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The God Stealer

The God Stealer

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Published by Claire Anne Sulam

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Published by: Claire Anne Sulam on Jun 07, 2012
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The God Stealer: Filipino Identity in Fiction The story God Stealer, like F.

Sionil Jose's other novels concentrates on the debilitating effect of the colonial rule in the Filipino identity formation. The story begins with two officemates Philip Latak (an Ifugao from the Mountain Province now working in Manila) and Sam Cristie, an American on the bus to Baguio. Philip (Ip-pig) now lives in Manila against the wishes of his immediate family, particularly his grandfather who intended to bequeth to Philip his share of the famous rice terraces. They are on their way to Baguio for one purpose: Sam wants to buy a genuine Ifugao god as souvenir and Philip was to help him find an authentic one through his local connections. Philip is a Christian who no longer has any respect or affection for the Ifugao customs and religion. He considers himself a city boy and has no inclination to return to mountain life. Despite this attitude, his grandfather is pleased to see him and decides to throw a big party in his honor. On the day of the party, Sam and Philip discover that no Ifugao is willing to sell his god. And as a last resort, Philip offers to steal the god of his grandfather because he feels it would be his way of showing his gratitude to Sam for giving him a rise at work. The consequences of this act are severe. The next day, his grandfather died because he discovered that his god was stolen. He also informs Sam that Philip will no longer be going back to Manila. Curious, Sam looks for Philip and find him working in his grandfather's house. Philip poignantly explains his reasons for choosing to stay in the mountains: "I could forgive myself for having stolen it. But the old man- he had always been wise, Sam. He knew that it was I who did it from the very start. He wanted so much to believe that it wasn't I. But he couldn't pretend and neither can I. I killed him, Sam. I killed him because I wanted to be free from these. These cursed terraces. Because I wanted to be grateful. I killed him who loved me most.." a faltering and stifled sob. In the dark hut, Sam noticed that Philip is now attired in G-string, the traditional costume of the Ifugao. Furthermore, Philip is busy carving another idol, a new god to replace the old one which Sam will take to America as a souvenir. Philip's repudiation of his Ifugao heritage may be extrapolated to mean that Filipino's rejection of his own roots and its replacement with colonial values. Philip- Philippines Sam- American (Uncle Sam) It is significant that Philip steals the God for Sam out of gratitude. Thus is it the Filipino gave up his most precious symbol of his past traditions to the Americans as an expression of gratitude? And by giving this symbol away, the Filipino murders his own roots. Again, we see Jose's thesis: The colonial culture has been a negative force in the Philippine History and hence, the tru Filipino is the tribal Filipino, or the poor Filipino least touched by colonial culture. Jose presents the Filipino as confused, emotionally disturbed and helpless, plagued by the fact that he repudiated his past, or that he could not do anything to help the suffering. JSTOR: Symbolic of the foreigner's exploitation and imperialistic ambitions on the Filipino.

The God Stealer: Filipino Identity in Fiction By F. Sionil Jose The story begins with two officemates Philip Latak (an Ifugao from the Mountain Province now working in Manila) and Sam Cristie, an American on the bus to Baguio. Philip (Ip-pig) now lives in Manila against the wishes of his immediate family, particularly his grandfather who intended to bequeth to Philip his share of the famous rice terraces. They are on their way to Baguio for one purpose: Sam wants to buy a genuine Ifugao god as souvenir and Philip was to help him find an authentic one through his local connections. Philip is a Christian who no longer has any respect or affection for the Ifugao customs and religion. He considers himself a city boy and has no inclination to return to mountain life. Despite this attitude, his grandfather is pleased to see him and decides to throw a big party in his honor. On the day of the party, Sam and Philip discover that no Ifugao is willing to sell his god. And as a last resort, Philip offers to steal the god of his grandfather because he feels it would be his way of showing his gratitude to Sam for giving him a rise at work. The consequences of this act are severe. The next day, his grandfather died because he discovered that his god was stolen. He also informs Sam that Philip will no longer be going back to Manila. Curious, Sam looks for Philip and found him working in his grandfather's house. Philip poignantly explains his reasons for choosing to stay in the mountains: "I could forgive myself for having stolen it. But the old man- he had always been wise, Sam. He knew that it was I who did it from the very start. He wanted so much to believe that it wasn't I. But he couldn't pretend - and neither can I. I killed him, Sam. I killed him because I wanted to be free from these. These cursed terraces. Because I wanted to be grateful. I killed him who loved me most...” a faltering and stifled sob. In the dark hut, Sam noticed that Philip is now attired in G-string, the traditional costume of the Ifugao. Furthermore, Philip is busy carving another idol, a new god to replace the old one which Sam will take to America as a souvenir. Philip's repudiation of his Ifugao heritage may be extrapolated to mean that Filipino's rejection of his own roots and its replacement with colonial values. Philip- Philippines Sam- American (Uncle Sam) It is significant that Philip steals the God for Sam out of gratitude. Thus is it the Filipino gave up his most precious symbol of his past traditions to the Americans as an expression of gratitude? And by giving this symbol away, the Filipino murders his own roots. Again, we see Jose's thesis: The colonial culture has been a negative force in the Philippine History and hence, the tru Filipino is the tribal Filipino, or the poor Filipino least touched by colonial culture. Jose presents the Filipino as confused, emotionally disturbed and helpless, plagued by the fact that he repudiated his past, or that he could not do anything to help the suffering.

like the Ilocanos. Sam could make out the shapes of the stone buildings huddled. The Siamese mask. He wore a white.” Now.” Now.” Sam Christie kidded his companion about the weather. Sam Christie was on his way to Ifugao with his native assistant. flexed his lean arms and inhaled.” Sam spoke in a monotone. brought out a bottle of White Label – one of the four – in the bag which also contained bars of candy and cartons of cigarettes and matches for the natives. “it was really a bargain.” “It’s cheaper at the commissary. Philip Latak seemed listless. The east was starting to glow and more people had arrived with crates and battered rattan suitcases. “Rice wine – I hope there’s still a jar around when we get to my grandfather’s. the gray buildings around them emerged from the dark with white. entertain a sense of inferiority. on this December dawn. “Sure. when it really gets cold.” Phil said after a while. Hell. Not Philip. their narrow windows shuttered and the frames advertising Coca – Cola above their doorways indistinct in the dark. one of the many in the summer capital. “that the Igorots.” Sam and Christie said. in the cold. I can still go around quite naked by your standards. He couldn’t be as seriously sick as my brother wrote. He is proud of his being Ifugao.” he said. so I told him he could get the money from my father. the cold of the pine – clad mountains seemed to bother him. Just make sure we have some left when we get Ifugao. “That is to be expected. a Siamese mask – and now. something in the Manila papers about it being chilly. was twenty – six and was – just as Sam had been at the Agency before he assumed his post – intelligent and industrious. He talks about it the first chance he gets. but it can knock out a man. In the chill most of . The bus station was actually a narrow sidestreet which sloped down to a deserted plaza. He threw his chest out. with a hint of urgency – “One favour. definite shapes. “It’s like New England in the spring. I sent home a clipping this week. It had been four years that he had lived in Manila and during all these years he had never gone home. you are welcome to it. who took a swig. And it was only 68! My old man will get a kick out of that. dacron shirt with the sleeves rolled up. It was last month in the Philippines and in a matter of days he would return to Boston for that leave which he had not had in years. a Japanese sword. no matter how urbanized they already are. Forty dollars – and the mask was worth more than that. A student was going to Boston. He removed the tinfoil and handed the bottle to his companion. Do you know how much it costs nowadays? Twenty – four bucks. He handed the bottle back to Sam Christie. “You don’t know how good it is to have that along. too. As long as he has wine he will live.” the official whom Sam replaced explained “because Philip is Ifugao and you don’t know patience until you have seen the rice terraces his ancestors built. A Grecian urn. it’s not as potent as this. “In winter. He zipped his old suede jacket up to his neck.” Sam Christie was also told.The God Stealer (Fransico Sionil Jose) They were the best of friends and that was possible because they worked in the same office and both were young and imbued with a freshness in outlook. an Ifugao God. too.” “You will find. “I’m glad you didn’t fall for those carvings in Manila. He needed the dollars. Phil raised it to his lips and made happy gurgling sounds. Now.” Sam Christie said simply. He turned to Sam and. They had arrived in the summer capital the previous day and the bracing air and the scent of pine had invigorated him. it seemed. They had been in the station for over half an hour and still there was no bus. Sam Christie was twenty – eight and his Filipino assistant. Let me take a swig. Philip Latak. Sam.” “But it’s really cold!” Philip Latak said ruefully.” He stopped.

