Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Stories of Juan

Juan Gathers Guavas.

The guavas were ripe, and Juan's father sent him to gather enough
for the family and for the neighbors who came to visit them. Juan
went to the guava bushes and ate all that he could hold. Then he
began to look around for mischief. He soon found a wasp nest and
managed to get it into a tight basket. He gave it to his father
as soon as he reached home, and then closed the door and fastened
it. All the neighbors were inside waiting for the feast of guavas,
and as soon as the basket was opened they began to fight to get out
of the windows. After a while Juan opened the door and when he saw
his parents' swollen faces, he cried out, "What rich fine guavas
those must have been! They have made you both so very fat."

Juan Makes Gulay of his own Child.

After Juan was married about a year a baby was born, and he and
his wife loved it very much. But Juan was always obedient to his
wife, being a fool, and when she told him to make gulay or stew he
inquired of her of what he should make it. She replied of anac, 
meaning anac hang gabi. Then she went away for a while, and when
she returned Juan had the gulay ready. She asked for the baby and
was horrified to learn that Juan had made a stew of his own child,
having taken her words literally.

Juan Wins a Wager for the Governor.

Juan was well known for a brave man, though a fool, and the priest and
the governor wished to try him on a wager. The governor told him that
the priest was dead, and ordered him to watch the body in the church
that night. The priest lay down on the bier before the altar, and
after Juan came the priest arose. Juan pushed him down again and ran
out of the church and secured a club. Returning, he said to the priest,
"You are dead; try to get up again and I will break you to pieces." So
Juan proved himself to be a brave man, and the governor won his wager.

Juan Hides the Salt.

Juan's father came into possession of a sack of salt, which used to
be very precious and an expensive commodity. He wished it hidden in a
secure place and so told Juan to hide it till they should need it. Juan
went out and after hunting for a long time hid it in a carabao wallow,
and of course when they went to fetch it again nothing was left but
the sack.

The Man in the Shroud.

Juan, being a joker, once thought to have a little fun at others'
expense, so he robed himself in a shroud, placed a bier by the
roadside, set candles around it, and lay down so that all who went by
should see him and be frightened. A band of robbers went by that way,
and seeing the corpse, besought it to give them luck. As it happened,
they were more than usually fortunate, and when they returned they
began to make offerings to him to secure continuance of their good
fortune. As the entire proceeds of their adventures were held in
common, they soon began to quarrel over the offerings to be made. The
captain became angry, and drew his sword with a threat to run the
corpse through for causing so much dissension among his men.

This frightened the sham dead man to such a degree that he jumped up
and ran away, and the robbers, who were even more frightened than he,
ran the other way, leaving all their plunder.

Juan then returned and gathered all the money and valuables left
behind by the robbers, and carried them home. Now he had a friend
who was very curious to know how he came into possession of so much
wealth, and so Juan told him, only he said nothing about robbers,
but told his friend, whose name was Pedro, that the things were the
direct reward of God for his piety.

Pedro, being afraid of the woods, decided to lie just inside the church
door; besides, that being a more sacred place, he felt sure that God
would favor him even more than Juan. He arranged his bier with the
candles around him, and lay down to await the shower of money that
should reward his devotions. When the sacristan went to the church
to ring the bell for vespers, he saw the body lying there, and not
knowing of any corpse having been carried in, he was frightened
and ran to tell the padre. The padre, when he had seen the body,
said it was a miracle, and that it must be buried within the church,
for the sanctification of the edifice.

But Pedro, now thoroughly frightened, jumped off the bier and ran away,
and the priest and the sacristan ran the other way, so the poor man
never received the reward for his piety, and the church was deprived
of a new patron saint.

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