A Chavacano Folktale: “Tale of the Dragon and the Three Brothers”

From “Zamboangueno Texts with Grammatical Analysis; A Study of Philippine Creole Spanish. A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Cornell University for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy”

by Michael Lawrence Forman, 1972.

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A long time ago, so it is said, in a place far away, there was a reyno-reyno, or, (I) mean to say, a kingdom. There in the kingdom, all the people, they were always happy. And there in the kingdom there was also a king. And this king, he had three princesses—daughters. Uh, those princesses were very beautiful. Of course, isn’t that so, since they were princesses, naturally they were beautiful. Now then, there in the kingdom, they didn’t have many problems. There was plenty of food. As for the people, all of them there were not in the habit of quarreling with one another. But the one—there was just one thing there; they had a difficulty. Because on a certain island there was a dragon. And that dragon had twelve heads. Every year, that dragon, since he could fly, went there to the kingdom and seized one person to take there to his island, and there he ate that person. Now this year, they say, that dragon went, and of all the many people there, he happened to take the princess, the youngest of them, the most beautiful of them. Now the king became very sad indeed. So he said, The fellow who is able to free his child from the dragon, the princess will become his wife. And if he (the king) dies, the husband of that princess will be the one who will become king. That’s how it is. Since all the people knew that the princess was very, very beautiful, they all had an interest in being able to get that girl. Now, what did they do, they went in a group and they went there to the island. But when they saw the dragon, they were afraid. There was nothing they could do. What did they do, they just went back again to the kingdom. And now, that dragon, he was very smart, he didn’t eat that girl yet. He said, If that girl was there in his possession, many people would try to go and get her. Well, if there are many people approaching near to him, those people are the ones he’ll eat. He won’t need to go to the kingdom every year. So, what did they do, what did all the people do, they were trying to find someone who could lead them. But very many weeks passed, they all wanted to go get the girl, but they were all afraid. Now there in the kingdom, there was a father there, a man who was already a widower. His wife was already dead. And this widower had three young bachelor sons. The name of the oldest was Pedro. Next, the second was Pablo. And the third was Juan. Okay? Now, that oldest son of them all, Pedro, his skill—uh, he was a very good marksman. If he had his rifle, even if he was a great many meters away, if he wanted to shoot the eye of a fly, he would hit it precisely. A great marksman this Pedro was. Okay? I mean to say, he was very much a sharpshooter. Wherever he wanted to shoot, right there was where he would hit. Now that Pablo, his profession was tailor. And as a tailor, even if he opened a stomach—the doctor, I mean—before the blood flowed, he could sew it up again. It seems he was pretty quick, he sewed pretty well. Now, as for the profession of that Juan, the youngest of them all, he was a good thief. No matter what he wanted to steal, no matter who was watching him, he could steal it. A chicken is laying eggs, huh? The chicken is laboring right there, huh? The chicken doesn’t feel a thing if he steals the chicken’s eggs. So, those are the skills of the three brothers. Now, they said, it would be better if we three try to go get that girl. So what did they do, they prepared a small boat, but a rubber one, that kind which you just put air in—like a lifeboat, huh? Merely of rubber. Well, okay. They set out there for the island. When they arrived there at the island, they could see that dragon. There he was, watching the girl. As for the girl, she couldn’t get away. That princess, she couldn’t get away, because the dragon, he was there. But that dragon, it so happened, that dragon was sleeping there. Okay, even if six heads were sleeping, the other six heads—uh-oh!