Category: Riddles

The Riddle of the Coconuts

A carabao-drawn cart loaded with freshly harvested young coconuts from barangay Nabbuan, Santiago City

A carabao-drawn cart loaded with freshly harvested young coconuts from barangay Nabbuan, Santiago City Photo:

The story below is from a book, which is currently available through Project Gutenberg.

The book is entitled Philippine Folk Tales written and collated by Mabel Cook Cole.  I have adapted it a little bit and used coconuts rather than the unfamiliar (to me anyway) cocoanuts.  The story came from the Tinguian tribe.

The Man with the Coconuts

One day a rather enterprising Manila boy, who was on vacation in Bacolod  borrowed his grandfather’s cart and carabao  to gather coconuts from their farm to sell in the market for some money so he can paint the town red later that evening with his friends.

This rather spoiled man was very sure of himself and thought that what he was about to do is really a doddle.  Nothing to it at all.  Just load the cart with coconuts and deliver them to the market.  Easy peasy, quick money.

Loading the cart with coconut was easy enough; it was pretty easy that the man kept loading the cart with more coconuts that it could really carry, more than enough to challenge the poor carabao’s pulling prowess.

He was no more than five minutes in his journey when he met a local boy.  He asked the boy the quickest way to the market.

“If you go slowly,” said the boy, looking at the load on the horse, “you will arrive very soon; but if you go fast, it will take you all day.”

The young man found this cryptic advice very puzzling but thought nothing more of it.   He reckoned the  boy was talking stupid nonsense, probably been too long in the sun. 🙂

With a purposeful slap of his whip, he hurried the long suffering carabao along.  But the coconuts started falling one by one.  He had to stop to pick them up.  He then hurried the carabao to make for lost time.  But the more they move faster the more coconuts fell off, which he had to pick up.  This happened several times.

It was nearly the end of the market day when he arrived at his destination.  At this time he was so tired and weary that all he wanted was to go home, have some supper cooked by his grandmother and then go to bed.

He certainly learnt something that day. A slower pace is not always a bad thing.

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