Padre Florentino looked down at his feet. There below he saw the dark billows of the Pacific beating into the hollows of the cliff, producing sonorous thunder, at the same time that, smitten by the moonbeams, the waves and foam glittered like sparks of fire, like handfuls of diamonds hurled into the air by some jinnee of the abyss. He gazed about him. He was alone. The solitary coast was lost in the distance amid the dim cloud that the moonbeams played through, until it mingled with the horizon. The forest murmured unintelligible sounds.
Then the old man, with an effort of his herculean arms, hurled the chest into space, throwing it toward the sea. It whirled over and over several times and descended rapidly in a slight curve, reflecting the moonlight on its polished surface. The old man saw the drops of water fly and heard a loud splash as the abyss closed over and swallowed up the treasure. He waited for a few moments to see if the depths would restore anything, but the wave rolled on as mysteriously as before, without adding a fold to its rippling surface, as though into the immensity of the sea a pebble only had been dropped.
“May Nature guard you in her deep abysses among the pearls and corals of her eternal seas,” then said the priest, solemnly extending his hands. “When for some holy and sublime purpose man may need you, God will in his wisdom draw you from the bosom of the waves. Meanwhile, there you will not work woe, you will not distort justice, you will not foment avarice!”
aba: A Tagalog exclamation of wonder, surprise, etc., often used to introduce or emphasize a contradictory statement.
alcalde: Governor of a province or district, with both executive and judicial authority.
Ayuntamiento: A city corporation or council, and by extension the building in which it has its offices; specifically, in Manila, the capitol.
balete: The Philippine banyan, a tree sacred in Malay folk-lore.
banka: A dugout canoe with bamboo supports or outriggers.
batalan: The platform of split bamboo attached to a nipa house.
batikulin: A variety of easily-turned wood, used in carving.
bibinka: A sweetmeat made of sugar or molasses and rice-flour, commonly sold in the small shops.
buyera: A woman who prepares and sells the buyo.
buyo: The masticatory prepared by wrapping a piece of areca-nut with a little shell-lime in a betel-leaf—the pan of British India.
cabesang: Title of a cabeza de barangay; given by courtesy to his wife also.
cabeza de barangay: Headman and tax-collector for a group of about fifty families, for whose “tribute” he was personally responsible.
calesa: A two-wheeled chaise with folding top.