Myth: A Bird with a Reddish Spot on Its Chest

There are birds that have reddish spots on their chests. They are sometimes curious to look at and one imagines why there are birds with such strange reddish spots. This Philippine myth offers an investigative explanation.

A long time ago, according to this myth, there were two orphaned sisters in a village. Adella was more beautiful and kind-hearted. The myth says one day a good-looking man named Jose saw Adela by chance and fell for her at first sight. Consequently, Jose paid Adella regular visits at her house. Unknown to them though, all the while, Bertha watched them enviously, the myth says.

Bertha was also in love with Jose. In fact, the myth says, she was so in love with Jose that she tried several tricks to win Jose’s heart. She even tried some love potions she bought from local quack doctors, but to no avail. The myth says she learned that love potions only affected insincere hearts. Jose’s love, the myth avers, was pure. That protected Jose from even the strong love potions that Bertha bought. Consequently, the myth says, Jose—having doubts about Bertha’s suspicious actuations—started avoiding her.

One day, the myth says, Bertha invited Adella for a swim in the river while Jose was away. With some hesitations the latter agreed. While in the river, the myth says Bertha pretended to be kind to Adella. When they were out of the water Bertha offered to fix Adella’s hair. When Bertha got around Adella’s back, the myth says she stabbed Adella in the back and she died instantly.

Bertha dragged Adella’s body to the river and let the current carry the body away. She made sure that no trace of evidence was left on the crime scene. According to the myth, she used sand to cover the spots of blood on the ground. However she failed to notice a spot of blood on a small rock. The myth says it started to form into a bird with a reddish spot on its chest. Since then, several times daily, the bird always showed itself to Bertha, forever haunting her and nagging about her secret crime.

This Philippine myth on why some birds have reddish spots on their chests shows that justice will always be served, if not through the courts, then mysteriously. So when one sees a bird with a reddish spot on its chest, it’s not a conviction to a crime. Just remember Adella.

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