Filipino Fables: Examples & Morals Video

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  • 0:03 'The Locust and the Ant'
  • 1:33 Animal Fables
  • 3:00 Plant Fables
  • 4:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Filipino fables teach important life lessons to their readers. In this lesson, we'll learn more about what fables are and check out a few examples of Filipino stories that use plants and animals to teach important morals.

The Locust and the Ant

It is a nice and sunny day when the locust and the ant set out for a meal in a local rice field. After they've eaten their fill, the ant prepares to take a grain of rice home with him. The locust laughs at the ant and mocks his unnecessary work. Months pass and the rice has been harvested. The locust is in trouble because he is hungry and there's nothing to eat. He remembers his friend, the ant, taking rice home from the field in the summer. The locust shows ups at the ant's house, begging for food. The ant merely laughs. Who is the foolish one now?

This Filipino fable, like many of its sort, closely follows the fable-writing mastery of Aesop. In fact, an Aesop fable titled The Ant and the Grasshopper tells a similar story with a slightly different setting and a different set of insects. But what exactly is a fable?

Fables are short stories, typically using animals, insects or plants as main characters in human-like scenarios or with human traits, such as the ability to speak. While these stories are certainly entertaining, that's not their sole purpose. They are designed to share a life lesson or moral, essentially a set of principles of right and wrong for people to live by.

In the Philippines, fables fall under the umbrella of folktales, or 'kuwentong-bayan' in Tagalog, along with legends, myths and stories about magical or whimsical characters. They come in two varieties: those using animals as main characters and those using plants as main characters. Let's look at a couple examples of each.

Animal Fables

Listen to the story of the The Wild Cat, the Deer and the Bird. Set in a village called Pesia, this story follows a man named Pocoy who observes a wild cat climbing a tree. Once the cat reaches the top of the tree, he delivers a warning to the bird not to leave her nest. The deer at the bottom of the tree will shake the tree and cause your eggs to fall, where they will be eaten, the cat says. The bird thanks the cat for the warning. Climbing down the tree, the cat approaches the deer and gives her a similar warning. He says, do not leave your fawns for the birds will catch them and use them for food. The deer thanks the cat for the warning. As a result, neither the deer nor the bird move. Both die and are eaten by the wildcat.

Moral: Hypocrites only pretend at friendship.

Let's hear another fable using animals: The Frog Who Wished to Be As Big as an Ox.

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