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The way they pronounce the Words endows the sound with a hushed finality as though the meaning had nothing to do with the syllables, the lips just a bit parted, afraid to release The Words altogether. The head is bowed during the utterance, signifying both the solemnity and the apocalyptic nature of the occasion. If you had been there then you would have seen how the men, baskets of cabbages and green bananas on their backs, would meet on the muddy trail and whisper to each other. You would have understood from the contour of their lips that The Words were said; and these having been said, they would pursue their individual ways – one, perhaps, to wend his way to the Market, the other to wait by the Highway for Tourists to purchase his vegetables at a pauper’s price. Women sitting on the cold bamboo benches before the village store would suddenly interrupt their conversation by an ominous silence: you knew they were thinking of The Words; they did not have to say them. In fact saying them would be only anti-climactic, because deep in their minds lurked images that could not be collapsed into a mere couple of sounds. A father queried about the whereabouts of his son would whisper The Words, raising his arms in the direction of the Mountains, and you would be a Fool if you thought he meant his son had gone away to live in another place. The raising of the arms is supplementary to the meaning of The Words, at times it means more than The Words. “He’s gone beyond,” the father would say. “No, he’s not dead, but he’s gone beyond. “ Beyond is more than the physical boundaries of the village, more than the physical boundaries of the Mountains, more than the Sea and the Sky and the Land put together. Yes, it is not Death. It is not Life. It is not
Life and Death put together. You may give it any name you want, you may declare the people mad, but in the Mountains, they call it Going Beyond. 2. “The trouble with you,” Roy said, “is that you are a coward.” 3. I looked at him framed by the last glow of sunset that managed to pour through the misted windowglass. He had just arrived from the City which, from the vantage point of this far-flung Village, was on the other side of eternity. His single bag (“I like to travel light”) lay beneath the army cot that stood parallel to the wall; this and the other one I called mine touched ends to form an ell, with the two windows dotting their extremities. It was a small room, though it was room enough for me. Even in the rare event when I had an overnight visitor there was still sufficient space to spare. 4. “The trouble with you is that you are a coward,” he said again turning to me after quaffing the last drops of his drink. “Imagine coming here, living here with God knows what kind of people. This is not the place for you.” 5. He walked to the table in the middle of the room to refill his glass; the moment he was embraced by the light, the single light that dangled from a single cord from the ceiling, I saw the years had not altered him. I do not mean that he had not grown old; I mean that his soul had not changed: he was still Roy, my big brother, my friend trying to save me from the distress most of which he had only imagined. Or I may be wrong. Perhaps he had changed, only I was too ensconced in my new world to notice the realities outside it. 6. “How’s Luisa?” I said. I had not moved from sitting on my cot. 7. “She’s going to have a baby. You cannot expect a woman like her to remain alone forever,” Roy said. 8. “And the man…”
Two years! How could two years have passed? Probably the Mountains had something to do with it: Time that ordinarily knocked on the doors in the City. It has been two years after all. That one thing kept our friendship alive. “But I came not to speak about that. I could not help thinking. an ignored presence: the Mountains levelled it. that the sentence would have ended with an undertone of reproach.” he said. or. Time that stole but never gave. was here a non-entity. As to whether that was the right thing to do…” 14. He respected my feelings.” 11.” It came at last. He swept the room with a wide gesture of his arm. He was silent for a moment. “Come to think of it now. however. “You kept away.” I said. “It’s not a question of happiness. for sure.” 12. so that when it finally arrived at the doorstep.” 10. ”A lot of people die not knowing they are happy. but my mind was groping for some more definite words. I know you don’t want to speak about that. “I did my best. it was all haggard and hungry and begging for a lodging. I don’t know why I came… I wanted to see you. “I’m glad she’s happy. “You did what you thought you had to do. “Yes.9. “and I must say you did it magnificently. Then he said. a gesture that encompassed the whole village. 13. It’s a question of knowing someone is there for you to turn to when you get sick of being with yourself or punching the same infernal machine day in and day out. I came…” 16. “She can’t ask for anyone better.” 18. that pushed one to work and back to home again. the winding roads and the cool trees tempered it.” he said moving back to the window. at most. why did you come?” 17. 15. when . As to what two years had done to me I did not know.
” 22. no more than Time. 19. Remember the hunt we had two years ago. “It’s down by the stream. had spoken at last. . The fact that I was an outsider did not alter nor lighten the gravity of my involvement. “Father says this place is a thousand years old.” 23.” Dayleg said. Dayleg the devotee turned defiant.” I said. “Surely the gods will accept contrition by instalment. By consenting to the hunt I was sharing in the malevolence of a conspiracy.you do not bother time it stays away from the fringes of your memory and comes to you only in the guise of images not brilliant in their broken-ness. though there was a sharp tang in the air while the frail twigs crackled louder as we stepped in between the willows and the pines. our senses attuned only to the presence of the quarry. the import of which struck me only when I came to the last passage. Dayleg of the dancing uninhibited. he wrote. But then perhaps we really were just half-aware of these. Let’s encircle it. The profound significance of the moment sprang before me while I moved as Dayleg directed. “By the way we are trampling all over it we deserve at least fifty years in Hell. Dayleg of the broken skin and white teeth. which you can easily push into that cave of darkness of Mind. 20. how we crossed the line between heaven and hell in pursuit of the white boar? I remembered. the Mind.” 21. The sacred grove was hardly a forbidding sight: it was like any mountain hunting ground. Even as we were encircling the animal a network of guilt was weaving tiny holes of pain in my conscience. “You can start your penance now. We were on forbidden grounds tracking an equally forbidden animal. Two years. reposes when the muscles repose: both speak the same language. Dayleg of the dikas and the downy cogon grass. This morning I received a letter from Dayleg.
