The Legend Of Mariang Alimango

Once there was a beautiful maiden whose name is
Maria. She was very kindhearted and obedient. Her own
mother passed away when she was still a young girl. Her
father got married again with whom he had two more
daughters. Unfortunately her stepmother did not love Maria,
all she cared about were her two real daughters. Worse,
her two ugly and lazy stepsisters were always envious of
her because of the beauty she inherited from her own
mother. And worst, to get at her, they got their mother to
side with them, and together they treated Maria rather
unfairly.

To begin with, she was forced to do most of the
housework day in day out while her stepmother and
stepsisters just sat idle and ordered her around. Her work
begins early in the morning fetching water from the well. It
was a difficult task for she had to fetch water several times
enough for everyone to use for taking baths and make
similar reserve for other uses. Afterwards she still has to
wash the clothes, cook the meals, wash the dishes, water
the plants, and sweep the house. She was often the last to
eat her meals which had gone cold by then. By the end of
the day, she was already very tired, though she never
complained about anything.

One day, Maria was crying by the well because she
felt tired and hungry. She missed her breakfast and had
just finished fetching water. She was about to begin washing
the clothes when suddenly she heard a kind voice spoke to
her saying, "Don't cry, Maria. I brought some food for you.
Eat it, my child."

Maria looked everywhere around wondering who
was talking. She saw the food but saw no one. Just when
she picked up the food to eat, she was suddenly surpised
to see a Big Crab (alimango, in the local dialect) beside
the washing basin she used for washing clothes.

"Don't be frightened, my child, I am your, dead
mother. And don't worry, anymore. For from today on I'll
take care of you," promised the Big Crab.

Maria was thrilled. True to her word, the Big Crab
came everyday to the well and brought Maria nice food to
eat. One time, her stepmother went to the well to ask
Maria to run an errand for her. Just when Maria left for the
market, the Big Crab came bringing food with her. for Maria.
Her stepmother was still around then, and when she saw
the big crab, she caught it then brought it home. Then
she placed it inside the large kettle, cooked and ate it
together with her two daughters.

When Maria returned from the errand in time for
lunch, she was met halfway on the stairs of the house by
her stepmother and stepsisters who were on their way to
the market. As usual, her stepmother ordered her to clean
up the table of the bones and shells that was left of the
crab she mentioned in passing she luckily caught near the
well and which they ate for lunch as well. At this news her
heart nearly sank knowing it was the remains of her mother-
turned-crab that was left on the table top. She got to the
dining table and when she saw the bones, she just burst
into open tears. Moments later, she heard a voice speak to
her again. She recognized it at once to be the voice of her
mother issuing out of the crab shells, saying, "Don't cry
Maria. Just pick up the shell and bones of the crab then
bury them in the yard".

Maria did as the voice told her. The next morning,
she saw to her surprise a full-grown tree standing on the
spot where she buried the shell and bones of the crab. The
tree was laden with many ripened golden fruits. Her two
ugly sisters also saw the tree and came running down the
house to pick some. But to their disappointment, none of
them could pull any of the fruits down, neither was her
stepmother able to pick any. Frustrated the three left leaving
Maria all by herself beside the strange tree. When it was
her turn, Maria easily plucked the fruits without any bit of
effort. She quickly sat down and ate the fruits unseen by
anyone. She decided to keep it a secret for she knew that
only she had the special touch to pick the golden fruits.

One day, a young handsome prince happened to
pass by their place and saw the fruit tree with the golden
fruits. He asked for some from the two stepsisters who
were in the yard then. But none of them could still pick any
fruit. They called their mother, but she also could not pick
any herself.

"I'll pick some for you," said a gentle voice. It was
Maria who had just come back from the well. Quickly she
picked some of the fruits and handed them over to the
prince.

The prince stood there watching her, astounded by
her beauty that he was moved to exclaim, "How beautiful
you are, young lady!" From then on, the prince visited
Maria everyday. It time, they got married and lived happily
ever after.