” Sam Christie realized there were many things he did not know about Phil. Philip turned to the man and acknowledged the greeting and to Sam he explained: “That’s my name up here – and that’s why I was baptized Philip. peasant faces. I was never so embarrassed in my life. for there .” Philip Latak said. Sunflowers burst on the slopes. I was taken ill when I was young – something I ate.” “It must be have been quite a night. “I realized that the old man never did that thing again for anyone. The bus finally came and Sam Christie. “Mumbo – jumbo stuff. was quiet.” Philip said. to their very faces. after college. It was an old bus. pervasive and alive. in their bare feet or with canvas shoes who sat in the rear. their happy anticipation as the steaming cups were pushed before them. I had to go to the Mission Hospital – and that evening he came and right there in the ward he danced to drive away the evil spirit that had gotten hold of me. across the ravines and the gray socks. It was past noon when they reached the feral fringes of the Ifugao country. thinking of it. you know. They did not wait long.” “Hell. his head knocking intermittently against the hard edge of his seat and in that limbo between wakefulness and sleep he hurtled briefly to his home in Boston. bright yellow against the grass. still laughing. The bus swung around the curves and it paused. in the midst of all this whiteness and life. and pigs.” his voice became soft and a smile lingered in his thick – lidded eyes.” “And the doctor?” “He was broad – minded. “There isn’t much worth knowing about him. The trip had not been exhausting.” Philip said.” Sam Christie said. as fine as powder. but cargo. to that basement study his father had tidied up. talking and smelling of earth and strong tobacco. with woven rattan seats and side entrances that admitted not only people. the gongs and stamping. “How old is he?” “Eighty or more. perhaps. twice or thrice to allow them to take coffee. a career with the Agency offered him the best chance of seeing the world. “Ip – pig!” the name did not jell at once and the man shouted again. fowl. loftier than those in Baguio. shaking his head. And Sam Christie. Pine trees studded both sides of the road and beyond their green. next to the driver.” Philip said. Someone in the bus recognized Philip and he called out in the native tongue.” he said.them were quiet. but he had always wanted to travel and. Soon it was light. for the bats filled up quickly with government clerks going to their posts and hefty Igorots. danced. was shimmery sky and endless ranges also draped with this mist that swirled. “And the village doctor. and most were wreathing with hoary moss. He dozed. “Tell me more about your grandfather. “Much later.” Now they were in the heart of the highlands. After the bus had started. The sun rode over the mountains and the rocks shone – and over everything the mist. in it the mementoes of his years with the Agency. Sam Christie felt sleepy. “They withstood it. was given the seat of honour. golden light Sam Christie could see the heavy. Sam had not actually intended to serve in the Agency.” “He must be a character. The pine trees were bigger. for the first time during their stay in Baguio. The bus hugged the thin line of a road that was carved on the mountainside. because he was a foreigner. not even when his own son – my father – lay dying. A coffee shop opened along the street with a great deal of clatter and in its warm.

the terraces are colossal. since he knew that beyond these hand – carved genealogical monuments were plains that could be had for the asking. along its main street lined with wooden frame houses. And in the stores were crowds of people. It conformed with the usual small – town arrangement and was properly palisaded with stores. kerosene. They stood on stilts and all their four posts were crowned with circular rat guards. He had.” Past noon. The women wore the native gay blouses and skirts. they headed for the footpath that broke from the street and disappeared behind a turn of hillside. “breed independence. heavy – jowled Ifugaos in G – string and tattered Western coats that must have reached them in relief packages from the United States. the school. if I can live here. “Hell. printed curtains. soap. Mountain people are always self – reliant. “My brother’s. when it had cleared. at the geometric patterns of the sweet – potato patches there and the crystal waters that cascaded down the mountainsides and the streams below. milk.” Then. “Yeah. He mused on whether or not these terraces were necessary. “And you say that these terraces do not produce enough food for the people?” Philip Latak turned quizzically to him. matches. together with the usual merchandise of country shops: canned sardines and squid. at turn of a hill.” And he wished he had expressed his admiration better. The people. which were no different from the other Ifugao homes. they came. whose fronts were plastered with impieties of soft – drink and patent – medicine signs. would I go to Manila?” Their destination was no more than a cluster of houses beyond the gleaming tiers. And in the face of that achievement. at Phil’s suggestion. “but there is no plumbing there. A lone house roofed with tin stood at one end of the village. brought them along.” Sadek. It was a boarding house and a small curio store was on the ground floor.” Philip Latak reiterated apologetically as they brought their things up. a shapeless wooden building with rusting tin proof and cheap. “That’s where I first learned about Jesus Christ and scotch. after a plentiful lunch of fried highland rice and venison. together with matches and cheap cigarettes. without warning upon the water – filled rice terraces stretched out in the sun and laid out tier upon shining tier to the very summit of the mountains. was replaced by a sense of wastefulness. “Shall I bring the candies out now?” Sam asked. was home. After a while he nudged Philip. assigned them a bare room. gazing down at the ravines. A creek ran through the town. beyond the town. on top of which stood the Mission – four red – roofed buildings – the chapel. for his “private assistance program. a few bolts and twine. Sam Christie did not speak. The mountains. which overlooked the creek and the mountain terraced to the very summit. white with froth among the rocks.” Another peal of laughter. “We could stay in my brother’s place. for he had sounded so empty and trite.” Philip said. “See how vegetation changes. The two travellers got down from the bus and walked to one of the bigger houses. Sam Christie. was a hill. too.was much to see. “They marked me for success. and residence. “You have decided to visit us after all” he greeted Philip in English and .” Sam Christie said. The walk to Philip Latak’s village itself was not far from the town and wherever they turned the terraces were sheets of mirror that dogged them. remembered the Alpine roads of Europe and those of his own New England – and about these he talked effusively. The first view of the terraces left in Sam’s mind a kind of stupefaction which. The landlady. the hospital. and across the creek.” Philip Latak said. The village was no more than ten houses in a valley. an acquaintance of Philip Latak. Philip’s brother. The bus shuddered into first gear as it dipped down the gravel road and in a while they were in the town.