29. eyeing the animal. its body covered with thick grizzly hair. mud and blood glistened round its throat. 27. Its two tusks were ivory in the fading light. By the light of the fire we had built against the cold I could see Dayleg’s face as he spoke. All you had to do was pack up and go.” 26. “They had always told me it was pure as the clouds. “We’ll bring it to the village and show the elders the lie they’ve been handing us all this time. Dayleg. The gods would have a hard time finding you in the city. 30. It had turned bronze. his sturdy legs punching the sward. When I arrived by the stream Dayleg was already bending over the dead animal.24. It was about three feet long. You could not hide the shock (or was it fear) in your face. if ever they have the mind to meddle in the affairs of a foreigner.” Dayleg was disappointed. . stumbling now and then on the rocks or slipping down the moist grass. moved easily down the mountain side while I picked my way. Their sovereignty is confined to the mountains.” 28. But wouldn’t that be the height of sacrilege? You asked. “What shall we do with it now?” I said. 25. A single arrowtail protruded from one side of its neck. the sacred boar straddling his neck. crude and walking as they are. The mountains swelled in darkness as we started our descent to the Village. I could not understand your concern for the whole thing. In cold repose the boar seemed to cling to its mythic holiness as long as it could. His dark slender trunk covered with a dirty G-string was damp with sweat. his eyes shone as though relishing the wickedness of what he had planned to do. the arrowhead having shot clean through the other side. “It’s not white after all.
Very good for the mind. 33.31. He surveyed me from head to foot before giving me the directions I wanted.” 32. When first I came to the Village. during a tribal feud. for it was both a means of tilling the soil and. “English proverb.” 34.” the principal. In spite of the cold night. “A lot of them in the books. “Of course one can get terribly lonely here. said. 36. perspiration soaked my clothes. I wiped my face with the sleeve of my shirt. The school was a four-room structure of wood and galvanized iron located in a small piece of flat land the people called “The Valley. A true son of the Mountains. “What?” I said. Dayleg never slowed his pace but even whistled once in a while. Father Van Noort from Belgium. You climbed three steps to find yourself in a kind of balcony that overlooked the whole schoolground. 35. “The cat would eat fyshe but he wyll not weate his feata. The spear was a common sight in the place. he hardly responded when I asked him for directions to the village school. Occupied by what he was doing. I had been told earlier. Looking at him naked save for a piece of loin-cloth I could hardly believe that he was one of the most intelligent men I had met. We walked in silence most of the time. The knapsack grew heavy on my back. and one usually does. I could barely catch up with his steps. I knocked on the door of his “office” at the back of the school building and was met by an old man with greying hair and a brownish soutane that used to be white. But the word “school” made him raise his head. of disembowelling the enemies. Like most of the missionaries I knew.” Big pine trees that protected the structure from both sun and wind gave it a quality of idyllic serenity usually associated with monasteries. he had a fondness for native . the first person I saw was a young native squatting by the roadside and cleaning the tip of a ten-foot spear.” he said.
40.” Father Van Noort said. 37. wastecans.”’ 41. the sculpted figure of a mountain warrior holding the severed head of his enemy in one hand and his sword in the other. We climbed a steep ladder to the center of the room. down winding paths that led past the native huts squatting on hard-packed mud. a rattan chair. 42. past the curious structure of a cogon roof placed right on the hard-packed mud. a wooden bed with a feather mattress.cigars. we met this morning. The “office” was a small room in which were miraculously accommodated a roll top table. in charge of the fourth class. emerged Dayleg’s hut. a table with several dirty pieces of cutlery. extending his hand. In this place it is not uncommon for natives to change to more civilized attires. . two chairs to the table.” 38. I do it only on special occasions. He must have noticed my surprise. the remains of a bonfire in the very center of the space which one could enter only by crawling on all fours. past this nest of love by trial. 39. “Carlos Dayleg. As for me. “And school is a special occasion. There was a knock on the door followed by the entrance of a dark-skinned man carrying several books. After classes Dayleg invited me for a drink. bookshelves. you’ll be in charge of the fifth class. books. past half-carved coffins drying in the sun. His white trousers and white shirt were spotless. It was only then that I realized he was the man I asked directions from a few hours ago. “I think we’ve already met. Father Van Noort brushed the ashes from his sleeves. Literature and language. “As I mentioned in my letter. a table lamp. the electric bulb was reflected on his shoes.” Father Van Noort said to me by way of introducing the newcomer.” Dayleg said. A few minutes’ walk from school. “Yes.
