The Blind and the Cripple

Folklore by , | September 30, 2012

There was a pregnant woman whose husband died. She lived in their small house alone. When she gave birth, she was shocked because she gave birth to seven baby boys. Days passed and the woman realized that all of the babies were blind, so she did everything to raise them well.

When the children were old enough, the woman told her children she would teach them how to look for food so that when she died, they would be able to know which fruits were safe to eat. The seven boys held each other’s hands as they followed their mother.

She let her children touch and get familiar with corn, sweet potato, sugar cane, banana, and other crops. Then finally, she introduced them to the coconut plant. “At the top of the tree are round hard fruits. When you open the fruit, you can drink the water and eat the flesh,” said the woman.

They went back to their hut. The woman rested because she was having a severe headache. When the children touched their mother, they realized that she had died. Since they were blind, they decided to leave their hut because they wouldn’t be able to bury the body.

Hungry, they decided to look for a coconut tree so that they could eat. When they found a coconut tree, they did what their mother taught them. The eldest son climbed the tree first then the other siblings followed except for the youngest son who just stayed on the ground to be the gatherer of the fallen coconuts.

When the first son reached to the top, he could not touch anything and slipped. He fell and died. So were the other sons. The youngest son, thinking the loud sounds were coconuts, counted out: “One! Two! Three! Four! Five! Six!”

When the youngest son could no longer hear a sound, he shouted, thinking that his brothers forgot about him,

“Hey! What about me? We’re seven, and only six coconuts fell!”

He didn’t hear any reply from his brothers so he crawled on the ground searching for the coconuts. Then, his hands touched one of his dead brother’s body. Shocked, he cried: “What kind of life is this? Our mother died leaving us and now, my brothers are dead. I’m all alone.”

After grieving, he crawled away in search for food. He followed the path for days. Then, he hit something hard. He touched it and realized that it was the wall of a hut.

He said, “Whose hut is this?”

“Ours,” a voice from inside the hut answered.

“Who’s with you?” the boy asked.

“Nobody is with me.”

“Why? Where’s your family?”

“They left because they were scared of the giant Agassi.”

“Why didn’t you go with them?”

“I can’t walk. I’m a cripple.”

“But you want to escape from the giant?”

“Yes. But how can I? I can’t walk.”

“That’s easy. I’ll carry you. I’ll be your feet and you’ll be my eyes because I’m blind.”

So they did that. They walked for days following the path.

The cripple said, “If we come across a hut, let’s stop and check it out for useful things.”

The cripple saw an empty hut and guided the blind to it. They went inside. They looked around for something. They found a lusong or mortar for pounding rice in and they brought it with them. They continued walking, with the blind carrying the cripple on his back and the lusong pressed under his underarm.

Then they found a second hut and looked for more items. There, the blind found a gun. They continued walking, with the blind carrying the cripple on his back, the lusong under his underarm, and the gun under his other underarm.

The blind complained that he was tired of carrying three heavy things at the same time. Just in time, the cripple saw another hut. When they entered the hut, they found that the hut was full of food and treasures. They were happy.

After a while, they heard the owner of the hut approaching. The blind and the cripple hid themselves because they realized that the hut was the house of the giant Agassi. When the giant came to the front door, he noticed a new scent. He sniffed the air, following the scent and found that the scent came from his house.

“Who’s there? Why do I smell a pig?” said the giant.

“It is us! We’re giants, too!” the two answered back.

“Is it true?”

“Yes, it is! We are giants!”

“If what you’re saying is true, let me see your arm, slide it out the window.”

The two lifted the mortar and slid it out the window for the giant to see. The giant thought it was indeed the arm of another giant. “Oh, it’s so huge.” he said to himself. “But I can’t allow someone to be better than me.”

So the giant said, “Let’s have a contest. The one who has the loudest fart wins.”

The two slid the gun out the window. The blind had his finger on the trigger while the cripple aimed for the forehead of the giant. When the cripple gave the signal, the blind pulled the trigger. The giant Agassi died.

“We’re now the owners of this hut, let’s divide everything,” the cripple said. “I’ll divide it because I can see.”

After a while, the cripple said. “Finished. It’s been divided. Here’s your half and here’s my half.”

“You’re cheating me because I’m blind. I don’t think you divided it equally.”

Offended, the cripple slapped the blind’s face. The blind opened his eyes and found that he could see. As he was very angry, he kicked the cripple in the legs. The cripple found that now he could walk.

“Now, we’re both cured, we can now divide this properly,” the two said.

Romeo Umpan, 72 years old, is an Uvu-Manuvu from Ilomavis, Kidapawan, Cotabato. This story was translated from the original Uvu-Manuvu into English by Glyd B. Aranes, Keren Noriega, Wonna Reuyan, and Sylvia Garcia for their undergraduate thesis “The roles and functions of the folk character Ologassi among the Ata-Paquibato and Uvu-Manuvu tribes.” Ateneo de Davao University, 2011.

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