TADIAN, Mountain Province – In the olden times in barangay Cagubatan, Tadian, there lived a couple who bore two lovely daughters. The parents prevented the two ladies to attend occasions outside of their home due to fear that something dreadful might happen to them.
One day, a village elder announced that there will be a canao the following day. Happy and curious, the two girls prepared their getap (native wrap around skirts) and lamma (toppers) for the forthcoming feast.
Canao, is a traditional thanksgiving feast where a pig or more is butchered and cooked by a family, clan or whole village. The cooked meat is partaken by the whole village. Apart from this, the males play the gong while females dance with the rhythm of the gongs.
During the feast day, the father and mother deliberately sent their two children to fetch water in a spring near their abode. The two kids hurriedly filled the containers with water.
While the two ladies with their stunning attires were enjoying the dancing and mingling with the rest of the villagers, their parents spilled all the water that their children fetched earlier.
As soon as the containers filled with water were emptied, the couple went to call for their children.
While they were on their way home, the two kids wondered how the water in the bins was used up in just a short time.
So that they can go back immediately to attend the canao, the ladies quickly filled up their small water containers at the spring and poured in the water bins. While on their way home for the last two buckets to completely fill up the containers, they saw that their parents were discharging the water from the containers that were being filled up. Offended and disillusioned, the two girls went back and stayed at the spring the whole evening.
After the festivity was completed in the early evening, the parents of the two girls were frightened because their children didn’t go home. They went to see all their neighbors and asked them if they saw the two ladies. However, no one of the neighbors saw the whereabouts of the two ladies.
The villagers immediately went out and helped the couple to conduct search to allegedly lost girls. Near the spring where the people fetch water for their domestic use, the villagers and couple saw the garments of the two ladies.
Alarmed, the elders shouted and called for the names of the two girls. Nobody answered back. The people were surprised to see two eels that gaily swam in the spring. They stopped their search for the day due to exhaustion.
In her dream that night, the mother heard a statement telling her that that the two eels they saw in the spring were their kids.
The following day, the couple went to the spring and saw the two eels freely and happily drifting on the water. The couple pleaded to the two eels to transform to their original form as humans. However, the eels answered back that they will be happy there in their new abode for they can mingle with people who will go and fetch water in the spring.
Before, the people who wanted to have a glimpse of the eels whistled while swiping or dipping a cockroach or meat of a fresh water shell in the water. Lately, the eels are baited with hotdogs.
By Francis B. Degay