Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Creation Myth Variant 3: Kaptan and the First Man and Woman

Creation Myth Variant 3: Kaptan and the First Man and Woman
(A Cebuano Folklore passed down through Oral Tradition)

In the olden days, there lived in the heavens two gods, the Sky God Kaptan and the Sea Goddess Maguayan. Kaptan fell in love with Maguayan, and they were married. One day, Kaptan and Maguayan had a quarrel as many couples do after the honeymoon. In a fit of anger, Kaptan told his wife to go away. With a heavy heart, Maguayan left and hid in the Underworld in secret. When the goddess was gone, the god Kaptan felt very lonely. He knew that he had done his wife wrong; he had made an unjustifiably hasty decision, and this thought bothered him. However, it was too late for him to ask to be forgiven. He scoured the heavens, but his efforts were in vain; Maguayan was nowhere to be found. So, to while away his sorrows, the repentant god created the earth and planted bamboo in a garden called Kahilwayan. He also planted other plants like rice, corn, and sugarcane. Among these plants, the bamboo sprouted first. It grew to be a beautiful tree with pliant branches and feathery leaves dancing to the rhythmic wafting of the breeze. Beholding the splendor of his creation, the great Kaptan was filled with happiness. "Ah," he sighed, "were Maguayan here, she would enjoy this beautiful sight amid the sighs of the breeze and the rustle of the leaves!" The bamboo continued to grow. The garden became more beautiful each day. Then one late afternoon, while Kaptan was watching the bamboo leaves play in the breeze, a thought came to him, and, before he realized what it was all about, he was murmuring to himself, "I will make creatures to take care of these plants for me." No sooner had he spoken these words than the bamboo split into two halves. From one stepped out the first man. To the man, Kaptan gave the name Sikalak, meaning "the sturdy one." And from that time on, men have been called lalaki. From the other half stepped out a woman. The god called her Sikabay, meaning "partner of the sturdy one." Thenceforth, women have been called babaye. Together, the two creatures tended the garden and took care of the plants. Meanwhile, Kaptan left for a faraway place to look for Maguayan. One day, when the god had left, Sikalak asked Sikabay to marry him. The woman, however, refused. "Don't you know that you are my brother?" she reproved the man sternly. "I know. But there are no other people in this garden," Sikalak argued. "And we need children to help us take care of this wide place for our lord and master." The woman was unmoved. "I know," she replied, "but you are my brother. We were born of the same bamboo stalk, with only one node binding us." Finally, after much argument, they sought the advice of the tuna fish of the sea and the doves of the air. The fish and doves approved of their marriage. Still unconvinced, Sikabay consulted the earthquake, who also approved of the marriage. "It is necessary," the earthquake said, "so that the earth will be populated." And after that, Sikalak and Sikabay were married and had a son named Sibo and then a daughter named Samar.

Makaptan from Ines Sta. Maria's Soulbook
Maguayen from Ines Sta. Maria's Soulbook

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