5. General Stories

The Buso and the Cat

Have you ever wondered why the cat is a favourite pet for most of us? It is a little known fact that she saves us from the Buso, a dreaded creature that eats the flesh and drinks the blood of dead human bodies.

The Bagobo people have a wonderful story to tell about it. They say that once upon a time, a wise old lady lived among them. She stayed alone in a house on a hill with only a cat for company. The place where she resided was inhabited by only a few people. Such places are haunted by the Buso men who look for lonely human beings they can kill easily and devour.

Now, it so happened that the lady had forgot to close her front entrance one night and went to sleep. A little time after, a Buso man found the door open and entered the house.

The Buso man licked his mouth and smelled the air.

“Aah, I can smell someone living here.”

Just then he saw a cat looking at him. The Buso never eats the cat for its flesh makes him very sick. But this cat could be useful, or so the Buso-man thought. He went near the cat and asked her,

“A lady lives here and you are his pet, right? I remember seeing you two.”

The cat nodded. It was very afraid of the Buso-man for she knew that he had come to the house to eat her mistress.

“I want to eat your mistress. Where is she?” growled the Buso-man, “tell me or I will kill you.”

The cat hesitated. What could she do? She could not fight the Buso-man for he was too strong for her. Suddenly she had an idea.

“I will tell you about my mistress only if you help me do something.” she told the Buso-man.

“And what is that?” questioned the cat.

“You have to count all the hairs of my coat. I cannot do it myself. If you do this job for me, I will tell you where my mistress is. Else, you cannot find her for there are so many rooms in this house.”

So the Buso-man began to count. But while he was counting, the cat kept wriggling her tail, and sticking up her back. That made her fur stand up on end, and it made the counting difficult for the Buso man. He kept losing count, and never knew where he left off. He kept trying to count the cat’s hairs again and again until daylight came. The Buso are afraid of daylight as they always prefer to keep themselves in darkness and away from the eyes of the people.

So the Buso-man went away and the cat heaved a sigh of relief that her mistress was saved. When the lady came to know about all these from her cat, she praised her and treated her to a delicious meal.

This is one reason why we must not kill the cat. The Bagobo people never kill a cat, for it makes him very sick. If a Bagobo man kills a cat, he would get skinny and die. Some Bagobo have been known to kill the cat; but they always got sick and died afterwards.

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