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The case of the bamboo sized pigs a program in the serious ways of mankind presented under the supervision of Walter Goldschmidt anthropologist of the University of California Los Angeles by the National Association of educational broadcasters a series designed to show how human beings live together in different times and places. The case of the bamboo sized pigs is one of a series of six programs prepared to show you how the universal problems of law and justice are met by different peoples throughout the world. In this case the if you go in the northern Philippines the case of the bamboo sized pigs it is well known pitch pine that your great grandfather got himself into serious financial difficulties. But instead of selling one of his children into slavery like an honorable man he brought out a head from the family settled and sold it to some unsuspecting stranger as having been taken from an enemy with an ancestor like that how can anyone expect you to have decent souls stuff. That's enough young man. Now you've really done it.
Greetings I am an if a guy from the northern Philippines what I have to tell you happened many years ago before the white men took to discouraging head hunting among our people made it so much harder for a young man to improve his position in society. But don't listen to what other people say only take advice from the people in our district. I myself was a headhunter and a very good one. I was a man of position and I was to crap with much experience as a go between. And yet I promise you this was by far the most troublesome case I ever had to deal with. You see if a gar know all that an insult sometimes wipes out an insult just as a death sometimes wipes out a death. But the proper payment of reparation wipes out anything anything. There is just one difficulty and that is that never mind you will see for yourself soon enough.
First who was quarrelling. One of them was a man called pitch pine. Very anxious to become a man of rank and therefore a very generous with feasts wife. More of the common people arriving to eat more chickens in their crops with cooked rice and they did slowly with a blunt stick to make their flesh guests to eat. That was one man in the coral It was pitch pine another man was called Eagle he was a young man and headstrong and a very good head hunter. Very good men for leading a slave rade. Now the last time we took slaves from up here down to the lower lands we did fairly well but not well enough. Another time we all know exactly what to ask for just how many things and I suggested now's the time for another expedition. That was the other man in the coral that was eagle. What was the quarrel about. Who knows. Eagle got himself into trouble with another man's wife. The only way for him to get out of trouble was to borrow these slave raids of his and pay
it off most of his debts. But there was still one debt outstanding to pitch pine Eagle still owes me two bamboo sized pig. Yes but that some time ago. Interest must be allowed. He should repay me for all bamboo sized. Maybe I could even get seeck Mbu sized pigs as thick around as a big bamboo. So the coral was really over the debt now and what brought it to a head was the pits by and suddenly needed the wealth because son was getting married. So of course he went to Eagle and asked him about it. He was sitting in front of his house looking at the steep mountainsides covered with rice terraces where the women were wading through the water carefully thinning out the young Russians. Pitch pine looked very severe in his plain dark lawn flowers. Greetings greetings pitch pine and that is a matter of a debt. The dead a long time ago young man a very long time ago you owed me two bamboo
sized pieces. Now my son is getting married. I need to collect my whips. I don't seem to recall the transactions to pigs you say these were borrowed years but time has passed since then and that is such a thing as interest. So I hear I must have this day cleaned up before I Sweeting time I find trouble recalling these two pigs you talk about. I fully realize that but it is no longer a question of two pigs. Only think how they would have multiplied in all this time it must be over two years. I can see that you are getting up very likely when you only need to turn six big six six pigs for two Lamb one of them was well below bamboo. I see you remember the day but not the details. However it doesn't matter because it is run on far too long by Rice weaving time if you please. It seems to me pitch pine that you are not the man to be talking about that's running on my lawn. What about the pig your grandfather borrowed from my grandfather crocodile. He
repaid it immediately in chickens but there were only nine of them instead of ten. He said he'd bring the other one in a few days and we're still waiting. Of course my family is not petty enough to make a fuss over one chicken. But we don't forget such things not do I forget those for a time. My idea of pitch pine the fertility of a pig is nothing to that of a chicken. However I'm always anxious to be a good neighbor. And if you are suffering from financial imbalance that is not the state of affairs at all for the sake of harmony and goodwill. I'll let you have the pigs IOU bamboo sized three of them 6 3 6 3 6. Look pitch pine. Let us consider the question. And they did for a long time and finally pitch pine went away saying he'd accept five pigs. Now you may well ask why if there was going to be all this trouble pitch pine did not take him to court like the white man's courts. The answer is simple we if a god did not have such things nor did we
think the necessary justice was arrived at by every man and stoutly sticking up for his rights. Of course some help which you will see in a moment and also of course his family's assistance. As soon as pitch by the dawn Eagle went off to see the center of his family the head who was eldest brother. Of course they talked for hours about that old chicken that Grandpa crocodile never got paid and the eagle went back home. So it went on for some days. Eagle got sick of having pitch pine coming about these pigs would sit down plug up one nostril with fiber apply his nose flute to the other nostril and just get ready to strike up a tune and up would come pitch pine. What about those pigs I'm not so sure that I ought to accept five after all. No wonder eagle got a bit tired of it. Apart from anything else both of them knew perfectly well that the proper number of pigs to be returned was for no matter what anyone said.