but they can’t produce enough for the stomach. a boy of thirteen or twelve. Philip Latak held his brother by the shoulder.” “That’s not a nice thing to say.. Turning to Sam.” Philip Latak said with a nervous laugh. “Hell. aren’t you?” he asked. Like my grandfather. who was an Ifugao like him. to the bus. They did not move.” Sadek said. near the sagging wall. Ip – Pig.” Then. with high cheekbones and firm. they like you better. He was a farmer and the weariness of working the terraces showed in his massive arms. sir. “but now that you are here.” Then the children started stealing in. Is he drinking still?” “He has abandoned the jar for some time now.” he threw his chest and yawned. not wanting to be drawn into a family quarrel. that he belonged here. But I like it down there. their bellies shiny and disproportionately rounded and big. for his bringing you to this poor house. Sam. I can’t help it. “I know. for my brother. Philip bent down and thrust a fistful of candy at his nephews and nieces.. for it was the first time that he took warm Coke and it curdled his tongue. pinched the cheeks of the dirty child next to the oldest and placed a candy in his small hand. “but if he wants to he can show his forgiveness by opening his wine jar. “Give it to them. He was older and spoke with authority.with a tinge of sarcasm. “Grandfather had a high fever and we all thought the end was near. Ip – pig.” Philip Latak said. in his sunburned and stolid face. They stood. He has forgiven you. I didn’t want to bother you. but the old man said you should come. Unmindful of his younger brother’s ribbing Sadek dragged in some battered chairs from within the house and set them in the living room. He spoke in the native tongue.” Sam said warily. “You see now . their brows. Sam. Philip Latak watched them. their simple faces empty of recognition. Hell. wide – eyed. “my brother dislikes me. They think that by living in Manila for a few years I have forgotten what is to be an Ifugao. turning to Sam. of that simple spark that would tell him. “I thought the city had won you so completely that you have forgotten this humble place and its humble people. Hell. he feels that I shouldn’t have left this place. and above the happy sounds. I like it down there. and tousled the youngster’s black.” he said. where the candy had spilled.” Sadek said. His deed embarrasses us. but that did not help either. washed it down his throat politely.” His open palm brimming with the tinsel – wrapped sweets. My grandfather – do you know that on the day I left he followed me to the town. The tallest and the oldest. Maybe. the children scrambling over the young American and about the floor. my brother. Sadek pointed out as Philip’s namesake. Sam Christie accepted the drink. excruciatingly. they will never understand. Sadek said. five of them with grime on their faces. All of them here dislike me. their feet caked with mud. They hedged closer to one another.” “There’s nothing to forgive. feeling uneasy at hearing the speech.. to Philip’s namesake. The children held their scrawny hands behind them and stepped back until their backs were pressed against the wall. Sadek said. His wife. pleading with me and at the same time scolding me? He said I’d get all his terraces. “I must apologize. dumpy legs. matted hair. He is no longer angry with you for leaving. Sam strode to the oldest. that I should rot here.” “We work in the same office. “My brother dislikes me. came out and served them Coca – Cola. He knelt. the squeals of children. everyone knows the terraces are good for the eye.. Sam.” Sam said simply. sir. Sadek said. you are all my relatives. “But it’s true. In another moment it was all noise. “You see. he will drink again.

“I’m thinking about you. And after this initial amenity. It stood on four stilts like all the rest and below its roof were the bleached skulls of goats. They visited the Mission the following day after having hiked to the villages. this time in anger and not in pleasure. and he thought how the next vacation would be.” They toiled up the hill. He had the most number of skulls in the village to show his social position. dogs. listening to the pleasant sounds of the homecoming. Sam?” Philip Latak said. To all of them Sam Christie was impeccably polite and charitable with his matches and his candies. Now new skulls would be added to this collection. me. the visions he conjured were dispelled. Philip Latak explained later on the way back to the town: “I had asked him where we could get a god and he said he didn’t know. he will recognize and I won’t be a stranger to him. the door stirring and Philip easing himself down the ladder. Reverend Doone. “In the afternoons. invited them for lunch. Sam. But after a while. He couldn’t see what transpired inside and there was no invitation for him to come up. he smiled and called to mind the homecomings. have I spoiled your first day here?” Sam objected vehemently. And. crestfallen look. too. and carabaos which the old man had butchered in past feats. without another word.” “See what I mean. He was quite pleased to have a fellow American as guest. Beyond the betel – nut plams in the yard. However. Philip would start talking and always sullen silence would answer him. old voice. you can’t do anything to an old man. “The old man wants a feast tomorrow night. “It will be a bore and a ghastly sight.” Sam heard the old man raise his voice. You shouldn’t come. who offered them sweet potatoes and rice wine. Before going up the slender rungs of the old house Philip Latak called his grandfather twice. their search was fruitless. up a sharp incline. You speak our tongue. He said they took everything away from him – tranquillity. Sam. he.” “You will be a damned fool if you don’t go. Sam Christie waited under the grass marquee that extended above the doorway. I’m reminded of the ocean fog which steals over the white hills of San Francisco – and then I feel like I’m home. and he would turn to Sam.that even your relatives do not know you. and on his lap this wooden idol which he now sought.” But Sam Christie’s interest had been piqued and even when he realized that Philip Latak really did not want him to come he decided that this was one party he would not miss. his father and his mother at the Back Bay station. Philip speaking in his native tongue and there was also a crackled. My bienvenida of course. He strode to the door.” he said with nostalgia.” . “Well. Come. He was a San Fransiscan. he hurried down the hill. some could hear.” Philip Latak turned to his friend. high pitched with excitement and pleasure. who managed the Mission. And. on his face a numbed. you have our blood – but you are a stranger nevertheless. a foolish. and one consolation of his assignment was its meagre similarity to San Francisco. They struggled up terraces and were met by howling dogs and barebottomed children and old Ifugaos. which was greasy although steps had been gouged out on it for easier climbing. was his grandfather’s house. “when the mist drifts in and starts to wrap the terraces and the hills. the American behind him. We shouldn’t have bothered with him at all. optimistic grin on his face. “let us see the old man.” Sam said. He never liked strangers. had known. The effusion within the hut had subsided into some sort of spirited talking and Philip was saying “Americano – Americano. And when I told him it was for an American friend he got mad. tell me. the luggage in the back seat. Hell. pigs. a rustling within the house. Ip – pig. Then silence.” Philip said. Now. As Philip Latak had warned.

