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Philippine Folklore: Why Does The Bamboo Bends?

Updated on June 3, 2018
The tallest grass, the bamboo.
The tallest grass, the bamboo. | Source

Bamboos are sturdy and because of that, these tall grasses has been an important part of living to some countries providing them shelter. It is used as a good source of livelihood not only in the Philippines but to other parts of the world too. A lot of things can be made out of bamboo, from being the main part of a nipa hut, bamboos are used for firewoods as well. And don't forget flip flops, furnitures and even musical instruments such as flute can be made from bamboo.

We are so used of calling the bamboo a "tree," but as a matter of fact, the bamboo isn't a tree but is a grass. And the bamboo is the tallest grass there is.

And you know what? There is something interesting about this tallest grass. According to this Filipino folklore, the bamboo doesn't bend when the wind blows. Not until it was being punished.

The bamboo was very different before the way it is now.

A long time ago, the tallest grass we had known was boastful and was so proud of itself. The bamboo was proud of its sleek trunks. Its so fresh looking trunks and bright green leaves against the sun rays every morning, what's not to boast about?

But the bamboo wasn't content. It was envious and will always get mad or irritated when it doesn't get the attention or appreciation that it thinks it deserves. It doesn't like it when the other trees has accomplished something and are recognized by others. The bamboo hates this. The bamboo doesn't like being embarrass either, or else it would think of a way to retaliate.

There was a time when a group of teens passed by in the forest. As they look around, they saw all the trees in there. They saw the towering bamboo, the shades were nice but the bamboo don't have fruits. So they went away from the bamboo as they saw the santol and guava tree. They were so happy to pick some fruits. They were hungry and this would fill them up.

After picking up some santol and guava fruits, they laid it on the grassy ground and went to other fruit bearing trees. These are the macopa tree known as java apple and caimito tree or star apple. The java apples were so red and sweet and so are the star apples. What they had picked were all purplish in color and just perfectly ripe.

Then they all sat up on the grassy ground, shared and enjoyed all the ripe fruits they got.

And the wind gave its strongest blow, causing all the fruits of the trees to fall on the ground.
And the wind gave its strongest blow, causing all the fruits of the trees to fall on the ground. | Source

Oh! That made the bamboo so jealous.

"If I only have fruits," the bamboo thought to itself. The bamboo feels useless when it comes to fruits as it doesn't even have any fruits for these teens.

The bamboo was so envious and mad that it called its friend, the wind.

"My friend, I need your help. If you can blow your strongest wind that would make me happy," the bamboo asked the wind. And so the wind gave its strongest blow. Poor fruit bearing trees, the fruits of the java apple, the star apple, santol and guava all had fallen to the ground. This made the bamboo so happy.

Source

On another occasion, there were two sweethearts who came across the forest. The guy looked around, searching for flowers nearby. The guy spotted the flowerless bamboo, and because it was flowerless, they went away from the bamboo and looked for another spot. They were happy to spot the gardenias and sampaguitas flowering nearby. Seeing the beautiful flowers, the guy picked some flowers and offered it to his sweetheart. The sweet scent of both flowers made the day of the beautiful maiden.

Seeing this made the bamboo jealous and mad again. It doesn't have any flowers at all for the guy to offer to his girl. And because the bamboo was so mad, it called another friend to help, and this time the rain.

The rain cannot say no to its friend, the bamboo. And so, that day the rain poured heavily. The rain poured heavily that the stems and flowers of both the sampaguita and gardenia got soaking wet, which later on had fallen on the ground, carried away by the rain. This made the bamboo happy and can't help but smile secretly so the other trees and plants won't noticed it.

One hot Summer day, two elderly couple passed by and decided to take a rest for a while on their trip. For them to rest, the older man searched for any plants with big leaves that they can use as shelter from the sun. They feel so lucky finding the banaba leaves. It is really a good find for both of them to use.

After the elderly couple left, the bamboo, as always, got jealous. He didn't get noticed again as the leaves it got was narrow and wouldn't be of use for the elderly couple to shelter them against the sizzling heat of the sun. Its leaves were not the perfect leaves to help the elderly couple to get through the hot day. Frowning about the situation, the bamboo called its friend, this time the egret birds.

What did the birds do for the jealous bamboo? The poor banaba plant, it got bald as all its leaves were all gone! The bamboo was just so glad about this.

Unknown to the bamboo, what he's been doing got to the attention of the Creator, on how jealous and proud it has been of itself, wanting no other trees to surpass what the bamboo has to offer.

As a punishment, the Creator made the bamboo bend down every time the wind blows. This teaches the tallest grass to be humble, be thankful, and appreciate what it got as being envious can do no good.

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So, why does the bamboo bends?
So, why does the bamboo bends?
So, why does the bamboo bends? | Source
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