Long ago in Hannanga there lived a rich couple, Amtulao and Dumulao. They owned the longest and widest of the rice terraces that covered the mountainsides, and their harvests were the most plentiful. Their thatched house, large enough to contain three of their neighbors’ huts, had piles of red and white camote. Buried in the earth were jars of rice wine. Amtulao’s dogs were fat and well fed, not lean and starved looking as were the dogs of his neighbors. But will all their wealth, Amtulao and Dumulao were unhappy, for they were childless. They offered numerous sacrifices to the spirits; and they lived frugally and simply feeling somehow that austerity and lack of ostentation would please the anitos. In the end their prayers were answered, and Dumulao gave birth to Aliguyon, a sturdy and handsome child.
Even as an infant, Aliguyon was precocious. He quickly learned the songs with which his mother lulled him to sleep, and in no time he could recite the long prayers chanted by the warriors on Hannanga. He even knew by heart the village lore, the stories that the old folks of the village told, reciting them word for word as he had heard them in the cool evenings. But what pleased Amtulao most was Aliguyon’s skill with the spear and the shield. Amtulao made for him a little spear; and when at the age of three Aliguyon speared his first fish, Amtulao offered a pig as a sacrifice to the gods in thanksgiving. At five Aliguyon had speared wild chickens, at seven he was an accepted companion of Amtulao on hunting trips.
Among his playmates Aliguyon was a favorite. He was accepted as the leader, and no one challenged his leadership, for could he not spin a top better than anyone else? And could he not “kill” the strongest tops by hitting them with the pointed stem of his own top? Amtulao loved his son and carefully taught him all the arts of hunting and fishing that he knew, and he told the boy all the stories of valor and prowess of which he knew so many. But always, he ended with the story about his bitter enemy in the village across the mountain. Pangaiwan of Daligdigan had to be conquered before Amtulao could die in peace.
So when Aliguyon reached manhood, he called his childhood friends, now skilled workers, and talked to them about the glories of war, the prize they could bring back, and the adventures and fame awaiting them if they joined him in an expedition to Daligdigan. Eagerly his friends ran for their spears and shields, and with provisions for three days, Aliguyon and ten warriors set forth. When they reached the enemy village, Aliguyon challenged Pangaiwan to fight, but Pangaiwan was old. Instead, up rose Pumbakhayon, his manly son, as skilled a warrior and as strong and keen eyed as Aliguyon.
For three years the two men fought, and when they rested, their friends fought man to man. But so well matched were the men, so equal in the arts of war, that no one was beaten. Each combat was a draw, each encounter ended with no one seriously wounded. At last Aliguyon and Pumbakhayon grew to admire each other. The people of Daligdigan, who had watched the strangers with suspicion, learned to like them for their courteous bearing and fair fighting. And the warriors of Hannanga found the girls in Daligdigan winningly shy and sweet. One day, therefore, while Aliguyon and Pumbakhayon sat resting from a hotly contested fight, Pumbakhayon remarked: “What a waste of time! If were not enemies, we could be at home drinking rice wine and eating broiled river fish or roasted meat
but we’re enemies even though neither of us did the other any harm.” Aliguyon replied, “Ah, how truly you speak. Perhaps the anitos do not favour this fight, for neither has won. Perhaps the gods put your words into your mouth and this feeling in my heart, for I no longer wish to kill you, O Pumbakhayon.” His words fell on the ears of the listening warriors and on those of the villagers watching the combat. With a loud shout of approval, the warriors ran to their leaders and carried them to the house of Pumbakhayon where old Pangaiwan waited.
Preparations began for a huge celebration. Squealing pigs were drag to be killed. The fattest dogs were killed and cooked. The fields were scoured for river fish and snails. Prized camotes, violet and orange, glutinous and sweet, were boiled or roasted. Bananas were laid out y the bunches; guavas and berries were heaped high, and in white scrubbed wooden bowls steamed small-grained upland rice, sweet smelling of fragrant herbs and banana leaves, and black-bottomed earthen pots.
Everyone came to the feast, and as the jars of rice wine were emptied, the friendship between the strangers from Hannanga and the people of Daligdigan grew. All throughout the feast, Aliguyon was fascinated by the light movements of Bugan, by her gaiety and her poise. At the end of the three-day feast, he approached Pangaiwan and said, “O Pangaiwan, once my father’s enemy but now his friend, grant, I beg of you, this one request. Let us bind our friendship with ties that even death cannot break. Give me your daughter Bugan for my wife. I love her; she is to me the brilliant sun that warms the earth and drives away the chill of the night. She is to me the golden moon that brightens the dark and drives away the weariness of the day’s work. Without her I cannot return to my village as I left it, for with her I have left y heart and my thoughts and my happiness.”
Pangaiwan listened, and the men grew quite. Bugan blushed and bent her head. Fourteen times her father had harvested his yearly crops since she was born; she knew that after two or more harvests her father would begin looking critically at the young men who talked to her. But Aliguyon was such a hero, so strong and brave, so well spoken of and handsome! Would her father allow her to leave the house and follow Aliguyon?
Pangaiwan looked at his daughter fondly. He could read her thoughts as she looked at him mutely from under shyly lowered eyelashes. Clearing his throat, he answered slowly: `“Aliguyon, you are my son. The spirits are good. They have given me a worthy man for a son-in-law. Take Bugan. I pray the anitos that she will be a worthy wife for you and a dutiful daughter-in-law for Amtulao and Dumulao.” His words were drowned by the joyous shouts of Aliguyon and his men. Aliguyon sprang into the air, yelling with happiness, and his friends chanted the first words of the courting song. The women took up the rhythm with their hands on bronze gongs and hollowed-out logs, and everyone crowded around to see Aliguyon mimic the strut of a rooster as he danced before Bugan.
In triumph he led her to his father in Hannanga, and kneeling before Amtulao and Dumulao, he cried: “O Father! O Mother! Your enemy in Daligdigan is no more. Pangaiwan, your enemy, no longer lived. In his place is Pangaiwan, the father-in-law of your only son Aliguyon. If you love me, love too the man whom your son promised to honor as the father of his wife. Behold, I have brought you my wife, Bugan of Daligdigan, the lovely daughter of Pangaiwan. I bring her to you, Father, so that someone can pound the dried meat for you when you are hungry. I brought her to you, O my mother, so
that someone can carry water to you when you want to drink. “I destroyed your enemy by making him a friend. Therefore, O Father, you can die in peace, for we have conquered him. But Bugan conquered my heart, and with her I can live in peace.”
Thus did peace come to Amtulao and Dumulao? They lived to see Bugan enrich their lives with several grandchildren. Often Amtulao and Dumulao were honored guests at Daligdigan, in the house of Pangaiwan; and as often as they visited Pangaiwan, so often did he go to Hannanga to visit his grandchildren and to talk of old times with Amtulao and Dumulao.
Courtney from Study Moose
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