That night we talked about many things.43. like the bright deathmasks of ancient mummery. amongst them Dayleg handsome in his nakedness. The heat of the rice wine snaked through my throat – that was the first time I ever drank it. I learned that Dayleg had finished a course in pedagogy and philosophy in a university in the city.” The clang of brass gongs filled the hut. sitting before the Council of Elders. being reprimanded for shouting at the village High Priest. With a groan he sat down beside me. He Who Sends Fruition to the Earth. A jar of rice wine does so much to blur the memory. fearless as a man for whom death had no meaning. “The old man must be in a feast somewhere. “The longer. the focus always changing. straining to smell the meat and to hear the familiar sounds. though the pictures are nevertheless recognizable: Dayleg. the fire in the center.” But the rest of our talk came to me now in images and impressions that flitted in my brain like cinematic associations. everyone poking his head through the window. in the center Dayleg with a spear in a stance of sciamachy. for this feast was for Lumawig. dancing and chanting. the better. resolved only to redeem the honor of his tribe while the . He placed two plastic glasses on the low table. the smell of pig roasting. the men and women woven into a circle. “Here we ferment rice into wine. reverberated against the rafters. and that he had come back to his village to do his part in “the education of my people. swinging to the rhythm of the gongs which constant use turned golden. “Make yourself comfortable. its smoke wafted through the pores of houses. sixteen years old. the circle widening with the shouts of combat.” 44. Of course if you overdo it you get vinegar.” Dayleg said.” Dayleg said. seemed to seep down through the bamboo floorings and settled on the ground below. and the taste was both strange and sweet. Dayleg took an earthen jar from a corner.
I tell you .’ As your philosophers say. Lorenzo Peron. the circle broken. I could hardly understand him for the contradictions in what he said. 45. Ale. “It’s not because my people are uneducated that they cling to ancient traditions. 47.” 46. When one turns his back on these he forfeits glory in the afterlife. a bloody wound in his thigh. Roberto Galdon. a graduation photograph – left to right. naked. Son. Carlos Dayleg.” he said. the clash of cymbals in a nameless place as warriors without faces whirled up and down in air till one of them. “Then you’ve already lost a great part of that glory. perhaps he was not aware of them. He shrugged off the matter. Lumawig. yet something longer than art governs the very consciousness of these people. Antonio Morte. Mario Tarsus. “But what must be obvious to you is that I do things to break these traditions. this house will know peace no more!”. “That is pardonable under the circumstances in which I broke it. Lauro Canlas. permeates their lives. Jose Arcana.” 48. saying “Hardly were the feet cold that followed your mother’s coffin than you should break her jar. but on my part the more I got to know him the more complex he became. “but it’s a reason civilized men like you don’t and can’t fully understand. a dark face lined with the furrows of years. and these traditions are but extensions of His Being. Dayleg alone in the spot. It goes to the very bone of their existence. myself with eyes bloodshot pouring wine into my twenty mouths when Dayleg tipped the jar and the floor bloomed into a hundred wet pieces of clay. ‘Ars longa. Creator of Earth. I believe it’s about time some of them were challenged. third row – Manuel Pantig. my life. .” Dayleg said as we walked around the schoolyard during recess the next day. plunged backward shattering his spine against a giant monolith.” I said reminding him of the wine jar. vita brevis.circle metamorphosed into many pointed lances.
but it fell limply on his side. and breath – the basic ingredients that had kept these people alive in this remote chunk of earth. neither nodding nor shaking their heads. “And his eyes. They surrounded him with the combined smell of sweat. a few of them appeared confused.” Dayleg said. He had gathered thirty of the old villagers. taking in the words more out of respect for this young man who had been to the university than out of interest for what he was saying. “I can do what I like. “Know what you’re doing?” his father said in his face. 54.” another said.” one of the elders said. His father strode into the room with his army boots clacking on the loose floor boards followed by ten of the village elders. marched them to the schoolhouse where before the blackboard topped by a picture of a severe unsmiling Rizal he lectured them on the advantages of forsaking Lumawig and adopting the ways of the Christians. His listeners sat with passivity of a people used to the hard exigencies of mountain life. tobacco. their faces stolid as the rocks the school was perched on. Surprise and anger were written on their faces. 49. While he was thus intent on his mission of conversion a procession was heading toward the school.” . for they could not follow the ramifications of this strange exotic dialectics. 53. He raised his arm as if to strike his son. who had come only thinking there would be planning afoot for a forthcoming feast. “The devil has charmed his tongue. 50. “To bring my people light. 52. dust.until an incident that disturbed the elders provided me with the first insight into his character. “To make your mother turn in her grave?” 55. 51.
