Sunday, February 22, 2009

Story of Ca Matsin and Ca Boo-Ug

One day a turtle, whose name was Ca Boo-Ug, and a monkey, Ca Matsin,
met on the shore of a pond. While they were talking, they noticed a
banana plant floating in the water.

"Jump in and get it," said Ca Matsin, who could not swim, "and we will
plant it, and some day we will have some bananas of our own." So Ca
Boo-Ug swam out and brought the plant to shore.

"Let's cut it in two," said Ca Matsin. "You may have one half and I
will take the other, and then we shall each have a tree."

"All right," said Ca Boo-Ug; "which half will you take?"

Ca Matsin did not think the roots looked very pretty, and so he
chose the upper part. Ca Boo-Ug knew a thing or two about bananas,
so he said nothing, and each took his part and planted it. Ca Boo-Ug
planted his in a rich place in the garden, but Ca Matsin planted his
in the ashes in the fireplace, because it was easy, and then, too,
he could look at it often and see how pretty it was.

Ca Matsin laughed as he thought how he had cheated Ca Boo-Ug, but
soon his part began to wither and die, and he was very angry.

With Ca Boo-Ug it was different. Before long his tree began to
put forth leaves, and soon it had a beautiful bunch of bananas on
it. But he could not climb the tree to get the bananas, so one day
he went in search of Ca Matsin, and asked him how his banana-tree
was getting along. When Ca Matsin told him that his tree was dead,
Ca Boo-Ug pretended to be very much surprised and sorry, and said:--

"My tree has a beautiful bunch of bananas on it, but I cannot climb
up to get them. If you will get some of them for me, I will give
you half."

Ca Matsin assented, and climbed the tree. When he got to the top, he
pulled a banana, ate it, and threw the skin down to Ca Boo-Ug. Then
he ate another, and another, throwing the skins down on Ca Boo-Ug's
head. When he had eaten all he wanted, he jumped out of the tree and
ran away to the woods, laughing at Ca Boo-Ug. Ca Boo-Ug did not say
anything, but just sat down and thought what he should do to get even
with Ca Matsin. Finally, he gathered a lot of bamboo sticks and planted
them around the tree with the sharp points up, covering them with
leaves so that they could not be seen. Then he sat down and waited.

As soon as Ca Matsin got hungry again, he went around to Ca Boo-Ug's
garden to get some more bananas. Ca Boo-Ug seemed glad to see him,
and when Ca Matsin asked for some bananas, replied:--

"All right, you may have all you want, but on one condition. When
you jump out of the tree you must not touch those leaves. You must
jump over them."

As soon as Ca Matsin heard that he must not jump on the leaves, that
was just what he wanted to do. So when he had eaten all the bananas
he wanted, he jumped out of the tree on to the leaves as hard as he
could jump, and was killed by the sharp bamboo points.

Then Ca Boo-Ug skinned him and cut him up and packed the meat in a
jar of brine and hid it in the mud on the bank of the pond.

In the dry season the banana-trees all died and the cocoanut-trees
bore no fruit, so a troop of monkeys came to Ca Boo-Ug and asked him
if he would give them something to eat.

"Yes, I have some nice meat in a jar which I will give you, but if
I do, you must promise to eat it with your eyes shut."

They were very hungry, so they gave the required promise, and Ca
Boo-Ug gave them the meat. All kept their eyes shut except one,
a little baby, and like all babies, he was very curious and wanted
to see what was going on. So he opened one eye and peeped at a bone
which he had in his hand, then he called out:--

"Oh, see what I have found! Here is the little finger of my brother,
Ca Matsin!"

Then all the monkeys looked, and when they found that Ca Boo-Ug had
killed a member of their tribe they were very angry, and looked for
Ca Boo-Ug, in order to kill him. But they could not find him, for
as soon as he saw what had happened he had hidden under a piece of
cocoanut shell which was lying on the ground.

The chief monkey sat upon the cocoanut shell, while he was planning
with his companions how they should catch Ca Boo-Ug, but of
course he did not know where he was, so he called out: "Where's Ca
Boo-Ug? Where's Ca Boo-Ug?"

Ca Boo-Ug was so tickled when he heard the monkey ask where he was that
he giggled. The monkeys heard him, and looked all around for him, but
could not find him. Then they called out: "Where's Ca Boo-Ug? Where's
Ca Boo-Ug?" This time Ca Boo-Ug laughed out loud, and the monkeys
found him. Then they began to plan how they should punish him.

"Let's put him into a rice mortar and pound him to death," said
one. "Aha!" said Ca Boo-Ug, "that's nothing! My mother beat me so
much when I was little that now my back is so strong that nothing
can break it."

When the monkeys found out that Ca Boo-Ug was not afraid of being
pounded in a rice mortar, they determined to try something else.

"Let's make a fire on his back and burn him up," suggested
another. "Oh, ho!" laughed Ca Boo-Ug, "that's nothing. I should think
that you could tell by the color of my shell that I have had a fire
lighted on my back many times. In fact, I like it, as I am always
so cold."

So the monkeys decided that they would punish Ca Boo-Ug by throwing
him into the pond and drowning him.

"Boo-hoo!" cried Ca Boo-Ug, "don't do that! You will surely kill
me. Please don't do that! Boo-hoo! Boo-hoo!"

Of course when the monkeys found that Ca Boo-Ug did not wish to be
thrown into the pond, they thought they had found just the way to kill
him. So, in spite of his struggles, they picked him up and threw him
far out into the pond.

To their surprise and chagrin, Ca Boo-Ug stuck his head out of the
water and laughed at them, and then turned around and swam off.

When the monkeys saw how they had been deceived, they were very
much disappointed, and began to plan how they could catch Ca Boo-Ug
again. So they called to a big fish, named Botete, that lived in
the pond:

"Botete! Drink all you can of the water in the pond and help us
find the bag of gold that we hid in it. If you will help us find it,
you shall have half of the gold."

So Botete began to drink the water, and in a little time the pond
was nearly dry. Then the monkeys determined to go down into the pond
and look for Ca Boo-Ug. When he saw them coming, Ca Boo-Ug called
to Salacsacan, the kingfisher, who was sitting on a branch of a tree
which hung over the water:--

"Salacsacan! Salacsacan! Botete has drunk all the water in the pond,
and if there is no water there will be no fish for you to catch. Fly
down now and peck a hole in Botete, and let the water out, before the
fish are all dead." So Salacsacan flew down and pecked a hole in the
side of Botete, and the water rushed out and drowned all the monkeys.

When Ca Boo-Ug saw that the monkeys were all dead, he crawled up on
the bank, and there he lived happily ever after.

Another version ends as follows:--

When the monkeys saw how they had been deceived, they were very
much disappointed and began to plan how they could catch Ca Boo-Ug
again. They decided to drink all the water in the pond, and then they
could catch Ca Boo-Ug before he could escape. So they drank and drank,
until they all burst.

When Ca Boo-Ug saw that the monkeys were all dead, he crawled up on
the bank, and there he lived happily ever after.

W. H. Millington and Berton L. Maxfield.

Brooklyn, N.Y.

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