the popular versions belonging to this group, and he reproduces
it in full (pp. 527-534). This long story we may pass over, since
it contains no new features that are found in our story. In fact,
it little resembles ours or any of the others, except in general in
two or three episodes. Benfey concludes his discussion of this cycle
by stating that there have been many other imitations of this tale,
and he mentions some of these (p. 534). It may be added that further
references will be found in Wilson's note in his edition of Dunlop,
2 : 188-190.
The question of the origin of the Pampango version of this story is
not easy to answer definitely, for the reason that it presents details
not found in any of the other variants. However, since nearly all the
machinery of our story turns on the teachings of the Roman Church,
and since the denouement is practically identical with the ending of
Caballero's Andalusian story, I conclude that in its main outlines our
version was derived from Spain. At the same time, I think it likely
that the fairy-tale of "Mabait and the Duende" was already existent
earlier in the Islands (though this, too, may have been imported),
and that the motivation of the spirit's desire to revenge himself
on his tormentor for his avarice and greed was incorporated into the
Maerchen from the fairy-tale. My reasons for thinking the fairy-tale
the older are: (1) its crudeness (the good and the bad hero are a
very awkward device compared with the combination of qualities in
the guachinango); (2) its local references and its native names;
(3) its use of native superstitions and beliefs.
Narrated by Nicolas Zafra, an Ilocano from San Fernando, La Union. The
story is very popular among the country people about San Fernando,
Many years ago there lived a certain old couple who had an only
son. Juan, for that was the boy's name, was known throughout the
village as an idler, and for this reason he was called Juan Sadut. He
had no liking for any kind of work; in fact, his contempt for all
work was so great, that he never even helped his father or mother.
One day his father took him to the fields to have him help harvest
their crops; but, instead of going to work, Juan betook himself to
a shady spot on the edge of the field, and fell asleep.
His father, who was very much enraged by this conduct of his son,
determined then and there to dispose of him. He carried the sleeping
boy to another part of the field, and laid him down just beside a large
snake-hole. He expected that the snake, when it came out of its hole,
would sting the sleeping idler, who would thus be disposed of quietly.
When Juan awoke, he found a large snake coiled near him. In his fright,
he sprang to his feet to run away; but the snake looked up at him
sympathetically, and then began to speak: "Why do you fear me? Don't
you know that I am the king of the snakes? I am going to give you
a wonderful gift that will make you happy forever;" and having said
this, it dropped a gold ring on the ground, and bade Juan pick it up
and wear it on his finger. The ring was of pure gold, and it had on it
initials that Juan could not understand. "Keep that ring carefully,
for it will be of great use to you," said the snake. "Consult it for
anything you want, and it will advise you how to proceed to obtain
the object of your desire."
After thanking the snake for its gift, Juan set out on his travels. He
never worried about his food from day to day, for from his magic ring
he could get anything he needed.
In his wanderings, word reached Juan's ears that the king of that
country would give his beautiful daughter to any one who could fulfil
three conditions. Juan was thrilled with joy on hearing this news,
for he was sure that he would be the successful competitor for the
hand of the princess. When he presented himself before the court,
his slovenly appearance and awkward movements only excited laughter
and mirth among the nobles. "What chance have you of winning the
prize?" they asked him in derision.
"Let me know the conditions, and time will show," said Juan. "You must
fulfil three conditions before I give my daughter to you," said the
king. "First, you must fight with my tiger, and kill it if you can;
second, you must go get and bring back to me the burning stone that
the dragon in the mountains has in its possession; third, you must
answer correctly a question that I shall ask you."
"Very well," said Juan as he turned to go, "I will do all you require
of me." Now, many a young man had risked his life for the hand of the
beautiful princess; but no one had yet succeeded in winning even the
first contest. The king's tiger was ferocious and strong, and as agile
as a mouse. Then there was the formidable dragon in the mountains,
whose breath alone was deadly poisonous. This dragon lived in a
cave the entrance to which was guarded by poisonous serpents. Every
morning it would come out of its cave to play with its wonderful stone
by tossing it up into the air and catching it in its mouth when it
fell. Hence it was difficult, if not impossible, to succeed in these
undertakings. The young men who had been stirred by their intense
love for the princess had bartered away their lives for her hand.
When Juan arrived home, he took up his little ring, and said to it,
"Advise me as to how I may overcome the king's tiger."
