Complete Text of Lam-ang (an Iloko epic)

(English version)

O glorious God, the Holy Spirit
Enlighten my mind, Apo [1]
So that I can faithfully relate
The story of a man.

In the early times
There was a couple
Who just had taken
The vows of matrimony
As days passed
The woman soon conceived
As time to bear the fruit
Of the sacrament they had received.

A variety of fruit
She incessantly ate:
Tamarind that still was green
The pias and the daldaligan
Young coconut fruit
The guava about to ripen
Oranges and lolokisen [2]
For meals she had all these:
Panapana and maratangtang [3]
Ar-arosip and aragan [4]
Oysters freshly unshelled
Shrimps she herself had caught.
Pingpinggan and im-immoco [5]
Loslosi and pocpoclo [6]
Leddangan and soso [7]
These were what she relished.

When she reached
The seventh month of pregnancy
They were full of joy
So near the end of her term!
And thus the woman Namongan
Thought of what
They must prepare.

And so she said to her husband,
Ay [8] my husband Don Juan,
Please cut down what is needed
To make my balitang. [9]
Please go and see
The bamboos we planted
In Mount Capariaan
And cut down some.

It is indeed necessary
For us to prepare
What is needed
For the coming of the child
So we'll not be taken unaware
At the end of my term
A balitang will be ready
Fit for me to lie on.

Thus prepared to leave
Her husband Don Juan
And when he reached the bamboos
He ran around the clump.
Then he beckoned
The wind that he so needed
Rain then fell in torrents
As from abyssmal clouds
Lightning and thunder in succession
Sought shelter underneath
And trimmed off like hair
The clump of bamboos.

It is an ugly sight, it is a shame
Bamboos, if I should carry you

And so the bamboos strode ahead
And after them followed Don Juan.
And when he reached
The house he left
The bamboos arranged themselves
In the front yard.

And said the woman Namongan
Ay my husband Don Juan,
I need firewood too
Such as molave and gasatan
The dangla [10] and the skinned guava tree.
Then please buy
A jar stove
To heat water
For my bath
Also a pot-for-one
To contain
The placenta of our child.

When all these things were done
Don Juan took his leave
And walking upstream
He went to the blackest mountain
In order to battle
The tattoed Igorots.

[1] Apo = An address indicating respect.

[2] lolokisen = Sour fruits.

[3] Panapana and maratangtang = Species of shells

[4] Ar-arosip and aragan = Species of seaweeds

[5] Pingpinggan and im-immoco = Species of shells.

[6] Loslosi and pocpoclo = Species of seaweeds.

[7] Leddangan and soso = Species of shells

[8] Ay = A common expression equivalent to O or Oh; denoting surprise, pain or lament.

[9] balitang = Slightly reclining bamboo bed used for childbirth.

[10] gasatan / dangla = Species of wood.


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