Ibong Adarna

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Ibong Adarna
Ibong Adarna.jpg
Author José de la Cruz
Original title Corrido at Buhay na Pinagdaanan nang Tatlóng Principeng anac nang Haring Fernando at nang Reina Valeriana sa Cahariang Berbania
Country Philippines

Ibong Adarna is an epic written in the 18th Century about an eponymous magical bird. The title's longer form during the Spanish Era was "Corrido at Buhay na Pinagdaanan nang Tatlóng Principeng anac nang Haring Fernando at nang Reina Valeriana sa Cahariang Berbania" (Filipino for "Corrido and Life Lived by the Three Princes, children of King Fernando and Queen Valeriana in the Kingdom of Berbania"). The author of the largely known epic was claimed to be José de la Cruz or "Huseng Sisiw", but until now the real author was never known.

Story[edit]

Don Fernando and his wife Donya Valeriana ruled the kingdon of Berbanya, they have three sons, Don Pedro, Don Diego and Don Juan, of whom Don Juan is his favorite. One night, he dreamed that two traitors conspired against Don Juan, and the king became so frightened and depressed that he did not even want to eat or take a rest, and fell sick with a malady, of which none of the physicians of the kingdom were able to cure. An enchanted old man however advised that the Adarna bird was the only creature in the world which could restore to him his lost health and tranquility by its marvelous songs. Acting on this advice, he sent out his oldest son Don Pedro to look for this coveted animal. After days of wandering through the dense forests and extensive thickets, he came to a tree of diamond, at the foot of which he fell down tired and thirsty. He never suspected that it was this very tree in which the famous bird was accustomed to pass the night; and when the night was setting and the Adarna flung into the air and sang the first of its seven songs, its melody was so softly sweet that Pedro was lulled into a profound sleep. After emitting its seventh melody for the night, the bird allowed its dropping to fall on the sleeping prince who was thereby converted into a stone.

When Don Pedro had not returned after the lapse of one year, the now-weakening king asked his second son Don Diego also to launch out in search of the same bird. Don Diego underwent the same vicissitudes and hardships and came to exactly the same fate as Don Pedro - converted into a stone at the foot of the enchanted tree. At last Don Juan, the youngest and most favored son was sent forth, after his elder brothers in search of the treacherous bird. Don Juan, however, had the fortune to meet on his way an old hermit who was impressed by the virtues and good manners of the young prince, and knowing the mission on which he embarked, put him on guard against the treacheries, intrigues and cunning of the famous bird. First, he provided him with a knife and key lime, warning him that if he wanted to free himself from the irresistible drowsiness induced by the seven melodies of the Adarna, he had to open on his palms seven wounds and distill into them the juice of the fruit. The pain caused by this might prevent him from sleeping. Next, the hermit warned him to avoid any defecation that might fall from the bird after it sung its seven songs, so that he would not suffer the fate of his brothers. Lastly, he told him that after finishing his seventh song the famous bird would fall sleep and that the prince should take advantage of this occasion to take the bird prisoner. The hermit gave him a golden shoe lace to tie the bird when caught and two pails of water to pour over his two petrified brothers which would bring them back to life. Don Juan did as was bidden and soon found himself in possession of the desired bird and on his way back to his home country with his two brothers, Don Pedro and Don Diego.

On the way, however, being envious that Juan had obtained what they were not able to do, the two older brothers conspired between themselves to do away with him. Pedro suggested that they should kill him but Diego, who was less brutal, convinced Pedro that it was sufficient to beat him, which they did. After beating Juan to whom they owed their lives, they left him unconscious in the middle of the road as the two brothers continued on their way to the palace. Once there in the palace, they convinced the king that they never knew what happened to Don Juan, but the bird did not sing for it awaits Don Juan, the captor of this bird. Don Juan woke eventually, but could not move due to the pain caused by the beating. He prayed fervently for the health of the king and the forgiveness of God to his brothers. He was found by a second hermit, who healed him magically with his words. Upon return to the palace, everyone was happy except his two brothers, worried that Don Juan might tell on them to the king. The bird then started to sing. Its enchanted song revealed to the king that Don Pedro and Don Diego beat up Don Juan, and that he was the true captor of this bird.

