Four lucky men, some unlucky ones and a witch

I had an enjoyable experience reading some Visayan folktales that Berton L. Maxfield and W. H. Millington compiled for The Journal of American Folklore in 1906. These tales, published by the American Folklore Society, are meant to introduce Americans to the “few of the tales related by Visayan parents to their children, or by the public story-teller in the market, as the people gather to the material for the evening meal”.

There are seven tales in the first of its series but I will talk only of the first six. The last one, Juan Pusong, a more popular story and longer, will be reserved for another post with much discussion.

Visayan folktales

At The Well (1901). Art Nouveau (Modern) Poster by Ivan Bilibin. Retrieved from on December 29, 2016.

The other stories are new to me even when I’m a Visayan. I live in the Central Visayas of the Philippines. The compilers were stationed separately in Iloilo and Mandurriao (both in Western Visayas), a long trip by ship from where I am. Still, I find these tales highly interesting for they share similar themes with those of the Cebuano folktales and with some of those I’ve read from outside the country.

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