24. Blumentritt, Leitmeritz, 27 March 1887

  He congratulates him on his novel - The word filibustero - A prophecy of Blumentritt about Rizal - About the word Bathalà.

   

Leitmeritz, 27 March 1887

  Esteemed Friend,

Now that my wife and children are well or on the road to convalescence, I can write you more lengthily. In the first place, accept my cordial felicitations on your beautiful social novel which interests me extraordinarily. Your work, as we Germans say, has been written with the blood of the heart and for this reason it speaks also to the heart. I continue reading it with great interest and I shall ask you from time to time for an explanation of words that are unknown to me. Thus, for example, the word filibustero. It must have a certain meaning in the Philippines that I don't find in the Spanish of the Spaniards or in that of the Spaniards of America.

I knew already that you were a man of extraordinary talent (Pardo de Tavera had a ready told me about it and this could also be seen by the marvellously short time that you learned my difficult and coarse mother tongue), but this notwithstanding, your work has exceeded my expectations and I consider myself lucky that you have honored me with your friendship. But not only I but your people also can be called lucky for having in you a son and loval patriot. If you will continue thus, you can become for your people one of those great men who will exert a definite - influence on their spiritual development. With greater impatience than before, I await the moment when I shall meet you personally.

What you related to me about the officer of the civil guard has filled me with intimate sympathy, but such great brutalities are neither unknown in Berlin.

Tomorrow you will receive an article on your country based on information taken from folklore and Paterno's book,Ninay[1]. With respect to bathala my friend Professor Wilken, son of a German and an Alfuro[2] woman, in his magnificent work, Het animisme bij de Volken van den Indischen Archipel ("Animism among the people of the Indian Archepelago"), volume 11, page 162: "Also taken from the Hindus is the name Batara-Guru, which originally meant Siva, because, although the word bataray, the bhattara, or rather Lord ... from the Sanskrit, Siva is nevertheless, the addition of guru (in Sanskrit = teacher) takes away the double meaning, because to all the Siva sects Siva is the true teacher. Even today Batara Guru or Batara alone among many Malayan peoples is the name of a superior divinity. This is also true with the Bataks, Macassars, and Buddhists. Among the Olo-Ngadjus, a tribe of the Dayaks, the supreme being is called Mahatara which is a contraction of Mahabatara, that is, the Great Lord. Among the Dayaks on the coast of Sarawak, batara exists under the form of betara or petara.

With affectionate greetings,

  Very affectionately yours,
F. Blumentritt

  Observations on Riedel's Tagalisch:

Ngaisendang - before, once upon a time, in other times. Nasakit ang atainia perhaps means literally "his liver hurts", here it has the meaning of "being in bad humor". Riedel translated the story as follows:

It happened once upon a time that a mouse being in bad humor, said to himself: "I don't want to live any more in the place where I was born. I want to walk through the mountains and valleys to see other countries where it seems to me there will be good food and a pleasant life for me." Afterward the mouse left. After having walked a few days, he reached the seashore where he saw a half-open shellfish. Then the mouse said: "What is this? I have never seen such a thing in the forests!" In the meantime he stepped over the edge of the shell to examine its content, but the moment when he was inside, the shellfish closed up in such a way that his-head was cut off and separated from his body.


[1] Title of the novel.
[2] A member of one of various tribes of mixed aboriginal peoples inhabiting the Celebes and the Moluccas.

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created: July 30, 1996
updated: March 20, 1998
APSIS Editor Johann Stockinger