When he reached their field, he cut some wood and made the wood into a bench. He sat down on the bench and told his bolos, "You bolos must be sharpened on the stone." At once the bolos rose up in the air and began to sharpen themselves on the sharpening stone that he had brought with him.
When the bolos were sharp enough to slice a whisper, Magbangal said to his axes, "You axes must also be sharpened." The ten axes rose up as well and began to sharpen themselves on the stone. When all the sharpening was complete, Magbangal told his implements, "Now you bolos must cut the grass, and you axes must cut the trees." The axes and bolos set to work swiftly and obediently.
At home, Magbangal's wife was surprised to hear the sound of many trees falling at a very rapid pace. "My husband must have found many people to help him," she said to herself. "I will go and see." She had not forgotten what her husband had said to her, so she hid behind a tree near their field--and was surprised to see Magbangal fast asleep on a wooden bench! She was even more surprised to see all the bolos and axes working steadily away with no one to wield them.
Suddenly, one of the bolos swung away from the grass and chopped off her husband's arm. Magbangal immediately jumped up and said, "I think someone must be looking at me, for my arm is cut off. If you are watching me, my wife, please show yourself now."
Trembling, Magbangal's wife stepped out from behind her tree, but she found that her husband was more sorrowful than angry. "Now I must go away," he told her. "It is better for me to return to the sky; and you, my wife, will have to go to the water and become a fish."
So Magbangal's poor wife was turned into a fish, while her husband went back to the sky and became the constellation known as the dipper, which the Bukidnon call Magbangal. His bolos became the constellation called Malala; his axes, the ten stars known as Ta-on; and his cut-off arm, the constellation Balokau. To this day, the farmers of Bukidnon plot their field work by the positions of these stars, so that they know when to plant, when to harvest, and when to clear the fields.
This is an excerpt from the story I'm working on for Dean's Philippine speculative fiction anthology. If you have the time and the inclination to submit, I'm reminding you to get cracking now, as the deadline is this weekend.Check out the rest of the posse!
And no, the rest of my story isn't quite like this. If the editor actually accepts it--without my having to seduce him, ha!--you can read the whole thing when the book comes out.
Turns out that end-of-July deadline was only for me... because That Editor Guy is just tougher on me than on everyone else. Apologies to everyone I may have panicked; the actual deadline is August 15.
Andre Mischa Cleofe
Cathy delos Santos