the big. “I don’t see anything for you to forgive.” there was recussancy in Dayleg’s words. listened so hard that after they had vanished with the moon that sailed right through the door of the sky I could still hear . there was a change in the people’s attitude toward him: they were more careful in mentioning his name. Consequently.56. it ordered him to refrain. “There is no question but that we should hold a council. “The rest of you go back to your work.” 59. 62. I listened to the shadows moving across the houses. “That’s what I went to school for. “You are young. Arriving at his father’s house. The Council. 60. Stung by this insolence. The moon had come out from a layer of clouds to provide the only illumination in the place. “Tomorrow we hold the sacrifice.” With a last glance at Dayleg he led the group out of the room. the leader turned to his companions. We sat in silence. They did not avoid him outright though they took the precaution of not being seen talking to him. 61. 63. from expounding foreign philosophy to the natives. He was one who would not make a martyr of himself even though martyrdom danced before his very eyes. it was midnight. condemned Dayleg’s action. obviously the leader. When we reached the Village. 64.” Dayleg said sitting beside me. Dayleg groped in the darkness under it looking for a suitable depository for the boar while I sat on an old tree stump to catch my breath. under pain of expulsion from the tribe.” 57. “It has not fallen upon your shoulders.” 58. of course.” a white-haired elder said.” he said. pot-bellied moon which on other nights I might have found romantic but which now enwrapped me with a feeling of dread. “We can still forgive you. If Dayleg was hurt by this decision he did not show it.
Three school terms I had worked with him but I knew nothing about him. I was afraid. much as the sphinx revealed the outer characteristics of its animalism. Luisa had told me that I was always inclined to be poetic. eased my hunger. And Roy accused me of being a poet as though that was a crime. Here. perhaps he was enigmatic not because I could not understand him but because I was analysing him from an irrelevant angle. He had gone up the house and secured the food without my noticing his leaving my side. Now and then he would glance under the house as though in spite of the darkness he could see the boar. When I turned to Dayleg I saw he was fumbling with something. He had also brought a jar of rice wine which. My . “You see things only after your imagination has colored them.them scraping against the corner of my mind. He pointed out that poets were an anachronism in an age of practical realists who regarded mankind with precise scientific minds in search of solutions to its problems. his indifference to women. The odor of roasting whetted my appetite. Dayleg ate without saying a word.he was sociable – but his sociability revealed merely the outer encumbrances of his personality. except his preference for canned food. but the mystery that shrouded it amidst the burning desert sands few could untangle: Perhaps the metaphor was far-fetched. “You must be hungry. his love for the rice terraces. 65. But my muscles were still taut in tension. 66. Not that he was reserved or aloof -. as though in spite of the darkness he could read some cabalistic calendrics on the skull of the boar. and was now beginning to shiver from the cold and from hunger. together with the meat.” she said. You won’t look at them as they are.” he said. Perhaps I saw Dayleg from a wrong perspective. let’s start a fire and roast some meat. to say the least. I was fearing some thought that had not completely taken shape.
” he said. take care of the house and attend to my needs I thought I had found the most wonderful woman in the world. Watching Luisa cook. a happy week we had together. sometimes. I had wanted to be the breadwinner in the house but Luisa did not want to give up her job. Because of the nature of my work I saw very little of her -. bade Roy and Blanca good bye. After all we had been planning that for the past year. I was jealous of any man who as much as looked at her. only we were afraid we could not live decently on our meager income. and Blanca – Luisa’s best friend – in attendance. After that we had an inexpensive dinner. It was when we came back to the City that life did not fulfil what it promised in the beginning. When I told him I did not intend to have children he said I was crazy and should not have gotten married in the first place. I . the beach. however. I asked for a week’s leave from my editor and she did the same from her chief. I could not accept the knowledge that she was earning more than I was. We got married in a simple rite with only the priest. We had known each other for three years.own life with Luisa was an out-of-focus affair. Roy said this was unfair of me. to the cinema. I guess I was the possessive type for I insisted that we got married. we would go on dates on Sundays. I can say. Soon you’ll have children and your wife’s earnings will surely help. It was. that some other men command and reprimand her. but most of the time we did not know what the other was doing. I admitted that I had not given that any thought before – having children – and that my sole aim in rushing Luisa into marriage was to possess her. Roy. “You are selfish.yes. Not that it was necessary to know that – we loved each other. She was secretary to an oil executive in the City and I was a reporter for an afternoon paper. Having been poor all my life. one needs some form of assurance that his beloved is still alive or faithful. and off we were to our honeymoon in the Mountains.
He sat upright. “Many a year I have lived here wishing that at my death I could see the sacred boar running. “The curse of gods upon us!” an old woman cried. A crowd had gathered near the house after someone saw the boar and informed the elders. nor care. looking around in the room. Dayleg was asleep in a corner near the post. inscrutable. There I learned later that she had asked for an annulment of our marriage which the Church granted. Dayleg stood tall and looming over the animal as though trying to protect it from any sudden snatcher. no. It was early morning. 68. His face was granite. momentarily I stood there till the light flashed out of my sight. I was glad to forget my failure as a husband. Thrice it flew up and down then ended in a silver strip that was a machete. he held the machete high above his head. When I got downstairs a thin blinding light pierced my eyes. then rushed out of the room. listened for a while. 67. The curse of gods upon us!” She was joined in her wailing by other women who had nurtured the . yet I was suddenly afraid to face the responsibilities of a married man. Soon Dayleg too was disturbed by the noise. 69. Dayleg was brandishing it. Three months after our marriage I packed my things and headed for the Mountains after writing Luisa a note. Now I see it dead. On what grounds I did not know. some uncertain of what the disturbance was all about – more than a hundred brown and shiny skins. I could hear excited voices emanating from below the house: they had discovered the boar. A ripple of noise cut my sleep: the ripple became wider until I found myself sitting greatly awake. 70. gesticulating with it as he was confronted by the elders.desperately wanted something to call my own. its blade pointed upward and catching slivers of sunbeam. they came – some of them still shaky from interrupted sleep.
