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Full Online Book HomeShort StoriesAn Unequal Match; Or, Why The Carabao's Hoof Is Split
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An Unequal Match; Or, Why The Carabao's Hoof Is Split Post by :dgrant Category :Short Stories Author :Dean S. Fansler Date :November 2011 Read :5381

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An Unequal Match; Or, Why The Carabao's Hoof Is Split

Narrated by Godofredo Rivera, a Tagalog from Pagsanjan, La Laguna.

Once a carabao and a turtle met on a road. They walked in the woods, and had a fine talk together. The turtle was a sort of humorist, and was constantly giving exhibitions of his dexterity in getting food by trickery. But he was especially anxious to win the friendship of the carabao; for he thought that, if they were friendly, this big fellow would help him whenever he got into trouble. So he said to the carabao, "Let us live together and hunt out food together! thus we shall break the monotony of our solitary lives."

But the carabao snorted when he heard this proposal; and he replied, "You slow thing! you ought to live with the drones, not with a swift and powerful person like me."

The turtle was very much offended, and to get even he challenged the carabao to a race. At first the carabao refused to accept the challenge, for he thought it would be a disgrace for him to run against a turtle. The turtle said to the carabao, "If you will not race with me, I will go to all the forests, woods, and mountains, and tell all your companions and all my friends and all the animal kingdom that you are a coward."

Now the carabao was persuaded; and he said, "All right, only give me three days to get ready for the race." The turtle was only too glad to have the contest put off for three days, for then he too would have a chance to prepare his plans. The agreement between the turtle and the carabao was that the race should extend over seven hills.

The turtle at once set out to visit seven of his friends; and, by telling them that if he could win this race it would be to the glory of the turtle kingdom, he got them to promise to help him. So the next day he stationed a turtle on the top of each hill, after giving them all instructions.

The third day came. Early the next morning the turtle and the carabao met at the appointed hill. At a given signal the race began, and soon the runners lost sight of each other. When the carabao reached the second hill, he was astonished to see the turtle ahead of him, shouting, "Here I am!" After giving this yell, the turtle at once disappeared. And at every hill the carabao found his enemy ahead of him. When the carabao was convinced at the seventh hill that he had been defeated, he became so angry that he kicked the turtle. On account of the hardness of its shell, the turtle was uninjured; but the hoof of the carabao was split in two, because of the force of the blow. And even to-day, the carabaos still bear the mark which an unjust action on the part of their ancestor against one whom he knew was far inferior to him in strength produced on himself.



A Pampangan story furnished by Wenceslao Vitug of Lubao, Pampanga, runs thus in abstract:--

The Deer and the Snail.

Snail challenges deer to race, and stations his friends at intervals along the way. Every time deer stops and calls out to see where his antagonist is, a snail answers from a spot a few yards ahead of deer. At the end of the course the defeated deer falls fainting. His gall is sucked out by the snails near him. To this day snails taste bitter, and the deer has no gall.

For a similar Visayan tale see "The Snail and the Deer" (JAFL 20 : 315). A Tinguian version may be found in Cole (No. 82, p. 198).

This very widespread story is comprehensively discussed by Dähnhardt (4 : 46-97), who gives a large number of variants from all parts of the world. The Philippine forms of it may reasonably be adjudged native, I believe; at any rate, they need not have been derived from Europe.

A Borneo version (Evans, 475-476) not given in Dähnhardt may be mentioned here in conclusion. In it the plandok (mouse-deer), which has deceived and brought about the deaths of all the larger animals, agrees to tun a race with the omong (hermit-crab). The crab stations three companions at corners of the square race-course, and wins. The mouse-deer runs itself to death.

(The end)
Dean S. Fansler's short story: Unequal Match; Or, Why The Carabao's Hoof Is Split

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