So I don't really blame Eagle food finally he pretending to be sick and sick easing. Then I won't come in and see him and I don't want to talk to him about death if he's feeling sick. Quite right too if you start Dunning a man who's sick you forfeit the whole debt. That's the if custom. I suppose it protects a man if he happens to take it. Course there was nothing the matter with Eagle pitch by knew it. In fact he hung around outside the house until Eagle thought the coast was clear and went off into the bush to cut firewood. His wife had been nagging him about it but as he was coming back with a real armful pitch pine stepped out from behind a tree and met him. Pitch pine they said this morning you were sick I was sick this morning. You don't look sick now. No I got better. I'm very surprised that a trifling matter of a few should be so important to a young man who sold stuff is so strong that he can recover from mental illness in
half a day without sacrificing even to summon the spirit or the blood brain to say nothing of the lesser deities who must have assisted in such a very remarkable miracle. All right pitch pine you may find it surprising but the soul stuff of my family is not like yours. What do you mean. It is well known pitch pine that your great grandfather got himself into serious financial difficulties. But instead of selling one of his children into slavery like an honorable man he brought out a head from the family settled and sold it to some unsuspecting stranger as having been taken from an enemy with an ancestor like that how can anyone expect you to have decent soul stuff that's not true man. Now you've really talked. Really. We have a go of a very keen sense of honor and as soon as pitch pine came to me and told me what had happened and asked me to act as go betweens I knew there was going to be trouble. You see a go between has no real authority. All he can do is persuade. An important man like myself. Look at
banging especially one with experience as a go between can do a lot. But there is no real compulsion. Naturally we have our methods. We always talk up the opponent's case for instance and try and balance things that way. For instance it was clear what I had to say when pitch pine told me about the final insult and then the rascal had the impudence to bring out that slander about my great grandfather selling ahead from the family said OK. Did your great grandfather really. Certainly not. That would make a difference to the Eagles case and I should be very surprised that the story would last for generations without there being something in it. All right that's enough of that. Go on Connie go and tell him you are the go between. From now on the coral has avoided each other. If they met they might speak if they spoke they might fight if they fought they might kill and both sides are pledged to peace while The Go-Between is making his efforts. But they polished up their spears
so that the very glint of them would make the other fellow uneasy. Which it certainly did. But first of all I call an eagle. And as I've said improve the opponent's case a little. The whole thing is preposterous. Not at all. First there is the original debt that now comes to five pigs. Then there is the insult very serious five more pigs. Then there is my fee one pig eleven pigs and all supposing that chicken we were owed had laid only ten eggs. And of course I would have laid many more Eagle get this into your head we are not discussing the rate of reproduction of chickens. You accuse that man of having an ancestor who sold a head from the family sample gut. If someone had said that about your family you'd be asking for gold ornaments and water buffalos wouldn't you. I don't know or wouldn't you care. You come along with me who is the center of your family. My brother and my father Python we're going to see them at
once unless 11 pigs appear immediately I cannot answer for the consequences. I don't know can I. So off we went to Python's house. Eagle knew he was going to get into trouble about the insults on the way he was very thoughtful. It turned out he was inventing an excuse when we got there I was greeted by eagles father placed on greetings and do you by phone. I come as go between from pitch client. Who's in trouble. You go very serious trouble. I hope it won't involve the whole family. What's that about. Those pigs only partly. Your son threw up that old slander about pitch by his great grandfather selling ahead from the family simple good news it definitely proved to be a slander is it definitely proved not to be. When a shocking thing to say to a man who was trying to collect a just debt he insulted me first. Why didn't you come and tell me about it. Well you see I was so upset by it I simply couldn't. And I didn't want to
tell you last night anyway because I didn't want to spoil your sleep all right all right. Why did pitch pine say pitch pines version is that he met this young fellow bringing home firewood in the afternoon after having pretended to be ill in the morning to avoid talking about the dead fish pie and was very naturally as I'm sure you'll agree said this and made some remarks about miraculous recoveries and there being surely no need to quibble about a couple of pigs when the solo stuff was so strong that is not what he said. I think I have it quite correct. That is not what he said at all right. Or do you think he said he said that I must be so fond of pigs because I was a kin to them. Outrageous if true. Scandalous. Well pitch pine evidently started it and anything else that might have been so which we don't admit was pitch Prime's own fault. Probably true too.
