August 15, 2008

Si Kabayan 2


Si Kabayan was so deeply in debt to an Arab usurer that it made him giddy even to think of it. How could he ever pay his debts when he no longer possessed a single thing that he could sell to obtain even a part of the amount he owed? He thought and thought and thought, and at long last he hit upon a plan.

"Finally!" he said to his wife. "Now I know what to do!"

His wife agreed to his proposal, in fact welcomed it with great enthusiasm, and proceeded to help him carry it out. First she filled a washtub with palm wine and spread kapok all over the floor next to the tub. Si Kabayan bathed in the wine, and rolled his wet body around and around in the kapok until he was white and furry all over. Then he crawled into a large chicken coop.

Shortly afterwards the Arab came to Si Kabayan's house to claim his due.

"Kabayan is not at home," said his wife to the Arab.

"Where is he?" asked the Arab.

"He's gone to appear before the King."

"The King?" asked the Arab in great astonishment. "What has happened?"

"He's gone to report to the King that he has found and caught a very rare bird."

"A rare bird? What kind of bird?" The Arab indicated his desire to see the strange bird, but Si Kabayan's wife refused'. Kabayan was going to present this rare and wonderful specimen to the King, and if she let the Arab see it, she said, Kabayan would be very angry, because Kabayan had said specifically that no one else was to see the bird before the Kin himself.

This explanation merely increased the Arab's desire to see Kabayan's bird, and he prevailed upon Si Kabayan's wife to show it to him.

Allowing herself to be persuaded, Kabayan's wife took the Arab to the back of the house, where she pointed to a chicken coop covered with a piece of cloth. Full of curiosity, the Arab lifted the edge of the cloth. As he raised it a little higher, Si Kabayan burst out of the cage, and crying "ba-ra-ka-tak-t'ak; ba-ra-ka-tak-tak," he ran out of sight.

Si Kabayan's wife began to weep. "Oh, oh," she sobbed. "Look what you've done! What will I tell Kabayan, and what will the King say? I'll have to tell him that it's your entire fault that his bird got away. And then Kabayan will have to tell the King. Oh, oh!"

The Arab was frightened.

"Please don't," he pleaded. "Please don't tell Kabayan and the King."

And in exchange for her promise not to tell Kabayan, he cancelled all Kabayan's debts.***