The Man With the Coconuts


The following story comes from my friend who enjoys telling me about various Philipino folktales that she heard from her parents when she was younger.



The following is a transcription of the story told to me.

“So there’s this man with a bunch of coconuts and he’s loading them all up on his horse, and it’s really heavy. On the way back home, he gets really tired and he finds a boy on the side of the street. He calls the boy over and asks him how long more it will take to reach the town. The boy tells him that the town is fairly near! The boy also tells him that the man will arrive very soon but if he goes fast, it will take him all day. So he tells the man to just go slowly. The man is confused and thinks the boy is just being dumb and naive. So he rides his horse fast to the town. However, along the way the coconuts keeps falling off the horse and the man has to stop and continuously pick up the coconuts. Then he would try and ride even faster on his horse, to make up for lost time, but then the coconuts would keep dropping and he would have to stop and pick them up. And eventually the man made it back to town at the end the day.”



This Filipino folktale is one that is meant to share a message and a lesson. The lesson is to never rush something because you will not do the task properly and you will end up needing even more time than if you had just been patient and worked diligently. This folktale is one that is commonly told as a bedtime story to younger children. It is meant to impart the lesson of patience and hard work. Many other Filipino folklore also have a strong message behind the story. To read more Filipino folklore:

Ratcliff, Lucetta K. “Filipino Folklore.” The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 62, no. 245, 1949, pp. 259–289. JSTOR, Accessed 30 Apr. 2021.