The two were sentenced to being cut-off from the royalty and banished, but they were reprieved due to Don Juan being forgiving and asking to give them another chance. They were given one, however, any consequent fault would mean death. They enjoyed the bird, they did not treat it as a pet, but rather like a person. So the made the three princes watch over the bird for 3 hours each everyday. Don Pedro wanted revenge, so he conspired again and forced Don Diego to go on board with it yet again. They planned to trick Don Juan into thinking that under his watch, the bird escaped. They successfully did it and Don Juan set out to find the bird before the king wakes up. The king finds the bird missing and so is Don Juan, so he tasked the two to find the bird and their brother. They find Don Juan at Mt. Armenya, where they decide that they just live there, on the beautiful mountain. They lived happily there and forgot the trouble from the past.

They find a well, and decide to explore what's inside. They argue about who goes first. They settle for the idea that Pedro, the eldest, was the first to descend by means of a cord lowered by the two brothers who remained above; but he had scarcely gone a third of the way when he felt afraid and gave sign for his two brothers to pull him out of the well. Presently, Diego was let down but he too could not go farther down than half of the way. When it was Juan's turn to go he allowed himself to be let down to the lowest depths of the cistern. There the prince discovered two enchanted palaces, the first being occupied by Princess Juana who informed him she was being held prisoner by a giant, and the second by Princess Leonora, also the prisoner of a large seven-headed serpent. After killing the giant and the serpent, the prince tugged on the cord and soon came up to the surface of the earth with the two captive princesses, whom his two brothers soon wanted to take away from him. Diego desired Princess Juana for himself and Pedro wanted Princess Leonora. Before the parting, however, Leonora discovered that she left her ring in the innermost recesses of the well. Juan voluntarily offered to take it for her but when he was halfway down, the two brothers cut the rope he was descending causing him to fall to the bottom of the well. Not long after this, wedding bells were rung in the palace. Diego married Princess Juana but Princess Leonora before casting her lot with Prince Pedro requested her marriage to him delayed for a term of seven years because she might still have a chance to unite herself with Don Juan.

Don Juan, thanks to Leonora's enchanted ring found in the well, could avail himself of the help of a wolf which cured him of his wounds, fix his dislocations, and bring him to the medicinal waters of the Jordan, and took him out of the well. Already torn of all hope of ever finding the Adarna, Don Juan resolved to return to the Kingdom. But to his confusion, he was unable to find his way. No one could tell him precisely which was the way that would lead him to the kingdom of his father. He came across the Adarna who told him that he should turn his back on Leonora because Maria Blanca, the daughter of King Salermo in Reyno de los Cristales was better. He came a hermit that consulted all the of the animals from the surrounding areas, but none of them could tell the prince the direction towards Reyno de los Cristales. But the king of all these animals, a swiftly soaring eagle, having compassion for his troubles, offered to take the prince to wherever he desired. After an epic flight the prince and the eagle came to a distant crystal lake on whose shores they landed to rest from their long and tiresome flight. Then the eagle related to his companion the secrets of the crystal lake. This was the bathing place where, in certain hours of the day, the three daughters of the most powerful and most feared king of the surrounding regions used to dive into the water and swim; and for this reason it was not proper for the prince to commit any indiscretion if he desired to remain and see the spectacle of the bath. Don Juan remained and when the hour of the bathing arrived he saw plunging into the pure crystal water the figures of the three most beautiful princesses whom his sinful eyes had ever seen. He then secretly hid and kept one of the princesses dresses. When the princess noticed the theft, her two sisters had already gone. The prince hurriedly ran to her and on his knee begged her pardon and placed at her feet her stolen dress and at the same time poured forth the most ardent and tender professions of love. Pleased by his gentleness and gallant phrases, the princess also fell in love with him; but she advised him that it would be better for him to go away before her father would come to know of his intrusion. If he did not do so she would be converted into another piece of stone for the walls of the enchanted palace in which they live, in the same way that all the other suitors who aspired for their hands had been transformed. On being informed of the adventure of the bold prince, the king sent for him. Don Juan, who would risk everything for the privilege of seeing his beloved, presented himself to the king in spite of the princess' warning. The king, greatly impressed with the youth's tact and self-possession, chose to give him a series of tests both gigantic and impossible for ordinary mortals. After completing these trials the king was satisfied and offered Don Juan his daughter.

