I had nine sisters and one brother.My father,a model of fathers,had given us an education in proportion to our modest means.By dint of frugality,he was able to build a stone house,to buy another,and to raise a small nipa hut in the midst of a grove we had,under the shede of banana and other trees. There the delicious atis displayed its delicate fruit and lowered its branches as if to save me the trouble of reachich out for them.The sweet santol,the scented and mellow tampoy,the pink makopa vied for my favor.Father away,the plum tree,the harsh but flavorous casuy,and the beatiful tamarind pleased the eye as much as they delighted the palate.
Here the papaya streatched out its broad leaves and tempted the birds with its enermous fruit;there the nangka,the coffee,and the orange trees perfumed the air with the aroma of their flowers.On this side the iba,the balimbing,the pomegrante with its abundant foliage and its lovely flowers bewitched the senses;while here and there rose elegant and majestic trees loaded with huge nuts,swaying thier proud tops and gracefull baranches,queens of the forests.
I should never end were I to number all our trees and amuse my self in identifying them. In the twilight innumerable birds gathered from every where and I,a child of three years at most,amused my self watching them with wonder and joy.The yellow kuliawan,the maya in all the varieties,the kulae,the Maria kapra,the martin,all the species of pipit joined the pleasant harmony and raised in varied chorus a farewell hymn to the sun as it vanished behind the tall mountains of my town. Then the clouds,through a capris of nature,combined in a thousand shapes,which would suddenly dissolve even as those charming days were also to dissolve,living me only the slightest recollections.Even now,when I look out of the window of our house at the splendid panorama of twilight,thoughts that arelong since gone renew themselves with nostalgic eagerness.
Came then the night to unfold her mantle,somber at times,for all its stars,when the chaise Diana failed to coures trought the sky in pursuit of her brother Apollo.But when she appeared,a vague brightness was to be dis-cerned in the clouds:then seemingly they would crumble;and little she was to be seen,lovely,grave,and silent,rising like an immense globe which an invisible and omnipotent hand drew through space. At such times my mother gathered us all together to say the rosary.
Afterward we would go to the azotea or to some window from where the moon could be seen,and my ayah would tell us stories,sometimes lugubrious and at other times gay.In which skeletons and buried treasures and trees that bloomed with diamonds were mingled in confusion,all of them born on an imagination wholly Oriental.Sometimes she told us that men lived on the moon,or that the markings which we could percieve on it were nothing else than a woman who was forever weaving.
Courtney from Study Moose
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