"Get a handful of sand," replied the ring, "and mix with it an equal
quantity of red pepper. Take the mixture with you into the arena,
and when the tiger comes near you, fling the sand into its eyes."
Juan prepared the sand and pepper as he had been advised. The next
day he stepped into the arena amid the shouts and cheers of the
spectators. He looked, as usual, to be an idle, slow-moving fellow,
who would have no chance at all against the wild beast. The tiger soon
appeared at the opposite end of the arena, and advanced rapidly towards
Juan. When the animal was about three yards from him, he flung the
mixture of sand and pepper into its eyes. The tiger was blinded. Juan
then drew his dagger and buried it deep into the animal's heart.
The next task he had to perform was to obtain the dragon's fiery
stone. The ring advised him thus: "Go to the cave, and, in order to
gain admittance, show me to the serpents. I am sacred to them, and
they will fulfil whatever commands my possessor gives them." Juan
proceeded to the cave in the mountains. He had no sooner entered it
than hissing serpents came towards him in threatening attitudes. Juan,
however, showed them the signet ring; and they at once became tame,
and showed him that they were glad to obey whatever he should command
them to do. "Go and get the dragon's stone," he ordered, and soon
they came back with the much-coveted treasure.
When the king saw that Juan had fulfilled two of the hardest
conditions, he became alarmed because the new bridegroom was to be a
person of very low birth: so he devised the most difficult question
possible, with the view of preventing Juan from winning his daughter
Juan now presented himself before the king and his court to perform the
third and last task. "What am I thinking about now?" asked the king.
Juan appeared to hesitate a moment, but he was really consulting
his ring. The ring said to him, "The king has in mind the assurance
that you will not be able to answer his question." Then looking up,
Juan answered the king's question in the precise words of the ring,
and thus answered it correctly.
Astonished at the wonderful power of Juan, the king gave his daughter
to him; and when he died, the young couple inherited the crown of
I know of no parallels to this story as a whole. In its separate
incidents it is reminiscent of other tales; and in its main outline,
from the point where the hero sets out to seek adventures with the
help of his magic ring, the narrative belongs to the "Bride Wager"
group. In this group Von Hahn distinguishes at least two types (1 :
54, Nos. 23 and 24): in the one, the hero bets his head against the
bride, and wins by performing difficult tasks; in the other, he wins
by answering riddles. In our story there is no formal staking of his
head by the hero, but undertaking the first two tasks amounts to the
same thing. The third task, it will be noticed, is the answering of a
difficult question, which in a way connects our story with Von Hahn's
The two distinctive features in our story are the introduction and
the first task. The cruelty displayed by the hero's father is not
unusual in folk-tales, but his method of getting rid of his son
is. The benevolence of the snake, which is not motivated at all,
may be at bottom connected with some such moralizing tradition as
is found in Somadeva, "The Story of the Three Brahmin Brothers"
(Tawney, 1 : 293), where two older brothers, in order to get rid of
the youngest, who has been slandered by their wives ("Potiphar's wife"
situation), order him to dig up an ant-hill in which lives a venomous
snake. Because of his virtue, however, he finds a pitcher filled with
gold! There is nothing else in this story which even in the remotest
way suggests ours. While Benfey (1 : 214-215, note) has shown that the
conception of the snake-jewel is essentially Indian,--and the belief in
one form or another is widespread in the Philippines,--he also shows
that it was held in Europe even in classical times; and, as every one
knows, the idea is a commonplace in folk-lore. Obviously nothing can
be concluded as to the origin of our story from this detail alone. The
first task, which is performed without supernatural aid, though the
hero asks his ring for advice, may be a remnant of tradition; if so,
it is of Indian or Malayan tradition, not Philippine, for the tiger
is not found in the Islands.
An Act of Kindness.
Narrated by Pacita Cordero, a Tagalog from Pagsanjan, La Laguna.
Early one morning Andres went out to buy five cents' worth of
rice. On his way he came across a man who was about to kill a small
snake. "Please don't kill the poor creature!" said Andres. "Did it
"No," answered the man, "but it may bite us or some other passer-by,"
and he again drew out his bolo; but Andres restrained him. "What do
you want this snake for?" said the merciless man.
"Leave it alone, for pity's sake!" cried Andres. "Here are five
cents! Don't injure the harmless creature!"
