Quicoy And The Ongloc

This story is known generally in the southern Islands. The Ongloc

is feared by the children just as some little boys and girls fear

the Bogy Man. The tale is a favorite one among the children and they

believe firmly in the fate of Quicoy.

Little Quicoy's name was Francisco, but every one called him Quicoy,

which, in Visayan, is the pet name for Francisco. He was a good

little boy and helped his mother grind the corn and pound the rice

in the big wooden bowl, but one night he was very careless. While

playing in the corner with the cat he upset the jar of lubi lana,

and all the oil ran down between the bamboo strips in the floor and

was lost. There was none left to put in the glass and light, so the

whole family had to go to bed in the dark.

Quicoy's mother was angry. She whipped him with her chinela and then

opened the window and cried:

"Ongloc of the mountains!

Fly in through the door.

Catch Quicoy and eat him,

He is mine no more."

Quicoy was badly frightened when he heard this, for the Ongloc is a big

black man with terrible long teeth, who all night goes searching for

the bad boys and girls that he may change them into little cocoanuts

and put them on a shelf in his rock house in the mountains to eat

when he is hungry.

So when Quicoy went to his bed in the corner he pulled the matting over

his head and was so afraid that he did not go to sleep for a long time.

The next morning he rose very early and went down to the spring where

the boys get the water to put in the bamboo poles and carry home. Some

boys were already there, and he told them what had taken place the

night before. They were all sorry that his mother had called the

Ongloc, but they told him not to be afraid for they would tell him

how he could be forever safe from that terrible man.

It was very easy. All he had to do was to go at dusk to the cocoanut

grove by the river and dig holes under two trees. Then he was to climb

a tree, get the cocoanut that grew the highest, and, after taking

off the husk and punching in one of the little eyes, whisper inside:

"Ongloc of the mountains!

Ongloc! Ugly man!

I'm a little cocoanut,

Catch me if you can!"

Then he was to cut the cocoanut in halves, quickly bury one piece in

one of the holes, and, running to the other tree, bury the remaining

half in the other hole. After that he might walk home safely, being

sure not to run, for the Ongloc has always to obey the call of the

cocoanut, and must hunt through the grove to find the one that called

him. Should he cross the line between the holes, the buried pieces

would fly out of the holes, snap together on him, and, flying up the

tree from which they came, would keep him prisoner for a hundred years.

Quicoy was happy to think that he could capture the Ongloc, and

resolved to go that very night. He wanted some of the boys to go with

him, but they said he must go alone or the charm would be broken. They

also told him to be careful himself and not cross the line between

the holes or he would be caught as easily as the Ongloc.

So Quicoy went home and kept very quiet all day. His mother was sorry

she had frightened him the night before, and was going to tell him

not to be afraid; but when she thought of the lubi lana spilled on

the ground, she resolved to punish him more by saying nothing to him.

Just at dark, when no one was looking, Quicoy took his father's bolo

and quietly slipped away to the grove down by the river. He was not

afraid of ladrones, but he needed the bolo because it is not easy

to open a cocoanut, and it takes some time, even with a bolo, to get

the husk chopped from the fruit.

Quicoy felt a little frightened when he saw all the big trees around

him. The wind made strange noises in the branches high above him,

and all the trees seemed to be leaning over and trying to speak to

him. He felt somewhat sorry that he had come, but when he thought of

the Ongloc he mustered up courage and went on until he found an open

space between two high trees.

He stopped here and dug a hole under each of the trees. Then he put his

feet in the notches and climbed one of the trees. It was hard work,

for the notches were far apart; but at last he reached the branches

and climbed to the top. The wind rocked the tree and made him dizzy,

but he reached the highest cocoanut, threw it to the ground, and then

'started down the tree. It was easy to come down, though he went

too fast and slipped and slid some distance, skinning his arms and

legs. He did not mind that, however, for he knew he had the cocoanut

that would capture the Ongloc. He picked it up, chopped off the husk,

punched in one of the little eyes, and whispered inside:

"Ongloc of the mountains!

Ongloc! Ugly man!

I'm a little cocoanut,

Catch me if you can!"

He then chopped it in halves and buried one piece, and, running

to the other tree, buried the remaining piece. Just as he finished

he thought he heard a noise in the grove, and, instead of walking,

he started to run as fast as he could.

It was very dark now, and the noise grew louder and made him run

faster and faster, until suddenly a dreadful scream sounded directly in

front of him, and a terrible black thing with fiery eyes came flying

at him. He turned in terror and ran back toward the trees. He knew it

was the Ongloc answering the call of the cocoanut, and he ran like mad,

but the monster had seen him and flew after him, screaming with rage.

Faster and faster he ran, but nearer and nearer sounded the frightful

screams until, just as he felt two huge claws close on his neck, there

was a bump, a loud snap, and he felt himself being carried high in the

air. When the shock was over he found that he was squeezed tightly

between two hard walls, and he could hear the Ongloc screaming and

tearing at the outside with his claws. Then he knew what had happened.

He had crossed the line between the buried pieces and they had snapped

on him and carried him up the tree from which they came. He was badly

squeezed but he felt safe from the Ongloc, who finally went away in

disappointment; for, although he likes cocoanuts, he cannot take one

from a tree, but must change a boy or girl into the fruit if he wishes

to eat of it.

Quicoy waited a long, long time and then knocked on the shell in the

hope that some one would hear him. All that night and the next day

and the next he knocked and cried and knocked, but, though people

passed under the tree and found the bolo, he was so high up they did

not hear him.

Days and weeks went by and the people wondered what had become of

Quicoy. Many thought he had run away and were sorry for his poor

mother, who grieved very much to think she had terrified him by calling

the Ongloc. Of course the boys who had sent him to the grove could

have told something of his whereabouts, but they were frightened and

said nothing, so no one ever heard of poor little Quicoy again.

If you pass a cocoanut grove at night you can hear a noise like some

one knocking. The older people say that the cocoanuts grow so closely

together high up in the branches that the wind, when it shakes the

tree, bumps them together. But the children know better. They say,

"Quicoy is knocking to get out, but he must stay there a hundred


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