Magic Tales from Lipa, Batangas by Amparo Reyes, 1925 Part III - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Magic Tales from Lipa, Batangas by Amparo Reyes, 1925 Part III - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Magic Tales from Lipa, Batangas by Amparo Reyes, 1925 Part III

Henry Otley-Beyer Collection



[p. 13]

zenith of its fullness, he started to go. The wilderness was being illuminated by the yellowish and cool light of the moon that sparkled among the leaves of the trees, and as the branches of the fairy tree were being swayed by the rustle and whistle of the midnight air, the young man, Felipe, began climbing the tree. He awaited and watched whatever might appear. The night was serene. Nothing could be heard except the rustling and whistling of the wind, the songs of the crickets and the wailing songs of some night birds in a neighboring thicket, when suddenly, he heard the songs of some sweet voices singing [a] song which was sweet and melancholic. The ground which was shaded by the extended branches of the tree was beautiful but somewhat bare, and on looking down, he saw twelve beautiful fairies encircling the tree as they danced gracefully and sang their music and uncommon beauty indeed bewitched Felipe. They sang for an hour, and then, they in a sudden disappeared.

For a time, silence prevailed when again his attention was called by the noise of moving objects from the thicket from where he heard the melodious songs of the birds and the crickets. He then saw a moving brilliant object sparkling in the moonlight coming from the thicket. Felipe fixed his eyes on it, and found that it was carried by the three-headed snake in its mouth and to his amazement, he found that the three-headed snake was surrounded by a great number of snakes.

[p. 14]

Felipe before he came to the forest learned from somebody that in order that he could get the brilliant stone, he should drop one of the handkerchiefs on the snake and the snake would put this “zula” on the handkerchief. This, he did, and so the snakes left their light on it. When all the snakes were gone, he went down the tree and took the “zula,” covered it very well with the handkerchief, and kept it in his pocket. Then he alighted again the tree. Silence reigned again in the forest and after a moment, he found the old witch uprooting all the large trees near the tree where he was, and then throwing them with great velocity away from the forest. When the old woman saw him, she told him to come down. This command he obeyed. He had an “anting-anting,” a small idol of Jesus, which he kept in one of his pockets, and which gave him courage to face this witch. The witch then grasped him with the intention of throwing him away, but every time she touched him, she lost her strength and was unable to throw and defeat him. For many hours, the witch tried to throw him, but she was the one thrown at last. He then took the witch and bound her with a very large and strong vine till dawn. When it was almost daybreak, when the sun was beginning to send its gray lights in the eastern horizon, the witch asked him to free her and promised to give him her power and strength. He agreed and their agreement was fulfilled. So, he became the strongest man of the town with miraculous powers.

[p. 15]

It was already morning when Felipe returned to his home. At noon of the same day, the snakes returned to the place where they left their light, and finding it not there, they began searching for it. The snakes had their instinct of being able to locate the place where it was brought. They then traced and when they reached Felipe’s home, they crawled to his room where he was sleeping. He was awakened by the noise of the snakes and in wonder and in great fear, he jumped out of the window to escape bringing with him the stone and his idol of Jesus. He ran towards the lake and the snakes followed him. He was so terrified that on reaching the cliff of the lake, he instantly jumped into the water. All the snakes pursued him and jumped also. He dived and dived, and the snakes dived also following him. When he was about to be caught and eaten by some of the snakes, a beautiful mermaid embraced him and brought him safely to the bottom of the lake into her home in a crystal palace. The mermaid fell in love with him and so they married and lived happily together in the crystal palace. There, he found all kinds of fishes by looking through the walls of the palace. In spite of his happy life in the bottom of the lake, yet he longed to go to the land. The siren, or the mermaid, begged him to stay, but because she saw him always in sorrow, allowed him to go on condition that he would come back. Before leaving the place, the mermaid gave him a staff made of pearls. She accompanied him to the surface of the water and then, she returned home in her palace. When Felipe

[p. 16]

reached the shore, he found the snakes still waiting for him. Then, he jumped again into the water and the snakes followed him. He then appeared on the other side of the shore, and still the snakes followed him. On reaching the shore, he stroke the water with the staff his mermaid wife gave him. The surface of the water then began to boil until all the snakes died. Then, he entered the town, proud of his trophies.

He met all the strongest and bravest men in the province and challenged them one by one in wrestling, in duel, in magic and in all sorts of wonder. He defeated all of them.

He again went back to the forest to watch the beautiful fairies dancing around the fairy tree. He climbed again the tree and eagerly waited for the fairies. When he saw them coming, he hid himself among the leaves of the tree and watched them carefully as they danced gracefully and sang merrily. He fell in love with the most beautiful of the fairies he saw. He went down the tree and expressed his love with the selected one. The fairy at once accepted his love but he was first to kill a very large dragon that served as a menace to the fairies. This, he at once promised to do. The next morning, Felipe ventured to search for the dragon in the forest. He found him. He was amazed, for the dragon was so large that he could hardly move. The great beast laid across a brimming river of the forest, and without looking at its mouth, tail, and feet, one would think that it was not an animal, but a bridge across the river and this was the first thought of Felipe. But on step-

[p. 17]

ping on it, he found that it was not ground, but it was a dragon for it was soft. He then moved away, and looked at it carefully. To his amazement, he found that it was the dragon which he was going to challenge. Suddenly, the great beast moved and opened its blazing eyes. He, at a sudden, was swallowed. When he was at its mouth, he started to harm the animal. The first thing he did was the cutting of the liver into pieces. Then, he bore a large hole through to walls of its stomach and back, and went out. To his great joy, he found the fierce dragon lying dead on the river.

He cut off the head of the dragon and brought it back to the fairies who were anxiously waiting for him under the fairy tree. They jumped with joy and embraced him as a token of gratitude for what he had done for them. They then began dancing, encircling the tree while Felipe and the fairest of all the fairies were sitting side by side on the extended roots of the tree enjoying their time. After sometime, Felipe took the fairy as his wife. After several months of living with her, Felipe went to the town renowned for his wonderful accomplishments and magic power. The people wondered at his success and called him “Don Felipe.”

Meanwhile, while these things were happening, the wife in the sea had been patiently and wearily waiting for his return. She became suspicious that Felipe should not step on even a drop of water, for the minute he does it, would

[p. 18]

cause his death. He would surely sink into the sea and be with her again, and in case he refuses to tell his reasons for fulfilling his promise, he would be killed by the fishes of the mermaid.

When Felipe was returning to the forest to see his fairy, he happened to pass across a brook, and instantly he disappeared. He was taken back by his mermaid wife and from that time on, he was never again seen in Lipa.

Meanwhile, his fairy wife was constantly and patiently waiting for him. Years passed and still the fairy was often seen by some people sitting alone on the extended root of the tree while the other fairies encircled and danced around the tree.

After twenty long years of patient waiting, the fairy died, and the leaves and branches of the tree began to wither until the whole tree died and perished away.


March 1, 1925.


Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Magic Tales from Lipa,” by Amparo Reyes, 1925, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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