The man, very glad to get the money, did not say a word, and went
away. After the man was gone, the snake said to Andres, "Kind friend,
come home with me. There you will find our huge chief snake, and
many others like myself. But don't fear anything! Trust me, for I
will never lead you into danger. When we reach out dwelling, I will
recommend you to our chief. He will be harsh to you at first, since
you are a stranger; but never mind that! When he asks you what you
want, ask him to give you his red cloth. This enchanted cloth can
supply you with whatever you want." So the two friends started for
the horrible snake-cave.
"Who is that stranger with you,--a murderer, or a robber?" hissed
the chief as soon as the snake and Andres entered.
"He is neither of the two," replied the snake. "Please don't do a
bit of harm to him! Had it not been for him, my life would have been
lost. He rescued me from the hands of a cruel person who found me
creeping through the grass."
"Well," said the chief to Andres, "what reward do you want me to
"Only your red cloth, and nothing else," answered Andres. The chief
hesitated for a moment. Then he went into a very dark cell, and got
out the red cloth. He returned with it, and said to Andres, "Since
you have saved the life of one of our number, I give you this cloth
as a reward. You can ask of it anything you want."
Andres thanked the chief, and went away. It was now ten o'clock, and
he had not yet bought rice for breakfast. "Poor mother! she must be
very hungry." Andres himself felt hungry, so he asked the red cloth
to bring him food. Soon a breakfast, richer than the ordinary ones
he was accustomed to, was spread before him. Having eaten his hearty
meal under the shade of a tree, he resumed his journey homeward. He
had yet several miles to go.
After a few hours' walk he again became hungry. He went to a hut
and asked the old woman there if he might eat in her house. He said
that he had brought his own food with him. The old woman invited
him in, and Andres asked his red cloth for food. In an instant a
fine luncheon was before them. Andres invited the old woman to eat
with him, which she willingly did. She liked the food so very much,
that she asked Andres to let her have his wonderful red cloth. She
said, "Give me this cloth, and I will let you have my two stones in
exchange. When you want to get rid of persons who annoy you, just
tell these two stones where to go, and they will inflict heavy blows
on the evil-doers." Andres agreed to the exchange.
He proceeded on his way, taking with him the two stones. Tired and
exhausted from his long journey, Andres again began to feel hungry. Now
what would become of him? His red cloth was gone, and he had nothing
to eat. Fortunately he saw another hut by the roadside. He went to
it, and easily gained admittance. The witch, the only person in the
cottage, had just finished her dinner. She had nothing left to give
the starving boy. Andres then said to his stones, "Go to your former
mistress, the old woman, and tell her that I take back my red cloth. If
she refuses to give it to you, do what you think it best to do."
The two stones went back to the hut. There they found the old woman
eating. "We have come here," they said, "to take the red cloth away
from you. Our master, the boy who was here this afternoon, wants
it back again." The old woman refused to give up the cloth, so the
stones struck her with heavy blows until she fell down senseless on
the floor. Then the stones rolled themselves in the red cloth and
hastened back to their master with it. Andres spread it out and ate
his dinner. He asked for an extraordinary breakfast besides. Then he
said to the witch, "You need not prepare anything for your breakfast
to-morrow. Here is a good meal that I have asked my red cloth to give
to you, you have been so kind in letting me come to your hut." The
witch was very glad, and thanked the boy. She said to him, "Boy, I
have here two magic canes which I want to dispose of. I am very old
now, and don't need them any more. They have served me well. These
canes can kill your enemies, or any bad persons whom you want to be
put to death. Just give them directions, and they will obey you."
Andres now had three enchanted possessions. It was very late when he
reached home, and his mother was very hungry and very angry. He had
no more than reached the foot of the stairs when she met him with
a loud scolding. But Andres just laughed. He asked his red cloth to
bring his mother a good dinner; and while she was eating, he related
to her the occurrences of the day.
Andres and his mother were not rich, and their wealthy neighbors were
greatly surprised to see them become rich so soon. One particularly
selfish neighbor, already rich, who was eager to deprive Andres and
his mother of their wealth, sent a band of robbers to the cottage one
night. At midnight Andres heard his dogs barking, and he knew that
there was some one lurking about. When he saw the robbers coming,
he took out his magic stones and canes, and commanded them to get
rid of the thieves. In a few minutes all the robbers lay dead.
Andres and his mother remained rich.
