Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 8

Different Adventures of Juan Tamad

In the Filipino folktale Juan Tamad ( in English it means


lazy John or Johnny lazy), a young boy comes upon a
guava tree and all the fruit is ripened already, he is so
lazy that doesn't want to pick the fruit himself so what
he does is he lays underneath he branches where the
fruit is falling. When the fruit falls he opens his mouth
very wide and the fruit lands in his mouth and he
does that till all the fruit is gone.
Juan Tamad and the Flea-Killer
By Nieves S. Villaflores, Illustrations by Roberto S. Escolastico; Published by National
Book Trust, India

One weakness leads to another. So it was with Juan Tamad's laziness. As his body was
lazy, so was his mind. Truth being often hard to tell, he took recourse to lies, which came
easy to him. Telling lies became his second nature.

One day his mother sent him to town to buy a cooking pot. It so happened that the
townspeople were afflicted by fleas. Nobody knew where they came from. They crawled
up one's legs and body and lodged themselves in the hair until one itched like mad. It was
horrible.

Juan bought a nice pot and set off for home. On his way back, a flea got inside his clothes
and bit him. He yelled and threw out his arms and scratched himself as he pranced
around. In all this confusion the pot fell on the ground and broke into a dozen pieces.

Jaun squatted before the broken pot, imagining his mother's wrath. He had to do some
quick thinking.

He collected all the pieces of the broken pot and, with the help of two stones, ground
them very fine. Then he wrapped up the powder in several pieces of a banana leaf, and
went back to town. Up and down the road he went shouting, "Buy flea-killer! Buy flea-
killer!"/

This seemed heaven-sent for the townsfolk who crowded around him and bought all the
packages.

Juan took back home no cooking pot, but instead a bag of coins. His mother was pleased.
But she still wanted her rice pot, so she sent him back to town the next day.
Great was the dismay of Juan Tamad when he arrived in town and was soon set upon by
angry men and women shaking their fists in his face and cursing him.

"We shall tear you limb by limb," they shouted, "for you sold us no flea-killer but
common sand. You cheat! Now tell us a likely story so you should not die like a dog. But
the story has to be convincing or you will not be spared."

"Oh, my good neighbours," pleaded Juan, "first tell me how you used the flea-killer."

"Why, we dusted it on the fleas, of course. How else?" said the neighbours.

"Ah," said Juan. "That is what I feared. Have you any of the powder left?"

No one had any powder left. "What a pity," sighed Juan, "for I could have shown you
how to kill the fleas. First, you catch a flea. Then open its eyes. It is really very simple,"
said Juan.

"Ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-!" roared a neighbour, and "Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha," laughed another.

"It is hard enough to see a flea and catch it, let alone open its eyes," said one man.

Juan tried desperately to go on with his story, but such was the din and noise of angry
protest from the people that he found himself cornered.

"Juan, why not tell the truth for a change!" shouted an old woman.

And for the first time in his young life, Juan saw no escape. He told them the truth.As
some men lunged forward to pounce on him, the old woman stopped them and said, "Let
the fool go this time. But listen boy, try your tricks again on us and God save you!"

"Come, we must tell his mother," came a voice, and the crowd melted away, leaving Juan
standing alone, still worried about his mother's wrath.

Juan Tamad Courts Mariang Masipag


Love comes to anyone in an unexpected moment.

Love struck lightning-like the lazy heart of Juan Tamad when he saw the
beauteous maid, Mariang Masipag. Every day he came to see her and
followed with his eyes her busy hands and feet that never stopped at their
tasks from early morn to dusk.

“Every day you come here, Juan Tamad, and lie around making eyes at my
daughter,” said the mother of Mariang Masipag, “and eating our food and
drinking our tuba. Yet, you cut no firewood nor draw water from the well.
You good-for-nothing lout with bones as soft as rice gruel! Be off with you
and never set food in our yard again!”

Juan Tamad went away without a word but was back the next day, his arms
loaded with big banana leaves. These he laid down carefully one by one
from the field into the yard of Maria’s house.

The mother of Mariang Masipag stood watching at the head of the stairs
until she could bear her curiosity no more and exclaimed, “What in the name
of the dark one are you doing with those banana leaves? And didn’t I tell
you never to set foot in our yard again?”

“I’m not stepping on any part of ground in your yard,” said Juan, “for as
you see, my feet touch only the banana leaves.”

Juan Tamad Takes a Bride


Juan Tamad’s mother said, “My son, it is time you took a woman to
wife, for your mother grows old every day, older and more feeble.”

“What manner of woman shall I bring home, mother?” said Juan.

“A woman of few words,” said the mother of Juan. So Juan went off in
search of a wife and he went east and he went west but everywhere he
went the women talked too much.

Finally, he came to a lonely house in the woods where, he was told,


lived an old woman and her daughter.

“Tao po…” called Juan at the gate; but no one answered. He ventured
into the yard and again called out—

“Tao po…” and still no one answered. He climbed the bamboo steps
into the house and found a young girl lying upon a mat on the floor.

