How the Tinguian Learned to Plant

Mabel Cook Cole June 27, 2015
Philippine
Intermediate
3 min read
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    In the very old times the Tinguian did not know how to plant and harvest as they now do. For food they had only the things that grew in the forests and fish from the streams. Neither did they know how to cure people who became ill or were injured by evil spirits, and many died who might otherwise have lived.

    Then Kadaklan, the Great Spirit who lives in the sky, saw that the people often were hungry and sick, and he sent one of his servants, Kaboniyan, to the earth to teach them many things. And it happened this way:

    Dayapan, a woman who lived in Caalang, had been sick for seven years. One day when she went to the spring to bathe, there entered her body a spirit who had rice and sugar-cane with him, and he said to her:

    “Dayapan, take these to your home and plant them in the ground, and after a while they will grow large enough to reap. Then when they are ripe, build a granary to put the rice in until you shall need it, and a sugar-press to crush the cane. And when these are finished, make the ceremony Sayung, and you will be well.”

    Dayapan was filled with wonder at these strange things, but she took the rice and the sugar-cane and went home as she was commanded. While she was trying to plant them in the ground the Spirit again entered her body and showed her just what to do. Since then the Tinguian have planted crops every year, and because they do as Kaboniyan taught the woman they have plenty to eat.

    When Dayapan had reaped the first rice and cane, she began to make the ceremony Sayung, and the Spirit came again and directed her. And when it was finished and she was cured, he told her to take a dog and a cock and go to bathe in the river as a sign that the ceremony was finished. So she went to the river and tied the dog and the cock near the water, but while she was bathing the dog ate the cock.

    Dayapan wept bitterly at this and waited a long time for Kaboniyan, and when at last he came, he said:

    “If the dog had not killed the cock, no person would die when you make this ceremony; but this is a sign, and now some will die and some will get well.”

    Dayapan called all the people together, and told them the things that the spirit had taught her; and they could see that she had been made well. After that, when people became ill they called Dayapan to treat them. And it was as the Spirit had said; some died and others were made well.

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