Eating Tree-The Old Woman and the Mystery of the Man!
By correspondent Monette Tubungbanua from Philippines in Cebu City.
Our valley has many brushes and shrubs, a few saplings and a very, very, very large tree. The tree was so big that its top can almost be at the level of the mountain top – that’s how big it is.
In our village sits an old house beside the road. This house is occupied by an old woman whose husband suffered a stroke and was already bed-fast. She used to be a farmer. However, there aren’t any lots to farm anymore so she resorted to begging.
Sometimes she took to stealing. This cycle of begging and stealing happened in our village anytime of the year.
Interestingly, she’s consistent with one thing.
Every 6th of October she only begs. But only after she tells us a story about what she saw the night before:
Two white people passed by her house in a slow manner of walking. She said, it’s like these people were drugged or something. Anyway, they would go toward the tree and disappear.
She wanted to follow but she feared she would be caught up by the tree too.
To add to her agitation, our mother would offer: Back in the day, the large tree was worshiped and it was said that every year on October human sacrifices were made to fatten it up.
Each year for several years she tells the same story (plus a little begging after) and we almost believed her. Yet, in the back of our minds we thought, what if this was really true?
So on October 6 the next year we waited for her to come up and tell us the same news. We weren’t disappointed.
At 6 o’ clock, she came hurrying up to our house. She was a scary sight herself with her hair uncombed and her skirt seriously askew. She was huffing and puffing as she told us the same story:
The same people she saw the other years passed by her house yet again, went to the big tree and disappeared.
We wanted to know more of the story so after giving her a packet of noodles and a large chunk of cinnamon bread; papa went down to the tree.
He came back about an hour later, an amused look playing on his face.
Frederick, the man who lives in the house near the very large tree had his old parents over for his birthday. And they came just last night.
We assumed that there wasn’t a mystery after all.
Monette Tubungbanua is from Cebu City in the Philippines. She is socially active young lady, who likes to write and tell stories.