” Reverend Doone smiled wanly..” he said. “I wish I could answer that. “and if you understand it. the mass corruption that is seeping into the government and everything. “At least the hike did me good. the urn. But there is less greed here and pettiness here. Then it was Sam’s turn and he rambled about the places he had seen – Greece ans the marble ruins glinting in the sun. while Philip Latak was in the kitchen. the small green country.” “Does the Ifugao believe in a soul?” Reverend Doone smiled gravely. “In the city – people are corrupted by easy living. All that walking and all these people – how nice they were. Sam’s knowledge of San Francisco was limited to a drizzly afternoon at the airport.” . she was majoring English and she didn’t have tuition money. I must not leave Ifugao without that god.” Reverend Doone drew back. “All I can say is that a man without a soul is nothing.” “It’s not different from Christianity then. “You have seen examples.. Japan. A generation of soulless men is growing up and dictating the future.” Sam said. mind you.” he said as he poured a glass for Philip. They don’t make enough to eat. “Well. The missionary was a short man with a bulbous nose and heavy brows and homesickness written all over his pallid face. to make him realize his loss. and he kept quiet while Reverend Doone reminisced.” In the comfort of their little room back in the town. You are in the Agency and you should know the significance of this distinction.” “They are all human beings. and the samurai sword.” he said. It’s more than just a souvenir. But his daughter – it’s a sad story – she had to go to college. Then you’ll know why the Ifugaos are so attached to it. where he had gone to joke with old friends.. It’s not just some souvenir. retribution. Sam brought out his liquor. Reverend Doone reiterated what Philip had said.” “How can one who loses his soul regain it?” Sam came back with sudden life.. how they offered us wine and sweet potatoes..” “Can a man lose his soul?” Sam insisted. something tragic to knock a man back to his wits. “You must understand their religion.They had finished lunch and were in the living room of the Mission.” Reverend Doone became thoughtful again. The samurai sword – you should have seen the place where I got it and the people I had to deal with to get it. That’s the difference. “Besides. the pleasures of senses and the flesh. of this place. he said with finality. “Christianity is based on love. “It takes cataclysm. Without a soul. “Christianity is based on the belief that man has a soul and that soul is eternal. sipping coffee. It will remind me of you. laid his cup of coffee on the well – worn table and spoke sternly. teetering on the sleepy trail. an iron – cold rain and a nasty wind that crept under the top coat.. “His god – he believes in them. A pig in the sty that lives only for food. A good harvest means the gods are pleased. There are no land – grabbers. no scandals. It is poor – let there be no doubt about it. And now.” Reverend Doone said humbly. Every calamity or every luck which happens to them is based on this relief. then you’ll know why it’s difficult to get this god. an Ifugao God. It belonged to a soldier who had fought in the South Pacific and had managed somehow to save the thing when he was made prisoner. A bad one means they are angered. But look what is in this mountain – locked country. Sam decided to bare his mind to Philip who was below him. “Phil.” Going down the hill. It’s a religion based on fear. “Christianity is based on fear. clammy and gripping.” “What happens when a man loses his soul?” Sam asked. too – fear of hell and final judgment.

” “You cannot steal a god. The old man really looked ancient and. Sam. and beyond the scattered groups.” Sam emptied his glass. were about a dozen squealing pigs.” Philip Latak said. dogs. same with the owner. Philip Latak acknowledged the greetings. not even for me. a huge fire bloomed and the flames crackled and threw quivering shadows upon the betel palms.” The hike to the village was not difficult as it had been the previous day. the stars shone.” he said with great solemnity. I have to be there to spread sweetness and light. inside a bamboo corral. he went to his grandfather’s hut. just as you have to be somewhere. He wore an old straw hat. he asks the question Sam loathed most: “Why are you with the Agency. Come up. pleased with the prospect of being inside an Ifugao house for the first time. “It’s okay. Sam. Sam. in balancing himself on the strips of slippery earth that formed the terrace embankment. “You can’t do that. I can steal one for you. in jumping across the conduits of spring water that continuously gushed from springs higher up in the mountain to the terraces. Dust had gathered outside. There’s a way.” “You’ll have your god. And what will happen to you or to the man whose god you will steal?” “Lots – if you believe all that trash. and goats.” Philip said lightly “I’ll be afflicted with pain. above the brooding terraces. “How many people in Manila would feel honoured to attend the parties you go to?” “They are a bore. He emptied the glass and raised his muddy shoes to the woollen sheet on his cot. Sam heard the same words of endearment. a faded flannel coat and old denim pants. Toying with his empty glass.” And Sam. “And I have to be there – that’s the difference. across the creek. Sometimes. in the light of the stove fire that lived and died at one end of the one . “Let’s not be bull – headed about this. They did not have supper at the boarding house because in a while Sadek arrived to fetch them. it makes me sick.” Philip Latak said gravely. Philip laughed. then breaking away from the tenuous groups. then the wooden door opened and Philip peeped out. Sam had become an expert in scaling the dikes. and sank into his cot. A pause. Do you know that I have been with the Agency for four years and I never got a raise until you came?” “You had it coming. all ready for the sacrificial knife. dashed up the ladder. Fireflies ignited the grove of pine on the ledge below the house and farther. near the slope. You’ll have your god. before I went to the Mission. too. We need people like you. You made this vacation possible and that raise. In the orange light Sam. When they reached the village many people had already gathered and on the crest of the hill. It’s not so difficult to carve a new one. It’s the least I can do for you. After a while Philip Latak spoke again: “We will be luckier tomorrow.“You get a lot better in cocktail parties.” “I’m glad you are in the Agency. “That’s not fair. could discern the unsmiling faces of men carrying spears.” Sam said. It’s that simple. but I have to be there. “The butchers are ready and the guests are waiting and Grandfather has opened his wine jar.” Phil was silent. the women and the children. I tried it when I was young. It’s that simple. But he can always make another. on which the old man’s house stood. I know.” Sam stood up and waved his lean hands. “Because I have to be somewhere.” Sam said. Sam?” He did not hesitate. Waiting outside.

Sam could see the careworn face.” Philip Latak said with drunken triumph. But Sadek would not let him go alone and. their brown. gray pillow. he mused. without risking. Sam Christie. He saw again the dancers. the hut. Sam took in everything. in his crackled voice. no taller than two feet. unsmiling face of the Ifugao. The night was cool. Someone called at the door and thrust to them a wooden bowl of blood. he returned to its niche. “You shouldn’t have done it!” was all he could say. The patriarch was half – naked like the other Ifugaos. too. frothy blood on the idol’s head and the blood washed down the ugly head to its arms and legs. Sam finally broke away from the party and headed for the town with Sadek behind him. and to the butcher’s table where big chunks of pork and dog meat were being distributed to the guests. he recited a prayer. on the thing. The whole house smelled of filth. sweating bodies whirling before the fire. their guttural voices rising as one. as he lay on his cot. For some time. pushed the idol away and it fell with a thud on the floor. after more senseless palaver. Sam let the ray play on Phil’s face. dirty with use. crept under the very skin and into the subconscious. who was kneeling. the wooden god.– room house. as all nights in the Ifugao country are and that evening. Slowly. the hollow cheeks. The light in the hut became alive again and showed the artefacts within: an old. and from a compartment in the roof. the horn hands and the big – boned knees. but the steps and the tune did not have any variation and soon he was bored – completely so. savoured the gentle tang and acridness of it. brought out his black and ghastly – looking god. filled the air. Philip turned to his American friend and. swaying and holding on to a black. “I told you I’d steal a god. dirty and black and drenched with blood. the old man poured the living. and set it before the fire before his grandson. In his ears the din of gongs still rang. but his loin cloth had a belt with circular bone embellishments and around his neck dangled a necklace of bronze. he shoved his grandfather’s idol at his friend. Beyond the open door. of chicken droppings. No. sonorous whang rang sharp and clear above the grunts of the dying animals. and dank earth. They made their way to the iron cauldrons.” and staggering forward. to its very feet and as he poured the blood. he did not need any guide. and finally. The clatter woke him up and. Philip Latak picked it up and gave it to the old man. the pigs were already being butchered and someone had started beating the gongs and their deep. It was Philip Latak. bloody mass. The hiking that had preoccupied them during the day began to weigh on his spirits and he told Philip Latak who was with the old man before newly opened wine jar. To Sam the old man extended a bowl of rice wine and Sam took it and lifted it to his lips. piously. Sam Christie went to sleep with the wind soughing the pines. with usual levity said: “My grandfather is thanking his god that I’m here. “Let’s go down. He then sat down on the mud – splattered floor. in his mind’s eye loomed the shrunken. He had no idea what time it was.” Philip said. The old man picked up the idol again and. . the white. in the blaze of the bonfire. He lifted the mosquito net and beamed the light at the dark from which had paused at the door. he thought he smelled. who had now risen. He knew the way. where rice was cooking. having gone through the route thrice. at the splotch on his breast – the sacrificial blood – and finally.” Outside. Sam Christie watched the dancers and the singers. too surprised to speak. And recalling all this in vivid sharpness. his bony frame shaking. but Sam Christie ignored these smells and attended only to the old man. the rhythm of the gongs quickened and fierce chanting started. He says he can die now because he has seen me again. fish traps and a small wooden trunk. he groped for the flashlight under his pillow. standing. a few rusty – tipped spears. scraggly hair. “I told you I’d get it. stoic and unsmiling. that he would like to return to the boarding house. the cicadas whirring in the grass. but it must have been past midnight. that peculiar odour of blood and the dirt of many years that had gathered in the old man’s house.

