The Legend of Mariang Makiling
-Retold by Jose Rizal
The many legends of Mariang Makiling tell of a young woman who lived on the beautiful mountain that separates the provinces of Laguna and Tayabas. Her dwelling place was never definitely known, because those who had the good luck to deal with her would wander about for a long time lost in the woods, unable to return; neither did they remember the way, nor were they agreed as to the place and its description. While some say her home was a beautiful palace, bright as a golden reliquary, surrounded by gardens and fine parks, others assert that they saw only wretched hut with a patched roof and bamboo sides. Such a contradiction may give rise to the belief that both parties were romancing, it is true but it may also be due to the fact that Mariang Makiling, like many persons in comfortable circumstances, might have had dwelling places. According to eyewitnesses, she was a young woman, tall and graceful with big black eyes and long and abundant hair. Her colour was a clear pure brown, the kayumangging kaligatan, as the Tagalog say. Her hands and feet were small and delicate and the expression of her countenance always grave and serious. She was a fantastic creature, half nymph, half sylph, born under the moonbeams of Filipinas, in the mystery of its ancient woods, the murmur of the waves on the neighbouring shore. According to general belief, and contrary to the reputation imputed to the nymphs and goddesses, Mariang Makiling always remained pure, simple, and mysterious as the genius of the mountain. An old maid-servant we had, an Amazon who defended her house against the outlaws and once killed one of them with a lance thrust, assured me that she had in her childhood seen her passing in the distance over the reed grass so lightly and airily that she did not even make the flexible blades bend. They said that on the night of Good Friday, when the hunters built bonfires to attract the deer by the scent of the ashes...
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