Folktales and Religious Festivals in Batangas by Claudia Cruz, 1930 Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Folktales and Religious Festivals in Batangas by Claudia Cruz, 1930 Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Folktales and Religious Festivals in Batangas by Claudia Cruz, 1930 Part I



This page contains the complete transcription of the 1930 ethnographic paper written by one Claudia M. Cruz from .jpeg scans of the originals made available by the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections. Corrections for grammar had been made in certain parts but no attempt was made to rewrite the original paper. Original pagination is indicated for citation purposes.

Henry Otley-Beyer Collection

[Cover page.]

Tagalog Paper No. 675.
Claudia M. Cruz
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  1. TAGALOG: Batangas, Batangas Province.
  2. Taal, Batangas Province.
  3. Summary: Folklore: Fables, myths and magic tales.
  4. TAGALOG: Batangas, Batangas Province.
  5. Social Life: Celebration of a town fiesta.

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January 21, 1930.

[p. 1]


Claudia M. Cruz

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The Cat and the Mouse
(A Fable)

One afternoon, a thin hungry mouse was looking for something to eat. In his search, he came into an old woman’s kitchen, and there he found a big pot full of lard. Filled with joy, he planned to steal the pot of lard and hide it in his house. That pot of lard will keep him supplied with food for one whole year or perhaps longer, and he need not work for the time being. (This ran the mouse’s thoughts.) But he found that the pot was too heavy for him to carry alone so he thought of asking some help. He dismissed the thought of asking his mice friends’ help for they might demand a share of the lard from him. He would so like to keep all of it for himself! All of a sudden, he saw a cat near the kitchen door. “Now I have it,” he exclaimed. “Cats don’t eat lard.” So he jumped down the cupboard and was about to call the cat, but at the very instant he thought to himself, “Oh! He might eat me!” So, trembling with fear, the thin hungry mouse hid behind the stove and began to think again. After a while, he jerked his head up, his whiskers bristling and his face lighted with joy. Squeezing himself in

[p. 2]

a hole so that the cat will not find him easily, he called.

“My dear friend, would you want to eat some nice fat mice?”

The cat, hungry and starving himself, wheeled about and exclaimed, “Of course! Where are they? Who are you?” And his green eyes looked everywhere around him.

“Keep quiet,” said the mouse, fear and hope struggling in his heart. “I shall tell you,” he went on, “provided that you don’t harm me. You see, I am a mouse.” There, the cat looked so terribly hungry that the poor mouse’s heart almost broke his ribs with a great big jump. “If you don’t harm me and if you help me to carry a pot to my home, I shall tell you a place where the mice swarm in millions.”

The cat, with a dazzling vision of a thousand mice – big, fat, sweet mice – dancing before his eyes, readily consented. The mouse told him that he had to help carry the pot first before he would know where the place was. The cat, therefore, helped the mouse, but on the way he looked so hungrily at the mouse that the latter in his fright promised him one-half of the lard in the pot, if he would only keep his promise. The cat agreed for he said that he loved lard next to big fat mice, but that he preferred mice to thin mice. The poor mouse, hearing this, for the first time in his life, felt grateful for his hungry days. At last, they came to the old town church

[p. 3]

and here, the mouse announced that this was his home. Then, he told the cat that he will find all the mice in town living in the ceiling and in the “sacristia” of the church. The “sacristia” was the place in the church where the old statues, old carriages and all the unused things of the church were kept. The room next to this – also called the “sacristia” – is where the church priests dress for the church ceremonies.

The cat lived gloriously after that. He ate ten mice every day, and licked his tongue twenty times in the lard pot. The poor mouse, however, found that he had lost a great deal in their bargain, for the cat was a horribly fast eater. “He simply devours the lard,” the poor thing wailed to himself. But he never complained to the cat. Once, he did precisely that thing and the cat showed him all his sharp teeth in an angry snarl, so that the poor mouse ran for dear life’s sake – even at the cost of losing a whole badly wanted dinner.

There came the time when only a little lard only remained in the pot. This the cat ate – licking the pot clean. Lazy to hunt for anymore mice (which he found very scarce lately as without his knowledge, they had all immigrated to another place when they found that a cat had found out their abode) the cat went to sleep. After a while, the mouse, very tired and hungry after a long walk, came to eat his dinner. Finding the pot empty, the poor

[p. 4]

creature went mad with anger and seeing the cat gently and contentedly purring in an obvious good sleep, the mouse did not restrain from pouring out his stored-up wrath. He called the cat a thief for eating more than his share of the pot of lard and many other ugly names. The cat woke up in a very bad temper and seeing the disturber of his sweet slumber, without any compunction, grabbed it and in a moment nothing remained of the poor mouse. Then, with a satisfied purr, the cat went to sleep again after his meal.

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Manila, January 2, 1930.

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The Goats and the Lesson they Teach.
(A Fable)

Once upon a time, there lived a rich goat family and a poor cow family. The former lived in a big, clean, airy barn while the latter dwelt in a tattered, weather-beaten shack. Despite the difference in their social positions, the families were very near each other – for the mother cow and the mother goat had been great friends ever since they were children.

