Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In the Beginning

_Bilaan_ (_Mindanao_)

In the beginning there were four beings, [131] and they lived on an
island no larger than a hat. On this island there were no trees or
grass or any other living thing besides these four people and one
bird. [132] One day they sent this bird out across the waters to
see what he could find, and when he returned he brought some earth,
a piece of rattan, and some fruit.

Melu, the greatest of the four, took the soil and shaped it and beat
it with a paddle in the same manner in which a woman shapes pots of
clay, and when he finished he had made the earth. Then he planted
the seeds from the fruit, and they grew until there was much rattan
and many trees bearing fruit.

The four beings watched the growth for a long time and were well
pleased with the work, but finally Melu said:

"Of what use is this earth and all the rattan and fruit if there are
no people?"

And the others replied, "Let us make some people out of wax."

So they took some wax and worked long, fashioning it into forms,
but when they brought them to the fire the wax melted, and they saw
that men could not be made in that way.

Next they decided to try to use dirt in making people, and Melu and
one of his companions began working on that. All went well till they
were ready to make the noses. The companion, who was working on that
part, put them on upside down. Melu told him that the people would
drown if he left them that way, but he refused to change them.

When his back was turned, however, Melu seized the noses, one by one,
and turned them as they now are. But he was in such a hurry that he
pressed his finger at the root, and it left a mark in the soft clay
which you can still see on the faces of people.

No comments:

Post a Comment