Laarni, a Dream

My best friend Laarni is home for the 50th Wedding Anniversary of her parents.  For the first time in probably two decades, the Merto family will be together again.  That is, of course, minus Rebecca or Baby, the third child, who succumbed to cirrhosis of the liver in ’05.  No doubt though she will be present in spirit.  As for me, I am humbled to be invited to this golden celebration.

Laarni had been my buddy during the craggy teen-age years.  We were members of the junior Legion of Mary.  On Saturday mornings, Laarni and I would jog the village round.  Later on Laarni lured me into swimming, bowling, and traveling.  Mentally mathematical, Laarni pursued Accounting and that brought her to various assignments all over the Philippines.  Whenever I can join her I would and that exposed me to the many fiestas – from the Kiping Festival of Quezon to the Sinulog of Cebu.  Without Laarni’s prodding I wouldn’t have been interested in photography.  In many ways Laarni made me open my eyes and view the world.

I really am not the sentimental  sort and really never believed in having a best friend.  In fact I wondered if there could really be such a friendship.  But Laarni called me her best friend, even if my personality was difficult to deal with.  I criticized the cutting of roses for bouquets, so she gave me a rose pot to take care.  I used to like dogs, so she gave me a puppy.  In other words, Laarni built the friendship which I never even realized then as something important.  Probably she sensed that I am not very intelligent nor analytical, so she predisposed to be forgiving.  So I called her my best friend.  Actually she was the only one who stood by me.  I must have hurt her a thousand times with my sweeping statements but she never retaliated nor did she reprimand me.  She would just so kindly explain in a few words why things had come to be.  Anger?  That becomes me.  With Laarni, that does not exist.

Laarni left for the USA in the early 90’s.  She didn’t write me to tell about her adventures but she would softly relate touching and trying moments that happened to her whenever she’s home for a vacation.  There were the few times when I wanted to cry.  But I always waited for her cue… and she held on, brave and ever understanding that life is never fair, but we must live it nonetheless.  And every Christmas, she would send heartwarming gifts for me and my two girls.  That is her way of saying Hey! Remember me? But of course generosity is inherent in her being.  Laarni had always been a giver.  Me, selfishly, had always been the receiver.

Laarni explained one time that her mom wanted double letters on the names of her children…Laarni, Charisse, Rebecca, Dennis, and Jenny.  But I told her that her name came from an invention of Loreto Paras-Sulit.  She wrote a short story about a girl and entitled her prose Laarni, a Dream.

God allows us to meet many people, establish acquaintances and filter further for friendships.  Along my life’s journey  I have written  my own list of extraordinary people whom I am so proud to say are my friends… but the one person who taught me how to be a friend is definitely Laarni.   She may be a dream but for me she is as real as a best friend could be.

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73 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. steve flaherty
    Aug 29, 2009 @ 23:43:58

    Hey would is it possible to get a copy of Laarni the dream still?

    My future wife is called Laarni and I would love to give it to her as a wedding gift to show her my love. And also to share with our children in years to come.

    Reply

  2. laarni madrid
    Apr 13, 2010 @ 15:02:44

    all these years I’ve been searching where my name came from.my aunt gave my name to me and said its a story.i would like to know the real story of laarni a dream.would it be possible to get a copy?

    Reply

  3. eileenleyva
    Apr 15, 2010 @ 04:40:18

    Laarni, A Dream by Loreto Paras-Sulit has copyright but usually included in an anthology of Philippine Literature in English (Short Story).

    Reply

  4. Laarni Beachy
    Apr 28, 2010 @ 17:39:18

    hI! guys Im laarni im very curious about laarni, a dream.pls send me a copy..thanx

    Reply

  5. Bliss
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 09:34:09

    Hello… I’m teaching Literature. I am going to use this in my class but I cannot find a copy. hope you can send me one. thanx.

    Reply

    • eileenleyva
      Aug 05, 2010 @ 20:21:40

      Bliss, I think this story is included in the Anthology of Philippine Literature. Do ask the librarians. They are familiar with the short stories. I am impeded from sending because of copyright. I am sorry.

      Reply

  6. >c0de_may26
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 10:38:22

    is this the whole copy of the story; Laarni- a dream by Loreto paras-sulit?? ….’cause i d0n’t even know the story..,, my teacher just research it from us…

    Reply

  7. ann gee
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 10:21:18

    ate, wala po bamg drama dialog yung story?? kailangan po eh

    Reply

  8. anne janelle banting
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 10:42:32

    is this the story of laarni-a dream?????i think this is a nice story…..!!!

    Reply

    • eileenleyva
      Aug 25, 2010 @ 17:15:59

      Thanks anne for liking the story of my best friend but the short story about the original Laarni could be found in the school library. Ask your librarian. Knows exactly what textbook to give you. :)

      Reply

  9. jenien alfon
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 04:27:14

    08.27.2010
    it is my favorite story,,,i wish i will met laarni someday,,,,,,,,

    Reply

  10. mary apple j. santander
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 04:30:03

    i’m so very proud this story coz it’z so nice

    Reply

  11. jenien alfon
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 04:37:18

    08.27.2010
    it is my favorite story,,,i have one best friend like laarni,,Im so proud of her..and i wish that our friendship will stay together and ever,,,,and i wish that i will met laarni someday !!! nakaka touch kac ang story!! : )tnx eileenleyva for sharing this story….god bless you!!!

