The Mouse Deer as a Trickster in Philippine Folktales
SPJRD Vol 27 No. 2


mouse deer
Islamic folktale
Southeast Asia
the Philippines

How to Cite

Tsuji, T. (2022). The Mouse Deer as a Trickster in Philippine Folktales. Southeastern Philippines Journal of Research and Development, 27(2), 35-45.


This study explores mouse deer folktales from the Philippines. In these tales, mouse deer, called pilanduk, appear as tricksters. This study aims to explore such folktales and investigate why these animals are depicted in this way. The research method involved material studies designed to collect folktales for analysis and collecting, reading, and examining the details of literature about animal folktales, especially folktales about mouse deer in the Philippines. Prior to the library research, fieldwork was conducted on Balabac Island in Palawan Province. Results indicate that mouse deer folktales exist among at least four Muslim and indigenous groups on Mindanao Island, although mouse deer are a species native to Balabac Island of Palawan Province. Five specific mouse deer folktales were examined. In each case, the mouse deer functioned as a trickster, killing others, ridiculing their misfortunes, and plundering marriages. This article examines the characteristics of these folktales and discusses why mouse deer appear in folktales of ethnic groups, mainly on Mindanao Island. Variant mouse deer folktales are also found in Indonesia and Malaysia. It is possible that mouse deer folktales came from Islamic communities in Southeast Asia and that they may show cultural norms among Muslim societies.


Alcala, A. (1975). Philippine land vertebrates: A college textbook. New Day Publishers.

Brown, D. (2002). Human universals (K. Suzuki & K. Nakamura, Trans.). Shinyosha.

Carpenter, K. (1992). Kancil: From mischief to moral education. Western Folklore, 51(2), 111-127.

Carrington, J. (retold) (2016a). Sang kancil and crocodile. Cambridge University Press.

Carrington, J. (retold) (2016b). Sang kancil and the tiger. Cambridge University Press.

Carrington, J. (retold) (2017). Sang kancil and the farmer. Cambridge University Press.

Coronel, M. (1968). Stories and legends from Filipino folklore. University of Santo Tomas Press.

Dehino, P. & San Jose, A. (2020). The story of pilandok: A post-colonial reading of trickster tales. Liberal Arts and Education Journal of Faculty and Student Research, 2(1), 98-113.

Dickerson, R. (1928). Distribution of life in the Philippines. Bureau of Printing.

Dimalanta, W. (1986). Mga pakikipagsapalaran ni pilandok: Halaw sa kuwentong-bayan ng Maranaw. National Book Store.

Disoma, E. (1990). The Meranao: A study of their practices and beliefs. Mindanao State University Main Campus.

Esteban, R., Casanova, A., & Esteban, I. (2011). Folktales of Southern Philippines. Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Eugenio, D. (1985). Philippine folktales: An introduction. Asian Folklore Studies, 44(2), 155-177.

Eugenio, D. (1989). Philippine folk literature: The myths. The University of the Philippines Press.

Fox, R. (1982). Religion and society among the Tagbanuwa of Palawan Island, Philippines. National Museum.

Hollnsteiner, M. (1977). Introduction. In M. Hollnsteiner (Ed.). The heart of the Philippines (pp. 3-11), (M. Yamamoto, Trans.). Koyusha (in Japanese).

Jorgensen, J. (2021). Folklore 101: An accessible introduction to folklore studies. Dr. Jeana Jorgensen LLC.

Garvan, J. (1941). The Manöbo of Mindanáo. United States Government Printing Office.

Goto, A. (2002). The myths of Southern Island. Chuokoron-Shinsha, Inc. (in Japanese).

Kiefer, T. (1972). The Tausug: Violence and law in a Philippine Moslem society. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.

Lopez, M. (2006). A handbook of Philippine folklore. The University of the Philippines Press.

Low, C., Wai, C. & Lim, K. (2009). The identity of a mousedeer (Mammalia: Artiodactyla: Tragulidae) observed at Lower Peirce Forest, Singapore. Nature in Singapore 2009, 2, 467-473.

Manuel, E. (2000). Manuvu’ social organization. The University of the Philippines Press.

Matsui, Y. (2013). The adventures of a mouse deer: Indonesian folktales. Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers, Inc. (in Japanese).

Meijaard, E. & Groves, C. (2004). A taxonomic revision of the Tragulus mouse-deer (Artiodactyla). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 140, 63-102.

Momose, Y. (2010). Multiculturalism of Indonesian folk tales seen through narratives about mouse deer: An attempt to contrast the distribution of narrative motifs with the history of cultural exchange. Asia Pacific Review, 7, 54-65 (in Japanese).

Momose, Y. (2013). World of folklore in Indonesia: Knowing Indonesia through folklore. Tukubanesya (in Japanese).

Nimmo, H. (1972). The sea people of Sulu. Chandler Publishing Company.

Payne, J. & Francis, C. (2005). A field guide to the mammals of Borneo. The Sabah Society.

Saber, M. (1963). Some observations on Maranao and cultural transition. Philippine Sociological Review, 11(1/2), 51-56.

Seki, K. (1955). The Folktale. Iwanami Shoten Publishers (in Japanese).

Severino, H. (Ed.). (1998). The green guide: A sourcebook on the Philippine environment. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

Thompson, S. (1946). The folktale. University of California Press, Ltd.

Tsuji, T. (2012). Folklores of shark and crocodile as a guardian deity: A case in Palawan Island, the Philippines. Annual Report of Man’yo Historical Research Institute, 10, 113-125 (in Japanese).

Tsuji, T. (2019). Folklore of crocodile in Palawan Island, the Philippines. Proceeding of the 24th Young Scholars’ Conference on Philippine Studies in Japan, 160-162 (in Japanese).

Tsuji, T. (2020). A preliminary study about the marriage system of the Molbog who are shifting cultivators 44and fishermen. Humanities and Sciences, 46, 17-26 (in Japanese).

Tsuji, T. (2021a). Pilanduk in Philippine folklore. Thinking of Animals: Perception, Concept and Attitude, 26, 51-55 (in Japanese).

Tsuji, T. (2021b). Crocodiles in Philippine folklore. The Southeastern Philippines Journal of Research and Development, 26(1),19-34.

Tsuji, T. (2022). Monkeys in Philippine folklore. Annual Papers of the. Anthropological Institute, Nanzan University, 13, 125-136 (in Japanese).

Uther, H.-J. (2011). The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography (K. Kato & T. Ozawa, Trans.). Kanagawa: Ozawa Institute of Folktales (in Japanese).

Warren, J. (1982). Slavery and the impact of external trade: The Sulu Sultanate in the 19th century. In A.

MacCoy & E. de Jesus (Eds.). Philippine Social History: Global trade and local transformations, 415-446.

Warren, J. (1985). The Sulu zone: The dynamics of external trade, slavery, and ethnicity in the transformation of a Southeast Asian maritime state. New Day Publishers.

Warren, J. (2000). The global economy and the Sulu zone: Connections, commodities and culture. New Day Publishers.

Willis, R. (1979). Man and beast (K. Komatsu, Trans.). Kinokuniya Company LTD (in Japanese).

Wrigglesworth, H. (1981). An anthology of Ilianen Manobo folktales. San Carlos Publications.

Yasuma, S. (1985). Animals in Kalimantan. Nikkei Science Inc. (in Japanese).


Download data is not yet available.