VIEW THE MOBILE VERSION of Informational Site Network Informational

Bankiva The Philippine Pied Piper


Source: Myths & Legends Of Our New Possessions & Protectorate

Of nearly six hundred species of birds in the Philippines the
jungle fowl, or bankiva, is best known, and is both killed and
domesticated. Unlike the dove, it does not understand human speech,
but it has a power over our kind that is exercised by no other
animal. Once a year the spirits grant to it this power of charming,
in order that both spirits and birds may be revenged on men, their
constant enemies. When that day comes the Luzon mother tremblingly
gathers her little ones about her and warns them not to leave their
door, for young ears heed the strange, sweet music of the fowl's voice,
which grown people cannot hear. On that day the bird sings with a
new note, and the flock of bankivas choose the largest, handsomest
of their number to lead the march of children. On the edge of the
village he gives his song, and every toddler runs delightedly to see
what causes the music. Babes respond with soft, cooing notes, and will
go on hands and knees if they can. They find the bankivas gathered in
a little ring, spreading their tails and wings, dancing and singing
in harmony, the head bird setting the air. When the children have
gathered, they, too, begin to dance and sing, following the birds
as they go deeper and deeper into the wood. Night falls, and with a
harsh cry the bankivas fly away in all directions. The children are
as if awakened from a sleep. They do not know where they are, and
cannot tell which way to turn. Jungles and swamps are about them,
man-eating crocodiles are watching from the water, poisonous and
strangling snakes are gliding about the brush, the pythons that loop
themselves from overhanging limbs are sometimes thrice the length of
a man. Dread and danger are on every hand. And at home the mothers
sit crying. Sometimes, though rarely, a man or woman totters back
to a village bearing marks of great age, and is sure that he or she
left there only the night before. These wanderers do not know where
they have been. They remember only that the bankiva sang sweetly, and
they followed it, as the children of Hamelin followed the pied piper.

Next: The Crab Tried To Eat The Moon

Previous: Later Religious Myths And Miracles

Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed 2094