Source of Money is Better Than Money

Money is good but Philippine folklore says having the source of money is better. Filipino folklore principles value work or business more than its rewards. Even when giving alms to the poor, Filipino folklore principles reason that monetary alms relieve hunger pangs only for a moment. Then the beggar begs continuously. But a job gives him continuous source to draw out from. Like this one:

There was a turtle and a monkey. They were friends. Well, not good friends really. The sly monkey kept the kind turtle an underdog. In their daily businesses the monkey conned the gullible turtle into unfair deals.

One day the turtle found a small island in the middle of a lagoon. In the middle of the island were banana trees bursting with ripe and plump fruits. He could swim across to the island but could not climb the tree. So he got the monkey to strike a deal with him.

They both wanted the bananas but neither one could do the job by himself—the monkey couldn’t swim. The monkey agreed to ride on the turtle’s back as the latter swam across to the island. On the island, the turtle watched with gusto as the monkey climbed up and took a sampling of one of the fruits. Then another one. And another one.

The turtle, mouth all watery, requested for samplings, too. But the monkey said bananas are best eaten on wide, open spaces, not on a small island. The turtle regarded him for a second and then agreed. He swam back to the other side while the monkey, on his back, carried a bunch of bananas.

At the other side, the monkey immediately climbed up a tall tree with the bananas. There he ate everything, safe from the turtle’s reach. Of course, the turtle protested, but the monkey haughtily said, “So what else is new?”

The turtle went away sad and stared wistfully at the banana trees afar in the middle of the island.

Then the next banana season came and the trees on the island were again ready for harvest. As the turtle surveyed them from afar, he noticed birds perched on the branches and nibbling the fruits. Just then, the monkey came. He apologized for the misdemeanor he had shown and offered to help the turtle with the bananas again.

This time the turtle ignored him and swam across alone. He struck a bargain with the birds. He said bananas are best eaten as dessert after a hearty meal of fish. The birds agreed. He traded the fish he caught with the bananas the birds dropped him.

This Filipino folklore stresses a Filipino proverb: Easy money doesn’t last. It is good only as mercy lasts. It may require hard work but nothing beats keeping a business or a job. It makes the supply last.

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