Stardust

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By Linda Grace Cariño

Baguio Stories

Friday, March 28, 2014


THERE'S that Joni Mitchell song whose final chorus rings, "We are stardust, we are golden... billion year old carbon... caught in the devil’s bargain... and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden."

The garden allusion is to Eden, and the stardust line is one to stars up in space as the source code of humankind. These days, many a scientist, journalist, investigator, researcher does look upward in explaining the great question, the origins of man. Personally, I subscribe to the paradigm shifting theory that ancient aliens seeded this planet, and that we really should explore reading creation stories as history, oyes.

Which brings us to this charming tale from Moss’s Nabaloi Tales (1924), the author’s collection of Ivadoy tales from Baguio and Benguet, gathered in what he prefaces as his “thirteen years’ residence among the Nabaloi Igorot of the Philippines Islands.” This tale is titled “Star Wives.” Let me quote from Moss’s English translation.

“Many generations ago the stars would come to the brook in Batan to bathe. In the morning the women of Batan would often see that the tops of the gabi which was near the brook had been broken down, but they did not know what had done it.” After asking the hog, the dog, and the monkey if they had done the gabi tops harm, the women were advised by the lattermost animal to “tell your husbands to go tonight and hide near the water so that they will learn who did this.”

The men did as the monkey advised, and “saw many stars come down from the sky. They undressed and hung their clothing on the gabi tops and began to bathe. The men hid the clothing of the stars. When the stars had finished bathing they searched for their clothing, but could not find it. They could not return to the sky, because their wings were on their clothing. Therefore the men captured them.”

And married them, even if some had wives already, causing havoc. And the men hid the clothing of their star wives, so that they could not fly away home. However, the men grew old and their star wives stayed young. So the time came that they became stronger than their husbands, and the stars freed their clothing, and thus flew back home to the sky, so to speak. “But they had many children, who are our ancestors.”
As another song goes, “Hmmm. Makes you wonder...”

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 29, 2014.

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