Philippine Folk-Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 222 pages of information about Philippine Folk-Tales.

The wives of the dead crabs wondered why their husbands did not come home.  They thought the battle must be a long one, and decided to go down and help their husbands.  As they reached the shore and entered the water to look for their husbands, the waves killed them.

A short time afterwards, thousands of little crabs, such as are now called fiddlers, were found near the shore.  When these children were old enough to walk, the shrimp often visited them and related to them the sad fate of their parents.  And so, if you will watch carefully the fiddlers, you will notice that they always seem ready to run back to the land, where their forefathers lived, and then, as they regain their courage, they rush down, as if about to fight the waves.  But they always lack the courage to do so, and continually run back and forth.  They live neither on dry land, as their ancestors did, nor in the sea, like the other crabs, but up on the beach, where the waves wash over them at high tide and try to dash them to pieces.

CHAPTER 17

The Meeting of the Plants.

Once upon a time plants were able to talk as well as people, and to walk from place to place.  One day King Molave, the strongest tree, who lived on a high mountain, called his subjects together for a general meeting.

Then every tree put itself in motion towards the designated spot, each doing its best to reach it first.  But the buri palm was several days late, which made the king angry, and he cursed it in these terms:—­

“You must be punished for your negligence, and as king I pass upon you this sentence:  You shall never see your descendants, for you shall die just as your seeds are ready to grow.”

And from that day the buri palms have always died without seeing their descendants.

CHAPTER 18

Who Brings the Cholera?

The Filipinos, being for the most part ignorant of the laws of hygiene, attribute the cholera to any cause rather than the right one.  In general, they believe it to be caused by some evil-minded men, who poison the wells, or, sometimes, by evil spirits, as the following story will show.

Tanag was a poor man who lived in a town in the interior of one of the Philippine Islands.  He had nothing to eat, nor could he find any work by which he might earn his food, and so he determined to emigrate.  At that time the cholera was at its height.

As Tanag was rather old, he walked so slowly that in a day he had gone but three miles.  At sunset he was crossing a sheltered bridge over a smooth brook near the sea, and determined to rest and spend the night there.

During the early part of the night he was all right, but later it occurred to him that he might be seen and killed by the ladrones, who often passed that way.

Below the bridge was a raft of bamboo poles, and he thought it would be wise to get down there, where he could not so easily be seen.  But there were many mosquitoes over the water, so that he was unable to sleep.  He determined, however, to stay there until day dawned.

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Philippine Folk-Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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