—they were awake. But since this Juan, well, he really steals well, right? He’s really an expert thief, right? He said to his brothers, You wait here in the boat, okay? Because I will go steal that girl. Now, since that Juan was a very good thief, even though the six heads were watching, they didn’t manage to see Juan stealing that princess. He was able to get her. Good. He ran carrying that princess toward the boat. When they reached the boat, what did he do—since it took place a long time ago, the boat didn’t have a motor, like a motorlaunch, like that kind of boat, right? They just rowed. But the distance of that island from the kingdom was a little far. For sure it was a few days they would row before they would reach the kingdom. Now, after so many hours had passed, all the twelve heads of that dragon, they woke up. They looked for the girl. She was no longer there. So, what did the dragon do, he flew up into the air and was looking for where the princess had gone, because he did not know where she had gone. One of his twenty-four eyes—since he had twelve heads—chanced to see. Aba! So there they were in the boat. What did the dragon do then, he swooped down because he wated to make them all sink but get the princess back. Juan, since he had already done his work, he had stolen the girl, said to his two brothers, You take care to do your work. I have done my part. Pedro said, Don’t worry. I’ll take care of that dragon. What did he do, he took his rifle, even though the dragon was still far away, he aimed his rifle and snapped off a shot. Oh, straight in the eye he hit. Well, since the one eye of that dragon was blinded, that dragon fell down, but when it fell, it fell right on top of their little boat. Their boat was split in two. But before the water got in, this Pablo because he sewed so well—he was a sastrero, a tailor, right?—the water had not come in before he finished sewing (the boat back together). Now, the dragon flew again. When it was near again, Pedro fired another shot. It fell there again onto their boat. But what happened was just like the other time. Before the water got in such that they would drown, Pablo finished sewing it up. After so many repetitions, all the twenty-four eyes of the dragon, Pedro finished shooting them. Well, the dragon died. Now, they arrived there at the kingdom. When they arrived there at the kingdom, all the people were there and they met them and everybody was happy. And now in that place there was a great problem because of the king’s promise: If someone could free his girl from the dragon, he would marry that girl. Even if he was able to steal the girl, if Pedro had not been there the dragon would have gotten her from them again. Now, even though Pedro shot (the dragon), when it fell on top of their boat, if Pablo weren’t there they all would have drowned. Now, the problem, huh? The problem: Who is to marry the princess? That is the great problem. Well, since many were unable to decide, the king—since he of course was, uh, the equal of Solomon, right? very wise, right? equal to Solomon—he said, We certainly have a solution for this problem. You, Pedro, if you had not been there, (you) would not have been able to get the princess because the dragon would have killed you. But if Juan had not been there, you wouldn’t have been able to get the girl either. And if not for Pablo, you all would have died. Now, since your father is a widower, has no wife, it would be better if your father marries the princess. Well, the three brothers did not quarrel (with this). The father married the princess. For sure, they all were happy. There were no bad feelings one toward the other. They simply had done a favor for their father. In the end, the father became king. Goldish gold, the tale’s been told.


