The Legend of the Mosquito

There was once a couple named Dulnuan and Bogan. One day, Bogan went to the fields as she always does to get taro roots to feed to her pigs. But while she was walking by a ravine, someone appeared at her back but Bogan kept on walking but the woman kept on following her like a shadow. Bogan looked back and took a good look at the one following her. She saw a very very ugly woman.  Her name was Tomtompakaw.

 “Give me your skirt!” Tomtompakaw said.

Bogan replied, “What? Why on earth should I give my skirt to you? ”

 “Come on! Take it off!” Tomtompakaw insisted. Bogan got scared so she took off her skirt and gave it to Tomtompakaw. But when she gave her skirt, Tomtompakaw asked for her blouse too. When she gave it, Tomtompakaw asked for her earrings. And so Tomtompakaw got every accessory that Bogan was wearing; including her bangles, beads and necklaces and her veil. Not far from the ravine, there was a small balete tree.  Bogan went under its shed and cried. The little tree took pity on her and so it grew up and enveloped Bogan inside its trunk. 

As for Tomtompakaw, she put on everything that she took from Bogan, even her basket and went on to the fields and filled the basket with wild taro leaves. When the sun was setting, she started for home. She went to the house of Dulnuan and Bogan. When she reached the door, she said:

“Dulnuan, take this heavy basket off my back.”

Dulnuan noticed that his wife’s voice seemed different but he dismissed it. And when they slept, he noticed again that he seemed to be sleeping beside thorns as if the woman sleeping next to her has thorns in her body and she was also making strange noises in her sleep. When he woke up the next morning, his wife has already gone to the fields.  Days passed and Dulnuan noticed that the pigs were getting thinner and thinner. He did not know that Tomtompakaw was feeding them with leaves of wild taro.

            The place where the balete tree grew was a resting place for weary travelers. One day, there were merchants who rested there. Because the sun was shining so hot, they took some leafy branches from the tree to fan their sunburned faces. A few moments later, they heard a woman singing.

“Please do not cut the little branches because those are my hairs.”

“Those rings are mine, that blouse is mine. That bangle is mine, that skirt is mine.”

“The pigs that Dulnuan and I own are getting thinner.”

Everybody who stops there to rest tells the same story about hearing a woman’s lonely singing. One day, Dulnuan passed by that place and stood under the balete to rest. He took a small branch and sure enough a voice started singing.

“Is that you Dulnuan?  Please do not cut the branches.”

When Dulnuan heard the song, he recognized the voice of his wife so he took his bolo and started cutting down the tree but a voice spoke and said. “Please don’t cut my feet.” Dulnuan again struck his bolo high up the trunk but the voice said: “Oh! Please, that is my head!” So what Dulnuan did was he took a saw and split open the balete tree and out came Bogan, his wife. He took the blanket that he keeps in his goatskin knapsack, wrapped around his wife and they went home together.

            When it’s almost dark, Tomtompakaw arrived from the fields. When she reached the doorstep, she called to Dulnuan: “Husband, take this heavy basket off my back!” She said angrily. But Dulnuan sneaked behind her and pour over her boiling taro leaves. Suddenly, the ugly Tomtompakaw turned into a big ugly, black mosquito after saying:

 “Even if you poured boiling taro leaves on me, I will still  bother you.”

And that, according to my grandmother is why mosquitoes love to bite women in the legs.

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