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Juan and the Magic Tree

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Juan and the Magic Tree

A Filipino Folk Tale - Transcript


The Adventures of Juan
There was a boy named Juan, who was a lazy boy that was always getting into trouble. He was not a clever boy and often made a real mess of things that he was doing.
Juan's family got very cross with him. His mother was on the verge of giving up on him altogether but with high hopes she gave him an axe and sent him to the forest thinking that at least Juan could cut and gather the firewood.
Juan walked along, worried that he might mess up again when he came to a tree that seemed easy to cut.
He drew his axe and prepared to cut it down. However, this was a magic tree and it said to Juan, "I am a magic tree and if you don’t cut me I will give you a goat that shakes silver from its head."
This idea pleased Juan, because he liked the idea of a goat that gave him silver, and he thought he would not have to chop the wood anymore. He agreed at once and the tree split open allowing a goat to step out. Juan told it to nod its head, and when silver coins began to drop he was so pleased that he decided to take the animal home to show his treasure to his mother.
On the way Juan met a friend who was both sly and clever. This friend asked Juan why he was so happy and Juan showed him what the goat did. His friend picked up the silver pieces and bought coconut wine with the coins. The boys started to drink and when Juan got drunk, his friend substituted another goat for the magic one.
Juan woke up eventually and hurried home with the goat telling his family the story about the magic tree and the magic goat; but when he made the goat nod its head no money fell out. His own family, believing it to be another of Juan's tricks to avoid working scolded the poor boy once again.
Juan went back to the tree and threatened to cut it down for lying to him, but the tree swore that it was a magic goat that Juan was given. "Please do not cut me down, I am a magic tree" the tree pleaded, "I will give you a net which you may cast on dry ground, or even on the tree tops, and it will return full of fish every time."
Again, Juan spared the tree and hurried back home with his precious net. But on the way he met the same friend who asked why he was carrying a net. Juan explained about the net, he cast the net and it filled with fish. The friend gathered up the fish, sold them and bought some more coconut wine. When Juan was drunk, the friend replaced the magic net with an ordinary one, so that when Juan reached home later and tried to show the magic of the net, his family firstly laughed, and then scolded him again.
Juan returned to the tree and was on the point of cutting it down when once more the tree said “I am a magic tree, take this magic stick but don’t cut me down. “ The tree told Juan to say, "Boombye, Boombah!" and it would beat the person nearby.
When Juan met his friend on this trip and was asked what he had this time, Juan replied, "Oh, it is only a stick, but if I say 'Boombye, Boombah!' it will beat you." At the sound of the magic words the stick bounced up and down and began beating his friend.
Juan’s friend cried, "Oh, stop it and I will give back everything that I stole from you!" Juan ordered the stick to stop, and then he ordered his friend to bring the goat and the net to him.
When Juan got home this time he asked the goat to nod his head and it nodded its head until his mother and brothers had all the pieces of silver they could carry. This time they did not scold Juan but Juan told them, "You have beaten me and scolded me all my life, and now you are glad to accept my good things. I am going to show you something else. Boombye, Boombah!" Immediately the stick bounced up and down and beat everyone all until they begged for mercy and promised that Juan would never be scolded again.


From that time Juan was rich and powerful, but he never went anywhere without his stick. One night, when some thieves came to his house, he would have been robbed and killed had it not been for the magic w ords "Boombye, Boomba," which caused the death of all the robbers.
Some time after this he married a beautiful princess, and because of the kindness of the magic tree they always lived happily.

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