Philippine Folklore: The Kind and the Pure

The common Filipino dream is to be rich someday. In fact this is often the case why myriads of overseas Filipino workers brave years of uncertain employment and life in the Middle East—to pursue this often elusive dream. This Philippine folklore can serve as a reminder to us all.

The folklore starts with a man who saw a drowning old lady in a river one morning. He was on his way to get some breakfast from the river—some fresh water shrimp perhaps or a couple of mud fish. Then, the folklore continues, he saw an old lady in the river calling for help. He immediately dived into the river and rescued the old lady. Grateful, the old woman thanked the man and remarked that the man had a kind heart. Then, according to this folklore, she took something from her pocket. It was wrapped in an old cloth. She handed it to the man.

The man regarded the wrapped thing in his hand and looked at the old lady inquiringly. He opened it and, the folklore goes that the man saw a strange green stone. The old lady said the stone can grant three wishes. The first two wishes will be granted to a kind heart. But the third wish only to a pure heart. He was about to say something and turn to the old woman but, the folklore says, she was gone.

Back to his family, he showed them the stone after telling his wife and kid about the old woman and the 3 wishes. “Well, only one way to find out,” said his wife. They made two wishes; lots of money and cars—what a Filipino today might also wish for. And according to the folklore, it happened. They suddenly became very rich.

Life began to change. The folklore says, his wife became a gambler, he became a drunkard, and his kid rebelled about it all. Soon, he realized what was happening and took the stone and wished that their vices would disappear. Nothing happened. Then, according to the folklore, he remembered: only a pure heart would get the stone to work again. Closing his eyes, he reluctantly wished to return to their old life before he met the old lady. The folklore says, it happened. He got his family back, in peace and simple joy.

This Philippine folklore reminds us to check our priorities and hold on only to those things that really matter in life.

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