Ántes daw, na un léhos lugár, tyéne un réyno, réyno, o kyére desire, un kingdom. Alyí na réyno, tódo el maga hénte, púro gat silá bién alegre. Í alyí na réyno, tódo el maga hénte, púro gat silá bién alégre. Í alyí na réyno, tódo el maga hénte, púro gat silá bién alégre. Í alyí na réyno, tyéne tamen un réy. Í ése réy, tyéne trés prinsésas—anák. Á, byen buníta gat ése maga prinsésa, siémpre, ha?—komó prinsésa, siémpre boníta. Áwra, alyí na réyno, nuáy silá múco prubléma. Múcu komí-da. El maga hénte, tódo sila alyí, héndeq ta-man-pelyá-h-an. Peró el úno—el únan kósa lan alyí, tyéne silá difikultát. Kel alyí na un ísla, tyéne un dragón. I ése dragon, tyéne dóse kabésa. Tódo el ányo, ése dragon, komo ta-puéde man ése bulá, ta-andá alyí na réyno, ta-saká un hénte, lyíba alyá na di-sú ísla i alyá ta-komé kon-ése hénte. Áwra, éste ányo, ya-andá daw ése dragón—kon-tódo el maga hénte alyí múco, ya-puéde saká kon-el prinsésa gayót—el menór de tódo, el mas buníta de tódo kaníla, há? Áwra, el réy, ya-kéda gat byen tríste. Ya-ablá le, pa-ke-módo man kitá puéde librá oléq kon-ése du-sú anák? Kósa le ya-asé, ya-lyamá le kon-tódo el maga hénte na di-sú réyno, i ya-ablá le, el ómbre kyen puéde librá kon-ése de-súyo muhér. Áwra, kósa silá ya-asé, ánda silá kon-grúpo ba, andá alyí na ísla. Pero kuándo ya-puéde silá mirá kon-ése dragón, ta-tené myédo. Nwáy sila puéde asé náda. Kósa silá ya-asé, ya-birá ya lan otra-bés na réyno. I áwra, ése dragón, byen sábe tamén, héndeq pa ta-komé kon-ése muhér. Ablá le, si ése muhér t-alyá na di-sú posésyon, múcu hénte ey-prekúra ánda saká. Ná, si tyéne hénte atraká kon-éle sérka, kon-ése hénte el-puéde éle komé. Héndeq éle nesesíta andá na réyno tódo el ányo. Entónses, kósa silá ya-asé, kósa ya-asé tódo el mana hénte, ta-predurá silá buská, kyén gayót el-puéde man-líd kaníla. Pero kuánto semána ya ya-pasá, tódo akél kiére ánda saká kon-ése muhér, astá ta-tené lan myédo. Áwra, alyí na réyno, tyéne alyí un táta, un ómbre, byúdu yá. Di-súyu muhér, ya-murí yá. I ése byúdu, tyéne trés soltéro. El nómbre, el meyór de tódo, si pédro. Despwés, el segúndo si páblo. I el terséro si hwán. Áwra, ése mayór de todo, si pédro, el de-súyo  abilidád, é—ése, byen tira-dór gayót. Si tyéne le su ríple, máski kuánto métros pa—de-léhos, há?—Si kiére le tirá na óhos del móskas, ay-tupá gayót. Áwra, ése tamén si pabló, el de-súyo profésyon, sastréro. I komó un sastréro, máskin si ya-ábre el bahríga—el doktór, ha?—héndeq pa ta-salé sángre, ta-puéde ya tamén kosé otra-bés. Byen alísto gayót ba, byen bwéno gat éle siémpre kosé. Áwra, el propésyon de-ése si hwán, el menór de tódo, byen ladrón. Maskin kósa le kyére rubá, maskin kyén kon-éle ta-bisyá, ay-puéde gat rubá. El manúk ta-íca hwébos, t-alyá pa el manúk ta-puhá, há?, héndeq ta-sintí el manúk, éle, ya-ruba yá el hwébos del manúk. Entónses, ése el abilidád del maga trés ermáno. Áwra, ablá silá mas buéno pa, prúba kita trés, ánda saká kon-ése muhér. Ná, kósa silá ya-asé, ya-repará silá un baróto, peró de góma, ése ba ta-póne lan áyre adéntro—lo mísmo komó el layfbót. De góma lán. Ná, bwéno. Lárga ya silá para alyá na ísla. Kwándo ya-lyigá silá alyá na ísla, ya-puede silá mirá kon-ése dragón t-alyá gáneq ta-bisyá kon-el muhér. El muhér, no puéde salé. É, ése prinsésa, no pueede salé, ke el dragón, t-alyá. Pero ése