Through its main incidents and situations, this story is connected with
a number of tales, although, as in the case of the preceding narrative,
I can point to no complete analogue for it. The introduction has some
points of close resemblance to the introduction of the "Language of
Animals" cycle, where the hero saves the life of a snake, usually
from fire, and is consequently rewarded by the king of snakes with
the gift of understanding the tongues of birds and beasts. This cycle
has been fully discussed by Benfey (Orient und Occident, 2 : 133-171,
"Ein Maerchen von der Thiersprache, Quelle und Verbreitung"). Additional
bibliographical details may be found in Bolte-Polivka, 1 : 132-133,
note 1. The invitation of the rescued snake to its savior to visit
the king of snakes, and its advice that he ask for one particular
magic reward only, are found in many versions of the "Language of
Animals" group, as well as in our story; but this is as far as the
similarity between the two extends. From this point on, our story
deviates altogether, except for the vaguest reminiscences.
Again, in the fact that Andres does not save the snake from an
accidental death, but buys its life from a cruel person about to
kill it, our story appears to be connected with the "Magic Ring"
cycle. We have already discussed two variants of this cycle in
No. 10; but, as has been pointed out in the notes to those stories,
the most characteristic beginning is lacking there. In most of the
members of the "Magic Ring" group, the kind-hearted hero spends all
his money to ransom from death certain animals, including a snake
which invites him to the home of its father, and then tells him
what to ask for. But in our present story, only the snake is saved;
the recompense is a magic wishing-cloth that can do only one thing,
not a stone or ring that fulfils any command; and as in the case
above of the "Language of Animals" cycle, so here, from this point
on, our story is entirely different from the "Magic Ring" group, and
attaches itself to still another family of tales. This, for want of
a better title, may be called the "Knapsack, Hat, and Horn" cycle. I
use this name merely because the most familiar member of that family
(Grimm, No. 54) bears it.
In Grimm, No. 54, the youngest of three poverty-stricken brothers
who set out to seek their fortunes finds a little table-cloth, which,
when spread out and told to cover itself, instantly becomes covered
with choice food. Not yet satisfied with his luck, he takes the cloth
and continues his wandering. One night he meets a charcoal-burner who
is about to make his meal off potatoes. The youth invites the man to
eat with him. The charcoal-burner, thinking the cloth just what he
needs in his solitude, offers to trade for it an old knapsack, from
which, whenever it is tapped, out jump a corporal and six soldiers to
do whatever they are ordered to do. The exchange is made. The youth
travels on, taps the knapsack, and orders the soldiers to bring him the
wishing-cloth that the charcoal-burner has. In this same way the youth
acquires from two other charcoal-burners successively a magic hat which
shoots off artillery and destroys the owner's enemies, and a magic horn
a blast from which throws down walls, fortifications, and houses. By
means of these articles the hero finally wins the king's daughter to
wife, and becomes ruler. Further adventures follow when the wife tries,
but without ultimate success, to steal his treasures from him.
The magic articles are not at all constant in this cycle, as may be
seen from an examination of Bolte-Polivka's variants (1 : 467-470),
but most of the lists include the wishing-cloth and articles in the
nature of weapons or soldiers for offensive purposes. A comparison of
our story with this formula discloses an undoubted relationship between
the two. The hero trades his wishing-cloth for two fighting stones,
which he later sends back to fetch the cloth. He then acquires two
magic canes (but not by trickery this time). Later, when he becomes
an object of envy, and an attempt is made by a rich neighbor to steal
his wealth (corresponding to the envy of the king), the magic stones
and canes kill all his opponents. Compare the Tagalog variant in the
notes to the following tale (No. 27).
The extraordinary articles are found as machinery in other Philippine
stories, though not in the above sequence: a "table, spread yourself"
and a magic cane occur in No. 27; a magic guitar, in No. 28; a
magic buyo, cane, purse, and guitar, in No. 35. Compare also the
magic articles in the various forms of No. 12. I know of no other
occurrence in folk-tales of two fighting stones. This detail sounds
very primitive. It might be compared with the magic "healing stones"
in No. 12 (b), "Three Brothers of Fortune," though the two objects
are wholly dissimilar in power.
As a whole, while our story is reminiscent of at least three different
cycles of tales, it nevertheless does not sound like a modern bit of
patchwork, but appears to be old; how old, I am unable to say. The most
unreasonable part of our narrative is the fact that the hero should
find himself so many miles from home when going to buy five cents'
worth of rice. It must be supposed that the trip to the snake-cave
occupied much more time than it appears in the story to have taken.
The Indolent Husband.
