In days long gone, there
was a man, named Terengati. He was a simple man, who made a lived by the
birds that he caught, for in his land, Terengati meant bird-hunter. His
tale is a special one, for through his courage and perseverance, he was
able to marry and keep the hand of a fairy princess -- the daughter of
It was just another day, like all days then, quiet and peaceful. Terengati, hidden behind the reeds that grew along the river-bank, played his pulendag, imitating the song of the labuyo to lure wild birds to him. He did this every night, so that he could sell the wild birds in the morning. His pulendag sang the melody until he heard the soft flapping of approaching wings. Looking through the reeds, he saw seven white birds flying to the river.
But when the moon struck them, he realized that they weren't birds at all, but the seven lovely fairy daughters of the Sky-king garbed in shining white winged robes. They landed close to where Terengati hid, and took off their garments to bathe. Quickly, Terengati took a winged robe and hid it inside his pulendag, and waited for the sunrise.
Thus, when the sky-fairies finished their bath, and dressed, one of them could not find her missing robe. All seven looked and looked, but they couldn't find it. The sun rose, and so they had to leave their sister behind. At this moment, Terengati came out of his hiding place among the reeds and asked the fairy to join him, to his home.
"What are you going to do with me?" cried she, "Are you going to make me your slave?"
"No," Terengati said softly, holding the pulendag, "I will take you home to make you my wife."
Terengati brought her home, and gave her fresh clothes to wear. He hid the pulendag with the winged robe in the roof of his small house. Lucky Terengati, who had no family! He now had a fairy for a wife! He made another pulendag so he could continue trapping wild birds. The fairy made a good wife, for she learned how to care for her husband. She developed callouses in her hands, but she never complained to her husband.
Time passed, and soon the couple was gifted with a baby boy. Terengati worked even harder, and now caught wild boar to sell as well. At home, the fairy delighted in caring for their son.
One day, Terengati left without telling his wife. She worried about her husband so much that she almost lost her temper. Their son started crying and wouldn't stop. The boy pointed to the roof and the fairy noticed the pulendag Terengati hid. "Why is that pulendag hidden in the roof?" she wondered. The fairy climbed the roof to get the pulendag and calm her crying son, and this made her missing robe fall out. When she saw the robe, she began to doubt Terengati. Questions swirled in her mind: "Why did Terengati hide my robe? So I could be his servant?" Enraged, she left, leaving her son and home and flying back up to her father's palace in the sky.
It was dusk when Terengati returned home, and he called for his wife, but she did not answer. Thinking she was asleep, he smiled and thought of his good luck at finding such a beautiful and wonderful wife. When he entered the house though, he saw his son playing with the pulendag he had hidden in the roof! He grabbed it and saw nothing inside it. His wife had discovered the winged robe and left him!
"We will find her," he promised his son "if it is the last thing we do." He packed the things he would need for his journey and started off to look for his missing wife. Where could she be? Father and son travelled far and wide to look for her. They slept only when they got tired and ate only when they got hungry. ""We shall not stop until we find your mother," Terengati whispered to his son as they journeyed.
Soon, they met a firefly who took pity on them. "Go to the hawk's nest, she will know where the Sky-king's castle lies, for she is a creature of the higher sky." The hawk too, was moved by their plight, but she could not help them. For though she knew where the Sky-king's castle lay, she could not carry Father and son that high to the heavens. Instead, she said, "Climb the top of the Seventh mountain. Apo Sawa, the great snake lives there, and if you convince him, he will take you both to the Sky-king's castle."
They found Apo Sawa on the seventh peak, wrapped around the largest tree. "What do you want from the kingdom in the sky?" Apo Sawa hissed, its forked tongue flicking out at the father and son as if to taste them. "I am looking for the mother of my son," answered Terengati boldly, "Take my life, Apo Sawa, but in exchange, bring my son to the kingdom in the sky to be with his mother." Apo Sawa admired Terengati's courage. "What would I do with your life? I would rather have hawk's eggs. Just bring me twenty eggs from the hawk and I will bring both of you to the kingdom in the heavens."
Terengati hurriedly went back to the hawk and begged for help. Without hesitation, the hawk gave Terengati twenty eggs. Terengati and his son rode on the great head of Apo Sawa, and as they climbed higher and higher, Terengati fed Apo Sawa the hawk's eggs to give it strength. They reached the kingdom of the sky just as Terengati had fed Apo Sawa the last of the hawk's eggs.
Here, Terengati approached the Sky-King and asked for his wife back. "Why should I believe that you are the husband of one of my daughters?" the King asked angrily. "Yes, one of them got lost, but she did not tell me she got married." Terengati hung his head low. "It was my fault, for I did not take care of her as she should've been, but please, for the sake of our child, let me see her again." The King was moved with pity at the sight of brave Terengati humbling himself for his wife. "I will give you one chance, you should be able to recognize your wife."
The Sky-King summoned his seven daughters, all dressed in identical white robes. Terengati was stunned. Who among them was his wife? His son ran towards one of the sky-fairies and hugged her. "It is she; she is my wife," shouted Terengati, pointing to his son's choice. "I do not believe you!" boomed the King. "Both you and your son are only guessing"
Terengati thought quickly. He asked to see the palms of the fairies. He could not go wrong. He recognized his wife's hands from the callouses she had developed caring for him on Earth. He went down on bended knee and begged his wife to forgive him. The King approved at their marriage then, and Terengati was able to return to earth with his son and fairy wife and they all lived happily ever after.