The First Durian

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(The Hermit's Three Wishes)


Barom-Mai was an old and ugly king who lived in a kingdom called Calinan in the Visayas hundreds of years ago. Although he was powerful, he was helpless when it came to winning the love of his young bride, Madayaw-Bayho (daughter of Tageb, king of the pirates).

Barom-Mai asked his advisers to help him win his bride's love, and Matigam (the wisest of advisers) told him about Impit Purok, a hermit who lived in a cave in Mt. Apo.

They went to the hermit and he asked for three things: the egg of the black tabon bird, twelve ladles of fresh milk from a white carabao without blemish, and the nectar from the flower of the tree-of-make-believe.

The egg will be used to soften the bride's heart; the milk, to make her kind; and, the nectar, to make her see Barom-Mai as a young and handsome king.

The king finds the egg through the help of Pawikan, the king of the sea turtles. He luckily gets milk from a white carabao the following breakfast, thanks to his cook. Hangin-Bai, the nymph of the air, leads him to her sister, the wood nymph who had the magic flower in her hair.

Barom-Mai gives the three things to Impit Purok, who asked him to prepare a big feast after Barom-Mai wins his queen back, and to invite Impit Purok as the king's guest of honor.

Impit Purok mixes the three ingredients and instructs Barom-Mai to plant the mixture in the royal garden. The morning after it was planted, a tree grew. It had a sweet smell and tasted good. When Madayaw-Bayho was given the fruit, she fell in love with Barom-Mai.

The king throws a big feast but forgets to invite Impit Purok. In retaliation, Impit casts a curse upon the fruit: The sweet smell was replaced with a foul odor while the smooth skin of the fruit was covered with thorns, which is how the durian smells and looks today