Narrated by Gregorio Frondoso, a Bicol from Tigaon, Camarines, who
heard the story when he was a small boy. One of the servants told it
Many hundreds of years ago there lived in the isolated village of
Hignaroy a poor couple who had many children to care for. Barbara,
the wife, was an industrious but shrewish woman. She worked all
day in a factory to support her many children. The husband, Alejo,
on the other hand, idled away his time. He either ate, or drank,
or slept all the time his wife was away at work. In the course of
time Barbara naturally became disgusted with her husband's indolence;
and every time she came home, she would rail at him and assail him
with hot, insolent words, taxing him with not doing anything, and
with caring nothing about what was going on in the house: for, on her
return home in the evening, she would always find him asleep; while
the floor would always be strewn with chairs, benches, and pictures,
which the children had left in a disorderly way after playing.
Alejo seemed to take no heed of what she said; he became more sluggish,
and had no mind for anything but sleeping all day. What was worse,
was that he would eat such big meals, that he left but little food for
his wife and children. Barbara's anger and impatience grew so strong,
that she no longer used words as a means to reform her husband. She
would kick him as he lay lazily on his bed, and would even whip him
like a child. Finally the thought of leaving home came into his head;
he determined to travel to some distant land, partly with the purpose
of getting away from his wife, who was always interfering with his
ease, and partly with the purpose of seeking his fortune.
One day he set out on a long journey, wandering through woods, over
hills, and along the banks of rivers, where no human creature could
be seen. After roaming about a long time, he became tired, and lay
down to rest in the shade of a tree near the bank of a river. While
he was listening to the melodious sounds of the birds and the sweet
murmur of the water, and was meditating on his wretched condition,
an old humpback came upon him, and addressed him in this manner:
"What is the matter, my friend? Why do you look so sad?"
"I am in great trouble," said Alejo. "I will tell you all about it. I
am married, and have many children to support; but I am poor. I have
been idling away my time, and my wife has been kicking and whipping
me like a child for not doing anything all day. So I have finally
left home to seek my fortune."
"Don't be worried, my son!" said the old man. "Here, take this
purse! It has nothing in it; but, if you need money at any time,
just say these words,--'Sopot, ua-ua sopot!' --and it will give
Alejo was very glad to have found his fortune so quickly. He took
the purse from the old man, and, after thanking him for it, started
for his home with lively spirits. Soon he reached the village. Before
going home, however, he went to the house of his compadre and comadre,
 and related to them what he had found. They entertained him well;
they drank and sang. While they all were feeling in good spirits,
Alejo took out his magic purse to test it before his friends.
"Friends," said Alejo, now somewhat drunk, "watch my purse!" at the
same time pronouncing the words "Sopot, ua-ua sopot!" Then showers of
silver coins dropped on the floor. When the couple saw this wonder,
they thought at once that their friend was a magician. They coveted the
purse. So they amused Alejo, gave him glass after glass of wine,--for
he was a great drinker,--until finally he was dead-drunk. At last
he was overcome by drowsiness, and the couple promptly provided him
with a bed. Just as he fell asleep, the wife stealthily untied the
purse from Alejo's waist, and put in its place one of their own.
After a good nap of an hour or two, Alejo awoke. He thanked his friends
for their kind reception and entertainment, and, after bidding them
good-by, went to his own home. There he found his wife busy sewing
by the fireside. He surprised her with his affectionate greeting. "My
dear, lovely wife, be cheerful! Here I have found something useful,--a
magic purse which will furnish us with money."
"O you rogue!" she replied, "don't bother me with your foolishness! How
could you ever get anything useful? You are lying to me."
"Believe me, my dear, I am telling the truth."
"All right; prove it to me at once."
"Call all out children, so that they may also see what I have
found." When all the children were called together, Alejo asked
the purse for money, just as the old man had showed him how to ask;
but no shower of coins dropped to the floor, for, as you know, it
was not the magic purse. Barbara was so enraged, that she stormed
at him with all the bitter words that can be imagined, and drove
him from the house. Alejo was a tender-hearted, if lazy, husband,
and it never occurred to him to beat his wife in turn. In fact,
he loved her and his children very much.
He wandered away again in the direction of the place where he had
met the old humpback. Here he found the old man, who said to him,
"Where are you going, Alejo?"
"Guiloy, your purse did not prove to be any good."
