The Fall of Polobolac, by John Maurice Miller
This is a tale from Panay. It probably originated with the Spanish
fathers, who wished to impress the doctrine of the Seven Deadly Sins
on the natives. The islands are just off Iloilo.
A little way from Iloilo there once was a beautiful island called
Polobulac, or Isle of Flowers. Its shores were covered with beautiful
trees and plants; splendid gardens of flowers were found everywhere;
fruits grew in abundance; fountains sparkled in the sunlight; and
the people were the happiest in the world. They danced and sang to
gay music, and were free from every care and sorrow.
Filled with confidence in their good fortune, and proud of their
beautiful island, they began to slight the people of the neighboring
islands, and to treat them with insolence and scorn.
One night the sky was darkened, the lightning flashed, the rain fell
in torrents, and a voice cried from the clouds, above the roar of
"I am Pride. Avoid me or perish."
Terrified, they prayed to God for protection, but with the morning
sun their fears left them and they continued as before.
Days passed and the people grew richer, but, not satisfied with their
wealth and with their own beautiful island, they longed to possess
the lands of their neighbors.
Again came the storm, and again a voice cried from the heavens:
"I am Covetousness. Come to me and die."
Once more they appealed for protection, but they did not change
Weeks went by, and with wealth came low and base desires. The storm
came as before and brought the warning:
"I am Evil Desire. Fly from me or be lost."
But again it sounded to sealed ears. Months rolled on. The people
quarreled with their neighbors, and sent forth an army to make war
upon them. The voice thundered:
"I am Anger. I give eternal torment."
Years followed, and the tables of the people of Polobulac were loaded
with the finest foods and wines. Day and night found them feasting. The
cry sounded above them:
"I am Gluttony. I devour my children."
The winds alone echoed the warning.
Time flew by. Each man sought to outdo the others in display of luxury
and magnificence. The poor grudged the rich their fortunes, and sought
in every way to injure them. Again a voice came through the darkness:
"I am Envy. My people are condemned."
But they closed their ears and would not hear.
More wealth brought greater luxury. They lolled in idleness. They
idled in the midst of magnificence. The voice warned:
"I am Sloth. I bring final warning."
They were used to the voices now, and gave them not the slightest
heed. Their insolence and greed grew greater. The fair island shook
with dissension and strife.
One day the sun was hidden by blackness. A fearful tempest burst over
the land. The people on the other islands saw Polobulac wrapped in
seven huge pillars of flame.
When the sky cleared, Polobulac was nowhere to be seen. In its place,
seven blackened rocks marked the spot where stood the beautiful isle.
They are there to this day. You can see them as you leave the harbor
for southern ports. Sometimes they appear as one. Again they seem to
group in twos and threes. But there are seven.
They are called the Deadly Sins.