Folk Tales in the Philippines


The Man with the Coconuts

One day a man who had been to gather his coconuts loaded his horse heavily with the fruit. On the way home he met a boy whom he asked how long it would take to reach the house.

“If you go slowly,” said the boy, looking at the load on the horse, “you will arrive very soon; but if you go fast, it will take you all day.”

The man could not believe this strange speech, so he hurried his horse. But the coconuts fell off and he had to stop to pick them up. Then he hurried his horse all the more to make up for lost time, but the coconuts fell off again. Many time he did this, and it was night when he reached home.


Dogedog had always been very lazy, and now that his father and mother were dead and he had no one to care for him, he lived very poorly. He had little to eat. His house was old and small and so poor that it had not even a floor. Still he would rather sit all day and idle away his time than to work and have more things.

One day, however, when the rainy season was near at hand, Dogedog began thinking how cold he would be when the storms came, and he felt so sorry for himself that he decided to make a floor in his house.

Wrapping some rice in a banana leaf for his dinner, he took his long knife and went to the forest to cut some bamboo. He hung the bundle of rice in a tree until he should need it; but while he was working a cat came and ate it. When the hungry man came for his dinner, there was none left. Dogedog went back to his miserable little house which looked forlorn to him even, now that he had decided to have a floor.

The next day he went again to the forest and hung his rice in the tree as he did before, but again the cat came and ate it. So the man had to go home without any dinner.

The third day he took the rice, but this time he fixed a trap in the tree, and when the cat came it was caught.

“Now I have you!” cried the man when he found the cat; “and I shall kill you for stealing my rice.”

“Oh, do not kill me,” pleaded the cat, “and I will be of some use to you.”

So Dogedog decided to spare the cat’s life, and he took it home and tied it near the door to guard the house.

Some time later when he went to look at it, he was very much surprised to find that it had become a cock.

“Now I can go to the cock-fight at Magsingal,” cried the man. And he was very happy, for he had much rather do that than work.

Thinking no more of getting wood for his floor, he started out at once for Magsingal with the cock under his arm.

As he was crossing a river he met an alligator which called out to him: “Where are you going, “Dogedog?”

“To the cock-fight at Magsingal,” replied the man as he fondly stroked the rooster.

“Wait, and I will go with you,” said the alligator; and he drew himself out of the water.

The two walking together soon entered a forest where they met a deer and it asked: “Where are you going, Dogedog?”

“To the cock-fight at Magsingal,” said the man.

“Wait and I will go with you,” said the deer; and he also joined them.

By and by they met a mound of earth that had been raised by the ants, and they would have passed without noticing it had it not inquired: “Where are you going, Dogedog?”

“To the cock-fight at Magsingal,” said the man once more; and the mound of earth joined them.

The company then hurried on, and just as they were leaving the forest, they passed a big tree in which was a monkey. “Where are you going, Dogedog?” shrieked the monkey. And without waiting for an answer, he scrambled down the tree and followed them.

As the party walked along they talked together, and the alligator said to Dogedog: “If any man wants to dive into the water, I can stay under longer than he.”

Then the deer, not to be outdone, said: “If any man wants to run, I can run faster.”

The mound of earth, anxious to show its strength, said: “If any man wants to wrestle, I can beat him.”

And the monkey said: “If any man wants to climb, I can go higher.”

They reached Magsingal in good time and the people were ready for the fight to begin. When Dogedog put his rooster, which had been a cat, into the pit, it killed the other cock at once, for it used its claws like a cat.

The people brought more roosters and wagered much money, but Dogedog’s cock killed all the others until there was not one left in Magsingal, and Dogedog won much money. Then they went outside the town and brought all the cocks they could find, but not one could win over that of Dogedog.

When the cocks were all dead, the people wanted some other sport, so they brought a man who could stay under water for a long time, and Dogedog made him compete with the alligator. But after a while the man had to come up first. Then they brought a swift runner and he raced with the deer, but the man was left far behind. Next they looked around until they found a very large man who was willing to contend with the mound of earth, but after a hard struggle the man was thrown. Finally they brought a man who could climb higher than anyone else, but the monkey went far above him, and he had to give up.

All these contests had brought much money to Dogedog, and now he had to buy two horses to carry his sacks of silver. As soon as he reached home, he bought the house of a very rich man and went to live in it. And he was very happy, for he did not have to work any more.

The Carabao and the Shell

One very hot day, when a carabao went into the river to bathe, he met a shell and they began talking together.

“You are very slow,” said the carabao to the shell.

“Oh, no,” replied the shell. “I can beat you in a race.”

“Then let us try and see,” said the carabao.

So they went out on the bank and started to run.

After the carabao had gone a long distance he stopped and called, “Shell!”

And another shell lying by the river answered, “Here I am!”

Then the carabao, thinking that it was the same shell with which he was racing, ran on.

By and by he stopped again and called, “Shell!”

And another shell answered, “Here I am!”

The carabao was surprised that the shell could keep up with him. But he ran on and on, and every time he stopped to call, another shell answered him. But he was determined that the shell should not beat him, so he ran until he dropped dead.


Once upon a time, when the world was flat and there were no mountains, there lived two brothers, sons of Lumawig, the Great Spirit. The brothers were fond of hunting, and since no mountains had formed there was no good place to catch wild pig and deer, and the older brother said, “Let us cause water to flow over all the world and cover it, and then mountains will rise up.”

So they caused water to flow over all the earth, and when it was covered they took the head-basket [a bamboo basket, in which the heads of victims are kept prior to the head-taking celebration] of the town and set it for a trap. The brothers were very much pleased when they went to look at their trap, for they had caught not only many wild pigs and deer, but also many people.

