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Alamat ng Ibong Adarna
The Legend of the Adarna Bird

A long time ago, there lived a King naked Fernando who roled the kingdom of Berbania. The King ruled wisely, and for many years the kingdom was at peace. The King had three sons, all worthy heirs to the throne. The eldest, Don Pedro was brave and Strong. Don Diego, the second, was an excellent hunter. Don Juan, the youngest was kind and helpful. Among the three, it was Don Juan who was loved by all.

One day, King Fernando became gravely ill, and doctors were summoned from across the land. No one could cure the king, and the princes watched helplessly as their father worsened and the doctors proclaimed the king's condition hopeless. One by one, the best doctors of the kingdom left, and everyone in the kingdom wept and prayed.

Then a wise-looking old man, for all old men were wise, came to the palace and saw the ailing king. "Well, can you get him well?" asked Don Pedro. "There's only one thing that can cure his Majesty," the old man said. "Tell us, then!" demanded Don Diego. "We will do anything and everything to save our beloved father." Don Juan said softly.

"The sweet song of the adarna bird can save your father," the old man answered. "Its magical song will cure the king." 

"What is an Adarna?" asked Don Pedro.

"The Adarna is a bird of wonder!"

"Where can we buy such a bird?" asked Don Diego.

"My dear Highness," explained the old man, "no amount of money can buy the adarna. It is an enchanted and elusive bird. One must persevere to catch it." 


"Where can we find it then?" asked Don Juan.

"The adarna lives in the tree of Piedras Platas, on the high peaks of Mount Tabot." 

"Then I will leave at once to look for it," declared Don Pedro.

"Be prepared, Your Highness," warned the old man, "for the journey will be long and difficult." 

"My courage hasn't failed me yet," answered Don Pedro.

Don Pedro left, and his journey began. He crossed many rivers and forests but couldn't find Mount Tabor. He asked everyone he met about the mountain, but no one knew what or where it was. Suddenly, a wretched old man appeared on the way. The old man's long white hair had become grey because of the sun, wind, and dust. His skin was heavily wrinkled, warted, and freckled, with dirty rashes and lesions. He wore tattered sackcloth that was also dirty.

"Young man, please help me," the old man begged of Don Pedro. "I am very hungry and thirsty, I only need a little food and water."

"Huh! Do not come near me, old man," exclaimed Don Pedro. "I am a prince and it is not proper for a dirty old beggar to come near me." 


"Please young man, only a little food, a little water. Please, help me!"

"I need all the food and all the water I have for my journey, and even if I had more, I would not give them to you. Go away!"

The old man was about to turn away, when Don Pedro said, "Wait, old man! Do you know where Mount Tabor is?" 


The old man pointed to a tall blue mountain that lay in the east. 

"That is Mount Tabor," the old man said. "Now may I have a few drops of water?"

"As I told you, old man," replied Don Pedro, "the water here is just enough for me."

Then he quickly headed for Mount Tabor.

It was already evening when Don Pedro reached the top of Mount Tabor. And there ir was: the Piedras platas! It was such an amazing tree, with leaves of silk and gold lining, with a silvery trunk and silvery branches sequined with diamonds and sapphires. Don Pedro marvelled at the tree. Tired, but excited, he sat beside a white stone and waited for the arrival of the enchanted bird.

Moments later, Don Pedro heard the fluttering of wings on top of the Piedras Platas. He looked up and saw the most beautiful bird he had ever seen in his whole life. It was the adarna bird, in full regalia. It had a foam like crown with diamond studs, with long, thick, strong, shiny feathers of its long fern-like tail hung like an embroidered wedding train of a royal bride. Then the adarna began to sing. It was the sweetest and most melodious song that Don Pedro ever heard. Seven times did its feathers change colors -- rube red, sunset orange, peach yellow, emerald green, satin blue, velvet violet, and deep indigo -- and while this was going on, Don Pedro slowly dropped off to sleep. No one or nothing could keep him from sleeping, once he heard the song of the adarna bird!


As soon as it finished its last song, the adarna excreted and proceeded to sleep. The bird droppings fell on the sleeping Don Pedro, and Don Pedro turned into a huge white stone!

When Don Diego followed, he had the same fate that Don Pedro had! He suffered many difficulties along the way, He met the wretched old man and ignored the old man's pleadings. When he found the adarna in Piedras Platas, he too turned into stone!

Back in the palace, Don Juan was getting restless. My father is getting weaker and weaker and there is no word about my brothers. I must go and find them myself," he thought.

And so he journeyed. Like his brothers, he met the old man who pleaded. "Water, please, water..."

The young prince led the old man to the shade and let the old man drink from his flask. He laid some bread for the old man to eat. But you too, have to eat,"

"Don't worry," Don Juan said calmly, "for I am young and strong. You need the food and water more than I do." 


Suddenly, the old man's appearance changed. The dirty sackcloth and sores that had disgusted Don Juan's brothers disappeared. "You are the odl man who told us to look for the adarna bird!" Don Juan exclaimed.

"Yes, your highness," the old man explained, "I stood on this path to test you and yours, and because you have the kindest heart of all, I will help you catch the adarna." 

"Take these," said the old man, as he handed Don Juan a dagger, lime, and a vial of blessed water. "When the adarna starts to sing," the old man said," cut your arms lightly with the dagger then rub the lemon juice on the wounds. It will keep you awake."

"What will I do with the water?" asked Don Juan.

"Sprinkle it on the big white stones under the tree of Piedras Platas." 

". . . Stones?" 

"The stones were formerly humans until the droppings of the adarna fell on them when they went to sleep."

At last, Don Juan reached Mount Tabor. Like his brothers, Don Juan marvelled at the majestic sight of the place. A few moments later, the adarna flew in and Don Juan thought it was the most beautiful bird in the world. It sat on one of the big branches. . . and Don Juan hid behind one of the big white stones.

Again, the adarna began to sing.As it sang, its glossy plumage changed colors seven times. The sweetness of the song made Don Juan's eyelids grow heavy, but he remembered the words of the old man! He cut his arm and rubbed lemon juice on the wound and the sharp pain of it all kept him awake!!! But, oh! The pain was almost unbearable!


When the songs were done, the adarna closed its eyes. Just as it slept, Don Juan remembered the old man's warnings about the excretions of the adarna bird. He looked up just in time to avoid the dropping that turned humans to stone. It was then that he was able to safely climb up the tree and catch the sleeping bird.

As he climbed down, the words of the old man haunted him. He got the small vial of water and rubbed it on the stones. They magically became humans, and his brothers were among them! How happy they were to see each other again! The three brothers happily journeyed home, with the adarna bird cradled in Don Juan's arms. Just as the kind heard the adarna's song, he became strong, healthy and happy again. He then stood up and then kissed his sons and they all lived happily ever after.



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