Many, many years ago, there lived an old unmarried man in a lonely cogon hut on a hillside near a thick forest. He made his living by planting camote, gabi, and rice.
One day he went to the fields to mend the fences of his rice fields and regulate the water going to the fields. Upon reaching his rice and gabi paddies, he noticed that most of the gabi tubers were uprooted and were floating on the pond. For a while he wondered as to who must have done the great damage. Upon looking into the paddies he noticed footprints along the edges of the gabi patch. These footprints made him suspect that the damage must have been done by some envious neighbors. The following night he hid nearby to guard the plants.
By the middle of the night, no intruders had appeared yet. He was about to go to sleep when suddenly he saw a bright light up in the sky. He was surprised and could not believe what he saw. He rubbed his eyes and once more looked up into the sky. He saw bright stars coming down the earth and dropping down on his gabi paddies. As soon as the stars fell on the ground, they turned to beautiful maidens dressed in white. These maidens bathed themselves in the paddies among the gabi plants causing the plants to be uprooted.
The man crept to where the dresses of the maidens placed. He grabbed a dress and hid it among the rocks and went back to his hiding place. Daylight was already coming in. The star maidens hurriedly stopped taking a bath. They dressed themselves and went back to the sky except for one who couldn’t find her dress. The man got out from hiding place, approached the young maiden and pretended to be angry while pointing at the damaged plants.
The maiden begged the man’s forgiveness, but the man would not forgive the maiden unless she agreed to marry him. The maiden consented to marry him. They got married and lived happily for many years. They worked together in the fields. They had a few children of their own.
One day, while the man and woman were working in the fields and the children were playing, one of the children found a beautiful dress among the rocks. The mother recognized the dress. She got the dress from the children and told them not to tell their father about it. She hid the dress among the rocks.
The maiden and her husband together with their father went home late in the after. During the night, while the husband and the children slept, the maiden went to the rocks where she hid the dress and quickly put it on and noiselessly went back to where the children were sleeping. She woke the children and told them how she and her husband got married. She told the children to tell their father that whenever he planted gabi, she would place signs on them so that no star maidens would come again to destroy them. She then left her children and husband and went back to the sky.
Lubos, Paulino. “The Star Maiden.” In Folk Tales of Mountain Province: Retold for Children-Grade V. 1st ed. Baguio City: n.p., 1960, 63-64.
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,11December2014)