Sep 4, 2009

The Legend of Marinduque

Retold by: Alfonso P. Santos
(Marinduque, Southern Luzon)

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In a small island kingdom there once lived a very beautiful princess. She was nicknamed Maring. Her favorite haunt was the top of a very tall mountain, Mount Malindig. She was very fond of hunting wild animals, a diversion which was much against her father’s wish. One day she espied a pretty white deer. It ran so swiftly that it took her a long time to catch up with it. She had the game already at bay when the owner came along looking for it. The stranger was a man of princely bearing and fine manners. He introduced himself as Duque and the deer to her as offered a token of their first meeting. Maring could not resist his gallant gesture. She could not help admiring the stranger, who fell in love with her at first sight. Since that day they often met in the forest. The beauty of Maring was known far and wide. Innumerable suitors came to woo her, but she turned a deaf ear to them all, for she had set her heart on the modest Duque. Not knowing about her secret love affair, her royal father announced that her hand would be given to the one who would win a ship race. So the most persistent suitors, three wealthy kings, fitted out vessels for the contest. Duque could not participate. He was not rich enough to equip a vessel.

Meanwhile, Maring was very unhappy. She prayed to the gods for help. Bathala heard her prayers. On the appointed day, the sky grew suddenly dark. The sea seethed turbulently and the winds blew furiously, but the contest could not be put off for another day. The three kings set forth bravely on their ships. Before they were halfway to the goal, one of them hit a rock and soon vanished from sight with his ship. The second vessel was able to move on a little farther and then it was also devour by the angry sea. The last ship met the same fate. The king and the spectators grieved over the fate of the three royal suitors. Only Maring did not feel grieved at the outcome of the race. When the sea calmed down, everyone was surprised to see three islands at the places where the ship had sunk. They were named Tres Reyes, or Three Kings, after the unlucky trio. The father of Maring did not wish to sacrifice more lives after that disaster. He gave his daughter freedom to choose her husband. So she confessed to him her secret love. The king consisted to the marriage. Seven days of feasting and merrymaking followed. To mark the happy union of the two young people, the island kingdom was named Marinduque, after Maring and Duque.

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