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The Legend of the First Corn

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A Filipino legend of the first corn.

A Filipino legend of the first corn.

Corn is a grain that serves as staple food on some part of the world. It is also an ingredient on some dishes along with other vegetables.

And the favorite popcorn during movie times? That would be from the corn too. Even few Philippine desserts are made of corn. One in particular that I like is sweet corn with shaved ice and milk.

But this isn't about dessert made of corn, some plants are just really interesting and intriguing on why it looks like the way it looks and why it has that and this amongst other things. An interesting feature corn has is its corn silk. Have you ever wondered why? One interesting legend explains why. Let's start the legend of the corn shall we?

As the legend goes

There was a couple who lived in a village years ago whose main source of income and food is farming. They used to sell their neighbors the harvested vegetables and crops or in the flea market.

They have a lovely young daughter that they named Maita. Maita has a soft, smooth hair that shines golden in color against the sun's rays. At a young age, Maita is obsessed with her beautiful hair. She would spend a great amount of time combing and fixing her soft hair, and she does it almost every minute of every day. She admires her hair that much.

"Maita, stop combing your hair excessively," her father would tell her frequently. "Help on the house chores!"

On the other hand, the young girl's mother found this rather amusing as her daughter already knows how to make or keep herself beautiful at an early age so she chose to let her be.

"She's still young. She would eventually change and will help at house chores when she grows up," she thought to herself.

But her mother was mistaken. When Maita became older, her amazement about her appearance and her soft, smooth hair intensified. While before she consumes minutes combing her hair, now she spends hours and sometimes the whole day. She doesn't do anything else.

A couple lives in a village with a beautiful daughter that is obsessed with her smooth, soft hair.

A couple lives in a village with a beautiful daughter that is obsessed with her smooth, soft hair.

Her father got sick one day while her mother needs to go to the market to sell vegetables they harvested. She can't stay home as the family needs money to buy foods and a medicine for the sick father.

Maita was sternly instructed by her mother to do household chores as no one could do it other than her. "Cook food as I surely would be home from town after dark. Keep an eye on your father and feed him so he will gain his strength back," she said before leaving.

"One more thing, water the vegetables at the yard as the ground is too dry," her mother's last instruction. Irritated, Maita agreed to all what her mother told her to do.

Maita was about ready to start doing the chores when she came passed by a mirror and saw her shiny, beautiful hair. She stop in a minute, reached for a comb and started combing her hair, "I will fix my hair first before I start the chores, it is still early," she thought to herself.

She continuously comb her hair and she got hooked doing so. She didn't notice the time at all. She didn't even hear the soft voice of her father calling for her, asking for something to eat. She was too occupied of combing her hair.

The sun had already set and it is getting dark when her mother arrived home. She wondered what has happened when she spotted the withered vegetables at their yard. Looks like they hadn't been watered all day long. She looked for her daughter and there she is! She spotted her busy combing her hair in front of the mirror.

The mother got so mad. She scolded Maita as she hadn't done anything at all from all that she instructed her to do before she left that morning. And worst, her sick husband hadn't eaten anything!

"I wish your hair would get thinner so you don't have to spend so much time combing it," she said emphatically. "Early morning tomorrow, I'm going to have your hair cut," she added.

Maita run out of the house that night, crying. But her mother didn't follow her as she got herself busy preparing meal for her sick husband who weakened more because of hunger.

When she cooled off a bit, she went out and searched for Maita outside the yard but she didn't find her daughter. She asked neighbors around if there's anyone who had seen her daughter, but no one did. Nobody knows where Maita is.

Maita's mother went out to search for her but she didn't find her daughter.

Maita's mother went out to search for her but she didn't find her daughter.

And then

While sweeping the yard one morning, the mother noticed a new plant that sprouted amongst the vegetables in their yard. The strange plant has long leaves. Everyday she watered it until the new plant bears a fruit after few weeks.

And when they picked and peeled the strange fruit, the couple saw that the fruit was made up of many yellowish grains inside. It also has what seems like thin and fine, golden hair that is smooth to the touch.

The couple became teary-eyed as in this instance, they remembered their daughter, Maita. The strange plant reminded them their missing daughter which hair is as soft and smoothly beautiful as the strange plant.

The mother noticed a new plant that has long leaves while sweeping the yard.

The mother noticed a new plant that has long leaves while sweeping the yard.

The couple agreed to call the plant "mais" since that day, the Filipino word for corn.

Whatever happened to Maita that night when she ran out of the house crying, no one knows. All thanks to her thou, now we have this precious grain.

Today, the corn is one of the grains that serves as a staple food to some. Consumed and enjoyed as a snack either grilled or boiled and is also made into bread. Some make dishes out of corn too. Not only the grains but the husks as well. It is boiled and made into tea.

Up for a quiz?

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. According to the legend, Maita is obsessed with her?
    • Hair.
    • Toys.
    • Dress.
  2. Why did Maita got scolded?
    • Because she forgot to go to the marketplace.
    • She fall asleep and forgot to feed his sick father.
    • She hadn't done any of the things her mother asked her to do.
  3. How did the couple found out about the strange plant in their yard?
    • They saw the strange plant by the window.
    • Maita's mother noticed it when she went outside one morning to sweep the yard.
    • They didn't noticed it until it bear flowers.

Answer Key

  1. Hair.
  2. She hadn't done any of the things her mother asked her to do.
  3. Maita's mother noticed it when she went outside one morning to sweep the yard.

More Legends to Read

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    Ever wonder why the turtle carries its shell with it? That is because of a man who had been transformed into this reptile we now know as the turtle.
  • The Legend of the First Butterfly
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Comments

Lilyna on August 03, 2019:

What is the reflection of this story?