Ifugao Myths: Jars Brought from the Village

Philippine Folk Tales

Bañggilit of Hinagañgan and the Jars He Brought from the Village of Souls

A long time ago, before the coming of the Spaniards, there lived at Hinagañgan a man called Bañggilit. He was a wealthy man, possessing four rice granaries and a very large house; but he was not a priest. His constant desire was to hunt in the forest.

One day Bañggilit went hunting in the forest and was overtaken by night.  He called his dogs, but they did not come. He made fire, cooked, and ate.  Then one dog came to him, and he took the lead and departed.  Nearby he found a path. The dog with him barked and the second dog answered, and they went on. And the dog with Bañggilit began to whimper and whine and to pull on the leash. So Bañggilit began to run, and they went on. Suddenly it became light all around them, and they came out of the forest into a large group of people. And the people said among themselves, “Surely Bañggilit is dead,” and they examined his body and asked, “Where were you speared?” and Bañggilit spoke and said, “I have not been speared! I went hunting and was overtaken by night, and my dog here ran ahead on our path. I followed, and came here, and–lo!–it is light here!”

And they took Bañggilit and went to their town, for there are many large towns there in the dwelling-place of souls. They wished to give him food; but he said, “Wait until my own food is exhausted, and then I will eat of your rice here.” And they asked him, “How many days will you remain with us?”  and Bañggilit answered that he would remain four days. Then the people began to laugh and one of them said, “Not four days but four years here!” 

“Ha!” cried Bañggilit. “I shall never do that! Wait until you see!”  

“Just so!” answered the other.” One day here is the same as a year on the Earthworld,” but Bañggilit thought that he was lying.

Bañggilit visited all of the towns there. He worked in the rice fields, and they gave him four jars as his wages. Then his host said to him, “Return home now, for you have been here four days, which, according to the usage of the Earthworld, are four years.” 

“Yes,” answered Bañggilit, “I wish to go home now, as I am homesick for my family.  You have been very good to me, for you have given me wages for my work.” 

And the host said: “It was a gift, not wages, but a gift, that I gave you,” and he led the way and pointed out to Bañggilit a ladder. “Go down that ladder, and in a short time you will arrive at your house,” he said. Bañggilit started to go down, but one of the jars struck heavily against the ladder and was broken. He slid down the trunk of the tree to the ground. The chickens were crowing, and it was just dawn. And he looked at his surroundings and exclaimed: “Why this is my own house!” His relatives came out and said, “Who are you?” and he replied, “This is my house.” They looked at him closely and cried, “Well now, it is Bañggilit who has been gone these four years!”  And they sat down and talked long together. He showed them the jars, and they asked, “Where did you get those?” And he answered, “I brought them from the Skyworld,” and they were afraid and went to look for the ladder. But it was no longer there.

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