"Well, take this goat home with you. It will give you money if you ask
for it. Whenever you want any money, just say these words: 'Canding,
pag coroquinanding!'" 
Alejo gladly accepted the goat, and set out for home again. Again he
passed by his friends' house. There he stopped, and they entertained
him as before: they drank, danced, and sang. Alejo told them about
the virtues of his magic goat when he was feeling in a jovial mood;
and when he fell asleep, they exchanged his beast for one of their
own. After his nap, Alejo started home, his goat flung over his
shoulder; but again, when he tried to demonstrate to his wife the
magic powers of the goat, the animal did nothing, but stood looking
as foolish as before Alejo spoke the words the old man had taught
him. Barbara was more angry than ever, and, after railing at her
husband, would have nothing more to do with him.
Alejo immediately left home to find the old man again. In a short
time he met him. "How now, Alejo? What's the matter?"
"Your magic goat would not obey my command," said Alejo. "Try this
table, then," said the old man. "It will provide you with all kinds
of delicious food and drink. Just say, 'Tende la mesa!'  and all
kinds of foods will be served you."
Thanking the old man and bidding him good-by, Alejo shouldered the
magic table and left. He was invited into his friends' house as
before, and was entertained by the deceitful couple. Alejo imparted
to them the secret of his table. "Tende la mesa!" he said, and in
the wink of an eye every kind of food you could wish for appeared
on the table. They ate, and drank wine. Again Alejo drank so much,
that soon he was asleep, and again the false couple played a trick
on him: they exchanged his magic table for a common one of their
own. When Alejo woke up, he hastened to his own home, carrying the
table on his shoulder. He called his wife, and assured her that the
table would provide them with every variety of food. Now, this was
indeed good news to Barbara, so she called all their children about
them. When every one was seated about the table, Alejo exclaimed,
"Tende la mesa!"... You cannot imagine what blows, what pinches,
what whips, Alejo received from his wife's hands when not even a
single grain of rice appeared on the table!
Alejo now felt greatly ashamed before his wife. He wondered why it
was that when before his friends' eyes the purse, the goat, and the
table displayed their magic properties, they failed to display them
before his wife. However, he did not give up hope. He immediately
set out to seek the old man again. After a long wandering through
the same woods and hills and along river-banks, he came to the place
where he usually met him.
"Did the table prove good?" said the old man.
"No, Guiloy; so I have come here again."
"Well, Alejo," said the old man, "I pity you, indeed. Take this cane
as my last gift. Be very careful in using it, for I have no other
object to give you. The secret of this cane is this: if somebody has
done you wrong, say to the cane, 'Baston, pamordon!'  and then
it will lash that person. There are no princes, kings, or emperors
that it will not punish."
Taking the cane and thanking the old man, Alejo hastily returned
home. This time, when he reached the village, he did not pass by his
friends' house, but went directly home. He told his wife to go call
in all their friends, relatives, and neighbors, for they were going
to have a sort of banquet. At first Barbara was unwilling to do so,
because she remembered how she had been deceived before; but at last
Alejo persuaded her to do as he wished.
When all their friends, relatives, and neighbors were gathered in his
house, Alejo shut all the doors and even the windows. Then he shouted
to his magic cane, "Baston, pamordon!" and it at once began to lash
all the people in the house, throwing them into great confusion. At
last Alejo's two friends, the deceitful couple, exclaimed almost in
one voice, "Compadre, please stop, and we will give you back your
magic purse, goat, and table." When Alejo heard them say this, he
was filled with joy, and commanded the cane to cease.
That very day the magic purse, goat, and table were returned to him by
his compadre and comadre, and now Barbara realized that her husband's
wanderings had been profitable. The husband and wife became rich,
and they lived many happy years together.
A Tagalog story resembling the Bicol tale in some respects is "The
Adventures of Juan" (JAFL 20 : 106-107), in which
A magic tree furnishes the lad who spares it a goat that shakes silver
money from its whiskers, a net which will catch fish even on dry
ground, a magic pot always full of rice, and spoons full of whatever
vegetables the owner wishes, and finally a stick that will beat and
kill. The first three articles a false friend steals from Juan by
making him drunk. With the help of his magic cane, however, he gets
them back, and becomes rich and respected. One night a hundred robbers
come to break into the house, to take all his goods and kill him;
but he says to the stick, "Boombye, boom-ha!" and with the swiftness
of lightning the stick flies around, and all those struck fall dead,
until there is not one left. Juan is never troubled again by robbers,
and in the end marries a princess and lives happily ever after.
