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Philippine Folk Tales (Forgotten Books) by Mabel Cook Cole


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In these stories you are emerged in the magic, superstitions, weird customs and charm of the wonder-world of these dark-skinned inhabitants. The stories were taken directly from the people in their homes and around campfires or chanted by pagan priests in communion with the spirits.

They are typical tales from tribes widely separated and varying in culture from savagery to a rather high degree of development. The tales are therefore divided into five groups Tinguian, Igorot, the Wild Tribes of Mindanao, Moro, and Christian. Tinguian mythology points to the conclusion that the chief characters of their tales are not celestial beings but typical, generalized heroes of former ages, whose deeds have been magnified in the telling by many generations of their descendants. They talked with jars, created human beings out of betel-nuts, raised the dead, and had the power of changing themselves into other forms. This, however, does not seem strange or impossible to the Tinguian of today, for even now they talk with jars, perform certain rites to bring sickness and death to their foes, and are warned by omens received through the medium of birds, thunder and lightning, or the condition of the liver of a slaughtered animal.

The heroes in the tales had most unusual relations with the heavenly bodies, all of which seem to have been regarded as animate beings. We can read of many customs of "the first times" which differ radically from those of the present, but a careful analysis points to the belief that many similar customs did exist or were practiced by emigrants.

The tribes find explanations of many things in their stories, such as how the people learned to plant, and to cure diseases, where they secured the valuable jars and beads, and why the moon has spots on its face. Other fables are told merely to amuse the children or to while away the midday hours when they seek shaded spots to lounge or stop on the trail to rest.

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Mable Cook Cole






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