Those of you who follow me on Instagram or are my friend on Facebook may have noticed we spent a few days this week at Hershey, PA. I’ll probably post some photos Saturday, but I wanted to share a chocolatey folk tale today. This one is from the Visayan people of the Philippines.
Many years ago, at the foot of Happy Mountain, there lived a wealthy couple who had an only daughter. The daughter was good-looking, but she was arrogant, mean, and lazy. She was called Amada. The couple had a neighbor, a wise woman and mother of twins. The twins were called Ruben and Teresa. They were kind to everyone, and they grew to love God’s creatures around them. Everyday they knelt and bowed their heads to pray.
One bright morning Amada, Ruben, and Teresa were playing in Amada’s garden when an old woman came by and begged for alms. Ruben and Teresa dug into their pockets but did not find anything. So Teresa took off her pearl necklace and gave it to the beggar. Amada did not like the idea. She tried to grab the necklace. She threw stones and splashed water at the beggar. However, the beggar did not let go of the pearls.
Instead, she shouted angrily, “You are unkind and rude. I’ll take you somewhere to teach you good manners. On the other hand, the kind children will be rewarded.” The woman took Amada away. Ruben and Teresa went to Amada’s parents and told them what had happened.
Although Amada lived with the old woman, who turned out to be a fairy, she still did not change her ways. She slung sticks at the fairy and did other mean things. The fairy promised to give Teresa’s pearls to Amada if she would become good.
One night Ruben heard a call. He thought it was Amada. So he went out with Teresa and headed towards where the voice seemed to have come from. They walked and walked until they reached the house of a giant. The giant was happy to see them. He thought his supper was assured that night. The giant’s wife begged him not to eat the two children. The stars began to fall. Little brown soldiers came in line and fought the giant. When the fight was over, Amada had become a changed girl. She became very kind. She was also happy to be with Teresa and Ruben again.
The brown soldiers ran away with the children until they reached home safely. The pearls that Amada received from the fairy were scattered into the fields as a symbol of kindness and humility. They became hard chocolate drops and grew into chocolate hills. Today they are the famous Chocolate Hills of Carmen, Batuan, and Borja in Bohol.
It has a lot of rather classic fairy tale elements, doesn’t it? The beggar who turns out to actually be powerful. The mean girl having to learn her lesson. It also has a rather happy ending, with Amada becoming kind and happy to return home.
I also like that it’s an origins story, telling how the Chocolate Hills came into being. The Chocolate Hills are a geological formation in Bohol Province, Philippines. There are at least 1,260 hills but there may be as many as 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 20 square miles. They are covered in green grass that turns brown (like chocolate) during the dry season, hence the name. The Chocolate Hills are a famous tourist attraction in Bohol. They are featured in the provincial flag and seal to symbolize the abundance of natural attractions in the province.
Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.