The last part of this story I have given in full, because it is almost
identical with the episode at the end of the preceding tale (No. 26,
q.v.), and consequently connects that story with our present cycle. In
a "Carancal" variant (III, e) the hero finds a magic money-producing
The hero of our tale is a lazy, good-natured man, whose industrious
wife's reproaches finally drive him from home. Analogous to this
beginning, but not furnishing a complete parallel, is Caballero's
"Tio Curro el de la porra" (Ingram, 174-180).
Uncle Curro is pleasure-loving and improvident, and soon finds
himself and his family in the direst need. Unable finally to bear the
reproaches of his wife, he goes out in the field to hang himself, when
a little fairy dressed like a friar appears, and blames him for his
Judas-like thought. The fairy then gives him an inexhaustible purse,
but this is stolen from him by a rascally public-house keeper. Again
he goes to hang himself; but the fairy restrains him, and gives him
a cloak that will furnish him with all kinds of cooked food. This
is likewise stolen. The third time he is given a cudgel. While on
his way home, he is met by his wife and children, who begin to insult
him. "Cudgel, beat them!" Magistrates and officers are summoned. These
are put to rout; and finally Uncle Curro and his stick make such
havoc among all sent to restrain him, that the king promises him a
large estate in America.
This version differs from the usual form, in that the inn-keeper is
not punished, nor are the first two magic objects recovered.
The "Ass-Table-Stick" cycle, of which the "Indolent Husband" is clearly
a member, is one of the most widespread Maerchen in the world. For
a full bibliography of this group, see Bolte-Polivka, 1 : 346-361
(on Grimm, No. 36). The usual formula for this cycle is as follows:--
A young servant (or a poor man) is presented by his master (or by
some powerful personage--in some of the versions, God himself) on two
different occasions with a magic object, usually a gold-giving animal,
and a table or cloth which miraculously supplies food. When in an inn,
he is robbed of the magic object and magic animal by the inn-keeper
or his wife, and worthless objects resembling those that are stolen
are substituted while the hero sleeps (or is drunk). The third magic
article, which he gets possession of in the same way as he acquired
the other two, is a magic cudgel or cane, through the aid of which
he recovers his stolen property.
This is the form of the story as it is found in Basile (1 : i),
Gonzenbach (No. 52), Cosquin (Nos. IV and LVI), Schott (No. 20),
Schneller (No. 15), Jacobs (English Fairy Tales, "The Ass, the
Table, and the Stick"), Dasent (No. XXXIV, "The Lad Who Went to the
North Wind" = Asbjoernsen og Moe, 1868, No. 7), Crane (No. XXXII,
"The Ass that Lays Money"); and it is this formula that our story
follows. Grimm, No. 36, however, differs from these stories in two
respects: (1) it has a framework-story of the deceitful goat on
whose account the father drives from home his three sons; (2) the
story proper concerns three brothers, one of whom acquires the little
wishing-table, another the gold-ass, and the third the cudgel. However,
as in the other tales, the possessor of the stick compels the thieving
inn-keeper to return the property stolen from his brothers.
In their details we notice a large number of variations, even among
the European forms. The personage from whom the poor man receives the
magic objects is sometimes God, Fortune, a fairy, a statue, a magician,
a dwarf, a priest, a lord, a lady, etc. (Cosquin, 1 : 52). The old
humpback in our story may be some saint in disguise, though the
narrator does not say so. The gold-producing animal is not always an
ass, either: it may be a ram (as in the Norse and Czech versions),
a sheep (Magyar, Polish, Lithuanian), a horse (Venetian), a mule
(Breton), a he-goat (Lithuanian, Norwegian), a she-goat (Austrian),
a cock (Oldenburg), or a hen (Tyrolese, Irish). For references see
The Indian members of this cycle are Lal Behari Day, No. 3, "The
Indigent Brahman;" Minajev, "Indiislda Skaski y Legendy" (1877),
No. 12; Stokes, No. 7, "The Foolish Sakhouni;" Frere, No. 12, "The
Jackal, the Barber, and the Brahmin who had Seven Daughters." Of these
versions, Day's most closely resembles the European form (Cosquin,
1 : 57).
Numerous as are the Indian and other Oriental variants, it seems to
me very likely that out story was not derived directly from them, but
from Europe. However, I shall not undertake to name the parent version.
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