5. General Stories

The Artificial Earthquake

Long long ago in a town, there lived an old man who had three daughters. All the daughters were very beautiful and many men were desirous of having them as their wife. Many of them waited outside the house of the old man. If any of them managed to catch a glimpse of any of the daughters, it made their day.

Now, the eldest daughter had an admirer. One day, the old man saw this young man standing for long outside his home. He immediately understood that the youth was waiting there to look at one of his daughters. He went out and treated the youth very harshly, saying many bad words to him. When the young man said that he wanted to marry his eldest daughter, he became very angry on him and chased him away without hearing to any of his entreaties. He also sent his daughter away to a distant place.

This in turn made the young man angry, and he became determined to have his revenge upon the old man. He thought and thought and thought until he found a way to teach his abuser a lesson.

That night, when everyone in the town went to sleep, the young man crept out from his home taking a strong rope along with him. He walked hurriedly until he reached the house of the three daughters. He fastened one end of his rope to one of the upright posts at the corner of the house, and taking the other end in his hand hid behind a tree. Then he started to pull the rope violently, pausing at times and again pulling it with all his might. The house began to shake furiously and its residents woke up in great fear.

“Oh!” said one of the girls, “there is an earthquake.”

The old man jumped up and, clasping his crucifix tightly, began to recite the prayers against earthquakes. But the trembling showed no signs of easing. For more than an hour the house shook like a dry leaf, while the old man continued to pray to all the saints in the calendar.

Then the earthquake stopped suddenly.

As the old man and his daughters began to relax a little, they heard a powerful voice calling him by his name and asking him to come outside. The old man was determined to go and find out who it was. His daughters begged him not to go, for they feared he would fall down and die in such a terrible earthquake. But the man would have none of it.

“You wait here. Do not fear.” assured the father, “I will soon be back after I see for myself who it is that dares call me out at this hour.”

He took his saw in one hand, carried his axe in another. He tucked his long bolo in his waistband and stepped out of his home only to find everything quiet outside.

“It does not seem to be earthquake. The ground is intact and the house has not suffered any cracks. What was the cause of this disturbance then?” thought the old man.

As he moved further to explore the surroundings of the house, he tripped over the rope and fell down. At once, a volley of abuses went out from his mouth.

“May thousand thunders scorch the son of the demon who has shaken my house, frightened my family, and broken my bones” he roared. And many a curse did he utter while the young man who caused all this ran back to his home, unseen, laughing to himself that he had his revenge on his abuser.

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