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The Magic Ring ('ang Singsing Nga Tantanan') Post by :starrgazer Category :Short Stories Author :Dean S. Fansler Date :November 2011 Read :3471

Click below to download : The Magic Ring ("ang Singsing Nga Tantanan") (Format : PDF)

The Magic Ring ("ang Singsing Nga Tantanan")

Narrated by Encarnacion Gonzaga, a Visayan from Jaro, Iloilo. The story, she says, is very popular among the Visayans.


In the town of X, not far from the kingdom of Don Fernando, there lived an old religious woman named Carmen. She had a son named Carlos. She had been a widow since Carlos was nine months old. She was poor--poor even to raggedness. One day she said to her son, "I have named you Carlos because I love you. For me, no name is prettier than yours. Every letter in it means something." Carlos asked his mother to tell him the meaning of his name; but she said to him, "I'll tell it to you later. First go to the king's palace, and there beg something for us to eat. O my son! if you only knew the miseries I have had to endure to bring you up, you would not refuse this request of your poor mother," she said, weeping.

Carlos pitied his mother very much, so he ran towards the king's palace to beg some food; but when he reached the gate, he hesitated to enter. He was ashamed to beg, so he went and stood silently under the orange-tree which was not far from the princess's window. "If I should obey my mother's request," he said to himself, "what would the princess say? She would probably say to me, 'You are too young to beg.' What a disgrace then would it be for me!" As Carlos was looking at the declining sun with tears in his eyes, the princess raised her window and unintentionally spit on his head. Carlos's eyes flashed. He looked at the princess sternly, and said, "If the Goddess of the Sea, who has a star on her forehead (92) and a moon on her throat, does not dare to spit on me, how can you--you who are but the shadow of her power and beauty?"

At these harsh words the princess fainted. When she came to herself, she cried. Her tears were like drops of dew falling from the leaves in the morning. Her father entered her room, and found her in her sorrow. "Why do you weep, Florentina?" asked Don Fernando.

"O Father!" answered Florentina, "my heart is broken. I have been disgraced."

"Why should you say so?" replied her father. "Who broke your heart, and who disgraced you?"

"There's a man under the orange-tree," answered the princess, "who said to me these words"--and she repeated what Carlos had said to her.

The king instantly ordered Carlos to be seized and brought into his presence. Carlos stood fearless before him, and answered all his questions. Don Fernando at last said, "If within a week you cannot show me that what you said to my daughter is true, you'll be hanged without mercy."

These words frightened Carlos. With tears in his eyes and with his thoughts devoted to God, who alone could give him consolation, he walked down the shore of the Golden River. He sat down to rest under a pagatpat-tree (93). An eagle which had a nest at the very top of the tree saw him crying, and said to him, "Why do you weep, Carlos?"

"O Eagle, queen of the birds! I'd be very thankful to you if you'd only tell me where the home of the Goddess of the Sea is," said Carlos.

"Why do you want her house?" asked the eagle. "Don't you know that no human being is able to see her?"

"I didn't know that; but if I cannot see her, my life is lost," said Carlos sadly.

The eagle pitied Carlos very much: so she said, "Come, Carlos, come! and I'll lead you to the right path." Carlos followed her until they came to the mouth of the river. There they stopped. The eagle shouted, "O king of the fishes! come and help me, for I am in great need of assistance." The king of the fishes appeared, and asked what the eagle needed. The eagle told him the story of Carlos, and asked him if he could take Carlos to the home of the Goddess of the Sea. As the fish could not refuse the request of the queen of the birds, he said to Carlos, "Carlos, lie on my back and close your eyes: within five minutes you'll be in the home of the goddess."

Carlos obeyed the fish. When he opened his eyes, he found that he was in a very beautiful house. He was lying on a golden bed, and beside him was standing a beautiful woman with a star on her forehead and a moon on her throat. Carlos could not believe that the vision was true. By and by he heard a sweet voice saying, "What has brought you to this place?"

Carlos trembled, and answered, "I have come here to ask for your help."

"What help do you desire?" asked the goddess. Carlos related his story. The goddess could not refuse help to one who had spoken so well of her beauty, so she took her diamond ring off her finger and gave it to Carlos, saying, "Take this ring with you. Whenever you want or need my help, touch the ring thrice, and say, 'O God, help me!' If the king wants my presence, touch the ring six times, and I'll appear before you."

Carlos received the ring, and, humbly kneeling before the goddess, said, "I can find no words in which to express to you my gratitude. I thank you with all my heart."

The goddess then called to the king of the fishes, and ordered him to take Carlos back to land. When Carlos arrived at the shore of the river, he met the eagle, who showed him the way to the king's palace.

The king Don Fernando, on seeing Carlos once more before him, said, "You wretch! one day more is all you have to live."

"To-morrow," replied Carlos, "I'll come before your Highness, and I'll show to you that what I said to the princess is true." When morning came the next day, Carlos was ordered into the king's presence. All the lords and nobles of the kingdom were in the palace, anxious to see the Goddess of the Sea. It was already eight o'clock, and the goddess had not yet appeared. The king asked, "Where is she, Carlos?"

"She cannot come," replied Carlos; "but, if your Highness wants me to, I'll give you a trunk filled with gold in exchange for my life."

"No," said the king angrily: "what we want is the Goddess of the Sea. If you cannot show her to us, prepare to be hanged."

Carlos touched the ring six times, and the beautiful Goddess of the Sea appeared. All were amazed to see a woman with curly hair, a star on her forehead, a moon on her throat, and wearing a white dress glistening with diamonds. "Carlos is an enchanter!" cried the king, and he ran to embrace the goddess. In five minutes she disappeared, and Carlos's life was saved.

Don Fernando now proposed to marry his daughter Florentina to Carlos. At first the princess hesitated to say yes, but at last she consented. Carlos was glad to marry the beautiful princess; but, before the marriage took place, he went to get his poor mother, who was anxiously awaiting his return home.

Carlos with his diamond ring could now have everything he needed. In fact, he made the chapel in which he was married all of gold. The wedding-dress of the princess was adorned with diamonds. Immediately after the wedding, poor Carmen died of happiness. Carlos continued to live in the palace with his wife Florentina, but he never came to know the meaning of his name.

 

Note.

I know of no variants of this story. The detail of the helpful animals is common in Filipino Märchen; here, however, the kindness of the eagle and the fish lack the usual motivation.


FOOTNOTES

(92) For this very old symbol of beauty and noble lineage, see Prato, Zeitschrift für Volkskunde, 5 : 376; 6 : 28.

(93) Mangrove tree.


(The end)
Dean S. Fansler's short story: Magic Ring ("Ang Singsing Nga Tantanan")

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