“Will you be my wife?” asked Juan. The maiden stared at him but said
not a word.

“Ah!” said Juan, “you are the very wife my mother wants for me,” and
he lifted the girl in his arms and took her home.

“Oh! You wretched boy!” cried the mother of Juan at sight of Juan’s
bride. “You have brought my house enmity and bad luck, for surely at
this very hour they are looking for this corpse and heaven help you
when they find it here!”

No sooner had the mother of Juan spoken than the relatives of the dead
girl arrived and fell to beating Juan with sticks and calling him the
worst names. After which they took the corpse away to give it a burial.

Juan Tamad Escapes a Beating


One day, Juan’s father was very angry.
“Aie!” cried the father of Juan Tamad in great anger. “Juan has again
forgotten to water the carabao and the beast is hot and dry. When that good-
for-nothing son of yours comes home, he will surely feel my lash on his lazy
hide.”

The kind mother who is always there to shiled his son said, “It was my
fault. This morning, I craved the taste of duhat and your son fetched me a
handful of the fruit which, unwitting, I shared with him. There may be truth
in what my mother used to say that any man or woman or child who
partakes of food craved by a conceiving woman will suffer from fits of
forgetfulness…”

“Last night, your son was forgetful,” the father grumbled. “And other times
before, he was forgetful, too. Surely, you did not share duhat fruit with him
yesterday nor the day before?”

“Yesterday, it was guavas,” the mother smiled, “and the day before
yesterday it was tamarind. Why, mother used to say also that if a conceiving
woman takes a notion either to like or dislike a person, that one will become
absent-minded. Also, that, whichever person or object attracts her fancy or
incurs her displeasure, will leave a mark on her baby that is yet to be born.”

“My mother also used to tell me,” said the father of Juan Tamad, “that a
pregnant woman may not eat of twin bananas if she does not wish to give
birth to twins.”

“Nor mend or hem a dress she has on, lest she suffers a difficult birth-
giving…”

Nor this and that and the other, continued Juan Tamad’s father through tale
after tale, thus forgetting his anger, and the mother smiled, knowing her son
has escaped a beating that night.

Juan Tamad and the Flea-Killer


One weakness oftentimes leads to another. This is the same with the story of Juan
Tamad’s laziness. As his body was lazy, so was his mind. Truth being often hard
to tell, he took recourse to lies, which came easy to him.

Telling lies became his second nature. One day his mother sent him to town to buy
a cooking pot. It so happened that the townspeople were afflicted by fleas. Nobody
knew where they came from. They crawled up one’s legs and body and lodged
themselves in the hair until one itched like mad. It was horrible.

Juan bought a nice pot and set off for home. On his way back, a flea got inside his
clothes and bit him. He yelled and threw out his arms and scratched himself as he
pranced around. In all this confusion the pot fell on the ground and broke into a
dozen pieces.

Jaun squatted before the broken pot, imagining his mother’s wrath. He had to do
some quick thinking.He collected all the pieces of the broken pot and, with the
help of two stones, ground them very fine.

Then he wrapped up the powder in several pieces of a banana leaf, and went back
to town. Up and down the road he went shouting, “Buy flea-killer! Buy flea-
killer!”

This seemed heaven-sent for the townsfolk who crowded around him and bought
all the packages.

Juan took back home no cooking pot, but instead a bag of coins.

His mother was pleased. But she still wanted her rice pot, so she sent him back to
town the next day.

Great was the dismay of Juan Tamad when he arrived in town and was soon set
upon by angry men and women shaking their fists in his face and cursing him.

“We shall tear you limb by limb,” they shouted, “for you sold us no flea-killer but
common sand. You cheat! Now tell us a likely story so you should not die like a
dog. But the story has to be convincing or you will not be spared.”

“Oh, my good neighbours,” pleaded Juan, “first tell me how you used the flea-
killer.”

“Why, we dusted it on the fleas, of course. How else?” said the neighbours.

“Ah,” said Juan. “That is what I feared. Have you any of the powder left?”
No one had any powder left. “What a pity,” sighed Juan, “for I could have shown
you how to kill the fleas. First, you catch a flea. Then open its eyes. It is really
very simple,” said Juan.

“Ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-!” roared a neighbour, and “Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,” laughed another.

“It is hard enough to see a flea and catch it, let alone open its eyes,” said one man.

Juan tried desperately to go on with his story, but such was the din and noise of
angry protest from the people that he found himself cornered.

“Juan, why not tell the truth for a change!” shouted an old woman.

And for the first time in his young life, Juan saw no escape. He told them the
truth.As some men lunged forward to pounce on him, the old woman stopped
them and said, “Let the fool go this time. But listen boy, try your tricks again on us
and God save you!”

“Come, we must tell his mother,” came a voice, and the crowd melted away,
leaving Juan standing alone, still worried about his mother’s wrath.