Camanla and Parotpot (Visayan Folktale)

Story Type: 

Camanla was a very poor but very busy man, and always praising his own work. When he talked with other people he ended every third or fourth word with "la," which was the last syllable of his name and is a word of praise.

One day he made a boat, and when it was finished he began to talk to it. These were his words: "My boat, la, you may go, la, to find a pretty lady, la, for my wife, la, to make me happy, la." Then his boat started to sail without anybody to manage it. When she reached a large town she stopped in the river, near where the pretty daughters of some rich men of the town were taking a walk. They were accustomed to take any boat they might find and use it when they wished to cross the river, returning in the same way.

As Camanla's boat was there and looked very fine, the young ladies decided to cross the river in it. The youngest was the first to jump into the boat. When the little boat felt that some one had come on board, she ran away, carrying the lady.

When Camanla saw his boat coming, he began to praise it, saying: "My boat, la, is coming, la, to bring me, la, my pretty lady, to marry me, la." Very soon the boat anchored, and he went down to receive the lady, whom he soon married. Then was Camanla happy, but one day he had no food to give his wife, so he made a little taon, or fish trap, and said to it: "My pretty taon, la, you may go, la, to the river, la, to get me some fish, la." The taon then walked toward the river, and soon came back, full of fish. Camanla was an object of envy to all the world.

His happiness was soon heard of by his friend Parotpot, who became very envious. At last he went to Camanla's house. When he met his friend, he said to him: "You are very happy, my friend, and I envy you." Camanla replied: "Yes, I am very fortunate. I have my little boat that sails every day to get my food, and a little taon that goes to the river and brings me fine fish."

Parotpot returned sadly home. He concluded to build a boat like his friend's, but Parotpot, when he talked, ended every third or fourth word with "pot," (pronounced po) the ending of his name: This word has a scornful meaning. When the boat was finished, he began to talk to it as follows: "My boat, pot, you may go, pot, to find me a wife, pot, prettier than my friend's wife, pot." The boat sailed away, and reached a large river, just as some men were looking for a boat to take across the body of their grandmother, in order to bury it in the cemetery of the town. When they saw the boat they were glad to get across the river so easily, so they lifted the body and placed it in the boat. When the boat felt that something was on board, she sailed swiftly towards home, leaving the men behind. Parotpot was watching, and when he saw the boat coming, he began to talk thus: "My boat, pot, is coming, pot, to bring me, pot, a pretty lady, pot, to marry me, pot." But, alas! a dead grandmother, instead of a pretty lady! He was so angry that he seized his bolo and chopped the boat to pieces, leaving the body to float away.

But Parotpot thought that he might succeed better with a fish-trap, like his friend Camanla's. When he had finished it, he sent it to the river, saying: "My taon, pot, go now to the river, pot, and catch many fishes, pot, for my dinner, pot." The taon went. It was Sunday and the people of the town were killing cattle for their Sunday dinner, and throwing the waste into the river. All this filth floated into the taon and filled it. Then it ran back home. While the taon had been gone, Parotpot had been making preparations for a great dinner. He cooked the rice and washed the dishes, and then invited his friends to come to his house and share his excellent dinner. When he saw the taon coming, he said: "My taon, pot, is coming now, pot, to bring me many fine fish, pot, for my dinner, pot." When his neighbors saw what was in the taon, they laughed, and Parotpot said: "I can never be as happy as my friend Camanla." Then he took the taon and threw it into the fire.