83. but for us mortals…” 81. why did you kill the boar?” the leader said. “The grove is not sacred. entered with the women into a state of general moaning. “The village shall be without light!” 74. It was the leader of the elders. “For the hunting of the gods. “The gods would no more hunt there than we would hunt in the moon. Anger that distorted his face ran through his gleaming eyes down to his hands clenched at his sides. 78. 79. “Blasphemy!” the leader shook his fist at Dayleg. Somebody pushed through the thick circle of bodies and stood facing Dayleg on the opposite side of the cabbage crate on which the boar spread. when the profundity of its violation occurred to them. Lumawig himself consecrated it when he came down to earth. yes. 71.” 84. “The grove has been defiled!” 72. “In the name of Lumawig. The others became more excited: they pushed and jostled each other to get a better glimpse of the animal and. “The curse of gods upon us!” 76. He had put down the machete on the ground.” 82.” .” Dayleg said. “Blasphemy! It has always been and will ever be. “A thousand droughts shall stalk the terraces!” 75. “The infidel!” 73. “Who would believe it – our own man…” 77. The crowd held its breath looking from one man to the other. its body outlined by a pool of coagulating blood. “It was there for the hunting. 80.same hope.
88.” 100.85. The crowd watched in horror. “It is dead!” Dayleg shouted.” 92. 94. “It is sacred. 90. “That is a lie you and the others help to perpetuate. 87. unable to stop the man’s blows. “And consigning us all to hell?” . “Dayleg! In the name of Lumawig. “I’m breaking your lie. “Only fools would cry over a stinking carcass!” 95.” the leader shrieked above the woman’s wailing. “I am no more guilty of killing this boar than you are declaring it acred. some gasping for breath as if their very bodies were being hit by the weapon.” 97. 89. dead!” Dayleg said. “It is dead. “The demon has seized him. Forthwith he started hacking the boar: the blows thudded on its body as again and again the gleaming machete fell on it.” the crowd. 96. The woman’s wailing at this flagrant destruction of god’s minion rose and fell with the rise and fall of Dayleg’s hand. “It is sacred!” the crowd said.” 98. “It is sacred. The old woman wailed burying her face in her hands.” 86.” the leader’s anger was mounting. Look at your boar! What is to distinguish it from any other boar? Its blood is as filthy. “Woe to our children and our children’s children. “I tell you your mother is turning in her coffin at the shame you have brought us.” 93.” Dayleg said with contempt in his voice. stop it.” the leader shouted. What are you doing?” 99. “The curse of gods upon us!” 91. “Dead!” He picked up the machete and poked it at the animal’s belly to emphasize his words. “Dayleg. “It is dead. contaminated by the leader’s anger repeated. “Dayleg.
abandon this madness!” “The wrath of gods upon us!” “I curse you. for he hacked the boar even as it lay almost an indescribable mass of flesh and gore.101. a broken line. by wind. “ by a crooked line. “forgive your son. Ruler of the Sky. 103. by mass. and shouted. 105. “And freeing you from blindness. 110. 113. “I’ll show them.” The leader was on the verge of tears. a simple line…” 111. As against the crate he leant for support. a right line. The heat is in his blood.” . 112.” the leader said kneeling on the ground and beating his breast. “I curse you!” 106. “No. “No.” Dayleg said. 104. 108. As I watched him I discovered the Dayleg I knew was not even the shadow of this one before me. By all indications he was mad. stop it!” Dayleg’s father clasped his hands imploringly.” The sharpness in Dayleg’s voice sent an icy shiver down my back. “Son.” “…by flame. stop it! It’s not too late. stop it!” “In the name of Lumawig. The gods can still forgive.” the sounds came from the sepulchre of Dayleg’s throat. “Dayleg. 109. Sweat and the animal’s blood that had spurted out covered his face and arms that shone as the sun rose and struck them. by clay… “ “Lumawig. his bony fingers were black at the joints. He is young. remember your mother. held it high over his head. The crowd moved back terrified as the sacred blood dripped from Dayleg’s fingers and the sacred flesh quivered in his hand.” He picked up a piece of the boar’s flesh. 107. by rain. “Son.” “Son. 102.
