Sunday, June 12, 2005

It's a story and it's short

I am uploading the first two stories for English 10: First, in this post, "The Boy Called Juan Pusong," and second, in the subsequent post, "Break Up Stories" by Lilledeshan Bose. I had asked students to Google Lille's story, but one reported that he couldn't find it. True enough, it isn't there anymore.

The Boy Called Juan Pusong

Once there was a boy whose name was Juan Pusong. He was very mischievous.

One day he went to the fields to see the cows of the King. He thought of playing a prank on the king. He cut the tails of several cows and then drove the cows away. Then he stuck the tails in mud holes, with half of each tail sticking out of the mud.

Then he went to the King’s palace and told the King that many of his cows had jumped into the mud holes and drowned.

The King was very sad. He went to the fields to see his cows. When he saw the tails sticking out of the mud, he became even sadder.

But when he asked the people nearby he learned of Juan Pusong’s mischief. The King became angry. He ordered his men to put Juan Pusong in a cage. The following day the cage was to be thrown into the sea so that Juan Pusong would drown.

Early in the morning, Juan Pusong cried and cried. A man came along and asked, “Why do you cry, Juan? Why are you in that cage?”

Juan Pusong answered, “I am crying because the King is forcing me to marry his beautiful daughter but I don’t want to.”

The man thought that to marry the King’s daughter would make him a very lucky fellow. So the man suggested that they change places. The man put on Juan’s clothes and placed himself in the cage. Juan Pusong put on the man’s clothes and went home.

The following day, the King’s men came and carried the cage with the man in it and threw it into the sea.

The next day, Juan Pusong passed by the King’s palace. The King was surprised to see him. He thought that Juan Pusong had drowned the day before.

The King was about to put Juan Pusong in prison again. But Juan told the King that he had returned from the bottom of the sea. There he had seen the King’s dead parents and relatives. They were all very happy and they wanted the King to come for a visit and see their beautiful houses.

The King marveled at Juan’s story. He wished to see his parents and relatives in their beautiful houses. So he had himself put in a cage and ordered his men to throw the cage into the seas. And thus the silly king was drowned. And clever Juan Pusong became king in his place.

(Eugenio 369-70, as taken from Cebuano Folktales 2, ed. Erlinda K. Alburo)


ITAI! said...

im not really good at literature, however, reading that short story, i dont feel comfortable. guess, the old filipino values are still dominant in me, i dont say i am very good, but i feel like i dont want to be like juan, doing silly things just to meet his end. though i dont know about the story of the king, whether he is bad, etc..and lastly a fool, still i dont like the character of juan, hehehe...

anyway, forgive my nonsense...

mda said...

And who do I have the privilege of talking to? Great that you've started your own blog and are writing your diary there. You must be one of my students. Am I right? If you are you'd readily identify yourself, right?

Juan Pusong is an anthropological figure. The whole culture and history of the Philippines surrounds him. If you don't know that culture and history, you are bound to conclude that you don't want to be like him. And I don't blame you. No one should be like him.

However, with a culture and history like we have had, how can one blame him for what he is? The character that he has formed through the centuries is the only reason for his continued survival.

It's a long story. I can't explain it in English 11, but I can, to a certain extent, in English 10. But still, only to a certain extent.

You'll just have to keep on tuning in.

You'll also have to keep on keeping me alive. :)

Otherwise you'll never get it.

God bless you, "Itai!"

Fhen said...

I like the humor that this particular folktale carries. Of course, all of Juan Pusong's stories, as far as I am aware, are full of humor and wit.

In my view, this literary work is a prime example that employs the form of satire.

In interpreting Pusong's folktale, there is the need to understand the creator/people who invented his persona in its place-time continuum. To my mind, Pusong is a character whose life and mind-set reflects the collective and heterogeneous sentiments of the native/Filipino people in a specific historical period.

I enjoyed reading this tale of Juan Pusong. I even translated this tale into Winaray (Waray language) in my

Thanks for sharing this literary piece!

mda said...

You may want to see my full-length article on Filipino tricksterism that begins with the Pusong tale, Fhen. It's a pdf file at, under "Academic Works." That article says much more than is revealed here.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm Lifeclown,i had read the story and it's quiet describing Filipino attitude;a negative traits is nice to be clever sometimes, but putting other lives to death is another business..... Juan Pusong should not be our model, as Filipino, just consider him as the bad influence of many, don't follow his steps or otherwise you be involutarily follow his footsteps.....G? Cebu Doctors' University

mda said...

Yes, one is bound to agree with that, but on the other hand Philippine history is much more complicated than we all think.

Anonymous said...

I am assigned by my professor to report this story. we're supposed to give the moral of each Philippine literature that we're going to report and honestly I still have nothing in mind.. I went to your homepage and read articles that tackles Pusong and now I am having ideas on how to report it to class but still, I havent thought of a moral lesson.. I certainly hope that though research I can find one.. thanks for the ideas ma'am! GodBless

mda said...

First you'll have to tell me who you are and where you're studying, Anonymous. And what subject is that, who is your professor?

LeLey said...

My name is L.A a 3rd year Masscomm student from Icct Colleges and the report is for my Lite001 class =)

mda said...

And you think I will answer you on the basis of your initials?

LeLey said...

sorry i just gave my initials ma'am i just got used to being called L.A by my friends and family, my real name is Lourdes Arlene Maningas, and my lite001 is Mr. Domingo Sagnip Jr.