Else why the talk of four generations of pitch pine must pay us Python let me remind you that pitch pine is a very upright man just on the verge of becoming a dangling and immensely popular with his relatives even the most remote once he would have very wide backing in a quarrel. Your son on the other hand is the family rascal. I dare you. I go between is entitled to speak plainly. In fact it is his duty. I gravely doubt if Eagle would get much support if this unlucky business came to blows. Even if the pitch pine story were true his demands are ridiculous. He is not a cadet nor are we you know we are after Don Young but the most that would be paid between to Kajang gangs would be three pigs possibly only two between middle class people it would be one. You know as well as I do with it. What a man must pay depends on his station in life. Young Eagle here is only a lad a few spearheads are and I am part of something of a sort would be ample compensation coming from him assuming that is that he was in the wrong. Which I do not for one moment acknowledge. As a matter of fact everyone knows pitch
pines character. He's the kind of man that would welcome an insult that might get him a few more peaks. Almost all that old Python said was true. Though I think we all knew that eagles version of the story was not strictly true. However this is what men do when they're in trouble. So after more arguing I left them with a serious warning they should watch their step. Fear there was serious trouble. This is the proper attitude you understand for a go between. You must always remember has no real authority but can only get a settlement by making the opponents come together by any means you can think of. Right now they were far from coming together. Each man pitch pine and Eagle took fresh beetle nuts and lime for chewing and began to call on their respective families to try and drum up support pitch pine made his case. And now cousin was made afraid this insolent young fellow brought up that story
about our great grandfather. Somebody must have invoked the suggesting gods to keep that old slander in people's minds. Whatever they call it he said it. And if it should come to trouble I ask you for your support. Don't forget Di I shall soon be a cadet Yang wild pitch pine was making his rounds eagle was doing the same sort of thing to his family and making his case. I know that I've not been everything I should have been. I've been foolish several times and got people into trouble. But this time it isn't my fault. Am I to be blamed for what pitch pine and his family do. Remember grandfather crocodiles chicken. Remember too that I have taken several heads and I have become something of a warrior and forget that I am a brave man with a spear. Sometimes the two of them met as they hurried along the trails between the rice terraces that led from village to village. Then each would sidle off the path glaring at the other but not saying a word only significantly flashing the freshly shined up blade of his spear. I let two or three days pass what we call cooling time.
I would drive myself to some old man and found out the truth about crocodiles wretched chicken and I did some arithmetic. Finally went to pitch it in his presence using all fingers and toes and many little sticks. I worked out for him the rate of increase of that famous head. Then anyway. All right time that impressed you showed me exactly what this chicken would have amounted to if it had been paid over providing of course snake had been killed in the same night. But what is it to do with this case. I should have thought a man wishing to be a kid hanging wouldn't be so stupid. What it amounts to is this. When everything is taken into consideration meaning that infernal chicken precisely when everything is estimated and counted Eagles family calculate that you owe them at least 30 pigs. But they're prepared to forgive the debt. Let him be killed. And I don't know if I killed my own family is standing behind me on this matter. It's not the debt but the insult. And this kind of claim is just
making the whole thing Wes. On the whole I think he was right. So it was perhaps just as well for the sake of general peace and tranquility. Other things took the turn that eventually they did. After several days of this kind of back and forth talking the two families were beginning to collect. This is a bad sign. In fact after about four days the whole space in front of the pitch binds that house was filled with relatives all ready to back his claim which by was providing free beetle that's free rice wine which was being carefully sipped to make its effect last as long as possible. I had finished a speech which I thought was really rather a good one about the rage of eagles family when young men called was made suddenly got up. Wait a minute go between. What is it was made I want to speak by your permission so go ahead. I think we're wasting time. The Go-Betweens trying to frighten us with how angry the other people are. Oh that's all right. I don't blame him.
