Auac and Lamiran.Once Auac, a hawk, stole a salted fish which was hanging in the sun to dry. He flew with it to a branch of acamanchile-tree, where he sat down and began to eat. As he was eating, Lamiran, a squirrel who had his house in a hole at the foot of the tree, saw Auac. Lamiran looked up, and said, “What beautiful shiny black feathers you have, Auac!” When he heard this praise, the hawk looked very dignified. Nevertheless he was much pleased. He fluttered his wings. “You are especially beautiful, Auac, when you walk; for you are very graceful,” continued the squirrel. Auac, who did not understand the trick that was being played on him, hopped along the branch with the air of a king. “I heard some one say yesterday that your voice is so soft and sweet, that every one who listens to your song is charmed. Please let me hear some of your notes, you handsome Auac!” said the cunning Lamiran. Auac, feeling more proud and dignified than ever, opened his mouth and sang, “Uac-uac-uac-uac!” As he uttered his notes, the fish in his beak fell to the ground, and Lamiran got it.
A heron which was standing on the back of a water-buffalo near by saw the affair. He said, “Auac, let me give you a piece of advice. Do not always believe what others tell you, but think for yourself; and remember that ‘ill-gotten gains never prosper.’ ”
Notes.This is the old story of the “Fox and Crow [and cheese],” the bibliography for which is given by Jacobs (2 : 236). Jacobs sees a connection between this fable and two Buddhistic apologues:—
(1) The “Jambu-khādaka-jātaka,” No. 294, in which we find a fox (jackal) and a crow flattering each other. The crow is eating jambus, when he is addressed thus by the jackal:—
“Who may this be, whose rich and pleasant notes
Proclaim him best of all the singing birds,
Warbling so sweetly on the jambu-branch,
Where like a peacock he sits firm and grand!”
“ ’Tis a well-bred young gentleman who knows
To speak of gentlemen in terms polite!
Good sir,—whose shape and glossy coat reveal
The tiger’s offspring,—eat of these, I pray!”
“Too long, forsooth, I’ve borne the sight
Of these poor chatterers of lies,—
The refuse-eater and the offal-eater
Belauding each other.”
Our Pampangan story is of particular interest because of the moralizing of the heron at the end, making the form close to that of the two Jātakas. Possibly our story goes back to some old Buddhistic fable like these. The squirrel (or “wild-cat,” as Bergafio’s “Vocabulario,” dated 1732, defines lamiran) is not a very happy substitution for the original ground-animal, whatever that was; for the squirrel could reach a fish hanging to dry almost as easily as a bird could. Besides, squirrels are not carnivorous. Doubtless the older meaning of “wild-cat” should be adopted for lamiran.