Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Tungkung Langit and Alunsina") as adapted by F. Landa Jocano

One of the stories about the creation of the world, which the old people of Panay, especially those living near the mountains, do not tire relating, tells that in the beginning there was no sky or earth ?only a bottomless deep and a world of mist. Everything was shapeless and formless ?the earth, the sky and the sea were almost mixed up. In a word, there was confusion. Then, from the depths of this formless void, there appeared two gods, Tungkung Langit ("Pillar of the Sky") and Alunsina ("The Unmarried One). Just where these two deities came from, it was not known. However, it was related that Tungkung Langit had fallen in love with Alunsina; and after so many years of courtship they got married and had their abode in the highest realm of ethereal space, whre the water was constantly warm and the breeze was constantly cool. It was in this place where order and regularity first took place. Tungkung Langit was an industrious, loving and kind god whose chief concern was how to impose order over the whole confused set-up of things. He assumed responsibility for the regular cosmic movement. On the other hand, Alunsina was a lazy, jealous and selfish goddess whose only work was to sit by the window of their heavenly home and amuse herself with her pointless thoughts. Sometimes, she would go down the house, sit down by a pool near the doorsteps, and comb her long jet-black hair all day long. One day, Tungkung Langit told his wife that he would be away from home for some time to put an end to the chaotic disturbances in the flow of time and the position of things. However, despite this purpose, Alunsina sent the breeze to spy on Tungkung Langit. This made the latter very angry upon knowing about it. Immediately after his return from his trip, he called this act to her attention, saying that it as ungodly of her to be jealous, there being no other creature in the world except the two of them. This reproach was resented by Alunsina and a quarrel between them followed. Tungkung Langit lost his temper. In his rage he divested his wife of powers and drove her away. He did not know where Alunsina went; she merely disappeared. Several days after Alunsina had left, Tungkung Langit felt very lonely. He realized what he had done. Somehow, it was too late even to be sorry about the whole matter. The whole place, once vibrant with Alunsina's sweet voice, suddenly became cold and desolate. In the morning when he woke up, he would find himself alone; and in the afternoon when he came home, he would feel the same loneliness creeping deep in his heart because there was no one to meet him at the doorstep or soothe the aching muscles of his arms. For months, Tungkung Langit was in utter desolation. He could not find Alunsina, try hard as he would. And so, in desperation, he decided to do something in order to forget his sorrows. For months and months he thought. His mind seemed pointless; his heart weary and sick. But he must do something about his lonely world. One day, while he was sailing across the regions of the clouds, a thought came to him. H would make the sea and the earth, and lo! The earth and the sea suddenly appeared. However, the somber sight of the lonely sea and the barren land irritated him. So he came down to earth and planted the ground with trees and flowers. Then he took his wife's treasured jewels and scattered them in the sky, hoping that when Alunsina would see them she might be induced to return home. The goddess's necklace became the stars, her comb the moon and her crown the sun. However, despite all these Alunsina did not come back. Up to this time, the old folk say Tungkung Langit lives alone in his palace in the skies. Sometimes, he would cry out his pent-up emotion and his tears would fall down upon the earth. The people in Panay today say the rain is Tungkung Langit's tears. Incidentally, when it thunders hard, the old folk also say that it is Tungkung Langit sobbing, calling for his beloved Alunsina to come back, entreating her so hard that his voice reverberates across the fields and the countryside.

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