The “Ibong Adarna”, which contains 1,722 stanzas (8 syllables per line, 4 lines per stanza), is a korido or metrical romance that involves the struggles of a heroic character.
The “Ibong Adarna” has five parts:
1. Stanzas 1 – 256 2. Stanzas 257 – 492 3. Stanzas 493 – 858 4. Stanzas 859 – 1298 5. Stanzas 1299 – 1722
Here’s the summary of Part 1
The kingdom of Berbania is ruled by the king, Don Fernando. His wife is Doña Valeriana and they have three sons (from eldest to youngest): Don Pedro, Don Diego and Don Juan.
(NOTE: Some people call her Donya Valleryana.)
Don Fernando’s favorite is his youngest son, Don Juan. He falls ill after having a bad dream about his favorite son being attacked by two people before being thrown down a well. None of the healers in the kingdom could cure him. His condition worsens.
One day, an old doctor arrives in the Berbania and says that the illness of Don Fernando, which was brought about by a nightmare, may be cured only by the song of the Adarna bird. This bird can be found on Mt. Tabor, where it perches on the Piedras Platas tree at night. During the daytime, the bird goes off somewhere but it comes back at night to roost, and it sings before it sleeps.
(Piedras Platas is Spanish for “silver stones”.)
The old doctor warns that the “Ibong Adarna” is actually an enchantress, and it must be brought back to Berbania immediately to help heal the ailing Don Fernando.
Don Pedro journeys to Mt. Tabor and reaches it after three months. He is mesmerized by the Piedras Platas tree with its leaves shimmering like diamonds. Unfortunately, the Adarna comes late in the evening. Since Don Pedro was tired from the journey, he was asleep by the time the bird perched on the tree.
The Adarna sheds its feathers and sings seven times, poops, and then falls asleep on the tree. The poop lands on the head of the snoring Don Pedro, and instantly turns him to stone.
Twelve months pass with no word from Don Pedro, so Don Diego goes to Mt. Tabor. He suffers the same fate as Don Pedro.
Three years pass, and Don Juan offers to look for his missing brothers as well as the Ibong Adarna. Don Fernando tries to stop his favorite son from leaving, but is convinced by Don Juan.
Don Juan brings five pieces of bread and decides to eat just one piece a month. After four months, he reaches the top of Mt. Tabor where he meets an old leper. The leper begs for alms, and the compassionate Don Juan gives his last piece of bread.
(Nope, not half of the bread similar to that Fita commercial. He gave the whole piece.)
The old leper asks Don Juan what he was doing on Mt. Tabor, so Don Juan tells him. The old leper admonishes Don Juan to listen carefully and follow his advice, lest he turn into stone just like his two older brothers.
Here’s the advice:
1. Avoid the beautiful tree and just keep walking until you see a hut. 2. Enter the hut and talk to the old hermit there. He will show you where the bird is.
And here’s what the old hermit gave Don Juan:
1. Seven pieces of dayap (some kind of lemon-y fruit) 2. Straight razor blade (labaha) 3. A golden rope
Each time the Ibong Adarna sings, Don Juan will become sleepy. To stay awake, he should use the razor to make a cut on his palm, and then squeeze some dayap juice on the wound. The pain will keep him awake so that he can easily avoid the bird’s poop when it finishes its seven songs.
(The Ibong Adarna sleeps with his eyes open and its wings spread apart, so you should give credit to Don Juan for having the guts to climb the tree even though he had several razor cuts.)
The golden cord was used to bind the legs of the Ibong Adarna so that it could not escape.
Don Juan brings the bird to the old hermit who promptly puts it in a cage. He also instructs Don Juan to pour water on the stone figures under the Ibong Adarna’s tree. The two older brothers are thus saved, and they are fed by the old hermit.
After the three brothers rest and recover from the ordeal, the old hermit sends them home and advises them not to betray one another.
The two older brothers attack Don Juan on the way home. So much for following good advice, right?
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