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the procession in which it was to be used, young Rizal hastily painted a substitute that the delighted municipal captain said was every bit as good as the original which had come from Manila. From a Spanish translation of the Latin Vulgate his mother had read to him the poetry of the Bible as well as the stories usually told to children and its rich imagery had an impresion. Then she had encouraged his efforts at rhyming, which were inspired by the simple verses its Abbé Sabatier "Children's Friend", and at eight a Tagalog comedy of his had been bought by the municipal captain of Paet for us much as a farm laborer earned in half a month.

Verses to Magellan, to El Cano, a French ode, and a dozen other efforts had given practiced and each was better than its predecessor.

At eighteen in a competition held by the "Liceo Artistico Litarario" with the poem "Al Juventud Filipina" (To the Filipino Youth) he won the special prize for "indians" and mestizos.

The next year the same lyceum in a contest in honor of Cervantes allowed Spaniards mestizos and indians all to enter the same competition The first prize for prose was awarded José Rizal's "Consejo de los dioses (Council of the Gods)" and the jury gave it another special prize as the best critical appreciation of the author of "Don Quixote." At the public meeting in the old Variandades theatre, Governor General Primo de Rivera presented to the young student the gold ring bearing a bust of Cervantes which had been won by him as "one who had honored Spain in this distant land", to quote from the newspaper account.

Everybody had expected this prize to be won by Friar Evaristo Arias, one of the most brilliant literary men the University of Santo Tomas had ever had on its faculty, and there was astonishment and disappointment among his friends who were present to applaud his triumph when the award of the jury and the opening of the envelopes revealed the success of an unknown medical student.

Naturally, as the Jesuits and Dominicans were rivals in school work, there was corresponding elation in the Ateneo and among its friends for, tho Rizal was a student

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created: June 12, 1998
updated: June 12, 1998
APSIS Editor Johann Stockinger