Wednesday, February 25, 2009



A great many years ago some Tinguian left their little village in the
valley early one morning and made their way toward the mountains. They
were off on a deer hunt, [77] and each carried his spear and head-ax,
while one held in leash a string of lean dogs eager for the chase.

Part way up the mountainside the dogs were freed, and the men
separated, going different ways in search of game. But ere long the
sharp barking of a dog called all in his direction, for they believed
that he had a deer at bay. As they approached the spot, however,
the object did not look like a deer, and as they drew nearer they
were surprised to find that it was a large jar. [78]

Filled with curiosity they pressed on, but the jar evaded them. Faster
and faster they ran, but the object, disappearing at times and then
coming into view again, always escaped them. On and on they went
until at last, tired out, they sat down on a wooded hill to rest and
to refresh themselves with betel-nut which they took from brass boxes
attached to their belts.

As they slowly cut the nuts and wrapped them in the lime and leaf
ready for chewing, they talked of nothing but the wonderful jar and
the mysterious power it possessed. Then just as they were about to
put the tempting morsels into their mouths they stopped, startled by
a strange soft voice which seemed to be near them. They turned and
listened, but could see no person.

"Find a pig which has no young," said the voice, "and take its blood,
for then you will be able to catch the jar which your dog pursued."

The men knew then that the mysterious jar belonged to a spirit, so
they hastened to do as the voice commanded, and when they had secured
the blood the dog again brought the jar to bay. The hunters tried to
seize it, but it entered a hole in the ground and disappeared. They
followed, and found themselves in a dark cave [79] where it was easy
to catch the jar, for there was no outlet save by the hole through
which they had entered.

Though that was many years ago, the jar still lives, and its name
is Magsawi. Even now it talks; but some years ago a crack appeared
in its side, and since then its language has not been understood by
the Tinguian. [80]

Sometimes Magsawi goes on long journeys alone when he visits his wife,
a jar in Ilocos Norte, or his child, a small jar in San Quintin;
but he always returns to Domayco on the hillside near the cave.

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