Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Adventures of Juan

Juan was lazy, Juan was a fool, and his mother never tired of scolding
him and emphasizing her words by a beating. When Juan went to school
he made more noise at his study than anybody else, but his reading
was only gibberish.

His mother sent him to town to buy meat to eat with the boiled rice,
and he bought a live crab which he set down in the road and told to
go to his mother and be cooked for dinner. The crab promised, but as
soon as Juan's back was turned ran in the other direction.

Juan went home after a while and asked for the crab, but there was
none, and they ate their rice without ulam. [12] His mother then
went herself and left Juan to care for the baby. The baby cried and
Juan examined it to find the cause, and found the soft spot on its
head. "Aha! It has a boil. No wonder it cries!" And he stuck a knife
into the soft spot, and the baby stopped crying. When his mother came
back, Juan told her about the boil and that the baby was now asleep,
but the mother said it was dead, and she beat Juan again.

Then she told Juan that if he could do nothing else he could at least
cut firewood, so she gave him a bolo and sent him to the woods.

He found what looked to him like a good tree and prepared to cut it,
but the tree was a magic tree and said to Juan, "Do not cut me and I
will give you a goat that shakes silver money from its whiskers." Juan
agreed, and the bark of the tree opened and the goat came out, and
when Juan told him to shake his whiskers, money dropped out. Juan was
very glad, for at last he had something he would not be beaten for. On
his way home he met a friend, and told him of his good fortune. The
man made him dead drunk and substituted another goat which had not
the ability to shake money from its whiskers, and when the new goat
was tried at home poor Juan was beaten and scolded.

Back he went to the tree, which he threatened to cut down for lying
to him, but the tree said, "No, do not kill me and I will give you
a magic net which you may cast even on dry ground or into a tree-top
and it will return full of fish," and the tree did even so.

Again he met the friend, again he drank tuba [13] until he was dead
drunk, and again a worthless thing was substituted, and on reaching
home he was beaten and scolded.

Once more Juan went to the magic tree, and this time he received a
magic pot, always full of rice; and spoons always full of whatever
ulam might be wished, and these went the way of the other gifts,
to the false friend.

The fourth time he asked of the tree he was given a magic stick
that would without hands beat and kill anything that the owner
wished. "Only say to it 'Boombye, boomba,' and it will obey your word,"
said the tree.

When Juan met the false friend again, the false friend asked him what
gift he had this time. "It is only a stick that if I say, 'Boombye,
boomba,' will beat you to death," said Juan, and with that the stick
leaped from his hand and began to belabor the wicked man. "Lintic na
cahoy ito ay! [14] Stop it and I will give you everything I stole from
you." Juan ordered the stick to stop, but made the man, bruised and
sore, carry the net, the pot, and the spoons, and lead the goat to
Juan's home. There the goat shook silver from his beard till Juan's
three brothers and his mother had all they could carry, and they dined
from the pot and the magic spoons until they were full to their mouths.

"Now," said Juan, "you have beaten me and called me a fool all my life,
but you are not ashamed to take good things when I get them. I will
show you something else. Boombye, boomba!" and the stick began to
beat them all. Quickly they agreed that Juan was head of the house,
and he ordered the beating to stop.

Juan now became rich and respected, but he never trusted himself
far from his stick day or night. One night a hundred robbers came
to break into the house, to take all his goods, and kill him, but
he said to the stick, "Boombye, boomba!" and with the swiftness of
lightning the stick flew around, and all those struck fell dead till
there was not one left. Juan was never troubled again by robbers,
and in the end married a princess and lived happily ever after.

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