When the Old Year was about to close, the mother goat sent an invitation to the cow family to an informal New Year celebration. The mother cow with many thanks accepted the kind invitation. New Year came, and after admonishing her six daughters to behave themselves, the mother cow and her

[p. 5]

family went to the big barn. They were all dressed in their best hides and were looking their very best, too. Now, the mother goat prepared a grand feast for the guests, and when all was ready, she told her two sons to fix themselves up in their best hides, for even if her friends were poor, she had a warm place for her in her heart.

Everything went well with the celebration – apparently. After much eating, dancing, and singing, the guests departed. On their way home, the daughter cows all exclaimed: “Oh! Mother, these goats have such a very bad smell. We thought we were going to faint!” The mother scolded them and told them to be grateful creatures. The next morning, she sent two of the daughters to tell the mother goat that she would be so glad to invite them in return but she could scarcely afford that. The mother goat remonstrated and invited the two girl cows to dinner.

Obedient to their mother’s order to try to show their gratitude in every possible way, the girl cow accepted the invitation. How it so happened that the handsome goats fell in love with the girl cows. After much persuasions and many negotiations, the girl cows consented to the proposal.

In due time, they were married, and they lived in the big barn. The mother goat lavished them with everything she could think of and apparently everything was alright. But, in their hearts, the girl cows hated the goats because of their pungent smell – so that one day, unable to tolerate it any

[p. 6]

longer, they ran away to their mother. They told her everything – that they no longer could stand the air of the barn and thereafter, they ran away.

Meanwhile, the goats found out this insult on their illustrious persons, and in a fit of rage, they rushed to the cows’ [blurred word] and killed the two offenders. The sight of the blood so saddened the cows that they, in turn, killed the goats. And ever since, the cows hated red, for they always mistook it for the blood of their murdered kin and they always go into a mad fit at the sight of it.

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Manila, January 21, 1930.

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Si Juan Tamad.
(A tale (“magic”) from Batangas).

Once, there was a young lad whose pet aversion was work and whose favorite “virtue” was SLOTH. He was so lazy that everyone who knew him called him Juan Tamad – or Lazy Juan. His mother’s scolding and threats all entered one ear only to pass through the other – respectfully received by unheededly forgotten. He had, however, gone away with impunity to this day because of his brain for Juan was as stunningly clever as he was shamelessly lazy.

Now, it came to pass one day that the king proclaimed one of his unexpected rounds. In these rounds, it was unwritten that all should be ready to receive the king

[p. 7]

at noon so that whenever the noon hour overtook the king or wherever he fancied to dine, no inconvenience and discomfort would be caused. That day, Juan’s mother cut her hand so badly that she had to leave the whole affair in Juan’s hands. This was very detestable to Juan’s nature, and to add to his consternation and annoyance, the kind had announced early in the round that he would dine at Juan’s house. (This the king did intentionally solely because he had heard of the reputation Juan held in the neighborhood.) So, for the hundredth time in his life, Juan thought of some way this time as a means by which he could evade the impending calamity. For Juan considered the terrible fact that it was absolutely necessary that he worked nothing short of a calamity in his hitherto exquisite life. Work? The idea!!! Why, he would rather starve than work – only his mother was so good that one had never the heart to really and truly carry out her threats and starve him. For after all, he was an exceptionally clever boy – had he not always shown it in the cunning way he always evaded the ire of the creditors with the most amazing but highly credible “white liars?”

So Juan thought, and after a good while his face which had worn a puzzled, puckered brow beamed with great relief and pleasure. He had an idea!!! Rushing to his mother, he poured out his plan and added.

“Now, Mother I need ₱10.00.”

“Alright, Juan, I will give it to you but remember

[p. 8]

that it’s the only money we have on earth. You have to [blurred word], my son!”

“Yes, mother, I think – I know I shall.”

As Juan set out to town and bought viands fit for a king. He also bought wine and some sweet cakes and ice cream. Returning home, he got three boxes and he placed the dinner in one, the wine in another and the cakes and ice cream in the third. Then, he buried the three boxes in three different places perfectly seen from their window. After that, he sat at the perch and began to whistle and laze as was his want.

Presently, the kind came with his adviser. Tired and extremely hungry, his majesty demanded food at once from his still whistling host.

“Your majesty,” our hero began, “if you will but wait a while, the dinner shall be ready. With a flourishing bow, he saluted the king. (Our hero was so lazy that he could not bring himself to stand up and salute the king as soon as the latter came!)

The visitors sat down, but the king was in a very sour temper. He hated waiting, but he had to for he wanted to observe Juan. He was, indeed, already observing the house and he became terribly conscious of the great silence that persuaded [unsure word, somewhat blurred] all over the place. If they were cooking a king’s dinner somewhere in the house, they surely would not be as quiet as if some dead lay interred in it.


Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Folktales and Religious Festivals in Batangas,” by Claudia M. Cruz, 1930, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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