Sunday, October 11, 2009
WHY THE SKY IS HIGH
this is the story of the KALINGA TRIBE.....
WHY THE SKY IS HIGH
By: Bessie Badilla – del Castillo
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to reach up and touch the sky with your hand? Well, in the beginning of time, the Kalinga people believed that the sky hung so low to the earth that people’s heads almost touched it.
To them, the sky was like a blue ceiling just above their heads. By day, they could reach up and touch the fluffy white clouds and the night they could reach and touch the sparkling stars. This made the Kalingas feel very special.
The ancient Kalingas also believed that everything in the universe had a soul and had a feeling. Not just living things like people, plants and animals, but all inanimate objects also, like rocks, and the grounds in the sea. Everything worked in there perfect harmony and co-existence.
But one day, the closeness of the sky to the earth changed forever, and all because of one man’s selfish greed and woman’s angry temper.
After a long and very successful day of hunting for food in the forest, a man finally came to his simple house and his simple wife, carrying a small, dead deer over his back. He dropped the deer onto the kitchen table and told his wife, “Wife, skin and clean this animal and cook it for our dinner.”
His wife looked at the small creature, surprised that her husband had bothered to bring such a scrawny creature back for them to eat. “But husband dear,” she said, “this deer is o bigger than a rat. How can it possibly feed both of us? It has hardly enough meet on it to feed a dog!”
“Do not argue with me, woman!” said the frustrated husband. “I have been hunting long and hard all day, and that is the only animal. I could catch. Now do s I say. Prepare the deer and once it is cooked, we will divide it equally between us.”
The wife shrugged and did as her husband bade. She skinned the scrawny creature, prepared the meat and cooked it for her and her husband.
Outside, the sky could smell the delicious meat cooking on the wife’s stove and came down closer to the ground to savor the mouth-watering aroma.
It took a short time to cook the small deer and the wife placed the cooked creature on the table in front of her starving husband. The wife then cleaned the cooking utensils before joining her husband at the dining table, anxious to taste the delicious meat. But when she looked at the platter that contained the cooked deer, she saw to her astonishment that her husband eaten the whole animal, leaving just its clean white bones on the plate.
“You selfish glutton!” she scolded her husband. “I worked hard to skin, clean and cooked the deer and you have eaten it all for yourself!”
The husband wiped a trickle of meat juice from the corner of his mouth and belched. The meat was indeed delicious, but as he digested the deer, he began to feel guilty at having acted so greedily. He looked at his wife, who was angry and close to tears. “I am sorry” he said, but I have left the bones for you to eat.”
The wife looked at the small, white bones on the platter. “Bones? What god are the bones?” she cried.
“Crack open the bones,” explained her husband, “and eat the marrow inside. I am sure it will be just delicious as the meat.”
The wife knew the bone marrow could never taste as delicious as the deer’s meat, but to satiate her gnawing hunger she was left with no alternate but to follow her husband’s suggestion.
The wife took the small deer bones outside; laid them on the ground and tries to crack them open with a large stone, but with no success.
“That’s not the way to d it!” roared her husband who was watching his wife’s pathetic attempts. “Lay the bones on the rock and smash them with a piece of wood!”
The frustrated wife followed her husband’s advice and put the small bones onto a rock. She then picked up a piece of wood and raised it high above her ready to strike the bones. But the piece of wood hit the sky above her, stopping her from gaining enough force to hit the bones hard. So, she asked the sky to move up out of the way, to give her enough room to swing the piece of wood.
The sky complied with the woman’s request and moved upward a little. But it was enough the frustrated, hungry wife still did not have enough room to break open the deer bones.
The wife was now so hungry and so frustrated that she became angry at the sky and shouted at the top her voice, “sky! Moved as far away from me as possible, so that I cannot touch.”
The sky, surprised and upset at the wife’s anger, moved up and far away.
Eventually had enough room to raise the piece of wood high above the head. With all her strength, she brought it crashing down on the small, white deer bones which cracked open from the force the woman’s blow. But the bones were so small, that they contained no marrow what so ever.
The wife hung her head in her hands and sobbed. She then realized what she had said to the sky in her anger. She looked up to ask the sky‘s forgiveness. But it was too late. Because of the wife angry and unkind word the sky had risen so high that it was could no longer be touched.
Since that day the sky has remained unreachable and untouchable. It had stayed away from people; afraid that if it ever came back down close to the earth, it might be upset again by someone angry and unkind words.
Marlene Aguilar. 2007. MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF THE PHILIPPINES. JAMAYCO, INC. vol II.