there crowded again one irrefrangible darkness and in it.” “I’ll take it back if you won’t. his wine jars. He sat on the edge of his cot and looked down at the dirty thing that lay his feet.” “It’s a miserable thing to do. with hate. “I have to leave you here. porcine face. It’s because he doesn’t believe in the old things any more.” Sam said.” Philip said resolutely. It’s different. I’m just stating a fact.” Philip said. “I’m sorry I woke you up. Then there will be another feast to celebrate the new god – and another god to steal.” “Don’t frighten me. was the old man’s wrinkled face.” Phil said. where Philip was talking with a boy. He is going to give me everything. after my trouble. Sadek – you have seen his house. Hell. turning momentarily to him. “I won’t. because it had significance and meaning and was no cheap tourist bait. It was Philip Latak who had stirred him. rice wine.” “Yes. The air around him was heavy with the smell of sweat. “It’s grandfather. “Do you think he would be happy to know that his god had been fondled by a stranger?” “It’s no time for jokes. No one saw me. And you did him wrong. “That isn’t funny at all. Go to bed now and we will talk in the morning. “He will be surprised – and when he does he will perhaps get drunk and make a new one. Sam picked up the taper and quashed its flame.Philip Latak stumbled. for to know him would be to discover this miserly land and the hardiness (or was it foolhardiness?) which it nourished.” he said. his voice shrill and grating. Sam blinked. And not because he has the money to build a different house. “He was wrong in being so attached to me who no longer believes in these idols. “Take it back tomorrow. That would be the death of my grandfather. such as those that were displayed in the hotel lobbies in Manila.. pleasant breathing and with his hand. and held him by the shoulder. lying down. “What a night. because it was real.” Sam said. “Now.” “Take it back?” Phil turned to him with a mocking leer. “You’ll be waking up everyone up.” Philip Latak stood up and started prancing. “He will be surprised.” Sam said sullenly. And it was these thoughts that were rankling his mind when he heard Philip Latak snore. the eyes narrow and gleaming with wisdom. you know – with the old man.” And in his mind’s resolute eye. “He will kill you. I did it when all were busy dancing and drinking. “He did himself wrong. He fumbled with the stub of candle on the table and in a while the room was bright. that’s good of you.” His voice was no longer drunken.” “Hell. I’ll look bad. because in the back of his mind he was grateful that Philip Latak had brought him this dirty god. “Take it back. I danced a little.” Phil whacked his stomach..” Philip Latak sank back on his cot. too. too. “If I do.” a pause. then sat up and walked to the door. “Not while he lives with a hundred ignorant natives.” “You are lucky to have someone who loves you so much.” But there was no conviction in him.” Sam said almost inaudibly.. you don’t have to worry. At the same time Sam Christie woke up it was already daylight and the sun lay pure and dazzling on the rough pine sidings of the room. He wished he knew more about him. the flashlight beam still on his shiny. “My nephew. dirtied with the mud of the terraces. like a light. He cannot say that aloud.” he repeated. We danced and my legs – they are not rusty at all. his terraces. and earth. Sam bolted up. “No.” .” Sam said. heard his slow.. his spears. heaving himself in his cot.” he crowed.

anonymous face that gained character only when he smiled.. a small man with a pinched. how.. “Our grandfather. depressing and he was surprised even that the death of someone who was dear to a friend had not affected him at all. Sam.” After the two had gone. from the creations of sculptors who called themselves modernists..“Anything the matter?” Philip had already packed his things and the boy held them.. He did not wait for an answer. so that his passing would seal. He saw. “The feast last night. It was crudely shaped and its proportions were almost grotesque. The arms were too long and the legs were mere stumps.. so Sam quickly deduced that it must be made of good hardwood. He was extremely hospitable and had volunteered to guide him to wherever he wanted to hike. its finality. The dancing and the drinking. that the jacket which Sadek wore was Philip’s old suede. “Why. The idol was heavy. “How is he?” Sam asked. “When is Phil coming back?” he asked. And at his age. The feet. “Nothing but the best for Americans. He did not find it.” “I’m sorry. “It’s the best in the world.. Sam concluded lightly.” “Hell. but it was at this moment that Sadek arrived.” Sam did not press... And wrapping it up in an old newspaper. he even found himself thinking that.. too. were huge.” “I’ll be back as soon as I can.” When Sam found words again. he declaimed.. It was not very different. The Chief of Police had been very helpful almost to the point of obsequiousness and Sam asked him to come up for a drink. which should be reserved only for important people. let’s have a drink. white as starch in the sum. He collapsed – an attack.” Sadek said humbly. “My grandfather is dying.” “He is dead?” Sadek nodded. it was best that the old man had died. “There was nothing we could do.. on other hand. Sam returned to the room and picked up the idol. Sadek took the jacket off and held it behind him.” Sadek said.” Philip said. It was early afternoon when they returned and the mist. It must have been too much for his heart. “Come. that should be no riddle. but don’t wait.” He held the Ifugao by the arm. He did not face the young American and a faraway gaze was in his eyes. He looked down self – consciously at his shoes – they were a trifle big and Sam saw immediately that the pair was not Sadek’s but Philip’s. but Sadek squirmed free from his grasp. “It’s about my brother. “I still have a half bottle of scotch. And as if Sam’s unspoken scrutiny bothered him. he pushed it under his cot near his mud – caked shoes.” he said.” The party could have gone further. . After the Chief had savoured every drop in his glass. The next day. Sam Christie idled in the town and developed the acquaintance of the Chief of Police. In the light he saw that the blood had dried and had lost its colour. “Indeed. whatever your plans are. had started to crawl again down into town. perhaps. I am honoured to taste this most wonderful hospitality. for then he bared a set of buckteeth reddened from chewing betel – nut.” Sam said brightly. Philip’s brother did not waste words. They had tried the villages farther up the mountains. In the back of his mind. all he could ask was.. the canvas bag and the old suede jacket. Sam took the news calmly. but he did not move.

