Filipino Tales: The Hummingbird and the Carabao

This story is part of the Filipino Tales unit. Story source: Filipino Popular Tales by Dean S. Fansler (1921).

The Hummingbird and the Carabao

Narrated by Eusebio Lopez, a Tagalog from the province of Cavite.

One hot April morning a carabao (water-buffalo) was resting under the shade of a quinine-tree which grew near the mouth of a large river when a hummingbird alighted on one of the small branches above him.

“How do you do, Friend Carabao?” said the hummingbird.

“I’m very well, little Hum. Do you also feel the heat of this April morning?” replied the carabao.

“Indeed, I do, Friend Carabao! And I am so thirsty that I have come down to drink.”

“I wonder how much you can drink!” said the carabao jestingly. “You are so small that a drop ought to be more than enough to satisfy you.”

“Yes, Friend Carabao?” answered little Hum as if surprised. “I bet you that I can drink more than you can!”

“What, you drink more than I can, you little Hum!”

“Yes, let us try! You drink first, and we shall see.”

So old carabao, ignorant of the trick that was being played on him, walked to the bank of the river and began to drink. He drank and drank and drank, but it so happened that the tide was rising and, no matter how much he swallowed, the water in the river kept getting higher and higher. At last he could drink no more, and the hummingbird began to tease him.

“Why, Friend Carabao, you have not drunk anything. It seems to me that you have added more water to the river instead.”

“You fool!” answered the carabao angrily; “can’t you see that my stomach is almost bursting?”

“Well, I don’t know. I only know that you have added more water than there was before. But it is now my turn to drink.”

But the hummingbird only pretended to drink. He knew that the tide would soon be going out, so he just put his bill in the water, and waited until the tide did begin to ebb. The water of the river began to fall also.

The carabao noticed the change, but he could not comprehend it. He was surprised and agreed that he had been beaten.

Little Hum flew away, leaving poor old Carabao stupefied and hardly able to move, because of the great quantity of water he had drunk.

Next: The Ant

(400 words)

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