sat simply on the ground. 123. Dayleg alone stood before the crate. 119. his hand still outstretched. The last pictures I bore with me that day as I left the scene of defilement were of Dayleg overturning the crate. “…Haada. 115. “but close Your eyes to the wind. holding the boar’s flesh. the rest. 125. Ritalica.114. his chest and face and hands stained by the sacred blood. Mikaded. “…by a sword. Let Your mind forget this day. by a cross…” “Look not upon this day as a breach upon Your will. Rabert!” On the last word Dayleg flung the boar’s flesh to the ground and overturned the crate with a kick that spilled the rest of the carcass onto the earth. stood handsomely tall mouthing his antique incantation while the sun rose higher and higher to surround his head with a crown of fierce light.” 116. we pray You forgive Your son. Modeca. stunned by the horror. Tasarith.” 120. by a scourge. 117. waving the machete and uttering words I could not catch while the shrieking villagers. by a foot. “Rika. Rakeben…” “Lumawig. 121. by a flying thing. “…by a serpent. Remove not your love from this people.” the leader said crying. “I curse you by an eye.” 124.” 122. he has danced till his bones ached in Your feast. by a hand. “The wrath of gods upon us!” Many of the natives had also knelt. 126. by a creeping thing…” “He has sacrificed many a cow in Your honor. by a flood…” “The wind brings no message if You won’t listen. The sun blinds You not with horror. 118. .
When I related what Dayleg had done to the sacred boar he shook his head. Imagine doing that to a man who has all this time subsisted on the weed!” I reminded him that it was for his own good and he shrugged his shoulders in mock resignation. you know. “He seems simple enough. I live in the Order’s hospital.” he said. I like everything but their denying me my tobacco.afraid Dayleg would turn his passion at them. 130. 127. I invited him to a cup of coffee in a nearby restaurant. Some people you can read like a book. “It was bound to happen. Exercise. I don’t know. “When will this tension subside?” “I don’t know. Three months later. but he’s not transparent either. 132. moving because the universe must complete its course. of the leader of elders pulling his white hair. “Yes.” . I called his attention to this and he said. 128. Who knows? Perhaps when he finds peace. he had been on leave from school for a year now on account of his heart. while I was in the City during the semestral vacation. ran in terror. a tension – call it paradox if you like – which is common to persons like him. Diet.” 129.” I said. Except for a little paleness on his cheeks he looked healthy. of the sun in its apex lighting the chunks of boar’s flesh in harsh legs of luminance. Dayleg you have to decipher. Beneath Dayleg’s tribal accoutrement lies the tension between self and reality. I don’t mean that he’s schizophrenic or something. I ran into Father Van Noort. the shadow of sadness passed across his face. “Dayleg is what you may call a complex person. and there they treat me like a kid. “I ought to be healthy. but remember simplicity is not transparency. still kneeling in supplication to Lumawig to forgive the man who at that very moment was desecrating god’s minion: suppliant wetting the ground with his tears.” 131.
I stood up and walked to the window. to come back. 135. Mr. It is better that he did not witness the rites the elders held for his expulsion. “I was there. with my fingers I rubbed off the mist that had collected on the glass. Sir. Sir. but things eluded me. “I don’t really know why he did it.Dayleg’s action. and I cannot describe to you my feelings as i watched him destroy our sacred boar. You may not understand it. we have to do a lot of sacrifice to wash away this sin. I could hear him opening and closing drawers. . but from our birth we have always believed that the grove is only for the gods. Sir. when you come back. His letter reached me while I was still on vacation a few days after I met Father Van Noort. These two years I had tried to find peace. The harvest is not good this year. Two years. An indefinite fear was gnawing my mind. “Anything around here to eat?” Roy shouted from the kitchen. that is why I was horrified by Mr. Dayleg has disappeared. But we don’t know where he is. he also made us share his guilt. He did not only bring shame to our village. Sir. 136. to re-order my life toward a meaningful goal. to show repentance. Sir. my best student. such acts as Mr.133. Sadness has descended on on this village. so the actor has to be driven out of the tribe to lessen the gods’ wrath on the innocent one who have. in spite of his expulsion. I peered outside. Sir. you not being one of us. nevertheless. Dayleg committed are grievous. I believe this. I don’t know how this will be possible. Under our laws. as you will see. But the best thing is for the sinner. The world was a blanket of darkness. Sir.” 134. that whoever enters it and as much as touches a blade of grass in it will be denied eternal happiness. been tainted with the guilt by their relationship with the sinner. “wrote Mario. Only then will the gods consider our prayers.
“Does he say where he is now?” “No. Outside. whereas before it came sooner than the planting season. “But I have just received a letter from him. I knew. 145. “There’s a can of beans on the upmost shelf and some meat in the bowl on the table.” I said.” they would say alluding to Dayleg. 143.” “He is. “No.” 142. 138. There’s some rice near the stove. I can’t understand him. The harvest had been regularly poor. 147.” 139. soaking the terraces and fattening the frogs that croaked in the mountain crags. couldn’t understand him myself. 140. Now the rice plots lay barren like a thousand mouths without blood. 144. In these two years that Dayleg had been gone they had not stopped their supplication. I don’t think anybody here understands him. “And you have not seen him since?” Roy said after I had told him what happened. a sure sign of the heavenly displeasure. squat houses with roof and walls of cogon. a group of white-haired men was praying to the gods. “Maybe he’s an exception to the rule. I quenched the light of my cigarette in the metal ashtray.” 146. There had been no rain for the past three months. and planting time was just a week ahead. 141.137.” “The rule?” . Only the fog rubbed the soil and tinted it with a whiff of wetness that was gone as soon as the fog had lifted.” “Sounds like a strange fellow to me. The letter bears the City’s postmark. “the gods have turned their faces away from us. somewhere in one of those spare. “He’s gone beyond. I smoked as I watched him eat.” I said.
