Chapter 18: - Page 3 of 5

Souls in Torment

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

A few years more or less make no difference.  Now, when a servant breaks a plate, a glass, or a cup, I make him pick up the pieces; and for every scrap, even the very smallest, he has to recite for me one of those prayers.  The indulgences that I earn in this way I devote to the souls.  Every one in my house, except the cats, understands this system.

But those indulgences are earned by the servants and not by you, Sister Sipa, objected Rufa.

And my cups and plates, who pays for them? The servants are glad to pay for them in that way and it suits me also.  I never resort to blows, only sometimes a pinch, or a whack on the head.

I’m going to do as you do! I’ll do the same! And I! exclaimed the women.

But suppose the plate is only broken into two or three pieces, then you earn very few, observed the obstinate Rufa.

Abá! answered old Sipa.  I make them recite the prayers anyhow. Then I glue the pieces together again and so lose nothing.

Sister Rufa had no more objections left.

Allow me to ask about a doubt of mine, said young Juana timidly.  You ladies understand so well these matters of heaven, purgatory, and hell, while I confess that I’m ignorant. Often I find in the novenas and other books this direction: three paternosters, three Ave Marias, and three Gloria Patris—

Yes, well?

Now I want to know how they should be recited: whether three paternosters in succession, three Ave Marias in succession, and three Gloria Patris in succession; or a paternoster, an Ave Maria, and a Gloria Patri together, three times?

This way: a paternoster three times—

Pardon me, Sister Sipa, interrupted Rufa, they must be recited in the other way.  You mustn’t mix up males and females.  The paternosters are males, the Ave Marias are females, and the Gloria Patris are the children.

Eh? Excuse me, Sister Rufa: paternoster, Ave Maria, and Gloria are like rice, meat, and sauce—a mouthful for the saints—

You’re wrong! You’ll see, for you who pray that way will never get what you ask for.

And you who pray the other way won’t get anything from your novenas, replied old Sipa.

Who won’t? asked Rufa, rising.  A short time ago I lost a little pig, I prayed to St. Anthony and found it, and then I sold it for a good price.  Abá!

Learn this Filipino word:

ibilang sa walâ