That's his job. He's doing exactly the same when he talks to Eagles family. Only there's a difference. They don't mean it. We do. I say let's forget all this it's gone on long enough. He goes father has a brass gong that hangs from my jawbone that is simply bursting with old stuff. It's worth 20 pigs. Let's go and take it. Oh that is not what the suggestion was made you know very well young man both families are under the truce of the go between. Are you trying to stir up more trouble. Whoever is in the right will get his rights without suggesting pieces of tomfoolery. Indeed I should remind you that eagle is a dangerous man. The crocodiles to the father of cobras a father of landslides and a very dangerous head hunter. I should not like to see this thing come to blows pitch pine because frankly I think he would kill you and it would be most distressing to have such a fine man as yourself cut off in your prime for the sake of a few pigs. And yet who knows what he might do if you make him desperate you know his character as well as I do.
Headstrong and impetuous. Come on pitch by Give me an offer I can take to a better way and I give you my own tomato for pigs for the debt one for the insult and one for your feet. Six pigs altogether and one more thing. Lettuce can celebratory gunfire ever hear the last of that devil possessed and abominable chicken. Not bad I thought as I prepared to go back to Eagles family. Not better tone THINGS CONSIDERED. Two more trips and we shall have a settlement of the whole thing. All this I was turning over in my head next morning as I went along the trail to the Eagles house. Already prepared eloquent phrases and dark threats about the solidarity of pitch pines family and the implacable nature of their resentment. But when I got to the house there was a dreadful scene. Here he comes now. What is this terrible boy. Somebody's been murdered much worse.
Yvette is stranded beats my wife our wonderful magic Gong has been stolen Oh it was made known some came in the middle of the night snatched the gong of the jawbone from which it hangs and ran away leaving his blanket behind to identify himself. So it was not robbery. He wanted to let you know he was collecting a claim. What's that. Collecting a claim is best but you cannot. Put a fine go between you walk. Oh look gods. It was taken from a magic blacksmith the fabulous upstream. Its fine voice came not from mere metal but found I was still gone. Did you know about it hung from was that of the men who killed my father and even if it was so full of stuff that I was able to give birth to seven children five of them living three sons and two daughters 0 0 9 men and women. Except this one. Yes can we go here and all you can do is get us all into trouble. All I can say is that if you let pitch pines family keep that gong then you are not worthy of a descendant of your
ancestors. Listen try to be as I understand your desire. I don't believe that I should be surprised if it wasn't your idea but it's not my idea of a triple on my head was made loathsome has done it all on his own. Which part will be deeply shocked when he hears about it. Never mind that family's children take that come back by force. Do you want to see Spears thrown in your old village your own children bleeding. Get the gong and you must pay me one pig. That's all right but for stealing this gong they owe us five pigs. Never have I seen so many people so keen about how right. That's the first sensible thing I've heard. We've talked enough about pigs I'm not going to stop it. Eagle says pitch pine said we were kinda pigs Perhaps we are this is the way we carry on all the rice fields are growing up and we saw we hear is talk talk talk about pigs pigs pigs get back there. What do you know.