155. Why. “That’s one thing I’d like to see. “it’s done. dancing. of the old tribal character and the modern patterns that slowly put him in a quandary: he may be alienated entirely from his native roots or he may bridge the past with the present. rain has not yet come. I don’t know how this people will survive a year of hunger. Tomorrow they’ll hold a big one. It was a tall dark man in dirty maong trousers and gray shirt.” 153. 157.” I said. his beard and moustache covered a large part of his face. it’s a matter of blood.” 154. we may say. “I mean in any society or tribe there’s bound to be someone who’d violate traditions and laws. I thought of Father Van Noort. “Intelligence has nothing to do with it. his hair long almost touching his shoulders. And to top it.” I said. may I ask. “Appeasing the gods by prayers?” “Yes.” “We’ll be there. while I was boiling some coffee. ‘Well. not of intelligence. “A synthesis.” We took another shot of whiskey before going to bed. And sacrifices. chanting. there was a knock on the door. 152. so I crossed to the living room to see who it was. 150. you know.148. 158. 159.” 156. Roy was still curled up in his cot. Killing a cow.” 151. Not that he’d do it for the heck of it. . did he do what you said he did if he is intelligent? No. but that in him probably a new personality is emerging. His people are having a hard time appeasing the gods. “I’m thinking… Dayleg is an intelligent man. Early the next morning.” 149.
Your record is excellent. “It’s me. Dayleg. I said to myself.” he said again when he noticed my hesitation. 168. He sat down by the table on which. 172.” he said. 174. Dayleg. we had worked till midnight making our lessons. 169.” he said. 161.” “But why didn’t you tell me? I could have helped. 173. “It’s not that. 163. not knowing what he wanted. Dayleg. “It’s me.” “Been working?” “I could not though I wanted to. “You received my letter?” . 170.” “You could have taught. “I have been living with a friend in the City. Then he uttered my name. A thousand thoughts rushed to my brain like a flood. so many times before. 165. He had lost weight – his shirt was loose around his shoulders and his veins stood out of the skin of his arms.” “Nobody can help me.” “You don’t understand.160. 176. The gods. 166. “What?” I almost dropped the cup I was holding. 162. “What happened? Where have you been?” I could scarcely conceal my excitement. I stood there in disbelief. “Nothing. “he said and looked at me with his bloodshot eyes. Dayleg. I opened the door wide and he stepped inside. 167. I led him to the kitchen just in time for me to prevent the coffee from spilling all over the stove. 164.” 175. 171. “Yes?” I said.
That’s the most important thing. you’ve come back. this is Dayleg. but your people will suffer in the meantime. 180.” “They’re blaming you. I nodded. I’ll go far enough where no one can touch me. “you know what I mean. 181. 182. I can’t stay.” I said. 189. . 192.” “Where will you go?” “Anywhere. 179. yet they pray for your return.” “You know what you’re doing. “Then.” “Perhaps. 195. “Roy. 185. tired. “Well. “What? Then why did you come?” “To tell you good-bye and to get the things I’ve left here. 193. “he continued. 196.177.” 190. of course. I’m alone.” 183. 194.” He stood up.” “You knew about that before.” 184.” “That’s the only thing I can do. 188.” “Vengeance?” “The gods. 186. 187. Your people will hold a sacrifice tonight. as they’ve been suffering these past years. Wait till they hear you’ve come back.” he said softly.” His voice was old. “But I didn’t believe it then. “But I’m not staying. 191. I didn’t want anyone to know I’m here so I came this early. excruciated by a force too strong for me to unlock. “They can blame the gods. 178. He came into the kitchen. didn’t you? Even before we hunted the boar?” “Yes.” “No.” Roy was awakened by our conversation. “I must go.
the praying stopped.” he said. as if somebody had given a signal. At sunset. I followed him to the door. Once in a while the leader’s voice rose above the murmurs of the others. “The sacrifice tonight…” “No. 199. Five men. . dragged a cow down to the village square where a big wooden table had been set. then kneel again.197. knelt before it. Small boys arrived from the forest bearing in the crook of their arms the firewood and dead leaves that would lessen the night’s chill. He would stand up. They shook hands. “Anytime you want to come back…” “Thanks. the fire burned fiercer under the big iron vats and small tin pots while the brass gongs were brought out of the chieftain’s hut and hung on their wooden pegs near the avocado trees where the young men would take turns beating them. their heads bowed. giving the impression that they were addressing themselves. their necks and arms coppery with sweat. more. Finally. 200. “I must go. The elders had formed a circle around this table and were already praying. In single file the elders walked slowly toward the cow. they surrounded the animal and. I said. Dayleg turned to me. as the cow. 198. being tied now temporarily to an iron stake. They uttered some inaudible incantation. The sun cast their shadows in jagged patterns across the wooden planks as their voices interlaced in supplication. 201. 202. I can’t.” he said.” His figure was swallowed by the early morning fog before I could say anything The sacrifice began three hours after noon. 204. 203. they all stood up – their ancient faces yellowish in the flickering firelight – silent. stamp his foot several times. gazed at the solemn gathering.