“It was the loss of the god.. “He isn’t going back to Manila. Mr.. “and we held another feast this morning. of course.” and. Christie?” He did not wait for an answer and he droned. you cannot do anything now. It couldn’t be as simple as that..” Sam said. Christie. “Mr.” he pointed to a new digging on the side of the hill.” he said sharply.” Sadek said simply. rifled by the unexpected show of rudeness.” Near the hill on which stood the old man’s house Sadek paused again. Sadek.. the dancing. that his hands were unsoiled. softly.” Sadek did not answer. “Please.. Two feasts in so short a time. The liquor. “Tell me more.” then softly. but he will no longer have the pleasures that he knew. but for himself that he was not involved. In a time of grief I should at least be able to express my. of sadness. Sam followed him. “Does his decision have something to do with burial customs and all that sort of thing?” “It’s not matter of custom.” “It was not the god. the family’s concern with the idol’s dubious grace.” Sam insisted.. Walking slowly. And a pang of regret. “As long as he works.. He wanted to see Ip – pig before he died.. They went down the incline and at the base of the terraces the path was wide and level again. You must go back to Manila. “I saw him gulp it like water. but he is no longer a farmer of course.” Sadek said emphatically. “And Phil?” Sam asked. “No. “My grandfather always love Ip – pig – Philip – more than anyone of us. Then. smiling again that meaningless grin of peasants. touched him. A man his age shouldn’t have indulged in drinking like he did. the other a farewell to him who gave us blood in us. We are not learned like him and we have never been to Manila.” “You have already done that. the exertion – these did it. “How did the old man die?” That was the question he wanted to ask and when he did it seemed as if the words were strangled from his throat. He died in Ip – pig’s arms. He had a lot of wine.. as far as Philip Latak was concerned. please don’t think we are being unreasonable – and don’t make me responsible for what will happen. “Do come.” And wheeling round. “It happened in the morning after the feast. supplicatingly. sir. sir!” “I must see him. It was stolen. “My brother. “And why not?” Sadek did not speak. Will that be good to him.” “Of course. shaking his head as if a great weight had .” Sadek paused again.” Sam Christie was now troubled. sir.” Sadek faced the American squarely now. But my brother. my condolence. “All right then. he will not starve here. “I cannot leave like this. “It wasn’t the god. “We buried him there.” At the edge of the hilltop the open pits which had served as stoves still smoked and the dried blood of the butchered animals stained the earth.” he said. Sadek glanced at the stranger keeping step behind him. the Ifugao walked out in the street. One was a welcome to a youth gone astray. Sadek faced Sam.forever. I’m sorry about what happened to your grandfather.” Sam said aloud and the words were not for Sadek alone.” “But it wasn’t the drink that did it..

anguished voice. “That’s it! You’ll always find a way because you have all the money. “Come on.” a faltering and a stifled sob. too. among these primitive monuments.” Sam insisted.” Sam said. “I’m not going back. “Phil?” Sam Christie stood in the sun. you wouldn’t have come here searching for gods to buy.” “We are friends.” Sam said. I killed him because I wanted to be free from these. Sam Christie saw Philip Latak squatting before the same earthen stove aglow with embers.” “That’s it!” the voice within the hut had become a shriek. we are leaving.” Sam choked on the words. crinkling his brow and wondering if he had spoken a bit too harshly or too loudly to disturb the silence within. “I thought you would forget. And that woven stuff and the utensils – do you know if we can get them before we leave tomorrow?” “You can’t mean what you say. I could have gone on searching until I found one I could buy.” the voice quieted down. We are friends. let’s talk this over.” he said in a low. “Phil. which had retained its shape through hungry years and was. maybe. everything that endured.. because I wanted to be grateful. their meaning. tomorrow morning. even gods.” His face burning with bewilderment and shame.” he repeated. bit deep. Now there was nothing to do but go up the Ifugao hut.. You can buy everything. And as he approached it. We will still shop.. “You are not a friend. he pushed aside the flimsy bamboo door. “Let us be reasonable. this flimsy thing of straw hat had survived all of time’s ravages.. Phil. “Phil. But if it’s against the custom – that is. I’m not coming!” It was no longer voice. “I didn’t want you to steal the idol. do you hear? You can bring the whole mountain with you if you care. “I didn’t want to steal it. Phil. “Don’t blame me Phil. Sadek left the young American. a mestiza thrown in. “I heard you. these terraces. Sam Christie found himself asking why he was here. are you there?” No answer. Sam. but the old man – he had always been wise. his .” the voice within the grass hut had become a wail. I’ve already packed and I was waiting. we still have many things to do.” “You would have gotten it anyway. my grandfather’s god – isn’t it enough payment for your kindness?” The words. when he could very well be in his apartment in Manila.. amid the poverty and the soot of many years. their keenness. I could forgive myself for having stolen it.fallen on his shoulders.. but a well – built Ifugao attired in the simple costume of the highlands. In the semi – darkness. as it stood on this patch of earth. this house that was also granary and altar. Remember. Phil. And in this glow Sam Christie saw his friend – not the Philip Latak with a suede jacket. enjoying his liquor and his books and. raising his voice. I killed him who loved me most. toiling up the ladder and at the top rung. I even wanted to return it? Besides. his voice starting to quiver. “Phil. if you have to stay here for more weeks after the burial –“ The words exploded from the hut with a viciousness that jolted Sam: “Damn it. “If you are. It was something elemental and distressing. “because you are always curious and determined. Remember. Sam Christie moved towards the ladder. You didn’t even send word. The god.” Philip Latak’s reply from within the hut was abrupt and gruff.

