Short Story: Munting Bayani (Little Hero)

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An illustration that goes with the story

“HAHAHA! You’re slow as a turtle Sinong!” laughed Nina, one of the playmates of Sinong who was again it while playing Lagit’Lupa.
“I’ll get you somehow!” cried Sinong while chasing her.

Nina climbs up of a chair so Sinong could no longer catch her. “HAHA! You can’t get me! You’re slow as a turtle!” laughed Nina.  “Turtle! Turtle!” cried the other kid.

Sinong was on the verge of crying when—

Langit’Lupa- A Filipino game similar from tag but if the players who aren’t tagged are on an elevated place they could not be caught by the one who is currently it.

“Sinong! It’s time for lunch! Go inside!” called out Manang Rosa, Sinong’s mother who just happen to finish making Tinola. “

Sinong waved goodbye to his playmates and went inside their home.
Manang- Something used to address an older female.
Tinola- Native Filipino dish

NAY! I’m always it and I can’t always catch my playmates.” sobbed Sinong as Manang Rosa laid out 3 plates. “Don’t worry Nak. You will get them next time. Now, let’s just wait for your Tatay so we can all eat together peacefully”

Nanay- Mother

Tatay- father

Anak/Nak- A term that refers to a child, daughter or son

 

A few minutes earlier Mang Buboy finally came home carrying a chicken in his hands.
“Look, I got this Talunan today. We could eat all up tonight and give some to the neighbors.”

Talunan-  a chicken that loses the cockfight that will be made into a dish.

Manong- Something used to address an older male.

 

“That’s great!” Manang Rosa hugged his husband and took the chicken to the kitchen.

When Manong Buboy sat on the table he instantly noticed his child who looked sad.
“What’s wrong Sinong?”
Sinong looked up at his Tatay and told him about what happened.
His Tatay sat next to him and comforted him. “Don’t worry Sinong. It doesn’t matter if you’re strong or not. Not all heroes are strong. Some heroes start as weaklings too”
“But Tatay! I saw it on TV all heroes are muscular, fast, strong and smart—“
“That’s enough Sinong. Come on, let’s all pray first before we eat.” Said Manang Rosa as she makes her way to the table.
After blessing their food the family of three started to eat their meal except Sinong.
“Sinong eat your food. Think of all the farmers who worked hard just to get rice there.” scolded Manang Rosa. “Opo Nay.” Said Sinong and finally ate his lunch.

After eating, Sinong went upstairs and sat on his bed. “Heroes are strong. I am not a hero. I’m thin, weak and slow.”
Sinong went to his window and looked down at the kitten climbing up a Santol tree growing in front of his front yard. He watched the kitten make its way up will he could no longer see a glimpse of the kitten.
He then had a sudden thought in his mind. “Tomorrow I will try my best to become a hero.”

The day passed like always and soon it was already tomorrow.
“Sinong! Get up! It’s time for school!” Manang Rosa yelled.

Sinong took a bath, ate breakfast and went to school with his mother who was off to work.
It was already time for them to part ways so Sinong greeted his mother goodbye with a kiss. “Be careful and good luck anak.” “I will. Thank You Nay!” Sinong went straight to the other path to go straight to school.

He was on his way when he heard little cries that seemed like a kitten’s.
Sinong looked for the source of the cries and saw a little kitten with a scraped leg.
Sinong hurried to the little thing and grabbed a bottle of water and a band aid.

First he washed the wound and then covered it with a band aid. “Here you go! Well, I better go now. Good Bye!” Sinong waved goodbye to the kitten and went straight to school.

When he finally arrived at school, he saw his teacher and decided to help her for he thought that it will help him be a hero .

“Titser Krista! Want me to carry your books?” he kindly offered.

“Are you sure?” The teacher hesitated “Yes!” he eagerly said

“Okay then if that’s what you want.”

The teacher gave him her books but it was heavier than what Sinong expected. Sinong wobbled while making his way to the classroom, he couldn’t handle the weight of the books any longer so he ended up with a big— SPLAT!

Sinong tripped over a pail filled with water and ended up getting himself and the books wet.

 

Teacher Krista went to him and helped him up. “Are you okay?” Sinong tried to hold his tears in only to burst out crying instead.
The students who witnessed the accident laughed and teased him. “HAHAHAHHA! You couldn’t even carry a few books!” said one boy. “HAHAHHAHAHA Payatot! Iyakin!” said another one.

Payatot- Thin
Iyakin- Crybaby

 

Sinong felt really embarrassed. All he could do is cry and run away from that place. He ran and ran until he eventually made it back to their house.

He sat under the clothesline crying.
“I am too weak to become a hero. Tatay was wrong about weaklings becoming heroes. I will never be a hero.”  He cried.
While Sinong was crying he heard the same noise he heard earlier.
He figured it was coming from the same kitten but the cries were more intense than the ones before.
Sinong hurried to look for the kitten but could not find it anywhere. “Where are you???”
Sinong looked right, left, down, right again and left again. “Where are you little kitten?” cried Sinong.
Sinong finally looked up. He was shocked to see the little kitten dangling from the clothesline clinging on hangers so he won’t fall down.

“I will help you!” said Sinong.

Sinong looked for ways to get him. “I know! the ladder? No it’s too short! Should I jump? I can’t jump that high!” said Sinong to himself panicking.
“AHA! the panungkit!”

Panungkit- A stick with a hook used to get the clothes from the clothing line


Sinong grabbed the panunkit and hooked up the hangers where the poor frightened kitten was dangling from.

Soon, he finally got the kitten down, “Oh you. You always get yourself in trouble. Did you end up here while you were trying to climb the Santol tree again?” the kitten only replied with a purr of relief.
Sinong could not help but smile for he knows that the kitten was okay.
“I should really get you lots of band aids then, you might need them again.” Sinong placed the kitten on the ground and it came up to him and purred.
Sinong was so happy that he had forgotten all about the incident that happened at school. Sinong was laughing at the kitten whose purrs are starting to tickle him.
“What are you doing here Sinong?” said a voice behind him.
Sinong looked behind him to see that it was his Tatay who just got home from work.

“Look Tatay! I saved this little kitten!” said Sinong proudly.

“That’s great! See what did I tell you? It doesn’t matter if you’re weak or not, you can be a hero to anybody.” smiled his Tatay while patting his son.

Sinong paused for a moment and realized what his father just said.
Sinong realized that he can still be a hero even though he is weak, thin and clumsy at times but if this little kitten likes him and thinks he’s one great hero. How bad of a hero can he be?

Sinong smiled at his Tatay. “Opo Tatay! You’ve been right all along.”

His father only smiled back at him.

“Tatay— can we keep him?” asked Sinong.
“Only if your mother agrees” Laughed his father.
“What will I name him?” asked Sinong again.
“What do you want?”
“How about….

Munting Bayani! Or Bayani for short?” said Sinong.
“Why?” asked his Dad. “Isn’t that an odd name?”
“No Tatay, Bayani will remind me, heroes can come from anybody, from you, me or him.”
Manong Buboy hugged his son “That’s right anak.”
Munting Bayani- Little Hero

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