Now Lumawig looked down from his place in the sky and saw that his sons had flooded the earth and that in all the world there was just one spot which was not covered. And he saw that all the people in the world had been drowned except one brother and sister who lived in Pokis.

Then Lumawig descended, and he called to the boy and girl, saying, “Oh, you are still alive.”

“Yes,” answered the boy, “we are still alive, but we are very cold.”

So Lumawig commanded his dog and deer to get fire for the boy and girl. The dog and the deer swam quickly away, but though Lumawig waited a long time they did not return, and all the time the boy and girl were growing colder.

Finally Lumawig himself went after the dog and the deer, and when he reached them he said, “Why are you so long in bringing the fire to Pokis? Get ready and come quickly while I watch you, for the boy and girl are very cold.”

Then the dog and the deer took the fire and started to swim through the flood, but when they had gone only a little way, the fire was put out.

Lumawig commanded them to get more fire and they did so, but they swam only a little way again when that of the deer went out, and that of the dog would have been extinguished also had not Lumawig gone quickly to him and taken it.

As soon as Lumawig reached Pokis he built a big fire which warmed the brother and sister; and the water evaporated so that the world was as it was before, except that now there were mountains. The brother and sister married and had children, and thus there came to be many people on the earth.

The President who had Horns

Once there was a presidente [headman of a town] who was very unjust to his people, and one day he became so angry that he wished he had horns so that he might frighten them. No sooner had he made this rash wish, than horns began to grow on his head.

He sent for a barber who came to his house to cut his hair, and as he worked the presidente asked, “What do you see on my head?”

“I see nothing,” answered the barber; for although he could see the horns plainly, he was afraid to say so. Soon, however, the presidente put up his hands and felt the horns, and then when he inquired again the barber told him that he had two horns.

“If you tell anyone what you have seen, you shall be hanged,” said the presidente as the barber started away, and he was greatly frightened.

When he reached home, the barber did not intend to tell anyone, for he was afraid; but as he thought of his secret more and more, the desire to tell someone became so strong that he knew he could not keep it. Finally he went to the field and dug a hole under some bamboo, and when the hole was large enough he crawled in and whispered that the presidente had horns. He then climbed out, filled up the hole, and went home.

By and by some people came along the road on their way to market, and as they passed the bamboo they stopped in amazement, for surely a voice came from the trees, and it said that the presidente had horns. These people hastened to market and told what they had heard, and the people there went to the bamboo to listen to the strange voice. They informed others, and soon the news had spread all over the town. The councilmen were told, and they, too, went to the bamboo. When they had heard the voice, they ran to the house of the presidente. But his wife said that he was ill and they could not see him.

By this time the horns had grown until they were one foot in length, and the presidente was so ashamed that he bade his wife tell the people that he could not talk. She told this to the councilmen when they came on the following day, but they replied that they must see him, for they had heard that he had horns, and if this were true he had no right to govern the people.

She refused to let them in, so they broke down the door. They saw the horns of the head of the presidente and killed him. For, they said, he was no better than an animal.

The Monkey and the Crocodile

Monkey was upset. No food could be found anymore in the forest of the little island of Buyayaw. He was very hungry indeed. Of course, he could go to the mainland, where there was plenty of food, but that was exactly the problem. How could he cross the channel of water, infested with the voracious crocodiles?

“Well, let’s find out from the water,” Monkey said. “You, water, if it will be dangerous for me to cross, you should become cold.”

He dipped with his hand into the water, and cold it was indeed! But to die from hunger wasn’t a pleasure either, so he would try to cross the channel, whatever the outcome!

So Monkey started out. In the middle of the channel, Crocodile was waiting for him!

“What do you want of me, Crocodile?” Monkey asked.

“Well,” Crocodile said, “I’ll just have your liver. That’s what I like best.”

“My liver! exclaimed Monkey. “That’s just too bad. I left it on the shore because if I took it along, I would surely be drowned. But as a good friend, I am willing to get it for you. Maybe you could give me a ride on your back?”

And then they went to the shore. With a great leap Monkey jumped onto solid land and turned around at a safe distance.

“You stupid Crocodile,” he shouted, “did you ever hear about a man who left his liver behind!”

And after that he disappeared into the forest, leaving an angry crocodile behind.

But Crocodile planned to take revenge, and one day he hid himself in the house of Monkey, while Monkey was out. But Monkey was suspicious, and wanted to make sure as to whether or not Crocodile was inside the house.

“If somebody is in the house, let him keep silent,” Monkey shouted, “but if nobody is inside, he should give a yell.”

And sure enough, Crocodile gave a terrific yell!

Said Monkey, “You stupid Crocodile, have you ever heard a house yell, when nobody was inside!”

But Crocodile didn’t give up. One day later on he had been wallowing in the mud and had an awful stench. Flies were settling on his body as if he had already died. While this was happening Monkey came up, so Crocodile acted as if he was a real cadaver.

Monkey came nearer. Crocodile looked dead, all right, but one couldn’t be sure. “You, cadaver, if you are alive, don’t make a sound. But if you are really dead, let me hear it.”

And Crocodile gave a thundering roar!

“You stupid Crocodile,” Monkey laughed from a safe distance. “Ever heard about the dead crocodile that roars?”

Because of his cleverness, Monkey could always escape the tricks of Crocodile.


29 responses »

  1. Ako po ang author ng mga yan thank you po sa lahat ng magaganda nyong comments.

  2. Why is everyone looking for an author? Usually, wala pong author ang mga folktales. It’s started long time ago, passed from generation to generation kaya walang traces kung sino talagang author.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s