Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dr. Efren Abueg and Folktales

Efren Abueg, one famous and noted Filipino fiction writers was my teacher in "Folktale" studies. The teacher was very kind, humble, and all-supportive of his students. The class had a lot of fun discussing about the stories. Criticism and "how-to"/process of documenting culture: stories, traditions and belief, catapulted class discussions, among others.

Folk tales are stories and/or legends that are handed down among the common people in a certain place and time. Most of the folktales are funny, enchanting, and give moral lessons to everyone. Kids are fascinated with what the story shows them; adults sieve wisdom and commitment from them.

From the texts of Dr. Abueg, he tells us that folk tales value the special qualities of people, their way of life, their national traditions and cultural products.

Check these folk tales:

1. Some old people from the Philippines tell this story:

Once there was a husband and a wife and their home was part of the earth. Ages ago, the sky was reachable with our arms, as was a roof of a house. Wife had to clean and tidy the house while husband was at work. While the wife was cleaning the surroundings, she hanged her comb and necklace with gems, in the sky (just inches above the head). The husband was also working and pounding rice with a long wood, and every time that long wooden-pounder touched the sky, it went up. Then up, up and away the sky zoomed. Wife's comb and necklace in the sky became the moon and stars.

2. The "Kumulipo" is a Hawaiian Creation Chant. It is primitive poem of more than 2000 lines which explains the beginning of the world. The chants are almost similar to the Hebrew Genesis in thought and feeling.The chant was translated by Martha Warren Beckwith.

"Born was Kumulipo in the night, a male
Born was Po'ele in the night, a female
...born was the "ekaha" moss living in the sea."

3. "The First Man and Woman" A Malay Folktale (World Literature for Filipinos by Celso and Cesaria Al. Carunungan)

A clever bird fomented a quarrel between the sea and the sky. Later, the bird became thirsty and she pecked the bamboo clumps. Suddenly the bamboo was split in two, and the bird saw a most unusual sight. From out the bamboo, there stepped out a man and a woman. And they walked away together. The bird played an important role in the creation of man and woman.

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