Don’t stomp on that anthill!
In Philippine folklore, the anthill is the home of the Nuno sa Punso or “Old Man of the Mound”.
We were warned to never disturb his home, for otherwise a curse will fall on you!
Listen carefully to this advice, and if you value your health and your sanity, leave the anthill alone.
The Nuno sa Punso has been seen and described by our ancestors who, from generation to generation, have passed down to us the warning that he is a very, very old and tiny man, with a very, very long beard, and has very, very little patience for those who wreak havoc upon his home. Spits and curses fly from his wrinkly old lips – just try to escape his wrath if you dare!
Any unlucky soul who comes within close range when the Nuno sa Punso is seething with vengeance will be showered with cursed saliva that shall bring pain to the body part that has been unfortunately hit with the spit. It is best not to urinate on the anthill, then, for obvious reasons!
Adding to the swollen feet, coarse frizzy hair growing on your back, black ooze coming out of all orifices, and worse, blood, is the evil misfortune that will befall anyone who doesn’t take heed. A worse ordeal involves the afflicted being vexed with a dark spirit that will drive him or her beyond the edge of sanity!
Should you accidentally step on an anthill, immediately ask forgiveness from the Nuno, and offer gifts (anything nice will do), so that the old man will accept your clumsiness, you oaf!
Ignore good manners and soon you will find yourself in pain and insane with an evil spirit inside you! Seriously now, who wants that?
Special precaution must be taught to children who chance upon an anthill; they ought to ask the old man’s permission to pass, by saying “Tabi tabi po” or “Excuse me, I will pass,” and they should neither play nor speak noisily within the area of the Nuno sa Punso’s home. A simple way to keep the peace isn’t it?
Perhaps you’ve seen one during your walk in the woods, given it a glance for a moment or two – and walked on.
Perhaps you should have stayed longer – or not; it depends on whether you are prepared to meet a Nuno sa Punso!
*Many Philippine folk tales give valuable lessons in being kind to nature. Sometimes we forget logic and trample on the anthill thinking it’s funny, and when and if the ants come crawling up our legs, biting us to bits, only then are we reminded of why we shouldn’t have done this in the first place! Stories like the Nuno sa Punso are a fun way to remind us to respect the homes of other creatures. I know I’ve kept this lore in mind whenever I see an anthill, thank goodness!