about six feet wide. As the animal was being raised above the pit to roast. The entrails will be buried near the sacred grove before the cow is roasted. from where we stood we could see knives flashing in the moonlight.” I said. The clang of brass gongs preceded a group of men and women whose feet bent the grass to the strange uneven rhythm. 207. ten feet long. who formed two long lines. then. 205. their arms outstretched fluttering in alar animation.The leader raised his right hand. the dancing began. They will eat it after a portion has been properly offered to the gods. Two big forking branches of mountain pine were hammered into the ground to serve as cradle for the pole that impaled the animal to turn on. 209. They had dug a roasting pit. This is actually a feast. and three feet deep. never hesitated. it was gone. He looked at the leader’s eyes and read the message there. 206. you know.” 210. for he nodded. The strange uneven rhythm had a logic to it for the dancers never missed a step.” Roy said. 208. “What are they doing?” Roy said. the leader having said nothing. Quickly he stepped aside to allow the elders to pass and return to the table to resume their prayer. A group of men had converged around the cow. “It won’t be wasted. “Cleaning the animal. the strange uneven rhythm had a logic to it for the dancers moved as if synchronizedin sure and easy steps even as a couple swung in between the . where live coal was dumped. with lots of wine going around. “A pity to waste such meat. Immediately a barrel-chested muscular man appeared from outside the circle. all of a sudden. Not long afterward the deafening cry of the dying cow drowned out the elders’ voices: it flew above the clatter of pots and pans and the whispering of the women as they prepared the boiling water and tended the fire.
and even now as I heard the primitive music I could not help imagining that it was exorcising the demon in me. they seemed to say. the tone of their thaumaturgic throats never wavering nor slowing. Our world was on the other side of the Mountains. as the animal was turned by two equally smoke-burnt men while others watched and waited. I looked at Roy. but the elders continued praying. as these dancers now were. Dance. A native told me once that dancing was not really taught to the children – the children learned by watching and carrying the rhythm in their heads. while Roy and I sat on a boulder behind them to rest for a while. The cow was now exuding a delicious smell as its fat trickled down the burning coal. As the night deepened. The sounds of gongs grew louder and louder than the pounding of my heart against its ribcage as we approached the thick circle of people . more fires were built. producing tiny hisses as it touched the embers. The natives shouted as they pressed forward nearer the avocado trees. brothers and sisters. memorizing it even in sleep. My thoughts were interrupted by the noise of a commotion emanating from a section of the square. The elders abruptly stopped praying and turned their heads to the direction of the dancers. The gods watch. the skin was golden brown and. The reality of my guilt had laid a heavy hand on my heart. Yet I felt I was part of all these for I had stepped into the sacred grove and had stalked its sacred occupant. 212. Then we ran. 213. 211. We were strangers: our lives were not entangled by in these ritualistic complexities. eyes glazy in the moving firelight. full of brightness. We left the dancers and returned to the roasting pit. and the gods must be appeased.lines to join them. There was little for us to do. making it a part of their bones. So when they danced they danced as though mesmerized.
the hunter. he kept on dancing. there in the circle. and. but there. as his feet stamped the ground in syllables of penance. There were many things I had to do. caught in the glare of the bright firelight. For a while I rubbed my smoke filled eyes for I thought I was dreaming. 214. figure of a man fallen and rising again.” and the elders caressed the sky with their eyes and gazed at him reduced to a thin pathetic remnant of aa man by the mills of the gods. and that contorted his face into a mask of grave pain until tears came to wash his beard and glimmer in the light. 215. DONE . wrapped in a spell. his arms elegant in their winging.” “Dayleg. him. We elbowed our way through to the center of the crowd. The next morning I packed my bags and told Roy I was going back to the City with him. oh how he danced. was a lone man dancing. his feet affirming his thanage of the earth. with his feet and arms and soul declaring his inviolable kinship with all that made him what he was and what he would be. the ends of his G-string flapping as he moved unerringly to the strange uneven rhythm of the gongs while shifting shadows drew myriad patterns on his golden chest. Dayleg. they commenced carving that portion of the cow for the gods – he had returned but the gods had a long memory – they carved the meat while in the circle. “He’s back. We could still catch the six-o’-clock bus. his long hair and loose beard wavelike in the wind while the people whispered. expressing the threads of mountain history that held his muscles and bones in the frenzy of autochthonous grace now unleashed purely.straining their necks to see the object of the perturbation.
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