National Geographic Society,
Text on page 1248
A BRICK-YARD OPERATED BY BONTOC IGOROTS
All of the bricks for public buildings at Bontoc, the capital of the Mountain Province, are now burned, and most of them are laid, by wild men
agent, who sold his products for him at the provincial capital of North Ilocos. The comisionado in turn had a Negrito slave, whom he suspected of designing to escape. When Abaya came in with a back load of tobacco the comisionado directed him to take his head-axe and kill the slave, who was cutting firewood in a neighboring grove. The comisionado further tcld Abaya that he himself would kill a big hog and give him half of it in payment for his services. Abaya cheerfully sought out the unsuspecting Negrito, whom he attempted to decapitate with a terrific blow.
The Negrito jumped in the nick of time and the keen edge of the head-axe struck his shoulder instead of his neck, inflicting a dreadful wound. Why he did not drop in his tracks and die no one can explain, but in point of fact he ran away so fast that his would-be executioner could not catch him.
When Abaya returned from an unsuccessful pursuit, he was immediately arrested on a charge of attempted murder and incarcerated in the provincial jail.
On being brought before the judge and interrogated as to whether he had tried to kill the Negrito, he stated that he had made an honest and earnest attempt to carry out the instructions of his comisionado, as it was his custom to obey the a authorities!a He further strenuously insisted that he was not to blame for the Negritoa s escape, arguing that any ordinary well-regulated man would have died promptly, even of such an injury as he had managed to inflict, and that it was no fault of his that the Negrito had displayed such extraordinary vitality. He further said he had done all in his power to run the Negrito down; that he was guiltless of any intention to let him escape, and was merely the victim of an unprecedented and unforeseeable combination of circumstances!
What was the judge to do in such a case ? What he did do was to give Abaya the minimum penalty under the law for having afflicted lesiones graves (serious injuries) on the Negrito.
When I secured his pardon some time