The Witch by Edilberto K. Tiempo

2492 WordsDec 15, 201210 Pages
The Witch By Edilberto K. Tiempo When I was twelve years old, I used to go to Libas, about nine kilometers from the town, to visit my favorite uncle, Tio Sabelo, the head teacher of the barrio school there. I like going to Libas because of the many things to eat at my uncle’s house: cane sugar syrup, candied meat of young coconut, corn and rice cakes, ripe jackfruit, guavas from trees growing wild on a hill not far from Tio Sabelo’s house. It was through these visits that I heard many strange stories about Minggay Awok. Awok is the word for witch in southern Leyte. Minggay was known as a witch even beyond Libas, in five outlying sitios, and considering that not uncommonly a man’s nearest neighbor was two or three hills away, her notoriety…show more content…
It gave out raucous cries when a person in the neighborhood had just died. The bird was supposed to be Minggay’s messenger, and the sigbin caried her to the grave; then the witch dug up the corpse and feasted on it. The times when I passed by the hut and saw her lean sow and her black chickens, I wondered if they transformed themselves into fantastic creatures at night. Even in the daytime I dreaded the possibility of meeting her; she might accost me on the trail near her hut, say something about my face or any part of it, and then I might live the rest of my life with a harelip, a sunken nose, or crossed eyes. But I never saw Minggay in her house or near the premises. There were times when I thought she was only a legend, a name to frighten children from doing mischief. But then I almost always saw her sow digging banana roots or wallowing near the trail and the black chickens scratching for worms or pecking grains in her yard, and the witch became very real indeed. Once I was told to go to Libas with a bottle of medicine for Tio Sabelo’s sick wife. I started from the town at half past five and by the time I saw the balete tree across the creek from Minggay’s hut, I could hardly see the trail before me. The balete was called Minggay’s tree, for she was known to sit on one of the numerous twisting vines that formed its grotesque trunk to wait for a belated passer-by. The balete was a towering monstrous shadow; a

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