Monday, November 5, 2012

The Camanchile and the Passion

The Camanchile and the Passion.

Once upon a time there grew in a forest a large camanchile-tree1 with spreading branches. Near this tree grew many other trees with beautiful fragrant flowers that attracted travellers. The camanchile had no fragrant flowers; but still its crown was beautifully shaped, for the leaves received as much light as the leaves of the other trees. But the beauty of the crown proved of no attraction to travellers, and they passed the tree by.
One day Camanchile exclaimed aloud, “Oh, what a dreary [395]life I lead! I would that I had flowers like the others, so that travellers would visit me often!” A vine by the name of Passion, which grew near by, heard Camanchile’s exclamation. Now, this vine grew fairly close to the ground, and consequently received “only a small amount of light. Thinking that this was its opportunity to improve its condition, it said, “Camanchile, why is your life dreary?”
“Ah, Passion!” replied Camanchile, “just imagine that you were unappreciated, as I am! Travellers never visit me, for I have no flowers.”
“Oh, that’s easy!” said Passion. “Just let me climb on you, and I’ll display on your crown my beautiful flowers. Then many persons will come to see you.” Camanchile consented, and let Passion climb up on him. After a few days Passion reached the top of the tree, and soon covered the crown.
A few months later Camanchile realized that he was being smothered: he could not get light, so he asked Passion to leave him. “O Passion! what pain I am in! I can’t get light. Your beauty is of no value. I am being smothered: so leave me, I beg of you!”
Passion would not leave Camanchile, however, and so Camanchile died.
MORAL: Be yourself.


With this story compare the “Palāsa-jātaka,” No. 370, which tells how a Judas-tree was destroyed by the parasitic growth of a banyan-shoot. The general idea is the same in both stories, though I hardly suspect that ours is descended from the Indian. The situation of a tree choked to death by a parasite is such a commonplace in everyday experience, that a moral story based on it might arise spontaneously almost anywhere.

1Camanchile, Pithecolobium dulce Benth. (Leguminosæ), a native of tropical America; introduced into the Philippines by the Spaniards probably in the first century of Spanish occupation; now thoroughly naturalized and widely distributed in the Archipelago.

No comments:

Post a Comment