The Manglalabas

Once upon a time, in the small town of Balubad, there was a big house. It was inhabited by a rich family. When the head of the family died, the house was gloomy and dark. The family wore black clothes, and was sad.

Three days after the death of the father, the family began to be troubled at night by a manglalabas. He threw stones at the house, broke the water-jars, and moved the beds. Some pillows were even found in the kitchen the next day. The second night, Manglalabas visited the house again. He pinched the widow; but when she woke up, she could not see anything. Manglalabas also emptied all the water-jars. Accordingly the family decided to abandon the house.

A band of brave men in that town assembled, and went to the house. At midnight the spirit came again, but the brave men said they were ready to fight it. Manglalabas made a great deal of noise in the house. He poured out all the water, kicked the doors, and asked the men who they were. They answered, “We are fellows who are going to kill you.” But when the spirit approached them, and they saw that it was a ghost, they fled away. From that time on, nobody was willing to pass a night in that house.

In a certain barrio of Balubad there lived two queer men. One was called Bulag, because he was blind; and the other, Cuba, because he was hunchbacked. One day these two arranged to go to Balubad to beg. Before they set out, they agreed that the blind man should carry the hunchback on his shoulder to the town. So they set out. After they had crossed the Balubad River, Cuba said, “Stop a minute, Bulag! here is a hatchet.” Cuba got down and picked it up. Then they proceeded again. A second time Cuba got off the blind man’s shoulder, for he saw an old gun by the roadside. He picked this up also, and took it along with him.

When they reached the town, they begged at many of the houses, and finally they came to the large abandoned house. They did not know that this place was haunted by a spirit. Cuba said, “Maybe no one is living in this house;” and Bulag replied, “I think we had better stay here for the night.”

As they were afraid that somebody might come, they went up into the ceiling. At midnight they were awakened by Manglalabas making a great noise and shouting, “I believe that there are some new persons in my house!” Cuba, frightened, fired the gun. The ghost thought that the noise of the gun was some one crying. So he said, “If you are truly a big man, give me some proofs.”

Then Cuba took the handle out of the hatchet and threw the head down at the ghost. Manglalabas thought that this was one of the teeth of his visitor, and, convinced that the intruder was a powerful person, he said, “I have a buried treasure near the barn. I wish you to dig it up. The reason I come here every night is on account of this treasure. If you will only dig it up, I will not come here any more.”

The next night Bulag and Cuba dug in the ground near the barn. There they found many gold and silver pieces. When they were dividing the riches, Cuba kept three-fourths of the treasure for himself. Bulag said, “Let me see if you have divided fairly,” and, placing his hands on the two piles, he found that Cuba’s was much larger.

Angry at the discovery, Cuba struck Bulag in the eyes, and they were opened. When Bulag could see, he kicked Cuba in the back, and straightway his deformity disappeared. Therefore they became friends again, divided the money equally, and owned the big house between them.

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