Then that. At last I had something to go on. Pitch pine was very ashamed about the gong business and angry too was made lonesome had ruined his whole case but he did his best. Made lonesome as only a silly lad. Should I be held responsible for it. It's pine. Everybody in or around here knows about that gong stealing and everybody disapproves. I understand yes I know. I'm sure they do but I almost thought you must do is this give me the gong or I'll Segel and his friends will come and take it. And we don't want any high head hunting inside our own land and they will pay five things that you will only get three. I insist on two pigs for my feet instead of one this is the worst case I ever had. Very well then I agree. So at last then it was settled. It took about three months from first to last might perhaps have been done sooner but among the if people cannot be
persuaded there is no way to persuade them. At the end that gang affair suddenly threw the weight of everybody's opinion against pitch pine. Then he felt it but he never lived down the disgrace of giving back that gong the day after it was stolen. The shameful thing. As for Eagle his being so stubborn cost him one more big than the need of Doug and his father was quite stern with him too. You go as father now all this is settled. I think it would be a very good idea if you went on another slaving expedition down into the lowlands. I don't think so I have other plans for the moment. No. You haven't. The entire family thinks it would be much better if you went on a slaving expedition at once along slaving expedition. I understand. Yes father. And from that day on there was peace. The proper settlements had been made and all was well again. As I told you before we if a guard know that an insult
sometimes wipes out an insult just as a death sometimes wipes out a death. But the proper payment of reparation wipes out anything. If only we could agree what the proper play would was. If our people with very much law and very little government. We live in the northern Philippines and cultivate rice on mountain slope so steep that the retaining walls are often higher than the terraces are wide. They work hard and close cooperation to make the mountainside yield a rich life. These headhunting people seem in many ways quite advanced in many quite primitive. This is true of their law ways. They had an elaborate and detailed code of laws. For instance there are certain modes of contract for making loans. Setting interest rates and allowance of fees or again the indemnity payment that a person guilty of adultery must make
are set according to an elaborate table of calculations based upon his economic class in middle or low and the degree to which he was married one two or three marital ceremonies. I could go on but this is enough to show how legal matters have been defined with an unusual nicety yet with all this law there is no political authority. No governor or chief or police force how you may ask does it work. Three things help. First everybody is interested in and knowledgeable about matters of law. Second there are rich men who have influence in the community. Third there are the intermediaries the mone Cullen's or go between who arrange matters between the offender and the plaintive. This intermediary had only his powers of prestige and suasion aided by a certain ritual regulations which everyone had to respect. His position was much like that of a mediator in a modern labor dispute. A man who holds the respect of
both parties and who could thereby bring them to an agreement. Standing behind this single instrument of justice is the threat of force if the rival party does not come to terms I will do battle. Or rather we will. For a man in dispute could count on the aid of his relatives and close friends so long as his case was reasonably sound. Again there is a similarity with the labor dispute. The technique is primitive yet it works. It gives some extra power to the strong but it is not merely a matter of might making right as in all societies the whole community has a vested interest in peaceful settlement. If you guys are not a peace loving people but they believe that fight should be with enemies or at least with strangers. Friction is disruptive to the harmonious flow of life. The feeling of granary is the courtship of women taking of enemy heads. And the community thinks about the principles involved. It brings pressure for settlement through the Money column
in terms of Ifugao ethics. And if you go ideas of justice Dr. Walter Goldschmidt of the department of anthropology and sociology of the University of California Los Angeles has concluded the case of the bamboo sized pigs. A program in the series ways of mankind. The case of the bamboo sized pigs one of six programs prepared to show you how the universal problems of law and justice are met by different peoples throughout the world was written by Lester singular and produced by Andrew Allen in the studios of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Toronto. Dr. E. Adamson hopefull professor of anthropology at the University of Utah is special consultant for the series on Law and Justice. These programs are presented by the National Association of educational broadcasters and are made possible under a grant from the fund for adult education. An independent organization established by the Ford Foundation.
This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
Ways of mankind II
Case of the bamboo-sized pig
Producing Organization
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, "The Case of the Bamboo-sized Pig," focuses on the Ifugao people in the Philippines.
Series Description
This series is an exploration into the origin and development of cultures, customs and folkways in various parts of the world. The second series of Ways Of Mankind is concerned with a specific subject area and with two specific cultures.
Broadcast Date
Ifugao (Philippine people)--Social conditions.
Media type
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Funder: Fund for Adult Education (U.S.)
Producer: Allan, Andrew, 1907-1974
Producing Organization: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Speaker: Sarrel, Philip M., 1937-
Writer: Sinclair, Lister
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 53-36-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:15
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Chicago: “Ways of mankind II; Case of the bamboo-sized pig,” 1964-03-22, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 21, 2024,
MLA: “Ways of mankind II; Case of the bamboo-sized pig.” 1964-03-22. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Ways of mankind II; Case of the bamboo-sized pig. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from