” he said.” Philip Latak said softly.” The sound of the gangsas beat through the walls of the dark house. either. Awiyao put pieces of pine wood on them.” He felt relieved that at least she talked: “You know very well that I don’t want any other woman. He slid back the cover. he stepped down and let the door slide quietly back into place. with the sharp blade in his hands. Who knows but that. with him. he knew exactly where the stove was. He seemed completely absorbed in his work and.” . The sudden rush of the rich sounds when the door was opened was like a gush of fire in her. Where he had seen it before? Was it Greece – or in Japan – or in Siam? The recognition came swiftly. don’t you?” She did not answer him. But Awiyao knew that she had heard him and his heart pitied her. even face Sam.” “I don’t want any man. and around his waist was the black – and – red breech cloth with yellow tassels. “You know it. “I’m sorry this had to be done. The stove fire played with strange moving shadows and lights upon her face. “Yes. You know that. One of the men will see you dance well. “You should join the dancers. I am really sorry. The room brightened. “Why don’t you go out. He crawled on all fours to the middle of the room. he will marry you. you know it. Philip Latak did not. stepped inside. “I don’t want any other man. with waterly legs and trembling hands.” she said sharply. you will be luckier than you were with me.” he said “as if – as if nothing has happened. If you really don’t hate me for this separation. go out and dance. savagely. because what he said was really not the right thing to say and because the woman did not talk or stir. Daguio) Awiyao reached for the upper horizontal log which served as the edge of the head – high threshold. She was partly sullen. The Wedding Dance (Amador T. leaning against the wall. “and join the dancing women?” He felt a pang inside him. After some moments during which he seemed to wait. She gave no sign that she heard Awiyao.” He looked at the woman huddled in a corner of the room. “Go out – go out and dance. the stolen idol which he was bringing home to America to take its place among his souvenirs of benighted and faraway places. but continued to sit unmoving in the darkness. Sam. The woman who had moved with a start when the sliding door opened had been hearing the gangsas for she did not know how long. I know. don’t you? Lumnay.” Sam Christie’s ever – observant eyes lingered on the face. “I have to finish this and it will take time. he lifted himself with one bound that carried him across to the narrow door. With his fingers he stirred the covered smouldering embers. Lumnay. as if all grief had been squeezed from him. he will like your dancing. But neither of us can help it. he started scraping again the block of wood which he held tightly between his knees.broad flanks uncovered. He knew then that Philip Latak really had work to do and it would take some time before he could finish a new god to replace the old one. When the coals began to glow. and blew into them. then full round logs as big as his arms. don’t you?” he repeated. Clinging to the log. but her sullenness was not because of anger or hate. like muffled roars of falling waters. “Leave me alone. he talked to the listening darkness. then pushed the cover back in place. From his neck dangled the bronze necklace of an Ifugao warrior.

The smoke and soot went up to the ceiling. not as fast in cleaning jars.” he said. I will build another house for Madulimay. Never again would he hold her face. if you don’t want to join my wedding ceremony. Yes. “because I did not find you among the dancers. She tugged at the rattan flooring. the split bamboo went up and came down with a slight rattle.” he said.” “That has not done me any good. has it?” She said. Seven harvests is just too long to wait. You are one of the best wives in the whole village. “It’s only that a man must have a child. because like you. in the pounding of the rice. She would go back to her parents. My parents are old. The spark rose through the crackles of the flames. But what could I do?” “Kabunyan does not see fit for us to have a child.” “Yes. “I came home. Awiyao went to the corner where Lumnay sat. I wanted to have a child. They were silent for a long time. She looked at him lovingly. I have been a good husband to you. and became silent. Each time she did this.” he said. you have been very good to me. I have nothing to say against you. and she bent to the floor again and looked at her fingers as they tugged softly at the split bamboo floor. .” he said. looked at her bronzed and sturdy face. We should have another chance.” “I will give you the field that I dug out of the mountains during the first year of our marriage. “You. She is not as strong in planting beans. “I have prayed to Kabunyan much. Lumnay had filled the jars from the mountain creek early that evening. although I am marrying her. He let go of her face. She seemed about to cry. paused before her.” “You remember how angry you were once when you came home from your work in the terrace because I butchered one of our pigs without your permission? I did it to appease Kabunyan. The next day she would not be his any more. not as good in keeping a house clean.” This time the woman stirred. I came to tell you that Madulimay.” she said. They will need help in the planting of the beans. He put the coconut cup aside on the floor and came closer to her. Awiyao took a coconut cup and dipped it in the top jar and drank. I have sacrificed many chickens in my prayers. can never become as good as you are. stretched her right leg out and bent her left leg in. He stirred the fire. we have waited long. He looked at her. “You know that I have done my best. Lumnay looked down and unconsciously started to pull at the rattan that kept the split bamboo flooring in place.” “I have no need for a house. before it is too late for both of us. “This house is yours. then turned to where the jars of water stood piled one over the other.” she said. She wound the blanket more snugly around herself. The gongs of the dancers clamorously called in her ears through the walls.” she said. I am not forcing you to come. I know. and looked longingly at her beauty.” He set some of the burning wood in the place. feeling relieved. He held her face between his hands. “I built it for you. Of course. You helped me to make it for the two of us.” he said.” “I have no use for any field. then turned away.” she said slowly.“It’s not my fault. But her eyes looked away. “I’ll go to my own house. You have been a good wife.” ‘Neither can you blame me. She almost seemed to smile. “You know I did it for you. Make it your own. “You cannot blame me. live in it as long as you wish.

” “I know it. resounded in thunderous echoes through the walls of the steep cliffs.” he said. her hair flowed down in cascades of gleaming darkness. “I don’t care about the fields. “If I do not try a second time. You know that. “If you die it means you hate me. It could dance. the steep canyon which they had to cross – the waters boiled in her mind in foams of white and jade and roaring silver. She looked at this body that carved out of the mountain five fields for her. bronze and compact in their hold upon his skull – how frank his bright eyes were.” she said.” “I would feel better if you could come. “Look at me. But. They will wonder where you are. full.“Go back to the dance. Awiyao. Go back to the dance.” she said. They have mocked me behind my back. You know that life is not worth living without a child. on the other side of the mountain. She thought of the seven harvests that had passed. “It is not right for you to be here. You do not want my name to live on in our tribe.” She bit her lips now. the waters rolled and growled. “I don’t care about the house. I’ll never have another man. She flung herself upon his knees and clung to them. I don’t care for anything but you. How proud she had been of his humour. the trip up the trail which they had to climb. and kind. The waters violently smashed down from somewhere on the tops of the other ranges and they had looked carefully at the buttresses of rocks they had to step on – a slip would have meant death. it could climb the mountains fast. and sobbed.” she cried. Nobody will get the fields I have carved out of the mountains. then rested on the other bank before they made the final climb to the other side of the mountain. Kabunyan is cruel to me. Awiyao. They both drank of the water. she clung now to his neck. “Look at my body. Awiyao. i am useless. “I did everything to have a child. “I will pray that Kabunyan will bless you and Madulimay. and Madulimay will not feel good. I must die. She took the blanket that covered her. “it means I’ll die.” . my husband.” “It will not be right to die. You do not want me to have a child.” “Then you’ll always be fruitless.” “I’ll go back to my father. his wide and supple torso heaved as if a slab of shining lumber were heaving. She looked at his face with the fire playing upon his features – hard and strong. Kabunyan never blessed me. Her whole warm naked breast quivered against his own. gathering her in arms.” she said passionately in a hoarse whisper.” “Then you hate me. The gangsas are playing. “Lumnay. his arms and legs flowed down in fluent muscles – he was strong and for that she had lost him.” “You know that I cannot. Awiyao. Then it was full of promise. I’ll die. the day he took her away from her parents across the roaring river. and her hand lay upon his right shoulder. if I did this it is because of my need for a child. nobody will come after me. which often made her and the village people laugh. it could work fast in the fields. and dance – for the last time.” he said. then shook her head wildly.” She was silent.” he explained. The muscles where taut and firm. they were far away now but loud still and receding.” she said finally.” “Lumnay.” she cried. “Awiyao.” he said tenderly. the high hopes they had in the beginning of their new life. He had a sense of lightness in his way of saying things. Even now it is firm.

