How Jackyo Became Rich

A long time ago there was a young man whose name was Jackyo. He was very poor, and by his daily labor could earn barely enough for his food and nothing at all for his clothes. He had a little farm at some distance from the village in which he lived, and on it raised a few poor crops.

One pleasant afternoon Jackyo started off to visit his farm. It was late when he reached it, and after he had finished inspecting his crops, he turned back homewards. But the bright day had gone and the sun had set. Night came on quickly, and the way was dark and lonely.

At last he could no longer see the road. Not a star was to be seen, and the only sounds he heard were the sad twitterings of the birds and soft rustling of the leaves as they were moved by the wind.

At last he entered a thick forest where the trees were very big. “What if I should meet some wild beast,” thought Jackyo; but he added half aloud, “I must learn to be brave and face every danger.”

It was not long before he was very sure that he could hear a deep roar. His heart beat fast, but he walked steadily forward, and soon the roar was repeated, this time nearer and more distinctly, and he saw in the dim light a great wild ox coming towards him.

He found a large hole in the trunk of a huge tree. “I will pass the night here in this tree,” he said to himself.

In a little while an old man appeared. His body was covered with coarse hair and he was very ugly. He looked fiercely at Jackyo from head to foot and said: “What are you thinking of to come in here? Do you not know that this is the royal castle of the king of evil spirits?”

Jackyo became more frightened than before and for a long time he could not speak, but at last he stammered: “Excuse me, sir, but I cannot go home on account of the dark night. I pray you to let me rest here for a short time.”

“I cannot let you stay here, because our king is not willing to help any one who does not belong to his kingdom. If he did so, his kingdom would be lost. But what is your name? Do you know how to sing?” said the old man.

“My name is Jackyo, and I know a little bit about singing,” replied

“Well,” said the old man, “if you know any song, sing for me.” Now Jackyo knew but one song, and that was about the names of the days of the week except Sunday. He did not like to sing it, but the old man urged him, saying: “If you do not sing, I will cut your head off.” So Jackyo began to sing.

It happened that the king [5] of the evil spirits, whose name was Mensaya, heard Jackyo’s song and was very much interested in it. He called a servant, named Macquil, and said: “Macquil, go downstairs and see who is singing down there, and when you find him, bring him to me.”

Jackyo went before the king, bowed to the floor, touching the carpet with his forehead, and stood humbly before the king.

“Let me hear your song,” said the king. So Jackyo, with great respect, sang the only song he knew. Here it is:

Mon-day, Tues-day, Wednesday, Thurs-day, Fri-day, Sat-ur-day.

While he was singing, all the evil spirits in the cave gathered around him to hear his song, and Mensaya asked him to sing it over and over again. They were all so pleased with it that Mensaya ordered Macquil to give Jackyo a large quantity of gold and silver as a reward for his beautiful song.

When the morning came Jackyo returned home, full of joy, and became known as the richest man in the village.

from Philippine Folk-Tales by Clara Kern Bayliss, Berton L. Maxfield, W. H. Millington,
Fletcher Gardner, Laura Watson Benedict

The tales here presented were collected during the spring of 1904, in the island of Panay, belonging to the Visayan group of the Philippine Islands, and were obtained in our own class rooms, from native teachers and pupils. Mr. Maxfield was stationed at Iloilo, and Mr. Millington at Mandurriao, places five miles apart. We daily came in contact with about one thousand pupils. The tales were gathered in both places, and were found to be substantially alike, the differences being only in petty details. After collecting one version, we endeavored to ascertain whether the same narrative was current among natives in other localities of the island. We were surprised to discover that they seemed to be known wherever we became acquainted with the people and had obtained their confidence sufficiently to induce them to talk freely. There were often variations, but the framework was always the same. If any stories were obtained from native teachers who knew Spanish, we have always verified them by getting children or natives from other places, who knew no Spanish, to relate them, in order to assure ourselves that the narrative could not be a mere translation of a Spanish tale.

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