The Trial among the Animals.In ancient times Sinukuan, the judge of the animals, lived in one of the caves of Mount Arayat. He had formerly lived in a neighboring town; but, since he was so brave and strong, the people began to envy him, then to hate him. At last they made so many plots against his life, that he gave up all his property and friends in the town, and went to live in Mount Arayat, where he devoted all his time to gaining the friendship of the animals there.
Now, it was not hard for Sinukuan to win the love of the animals, for he had the power of changing himself into whatever form he pleased; and he always took the form of those animals who came to him. It was not long before all the animals realized the power, wisdom, and justice of their good companion, so they made him their judge.
One day a bird came to Sinukuan’s court, and asked Sinukuan to punish the frog for being so noisy during the night, while it was trying to sleep. Sinukuan summoned the troublesome frog, and asked him the reason for his misbehavior. The frog answered respectfully, “Sir, I was only crying for help, because the turtle was carrying his house on his back, and I feared that I might be buried under it.”
“That is good enough reason,” said Sinukuan; “you are free.”
The turtle was the next to be summoned to Sinukuan’s court. On his arrival, he humbly replied to the question of the judge, “Honorable Judge, I carried my house with me, because the firefly was playing with fire, and I was afraid he might set fire to my home. Is it not right to protect one’s house from fire?”
“A very good reason; you are free,” said Sinukuan.
In the same way the firefly was brought to court the next day, and when the judge asked him why he was playing with fire, he said in a soft voice, “It was because I have no other means with which to protect myself from the sharp-pointed dagger of the mosquito.” This seemed a reasonable answer, so the firefly was liberated too.
Finally the mosquito was tried; and, since he did not have any good reason to give for carrying his dagger, Sinukuan sentenced him to three days’ imprisonment. The mosquito was obliged to submit; and it was during this confinement of the mosquito that he lost his voice. Ever since, the male mosquito has had no voice; and he has been afraid to carry his dagger, for fear of greater punishment.