Legend of Sampaloc Lake

San Pablo, a picturesque and progressive city in Southeastern Luzon, is sometimes known as the City of the Seven Lakes. All of the seven lakes are rich with tales of their respective origins. A favorite story is that of Sampaloc Lake -- the largest and most beautiful of the seven lakes.

Once upon a time there lived in the northern side of San Pablo, a well-to-do but childless couple. They had a large garden of tamarind trees that bore the sweetest fruit in all the land. Many people from far and wide heard of the tamarind trees. And many of them wanted to taste the sweet tamarind fruit.

The couple felt very proud of their rich possession. They built a fence around their yard so that no stranger can pick any of the tamarind fruit. Just to make sure that no one could enter their yard, they had a big watchdog to guard the yard.

God wanted to test the hospitality of the couple. And so, one day a fairy, disguised as an old beggar bent and wrinkled with age, approached the couple's garden and begged for some fruit.

"Please give me some tamarind fruit. I am hungry," the old woman pleaded.

The old couple did not even look at the old woman.

"Begone! We don't want to give any of our tamarind fruit away!" replied the couple angrily.

"Please, I am so hungry, and a fruit or two will satisfy me," the old beggar pleaded. "I know your tamarind trees are laden with the most delicious fruit."

Then, without any further ado, the old woman came near one of the large trees. She stretched out her wrinkled, skinny hand to pluck a curly thick pod hanging from one of the lower branches.

Upon seeing what the old beggar had done, the couple grew angry. They became so angry that they hurried back to their house, let their big dog loose, and set it on the poor woman. Alas, the poor woman was badly bitten.

Patiently, the old beggar bore her pains. But before turning away from that inhospitable spot, she touched the tamarind tree and, looking at the couple, said, "You shall be punished for your selfishness." Then she went slowly on her way.

Even before the old woman was out of sight, the sky became overcast. In a short while a terrible storm broke out, and heavy rain fell through the night.

The following morning all was peaceful. The man and his wife went out for their daily round as usual. They had hardly taken a few steps when, to their surprise, instead of the tall and green tamarind trees, there stretched before their unbelieving eyes a vast expanse of water shining in the morning sun.

Still unconvinced about what had happened, the couple went forward up to the bank of what now appeared to be a natural lake. And, wonder of wonders, they saw through the transparent water the dark mass of tamarind trees still rooted to the sunken ground!

From that day on, the place became known as "Sampaloc Lake" -- "sampaloc" being the Tagalog word for "tamarind". Nowadays, Sampaloc Lake is a tourist spot to which many lovers of nature, both young and old, go in order to admire the splendor and beauty it offers.

| Filipino Folktales |