dragón, ná, ya-tupá tamén, ke ése dragón, t-alyí ta-dormé. Á, bwéno, máskin ta-dormé man el saís kabésa, el ótro saís kabésa, abá, difiérto. Peró komó éste si hwán, ná, byen bwéno gat esté rubá, nó? Byen ladrón gayót, há? Ya-ablá le don-el de-súyo mana ermáno, akí lan ustédes está na kwán, na baróto, há? kel yó, ey-andá rubá kon-ése muhér. Ná, komo bwen ladrón gat ése si hwán, máskin pa man el saís kabésa ta-bisyá, nuáy gat puéde mirá kon hwán, ya-rubá kon-ése prinsésa. Ya-puéde gat éle saká. Bwéno. Lyíba le kohré kon-ése prinsésa para na baróto. Lyigá-r na baróto, kósa le ya-asé, komo ántes, nuáy pa man ése mákina, há?—komó motorláns, komó ése kláse bárko ba, ta-man-sagwán lan silá. Peró komó un póko léhos tamén el distánsya de-este ísla para na réyno, siémpre, maga kwánto-s díya-s silá man-sagwán, despwés de lyigá-r alyí na réyno. Áwra, despwés de kwánto tánto-s óra-s ya-pasá, tódo el dóse kabésa de-ése dragón, ya-disperta yá. Ta-buská kon-ése muhér. Nway más man alyí. Ná, kósa ya-asé el dragón, ya-bulá ahríba na áyre, i ta-buská si ónde ya ése prinsésa ya-andá, ke no sábe éle si ónde se ya-andá. Úno del súyo beynte-kwátro óhos—ke dóse kabésa man—ya-puéde mirá. Abá, t-alyá ya galéq silá na baróto, há? T-alyá ya silá na baróto, kósa man ya-asé ése dragón, ya-man-dágit ya, kel kyére ase sumí kaníla tódo, peró sáka otra-bés kon-el prinsésa. Si hwán, komo ya-asé ya man de-súyo trabáho, ya-puéde éle rubá kon-el muhér, ablá le, kon-el súyo dós ermáno, ustédes áse kwidá-w kon-el dy-ostédes trabáho. Ya-asé ya yó el di-míyo párte. Ábla si pédro, nó bos man-linása. Yó kon-ése ahreglá dragón. Kósa le ya-asé, sáka el de-súyo ríple. Máskin léhos pa el dragón, ya-apuntá el de-súyo ríple, sópla de tíro, á—na óhos gat ya-tupá. Ná, komo ya-man-bulág el ún óhos de-ése dragón, ya-káy ya ése dragón, pero kuándo ya-káy, insíma tamén di-íla baróto. Ya-partí gat el di-íla baróto. Peró ántes de entrá-r el ágwa, esté tamén si páblo, kay bwéno ba gayót kosé—sastréro, a, téylor, há?—nwáy pa entrá el ágwa, ya-akabá ya tamén éle kosé. Áwra, ay-bulá ya tamén otra-bés el dragón. Kwándo sérka ya tamén, sópla ya tamén de tíro si pédro. Ya-káy ya tamén oléq alyí, na di-íla baróto. Pero ansína siémpres ta-pasá. Ántes de entrá-r el ágwa, para man-lumús silá, si páblo, ya-akabá ya kosé. Despwés de tánto ansína, tódo el beynte-kwátro óhos del dragón, ya-akabá ya tirá si pédro. Ná, ya-murí ya ése dragón. Áwra, lyéga silá alyí na réyno. Kwándo ya-lyigá alyí na réyno, tódo el maga hente t-alyá ya ya-enkontrá kaníla, i tódo gayót alyí, byen alégre. I áwra alyí, tyéne un grán prubléma, ke el promésa del réy, si kyén puéde librá kon-ése muhér kon-el dragón, éle el-kasá kon-ése muhér. Áwra, no pwéde silá disidí. Kel si nuáy si hwán, híndeq pwéde rubá kon-el muhér. Máskin man éle ya-pwéde rubá kon-ése muhér, si nuáy si pédro, ya-saká oléq kaníla el dragón. Áwra, máskin ya-tirá man si pédro i kwándo ya-káy insíma na di-íla baróto, si nuáy si páblo, ay-man-lumús sila tódo. Áwra, el probléma, há?—el probléma—kyén el-kasá kon-ése prinsésa? Ése el gránde probléma. Ná, komó no puéde man silá disidí, ábla el réy—komó éle siémpre, igwál kon solomón, há? Very wise, ha? Ígwal kon sólomon—a, tyéne siémpre kitá solúsyon para kon-ése prinsésa, kel ya-matá kanínyo—el dragón. Peró si nuáy si hwán, híndiq tamén pwéde saká kon-ése muhér. Í si nuáy si páblo, ya-murí kamó tódo. Áwra, komó di-ínyo táta, byúdu mán, nuáy man muhér, mas bwéno pa, el di-ínyo táta kasá kon-ése prinsésa. Ná, nwáy man-pelyá-h-an el trés mana ermáno. El táta, ya-kasá kon-el prinsésa. Siémpre, alégre sila tódo. Nwáy ya senti-myénto gat daw ni úno-y ótro, ya-asé lan silá un pabór para kon-el di-íla táta. El táta ya-kéda réy, despwés de tódo. Kolorín koloráw, el kwénto akabá-w.

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