However, the princess, fearing that her father might resort to a new trick to foil their happiness, ordered the prince to direct himself to the royal stables in order to take the best horse and have him ready for them to flee on that same night. Unfortunately, the prince in his hurry, took the wrong horse and the king came immediately went in pursuit of the fugitives. The king, riding the best horse, pursued them tenaciously but through the use of cunning magic the princess helped them to outrace the king.

When at last they found themselves safe and free, it did not take them long before they could reach the portals of the Berbanian Kingdom. But the prince, alleging that he should have such preparations duly made for entry into the royal palace as are appropriate for her category and dignity, left Doña Maria on the way promising to return for her once he had informed the committee that was to receive her. Once in the midst of the happiness of palace life, Don Juan soon forgot his professions of love to Doña Maria. He became dazzled by the beauty of Princess Leonora who had been waiting for him during all the days of his absence and he sought her hand in marriage while Doña Maria was impatiently waiting for his return. When she came to know of the infidelity of Don Juan, the pilgrim princess made use of the talisman which she always carried with her and adorned with the most beautiful royal garments and carried in a large coach drawn by eight sorrel-colored horses with four palfreys, she presented herself at the door of the palace practically inviting herself to the royal wedding of the Prince Juan and the Princess Leonora.

Out of respect for so beautiful a guest from foreign lands and on the occasion of the wedding itself, there were celebrated tournaments, in one Doña Maria succeeded in inserting as one of the number dance of a negrito and a negrita created from nothing through her marvelous talisman. In the dance the negrita carried a whip in her hand and with it she pitilessly lashed her negrito partner, calling him Don Juan while she proceeded to remind of all the vicissitudes of fortune undergone by him at the side on Doña Maria, the part which was played by the whipping negrita: the scene of the bath, the different tests to which he had been subjected by her father, the flight of both that was full of accidents, and his cruel abandonment of her on the way. Every crack of the whip which fell on the shoulders of the negrito seemed at the time to the true Don Juan as if it was lashing his own body and flesh. At the end of the scene, the prince repentant of his grave offense came down from his throne to implore pardon from the princess Doña Maria and to offer her his hand, promising to take her for his wife in the presence of all the people of his Kingdom.

When the king, his father Don Fernando, came to know of the rivalry of the two princesses, Doña Maria and Doña Leonora, both aspiring to the hand of Don Juan, he consulted with the archbishop of the kingdom on the case, the church dignitary deciding in favor of Doña Leonora invoking for her the priority of the right. But Doña Maria was determined to fight to the last for the prince of her love and, taking advantage of the power of her talisman, sent all over Barbania Kingdom a big inundation which threatened to carry away the whole nation together with all its inhabitants. King Fernando and his subjects trembled in the face of the imminent danger and all supplicated Princess Doña Leonora to be content with marrying Don Pedro, the brother of Don Juan, which she did for the good of all, occasioning for this reason a double marriage - an occasion which brought about once more tranquility and joy to the Berbanian Kingdom.

Don Juan and Maria Blanca became the new rulers of Reino De Los Cristales after their wedding.

In other media[edit]

The story of Ibong Adarna is known all over the Philippines and has been told in different dialects and media.

In 1996 Star Cinema produced the movie "Ang TV Movie: The Adarna Adventure". Jolina Magdangal played the Ibong Adarna. In 2013, GMA Network produced Adarna, a contemporary television series adaptation starring Kylie Padilla in the title role.

Art and Literature[edit]

During the mid-1970s, the Nutrition Center of the Philippines (NCP) found itself in need of a series of storybooks to supplement their mental feeding program.[1] They approached Virgilio S. Almario, a well-known poet and literary critic of that time, to spearhead the production of this series. He then recruited authors, editors, illustrators, and researchers for the series, which he would call Aklat Adarna. The Adarna bird is a fictional creature which had the ability to cure any sickness with its song so name was chosen to evoke the healing power of education and knowledge against the struggle of the Filipino against poverty-causing ignorance.[2] When NCP concluded the storybook program, Almario carried on with the project through the Children's Communication Center.[3] Soon enough, with its increasing number of publications, CCC needed a distributor and publisher and a decision was made to found Adarna Book Services, later renamed to Adarna House, Inc.

Local publisher Vibal Foundation brings the Philippines' first interactive e-book, Ibong Adarna, which aims to relive classic Filipino stories through full-color illustrations, animations and high-quality sound. The e-book was launched at Apple iBookstore.[4] Project Gutenberg also has a version of the epic in its library.[5]

References[edit]