Philippine Folk Tales | Annotated Tale

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Turtle and the Lizard, The

A TURTLE and a big lizard once went to the field of Gotgotapa to steal ginger, [1] When they reached the place the turtle said to the lizard:

               "We must be very still or the man will hear us and come out."

               But as soon as the lizard tasted the ginger he was so pleased that he said:

               "The ginger of Gotgotapa is very good."

               "Be still," said the turtle; but the lizard paid no attention to the warning, and called louder than ever:

               "The ginger of Gotgotapa is very good."

               Again and again he cried out, until finally the man heard him and came out of the house to catch the robbers.

               The turtle could not run fast, so he lay very still, and the man did not see him. But the lizard ran and the man chased him. When they were out of sight, the turtle went into the house and hid under a cocoanut shell upon which the man used to sit. [2]

               The man ran after the lizard for a long distance, but he could not catch him. After a while he came back to the house and sat down on the shell.

               By and by, the turtle called, "Kook." The man jumped up and looked all around. Unable to tell where the noise came from, he sat down again,

               A second time the turtle called, and this time the man looked everywhere in the house except under the shell, but could not find the turtle. Again and again the turtle called, and finally the man, realizing that all his attempts were unsuccessful, grew so excited that he died.

               Then the turtle ran out of the house, and he had not gone far before he met the lizard again. They walked along together until they saw some honey in a tree, and the turtle said:

               "I will go first and get some of the honey."

               The lizard would not wait, but ran ahead, and when he seized the honey, the bees came out and stung him. So he ran back to the turtle for help.

               After a while they came to a bird snare, and the turtle said:

               "That is the silver wire that my grandfather wore about his neck."

               Then the lizard ran fast to get it first, but he was caught in the snare and was held until the man came and killed him. Then the wise turtle went on alone.






[1] This type of story is also found farther to the south, where the cleverness of the small animal causes him to triumph over the strong.


[2] The Tinguian house contains neither tables nor chairs. The people usually squat on the floor, sitting on their heels; if anything is used as a seat it is a bit of cocoanut shell or a small block of wood.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Turtle and the Lizard, The
Tale Author/Editor: Cole, Mabel Cook
Book Title: Philippine Folk Tales
Book Author/Editor: Cole, Mabel Cook
Publisher: Curtis Brown
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1916
Country of Origin: Philippines
Classification: unclassified

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