The Tobacco Of Harisaboqued

: Philippine Folklore Stories

A legend of the volcano of Canlaon on the island of Negros. It is

told generally in Western Negros and Eastern Cebu. The volcano is

still active, and smoke and steam rise from its crater.

Long before the strange men came over the water from Spain, there

lived in Negros, on the mountain of Canlaon, an old man who had great

power over all the things in the earth. He was called Harisaboqued,

King of the Moun

When he wished anything done he had but to tap the ground three times

and instantly a number of little men would spring from the earth

to answer his call. They would obey his slightest wish, but as he

was a kind old man and never told his dwarfs to do anything wrong,

the people who lived near were not afraid. They planted tobacco on

the mountain side and were happy and prosperous,

The fields stretched almost to the top of the mountain and the plants

grew well, for every night Harisaboqued would order his dwarfs to

attend to them, and though the tobacco was high up it grew faster

and better than that planted in the valley below.

The people were very grateful to the old man and were willing to do

anything for him; but he only asked them not to plant above a line

he had ordered his little men to draw around the mountain near the

top. He wished that place for himself and his dwarfs.

All obeyed his wish and no one planted over the line. It was a pretty

sight to see the long rows of tobacco plants extending from the towns

below far up to the line on the mountain side.

One day Harisaboqued called the people together and told them that

he was going away for a long time. He asked them again not to plant

over the line, and told them that if they disregarded this wish

he would carry all the tobacco away and permit no more to grow on

the mountain side until he had smoked what he had taken. The people

promised faithfully to obey him. Then he tapped on the ground, the

earth opened, and he disappeared into the mountain.

Many years passed and Harisaboqued did not come back. All wondered

why he did not return and at last decided that he would never do

so. The whole mountain side was covered with tobacco and many of the

people looked with greedy eyes at the bare ground above the line,

but as yet they were afraid to break their promise.

At last one man planted in the forbidden ground, and, as nothing

happened, others did the same, until soon the mountain was entirely

covered with the waving plants. The people were very happy and soon

forgot about Harisaboqued and their promise to him.

But one day, while they were laughing and singing, the earth suddenly

opened and Harisaboqued sprang out before them. They were very much

frightened and fled in terror down the mountain side. When they reached

the foot and looked back they saw a terrible sight. All the tobacco

had disappeared and, instead of the thousands of plants that they

had tended so carefully, nothing but the bare mountain could be seen.

Then suddenly there was a fearful noise and the whole mountain top

flew high in the air, leaving an immense hole from which poured fire

and smoke.

The people fled and did not stop until they were far away. Harisaboqued

had kept his word.

Many years have come and gone, but the mountain is bare and the

smoke still rolls out of the mountain top. Villages have sprung up

along the sides, but no tobacco is grown on the mountain. The people

remember the tales of the former great crops and turn longing eyes

to the heights above them, but they will have to wait. Harisaboqued

is still smoking his tobacco.