The Origin of the Owl

Written by Lolita G. Bautista on .

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There was a couple who had one son named Juan. They loved each other as much as they did their son. They shared in every work they had. However, because they loved their son very much, they did not make him work. They gave everything that Juan desired.

When Juan was still young, his father contracted a serious disease which carried to his grave. His last wish to his wife was for her to take good care of Juan. He wanted Juan to grow up a good man.

After Juan’s father had gone, his mother was more affectionate to him. She did all her best to satisfy him. He granted him everything that would make him happy. She did not make him work.

As Juan grew older, his face became more and more similar to his father. He, too, learned to love his mother very much. Although, he always received good attention from his mother, he was not spoiled. He was very obedient. He helped his mother in her work. He tried to make his mother happy, too. They lived happily together in their house among the woods.

One day, after helping his mother in the kaingin, Juan got sick. His mother was very much worried. She called for the quack doctor in the village, but nothing could be done to make him better. She made offerings to the gods but her efforts were in vain. After a few days, Juan died leaving his mother in despair.

The mother went insane in spite of the neighbors’ consolations. She kept crying and shouting. Sometimes she seemed to be conversing with Juan. She ran through the woods calling, “Juan, Juan, Juan.”

This enraged God. God came down to help comfort her but He was not successful, so He said, “Since you won’t listen to me, I’ll change you to a bird so that you can go wandering from place to place calling to Juan, your son.”

The woman became afraid, but before she could say anything more, she felt herself become smaller and smaller and out she flew shouting, “Juan, Juan,” in the dark.



Bautista, Lolita G. “The Origin of the Owl.” In Folk Tales of Mountain Province: Retold for Children-Grade V. 1st ed. Baguio City: n.p., 1960, 19-20.



This folk tale was produced by Area - - A during a Division Curriculum Workshop held in Baguio City, Philippines on February 9-17, 1960. The workshop’s theme was “Enriching the Curriculum Through the Development of Local Materials.” 

“Division” in Division Curriculum Workshop refers to a schools division of the Department of the Education. It could have been then the “Mountain Province Schools Division.” (YBelen,8December2014)


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