as if she would never let him go. “Awiyao. “I love you. She suddenly clung to him. The moonlight struck her face. for a voice was calling out to him from outside. her betelnut box and her beads.” He clasped her hands. Then both of us will die together. You keep them.” The gangsas thundered through the walls of their house. and he hurried out into the night. in the work in the field.” “It is all right with me.“If you fail – if you fail this second time –“ she said thoughtfully.” she said.” she said. anyway. You had better go. “Awiyao! Awiyao! O Awiyao! They are looking for you at the dance!” “I am not in a hurry. . in the communing of husband and speech of a child? Suppose he changed his mind? Why did the unwritten law demand.” “Not until you tell me that it is all right with you. He went to the door. “Awiyao. They are worth twenty fields. clung to his neck.” “If I fail. Then she went to the door and opened it.” she half – whispered. The white and jade and deep orange obsidians shone in the firelight. to the trunk where they kept their worldly possessions – his battle – axe and his spear points. He dug out from the darkness the beads which had been given to him by his grandmother to give to Lumnay on the day of his marriage. “I’ll keep my beads. Lumnay sat for some time in the darkness. from the slant – eyed people across the sea. “I’ll come back after to you. It pained him to leave. In pain he turned to her. I love you and have nothing to give. it is hard!” She gasped. They came from far – off times. Lumnay.” “The elders will scold you. lifted her head. Then her voice was a shudder. She had been wonderful to him. My grandmother said they came from way up North. and she closed her eyes and buried her face in his neck. the moonlight spilled itself upon the whole village. I don’t want you to fail. must have a child to come after him? And if he was fruitless – but he loved Lumnay.” he said. and her eyes seemed to smile in the light. He went to her. “I do this for the sake of the tribe. Both of us will vanish from the life of our tribe. “Awiyao!” He stopped as if suddenly hit by a spear.” she said. Her face was agony. “No – no. “I know. “Awiyao! Awiyao. It was like taking away half of his life to leave her like this. and tied them in place. in the planting and harvest. sonorous and far away.” “I’ll keep them because they stand for the love you have for me. that a man. in the silence of night. her grip loosened. The call for him from the outside repeated. “You will keep the beads. let me keep my beads. put the beads on.” She took herself away from him. “The beads!” He turned back and walked to the farthest corner of their room.” he said. to be a man.” she said. What was it in life.

to the elders. and it seemed they were calling to her. a few more months. He had stopped at the spring to drink and rest. The bean plants now surrounded her. She was near at last. Was not their love as strong as the river? She made for the other side of the village where the dancing was. silver to look at. where the wedding was. soft in the texture. to tell them it was not right. She would go to the dance. a great bonfire was burning. away from the village. She had met him one day as she was on her way to fill her clay jars with water. tripping on the ground like graceful birds. silken almost. but moist where the dew got into them. a few more harvests – what did it matter? She would be holding the bean flowers. When she came to the mountain stream she crossed it carefully. echoing from mountain to mountain. who once danced in her honour. and she started to run. The gangsas clamoured more loudly now. She would tell Awiyao to come back to her. still rich in their sorousness. After that it did not take long for him to decide to throw is spear on the stairs of her father’s house in token of his desire to marry her. Lumnay looked for a big rock on which to sit down. She could break the dancing of the men and women. “It is not right. nobody could take him away from her. Her heartbeat began to sound to her like many gangsas. She would go to the chief of the village. The mountain clearing was cold in the freezing moonlight. Her heart warmed to the flaming call of the dance. and the women envy the way she stretched her hands like the wings of the mountain eagle now and then as she danced? How long ago did she dance at her own wedding? Tonight. Lumnay walked away from the dancing ground. that the whole tribe was at the dance. and she was in the moonlight shadows among the trees and shrubs. which spread and rose like yellow points and died out in the night. She followed the trail above the village. There was a flaming glow over the whole pace. The men leaped lithely with their gangsas as they circled the dancing women decked in feast garments and beads. beautifully timed to the beat of the gangsas? Did not the men praise her supple body. And yet was she not the best dancer of the village? Did she not have the most lightness and grace? Could she not. It is not right!” she cried. . they seemed to call far to her. dance like a bird tripping for grains on the ground. She thought of the new clearing of beans which Awiyao and she had started only to make four moons before. to denounce the unwritten rule that a man may take another woman. speak to her in the language of unspeaking love. and the stream water was very cold. The sound did not mock her. Nobody held her hands. When Lumnay reached the clearing.She could hear the throbbing of the gangsas coming to her through the caverns of the other houses. She felt the pull of their clamour. and she was lost among them.” she said. She suddenly found courage. Did anybody see her approach? She stopped. She knew that all the houses were empty. The blaze reached out to her like a spreading radiance. muscular boy carrying his heavy loads of fuel logs down the mountains to his home. Lumnay thought of Awiyao as the Awiyao had known long ago – a strong. What if somebody had seen her coming? The flames of the bonfire leaped in countless sparks. A few more weeks. Only she was absent. she could see from where she stood the blazing bonfire at the edge of the village. The wind began to sough and stir the leaves of the bean plants. almost the feeling that they were telling her their gratitude for her sacrifice. “How does she know? How can anybody know? It is not right. He surely would relent. strange heat in her blood welled up. were dancing now in honour of another whose only claim was that perhaps she could give her husband a child. all the women who counted. alone among all women. Let her be the first woman to complain. The trail went up again. She could hear the far – off clamour of the gongs. But the flaming brightness of the bonfire commanded her to stop. and she had made him drink the cool mountain water from her coconut shell. She did not have the courage to break into the wedding feast. Awiyao was hers. Slowly she climbed the mountain. She could see the dancers clearly now. following their men.

in the story presented a clash against a basic human emotion and culture and thus established two important points: that culture transcends love and the bitter truth about the inequality of the sexes.silver on the light blue. Awiyao could have been the one with fertility problems. But suddenly she stopped and turned back. their culture permits man to leave his wife and take another woman hoping the second wife would bear him children but no such provision for women exists. would Lumnay's love be enough to take him back?On the second point . blooming whiteness. what of the culture now? . who knows? Awiyao's pride forced him to leave Lumnay. f the past. resolved to stop the dance and complain against the tribe's culture that permits a man to marry another woman if the first wife couldn't bear him children. And although the first wife may remarry. And what if. defeated. Rising Action: When they realized that they cannot have any child Climax: When they society norms dictates their future that her must marry another girl to have a child Falling Action: The Wedding Day: She's alone in the house contemplating Ending: When she's in the field touching the grains. in Lumnay's second marriage. Initial Incident: When she remembers how her husband courted her in the past. their conv ersation turned to a passionate goodbye.The story is set in one of the mountainous provinces in the northern Philippines on the eve of Awiyao's wedding to Madulimay. each expressing love for the other. Lumnay’s fingers moved a long. no matter how he loved his wife. blood surging. Instead.The climax was reached with Awiyao running. while gangsas beat and women dance to celebrate the union. finding it hard to let go of one another. Awiyao slipped away from the celebration to convince Lumnay to join the dancing women. The stretching of the bean pods full length from the hearts of the wilting petals would go on. she would bear children. when the morning comes. He did not establish though that Lumnay was sterile. long time among the growing bean pods. Book Review They have been married for seven harvest periods yet Awiyao and Lumnay weren't able to produce children and Awiyao badly need one to affirm his virility and to establish his place among his tribesmen so he decided to leave Lumnay and marry Madulimay. their speeches filled with recollection of precious memories.Daguio. it would only be after her husband left her. But if he was the one with fertility problems.

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