Filipino Tales

The Fifteenth Wife

Mateo, my Filipino servant, was helping me sort over specimens one day under the thatched roof of a shed which I had hired to use for such work while I was on the island of Culion, when I was startled to see him suddenly drop the bird skin he had been working on, and fall upon his knees, bending his body forward, his face turned toward the road, until his forehead touched the floor.

How Jackyo Became Rich (Visayan Folk-Tale)

A long time ago there was a young man whose name was Jackyo. He was very poor, and by his daily labor could earn barely enough for his food and nothing at all for his clothes. He had a little farm at some distance from the village in which he lived, and on it raised a few poor crops.

One pleasant afternoon Jackyo started off to visit his farm. It was late when he reached it, and after he had finished inspecting his crops, he turned back homewards. But the bright day had gone and the sun had set. Night came on quickly, and the way was dark and lonely.

The Anting-Anting of Manuelito

The Anting-Anting is a stone or other small object covered with cabalistic inscriptions. It is worn around the neck, and is supposed to render its owner impervious to knife or bullet. Many are wearing these charms, especially the Tulisanes or outlaws. The Anting-Anting must not be confused, however, with the scapular, a purely religious symbol worn by a great number of the Christian Filipinos.

Mangita and Larina

This is a tale told in the lake district of Luzon. At times of rain or in winter the waters of the Laguna de Bai rise and detach from the banks a peculiar vegetation that resembles lettuce. These plants, which float for months down the Pasig River, gave rise, no doubt, to the story.

Many years ago there lived on the banks of the Laguna de Bai a poor fisherman whose wife had died, leaving him two beautiful daughters named Mangita and Larina.

Suan Eket

(Narrated by Manuel Reyes, a Tagalog from Rizal province. He heard the story from his grandfather.)

Many years ago there lived in the country of Campao a boy named Suan. While this boy was studying in a private school, it was said that he could not pronounce the letter x very well—he called it “eket.” So his schoolmates nick-named him “Suan Eket.”