Juan Gathers Guavas

Nang Namitas ng Bayabas si Juan (When Juan Picked Guavas) is a short vignette about the naughty boy Juan. It’s a funny story when you hear it in Tagalog for the first time. Reading it may give you  some idea of Filipino humor.

One day Juan’s father sent him to get some ripe guavas, for a number of the neighbors had come in and he wanted to give them something to eat.

Juan went to the guava bushes and ate all the fruit he could hold, and then he decided to play a joke on his father’s guests instead of giving them a feast of guavas. A wasp’s nest hung nearby. With some difficulty he succeeded in taking it down and putting it into a tight basket that he had brought for the fruit. He hastened home and gave the basket to his father, and then as he left the room where the guests were seated he closed the door and fastened it.

As soon as Juan’s father opened the basket the wasps flew over the room; and when the people found the door locked they fought to get out of the windows. After a while Juan opened the door, and when he saw the swollen faces of the people, he cried.

“What fine, rich guavas you must have had! They have made you all so fat!”

This Filipino folk tale was recorded in English by Mabel Cook Cole in the early 20th century.)