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Why Dogs Wag Their Tails

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Why Dogs Wag Their Tails

A VISAYAN FOLKTALE

This story hails from the Christianized coastal tribes of the Visayas. When the Spanish came to the Philippines in the 16th century, they noticed the influences of cultures the tribes traded with, like China and Thailand. This rich cultural mix of ancient, foreign and Visayan is reflected in the stories they tell, such as this one.

A CULTURAL KEEPSAKE

Download the story or preorder the riso zine to support our indigenous peoples.

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A rich man once owned a dog and a cat. The dog had served his master for many years. Now that he is older, he had lost his teeth and is unable to fight anymore. But, he serves as a good guide and companion to the cat who was strong and cunning.

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A rich man once owned a dog and a cat. The dog had served his master for many years. Now that he is older, he had lost his teeth and is unable to fight anymore. But, he serves as a good guide and companion to the cat who was strong and cunning.

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The master had a daughter who was attending a school some distance from home, and very often he sent the dog and the cat with presents to the girl. One day he called the faithful animals and bade them to carry a magic ring to his daughter. “You are strong and brave,” he said to the cat “You may carry the ring, but you must be careful not to drop it.” To the dog he said: “And you must accompany the cat to guide her and keep her from harm.”

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They promised to do their best and started on their journey. All went well until they came to a river. As there was neither bridge nor boat, there was no way to cross but to swim. “Let me take the magic ring,” said the dog as they were about to plunge into the water. “No, the master gave it to me to carry," replied the cat. “But you cannot swim well,” argued the dog. “I am strong and can take good care of it.” The cat refused to give up the ring until finally the dog threatened her, and then she reluctantly gave it to him.

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The river was wide and the water so swift that they grew very tired, and just before they reached the opposite bank, the dog dropped the ring.

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They searched carefully, but could not find it anywhere, and after a while they turned back to tell their master of the sad loss. Just before reaching the house, however, the dog was so overcome with fear that he turned and ran away and was never seen again.

The cat went on alone. When the master saw her coming, he called out to know why she had returned so soon and what had become of her companion. The poor cat was frightened, but as well as she could, she explained how the ring had been lost and how the dog had run away.

On hearing her story the master was very angry, and commanded that all his people should search for the dog, and that it should be punished by having its tail cut off. He also ordered that all the dogs in the world should join in the search. Today, all cats are destined to fear water and all dogs wag their tails and show their teeth to prove to each other that they are not the old dog that lost the magic ring.

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On hearing her story the master was very angry, and commanded that all his people should search for the dog, and that it should be punished by having its tail cut off. He also ordered that all the dogs in the world should join in the search. Today, all cats are destined to fear water and all dogs wag their tails and show their teeth to prove to each other that they are not the old dog that lost the magic ring.

 

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In honor of the indigenous Filipinos, Gunitaan partnered with PAGASA to help support Aeta, Lumad, T'boli, and communities in Buhi, Camarines Sur affected by supertyphoons. In exchange for donations of any amount of your choosing is a digital compilation of the library designed for mobile.

The library is also a risograph art zine in collaboration with Bad Student, for pre-order until Dec. 11, 2020. In light of the typhoon damage they sustained, 10% of the zine proceeds will go towards their recovery. The rest of the zine proceeds will also be donated to the indigenous communities supported by PAGASA.

 

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Gunitaan is a humble library of folktales that tell us who we are, who we have been for centuries, and what inspires us as a culture. Gunitaan seeks to use design to shed light on, honor and preserve the beauty inherent to the many cultures that keep our identity alive.

By the humans of Serious Studio.