Fedawdaw was overjoyed when Tefu, one of his sons, came home from the city. The Teduray huntsman prepared a feast. He asked his two wives to bring out and cook the salted meat that the family had been keeping. If consumed by the family alone, the meat could last for a fortnight, but because Fedawdaw invited the neighbors, in one sitting, the meat was demolished.
“Now, my dear husband, what are we going to eat tomorrow?” complained Amung, Fedawdaw’s first wife and Tefu’s stepmother. “I don’t see why you had to invite the whole inged. There is nothing special to celebrate.”
“Tefu is here,” Fedawdaw said. “That is special. I rarely see him, Amung. He is always busy with his work in Cotabato.”
“You always prepare a feast for him. When he finished studying in the Catholic school, you slaughtered a wild boar and two deer. But what do you do for your other sons? When Minted, who is your first son, was married, you butchered a boar, and only half of it was cooked for the occasion.”
“Stop griping, Amung. Tefu may not be my eldest or strongest child, but he is the most intelligent. He deserves to be honored by his father.”
“Oh, don’t tell me that, Fedawdaw. That’s simply not true. Mesila, your youngest son with me, is the most intelligent of your children. Mesila knows where to set traps in the forest, what the chirping of a temugen means, and when to plant crops based on the position of the stars.”
“But Mesila, Amung, doesn’t know how to read and write. He did not go to school. He doesn’t know how to drive a vehicle. Don’t compare him to Tefu. Tefu studied in Notre Dame High School, as a scholar of a priest, and he’s working in Cotabato now as the driver of the bishop. Don’t you know how important that job is? In the Catholic Church, the priest is the datu, and the bishop is the sultan.”
Continue reading The Talisman, Part 1