It’s cold here today – and I hate the cold. So, I went looking for a folktale from somewhere warm. I found Philippine Folk Tales by Mabel Cook Cole, published in 1916, on Sur La Lune. The Philippines are warm and tropical. Today it’s apparently 79 degrees in Manila and 6 here. “How the Tinguian Learned to Plant” explains how the Tinguian people learned two important things – how to plant and how to care for the sick.
Long ago, the Tinguian did not know how to plant and harvest as they now do. For food they had only the things that grew in the forests and fish from the streams. They also did not know how to cure people who became ill or were injured by evil spirits. Then Kadaklan, the Great Spirit who lives in the sky, saw that the people often were hungry and sick, so he sent one of his servants, Kaboniyan, to the earth to teach them.
Dayapan, a woman who lived in Caalang, had been sick for seven years. One day when she went to the spring to bathe, a spirit entered her body. This spirit had rice and sugar-cane with him, and he told her to take them to her home and plant them in the ground. He said that after a while they would grow large enough to reap. When they were ripe, she was to build a granary to put the rice in until it was needed, and a sugar-press to crush the cane. He said that when those were finished, she should perform the ceremony Sayung and then she would be healed.
Dayapan was amazed, but she did what she was told. While she was trying to plant rice and sugar cane in the ground the spirit again entered her body and showed her what to do. Since then the Tinguian have planted crops every year, and because they do as Kaboniyan taught the woman they have plenty to eat.
When Dayapan had reaped the first rice and cane, she began to perform the ceremony Sayung. The spirit came again and directed her. When it was finished and she was cured, he told her to take a dog and a cock and go bathe in the river as a sign that the ceremony was finished. So she went to the river and tied the dog and the cock near the water, but while she was bathing the dog ate the cock.
Dayapan wept bitterly at this and waited a long time for Kaboniyan. When he came he told her that if the dog had not killed the cock, no person would die when the people did this ceremony. However, the dog killing the cock was a sign, and now some would die and some would get well.
Dayapan called all the people together, and told them the things that the spirit had taught her; and they could see that she had been made well. After that, when people became ill they called Dayapan to treat them. And it was as the Spirit had said; some died and others were made well.
The Philippines are an island chain and is made up of various ethnic groups. This story comes from the Tinguian people, obviously. The Tinguian are an indigenous people from the mountain province of Abra in northwestern Luzon, in the Philippines.
Tinguian Deities, according to Wikipedia:
Bagatulayan – The Supreme Being and Creator of the world. He lives and rules the celestial realm, directing its activities.
Kadaklan – Is a deity subordinate to Bagatulayan. He is a friendly spirit who teaches the Tinguian how to pray, harvest their crops, ward off evil spirits, and overcome bad omens and cure sicknesses.
Apadel or Kalagang – A deity who is known to be the guardian and dweller of the spirit-stones called pinaing which play an important role in the spiritual world of the Tinguian. Of various sizes and shapes, the pinaing are usually found in sports marked out as hallowed ground, often under old trees, and are deemed to be the protectors of such places and of the creatures who live in the forests.
Makaboteng (one who frightens) – A benevolent spirit who dwells in the natural surroundings, believed to be the guardian of the deer and the wild pigs.
In this story, we see how Kadaklan helped his people. Kadaklan is a thunder god, who lives in the sky with his faithful dog Kimat, the lightning, who will bite a house, a tree, or a field whenever Kadaklan desires a special ceremony to be performed.
I have to admit that I do love learning characters from mythologies I’m not familiar with.
Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.