Sep 4, 2009

The Legend of Nusa

Retold by: Abdullah T. Madale
(Lanao Del Norte, Central Mindanao)
(Scripted for a Radio Play)
Rajah Indarapatra
Rajah Solaiman
Omaca-an, a powerful giant of Lanao
Ba-i a Salendagao, an evil spirit

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Long, long ago Lanao was inhabited by a powerful giant called Omaca-an. He was so big that he easily stepped from one hilltop to another when he walked. His legs were like two pillars that reached almost to the clouds. It was said that the sea came up only to his knees and that he could break the tops of mountains and hurl them as weapons. He was so cruel and greed that all living things in Lanao trembled for their lives as soon as they heard the earth shake under his feet.

One day Rajah Indarapatra and his brother Rajah Solaiman were having a serious talk. They were very strong men and their fame as fighters was known far and wide. They were very brave too. Nothing on earth scared either of them.

Solaiman: Lanao is a very beautiful region, but it is neglected because people are afraid to go and live there. They are afraid of the giant Omaca-an. Lanao will remain uninhabited as long as the great monster is alive.
Indarapatra: This cannot go on forever. Brother Solaiman, let us do something about it. We have to go and fight the giant. Once he is slain, people will be living to go back to Lanao.
Solaiman: Let us go around the lake. I go one way, and you go by another. We shall meet at Cape Timbalangan.

The brothers bade goodbye to each other on the shore of Lake Lanao. Rajah Indarapatra held his brother by the shoulder.

Indarapatra: Goodbye, my brother. I am sad because I have a feeling that we may never see each other again. Maybe it is I who shall die. Maybe it is you, my brave brother. But whoever is left will avenge the other’s death. Take good care of yourself and guard your magic sword and ring.
Solaiman: Goodbye, my brother. I know that Omaca-an is the most deadly of foes. There is death in his very breath. His grip is as the grip of a hundred men and his strides are so long that no man can run away from him. So be careful for your own dear self, O my brother Indarapatra.

After the brothers had exchanged words of affection, they parted. It happened that on the way Rajah Indarapatra had to stop to marry a beautiful nymph. So he was delayed. When he arrived at Cape Timbalangan, he knew that he was too late for the meeting with his brother. He could see in the torn hillsides and the rocks scattered on the shore that there had been a great fight.

Indarapatra: Alas! My brother is dead. I know that he was torn to pieces by the claws of Omaca-an. but before I go and fight him, I must find the magic sword and ring that belonged to my brother Solaiman. I have more chances of winning if I have them with me.

To find the sword, Indarapatra thought of a trick. He stooped near a balete tree and placed two stones near each other. With the stones and his own knee, he made a stove in which he built a fire. The sight of a man making a stove out of his knee was so funny that the evil spirit who lived in the in the balete tree laughed aloud.

Ba-i a Salendagao: You silly man, why do you do that? Can you not put a third stone to complete the stove? He-he-he!

As soon as Rajah Indarapatra heard the laughter of Ba-i a Salendagao, he stood up and climbed the balete tree. He made such noise and shook the tree so strongly that the evil spirit begged him to stop.

Ba-i a Salendagao: Pleads, great rajah, please go down. You are shaking me off the tree!
Indarapatra: I shall go down only when you tell me what happened to my brother, Rajah Solaiman.
Ba-i a Salendagao: I will tell, I will tell! But you must go down at once.

Rajah Indarapatra went down and Ba-i a Salendagao told her story.

Ba-i a Salendagao: The good Rajah Solaiman arrived at Cape Timbalangan and waited for you while you married the nymph. As he waited, he rested on a rock on the shore. It was there that Omaca-an found him. They fought a terrific battle. The earth thundered with their struggles, and lightning flashed from the sparks of their weapons. The giant said to your brother: “Since you must strike me with your sword, why don’t you strike hard enough to cut me in half? In that way you will kill me at once.” Upon hearing this, Rajah Solaiman struck at the giant with all his might.
Indarapatra: What happened then?
Ba-i a Salendagao: The two halves of the giant fell to the ground. Immediately, upon touching the ground, these halves became two giants as big as the original. Solaiman struck at these and split them into two halves each, and immediately the four parts became four giants. From four, they became eight. This was too much even for brave Solaiman. He fell under the combined might of the eight giants. They tore his body apart. They got his sword and his ring and threw then into Lake Lanao.

Immediately, upon hearing the story, Rajah Indarapatra went to the water, scooped the mud from the bottom of the lake, and dumped it on the hills. After working like this for a day, he found the sword and the ring. It was then that the monster Omaca-an came upon Rajah Indarapatra (sounds of heavy footsteps).

Omaca-an: Who is this man that dares to come and disturb the sleep of Omaca-an with his scooping of the mud from the lake?
Indarapatra: I am Indarapatra. I have come to avenge the death of my brother.
Omaca-an: You are going to kill me? What can a little man like you do?

The giant stretched a finger at Rajah Indarapatra with the intention of picking him up and making him dance on his huge palm. The brave rajah struck at him with his mighty sword.

Omaca-an: How dare you strike me, you little man! I’m going to kill you for that.

With one blow, the giant struck at Rajah Indarapatra, but the rajah quickly jumped to one side and stuck the giant on the breast. The blow was so strong and the sword was so sharp that the giant was almost cut in two.

Omaca-an: If you have to strike me, why don’t you cut me into two? That is the surest way to kill me.
Indarapatra: Oh, no, you clever giant. I will strike at you, and wound you, but I’ll never cut you into two.

The fight lasted all morning and all afternoon. By jumping from place to place, Rajah Indarapatra kept the giant from l laying a blow on him, for the giant had a big club made from the trunk of the biggest tree in the forest. Late in the afternoon, as the sun was sinking, the giant’s strength was completely spent. He was bleeding from hundreds of wounds. He was almost cut in two in several places. One more stroke from the brave raja’s sword and the giant Omaca-an was dead.

Indarapatra: At last Lanao is freed from that terrible monster. Lanao will be inhabited by happy people once more.

The Maranaos still tell stories of this great fight. When they go to the hilltops and see the shells, they say, “Look! Those are the shells that the great Rajah Indarapatra scooped from the bottom of Lake Lanao when he was looking for the magic sword and the ring of his brother, Rajah Solaiman.” When they see the hills, they say, “Look! Those are the rocks Thrown by Rajah Indarapatra and Omaca-an when they tried to kill each other long, long ago.”

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