One day, a young woman named Kala came to live in the village. She brought with her her daughter. She found an abandoned small hut and decided to live there.
“This will do,” she said while studying the four walls of the hut. There were cobwebs in the corner, dusty table and chairs near the window, and a tiny room enough for them to sleep. That night Kala put her daughter to sleep and tidied their little abode and made it warm and cozy.
In the morning, while Kala was drying up some clothes and her daughter was catching some butterflies, three Maasims passed by and gave her malicious stares.
“Where is her husband?” a skinny middle-aged woman asked.
“Maybe her husband left her,” said the short woman.
“She’s too young to have a baby!” a fat woman exclaimed.
Kala heard it all and it hurt her. Living somewhere far and foreign was difficult for her. She had to be strong and positive for her daughter.
The following day, Kala went to the market to buy fruits and vegetables with all the money she’s left with. She kept receiving sour looks from the tribe for being a newcomer, for being a single mother, and even for being poor. Even though the others were mean to her, she stayed humble and kind.
Kala was a beautiful young woman. Young men got attracted to her, not just by her beauty but also by her amazing personality. The mothers of these young men got afraid their sons might fall into Kala’s “spells”.
“I hear my son will court that dirty woman.”
“Oh, I say she’s a witch! She’s using her looks to get our sons.”
“We must do something or else that witch will destroy our village.”
“I say we banish her!”
“No, throw her into the deepest pit!”
“What if we stone her?”
“Good idea! She deserves it.”
The women roared with agreement. They were blinded by their anger and jealousy. They told everyone about how Kala is destroying their men and their tribe. Everybody believed what they said and they were convinced to murder her at midnight.
The sky started to bleed and soon darkness covered the whole land. There were no stars in the sky, only the sleepy moon. Kala brushed her daughter’s hair, sang to her, and told her how much she loves her.
“Inay, where is my itay?” her daughter’s sweet voice filled the room. It was a pleasant sound to hear.
“He died during a battle, Mira. He said he’s going to meet us at dawn, to live a new life as a family. But he didn’t come. The news of his death was then delivered by Manang Rosa, our neighbor back home. Do you remember her?”
“Yes, Inay. People there were kinder and they treated us very well. Why can’t we go home?”
“This is our home now Kala. It is peaceful here. Look how silent our place is. Besides, our house was destroyed and we have nothing left there.”
Mira stopped asking questions. She was just three – easily distracted by the firefly.
Midnight came. Everything was asleep – the animals, the trees, the flowers, but not the Maasims. They brought stones, big stones.
Kala saw them from the window. She went out to greet them.
“Good evening. How can I help you?”
There was no answer. Kala was dragged into the deepest part of the forest. The Maasims started throwing stones at her. She cried in pain and asked, “What have I done to you? Why are you doing this to me?”
The Maasims did not listen to her. They kept throwing stones at her. Before Kala drew her last breath, she prayed for her daughter’s safety.
Diwata Matamis knew about this and she was very disheartened. She was angry about what they did so she appeared before them.
“What evil have you done to this poor woman? Have you no mercy? You took someone’s life in the middle of the night! You judged her, said mean things to her, and treated her like she’s not human! You have no conscience, no morals, no kindness – love does not exist in you. Your hearts are as sour as your faces. I will curse you, all of you!”
The Maasims begged for mercy, like how Kala begged for her life, but Diwata Matamis did not hear their cries. They were turned into sour little green fruits.
“Anyone who will taste you will frown their faces. You will bear sons and daughters but they will be seeds in you. You will be in pain. You will be pinched for your children to be born. And I will name you Kalamansi, to honor and remember Kala of Amansi for her pure heart.
Diwata Matamis carried Kala’s body to paradise. She then adopted Mira and took great care of her and loved her like she was her own child. When Mira asked where her Inay is, Diwata Matamis would answer, “She’s sleeping on the high mountains above. Peace is with her.”
Mira missed her mother from time to time but she’s happy with her new Inay now. She learned kindness, respect, and love, which all the Maasims lacked.
Maasim – sour
Matamis – sweet