    Reply

  12. >c0de_may26
    Aug 30, 2010 @ 09:55:08

    so, this is the real story of laarni – a dream?… :/ ..

    Reply

  13. >yenz_bheb'z!!!
    Aug 31, 2010 @ 11:18:04

    08.31.10
    wow!!!this story is so nice!!!it helps friendship grows more!!!so i will not let my self that my best friend will go!!!cause our friendship will stay forever!!!always jenien and aldith!!!and it will never die…and i want that i will met laarni someday!!!ammf ate???wla bang ibang story about laarni???i need kac the other story???hehe :)god bless u!!!god bless me to!!!hehe :)

    Reply

  14. b-ann
    Sep 09, 2010 @ 12:11:54

    hindi poh b 2 ung short story by loreto pars-sulit?????????????
    oh!!
    nyz nman poh ung story.,,,.,.,.,.,.,..,.,., :) :D

    Reply

  15. johmer
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 10:11:10

    the story was so nice…………………..
    it gave me a lesson….

    Reply

  16. princess ruby
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 02:15:52

    hello good day im a high school student and i need a copy of laarni a dream hope i can copy or find it thanks…………. >.<

    Reply

  17. siren
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 02:18:51

    hello i just read this story and this is awesome ^_^ :)

    Reply

  18. siren
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 02:20:09

    hahaha i realy love this story are you pls add me in facebook sirensongcute@yahoo.com haha :) :D :P

    Reply

    • JUSHIR MAI ELLEVERA
      Sep 28, 2010 @ 09:58:48

      CHARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR…………………………………………………………………..OVER………………………………………THE STORY IS SO AWESOME

      Reply

  19. michico
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 02:24:30

    the story is very interesting

    Reply

  20. joana
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 03:38:25

    this s the only the laarni a dream? cause my teach.. in english reaserch it from us!!!! but its so beautiful story !!!

    Reply

  21. lara
    Nov 04, 2010 @ 04:41:47

    this story are so nice & i like it super!!!!!

    Reply

  22. inygo jay arimado
    Nov 09, 2010 @ 11:53:18

    ,,,thank you very much for the story,,,
    ,,,my teacher in english gave me high grades for that story!!!…,,,
    ,,,thank you very much!!.,,

    Reply

    • eileenleyva
      Nov 09, 2010 @ 19:24:40

      jay, you are most welcome. When students started seeing my blog instead of the real short story, I was kinda thinking young people are getting angry with me. I know how pressured students are. And to get into something else and not downright into their homework, that could be infuriating. But my best friend Laarni found this, too, and even called me long distance just to say how touched she was. So I didn’t want to change anything. What I did not expect was what you said about using this story. My turn to thank you for finding this story worthy of submitting in your English class. I am so happy that you got a high grade. But actually, it was you who made that grade. So my congratulations, too, for being a diligent and responsible student. God bless you all the more!

      Reply

  23. ricardo escobar
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 00:55:50

    please I would like to know if madam Laarni Merto is the same Laarni who finished her Elementary studies at National Teachers College (N.T.C.)?

    Reply

  24. Gaille Anne
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 10:59:54

    I’m really proud of your friendship, ms. Eileen.. because I dont have a best friend whose real.. And my curiosity in this story wakes me up every time, I wonder why is it called “Laarni-a dream”.. he he he.. God bless both of you..

    Reply

  25. Lendsi
    Feb 26, 2011 @ 04:31:20

    Here’s the story:

    Laarni – A Dream
    By Loreto Paras – Sulit

    Tell a story, my children? Yes, my dears, there is no better thing in the world than to corner Grandmother on a rainy day like this and make her tell a story. When the sun is out and life is warm, youth scarcely heeds old age; but when skies are grey and the day is cold, it seeks a corner and demands a tale of love from old lips. I know my dears. I was young once, and I did these things. I laughed and loved like you? You smile? You wonder how a face so withered, a figure so bent could ever have known love? Ah me, the conceit of youth.
    Close the window, my dears, the wind is cold – it chills my bones. Nearer, my dears, and listen to a tale of love and fierce hearts. Don’t smile and look at each other. It is not my story I shall tell. It would be hard to efface the wrinkles from my face and imagine me young and beautiful.
    There, soften the glares of lights and turn them low. Now listen, my dears: You have heard many tales and legends of other lands. You have been thrilled over stories of kings and queens of faraway countries, but you never heard of such tales about this land of ours. Listen, my dears, and I shall tell you a story of old Philippines – the story of old Laarni and brave Maharlika.
    Once, this country of ours was a vast wild space ruled by men who knew no law but their wills. Your history tells you of rajas, of freemen and slaves. Among the rulers of the barangays, none was more fierce, none more powerful than Maginoo Mataas. He was known widely, not for his prowess nor for his wisdom, but for the beauty of his daughter, the Princess Laarni. She was not called by the name of princess of course, but we shall give her that name – she deserves it. Maginoo Mataas’ barangay was bordered by the sea and by the mountains, but these were naught compared to his daughter.
    Ah, my dears, I am sure you would wish you had her beauty. Girls though you are, you would have fallen in love with her ahd you seen her coming from her bath in one of her father’s rivers. Her hair trailing down her back was the night without stars; her eyes – no deeper darkness could you find them, her lashes – thick enough to capture sunbeams and keep them in her eyes; her mouth, my dears, adorable in its haughty curves, exquisite in its crimson softness. Grace and beauty incarnate was this imperious daughter of Maginoo Mataas.
    You are murmuring, my dears? I am flowery? You laugh at the way I talk, products of this cold, materialistic age, but you like what I say.
    Many were the young men who had thrusts their spears into her father’s staircase, asking for her hand. But they asked in vain. They cold not offer anything to tempt Maginoo Mataas to give up his daughter. Yearly, in the months of March and April, came trading junks from China bringing silks and jewels to give to the fair Laarni. The owner of these junks, Mandarin Li Ho Weng, came with his ships to pay court to Laarni, but even his wealth could not tempt her father. Thus Laarni lived, her heart whole and free.
    One afternoon, as she was wont to do she started with her slaves for the river to take her to daily bath. She was in an irritated mood, for the heat could not be driven away by even huge fans of the slaves. Now as she reached the river, she motioned them aside and they cringed low before their angry mistress.
    Laarni walked down the bank to her favorite spot. A surprised awaited her. A boat with a solitary occupant sat lightly on the water. Laarni regarded the intruder haughtily. She saw a very bronzed man in the garb of a freeman. The lordly air of his still figure matched her imperious stare.
    “Who are you?” she demanded.
    “I am Maharlika,” he answered.
    “ A maharlika?” she inquired, frowning.
    “Yes, I am a freeman,” he replied smiling.
    “And I am known by the name of Maharlika to tell all that I am a freeman, slave to none but myself. I am Maharlika, Princess Laarni,” he repeated.
    “You know me?” was Laarni’s question.
    “Who would not know you?” was his answer, “you most beautiful of creatures? Who has not heard of you, most lovely of beings? I heard afar in my land across the mountains, and I came to see the Princess Laarni. I saw her and she fired my blood; naught will satisfy me till I have won her.”
    “Who are you that dare speak thus to me, Laarni, daughter of Rajah Mataas? Know you not the penalty for such an offense is death?
    “I know, most exquisite woman, and I dare,” he answered unafraid, the quiet smile still on his face.
    “You dare!” she stamped her feet angrily.
    Ah, my dears, the proud Laarni had never known such impudence. “You, a mere freeman, to address me in that language, as if I were a slave! You, only a maharlika, daring to woo the daughter of Rajah Mataas! You , a nobody, to transgress our laws and customs!”
    “I am a freeman – a noble one,” he answered equally proud. “I have a heart so I dare to love; I have a tongue, so I dare speak.”
    Laarni could make no reply. Never in her life had she been treated that way. Her eyes glittered with wrath and her voice trembled with great anger as she said, “My father shall hear of this and his warriors will scour the rivers for you.”
    Maharlika brought his boat near the bank and then he jumped ashore. A splendid man he was, my children. Laarni, even in her anger, could not help admiring the splendid cast of his head and the easy swing of his powerful figure.
    “I go to your father, Princess Laarni. I am an emissary of Rajah Bayani.” Laarni recognized in the name her father’s greatest ally, who dwelt across the mountains.
    At this moment a slave came running toward them. “Your father summons you,” he told Laarni. “The Chinese junks have arrived and with them comes Li Ho Weng.” Laarni called her slaves and walked away. When she reached her father’s house she saw that Maharlika had followed her. She climbed the bamboo staircase and paused for a moment to look back. The young man had stopped and then raised the spear he was carrying and thrust it into the staircase. Her father, lordly in his crimson silk robe, huge gold armlets, and jeweled anklets, came out.
    “Who is it that comes?” he asked loudly.
    “Maharlika,” the freeman answered. “I come to ask for the hand of Laarni for my master, Rajah Bayani.” Laarni fled to her chamber and vented her anger on her slaves. That man there on the staircase had been entrusted to ask her for his master, and had dared address his love to her.
    That evening she was requested to appear before her father. “My daughter,” he announced gently, “two proposals have come today. One is from my most esteemed friend Rajah Bayani, which I favor and hope you will accept. The other is from Li ho Weng. He has renewed his suit this year and desires a definite answer. I cannot give my daughter to a foreigner, rich though he may be.”
    “I don’t want either of them,” answered Laarni. “Rajah Bayani is old and has had many wives. I loathe Li Ho Weng.”
    “You will have to become the bride of Rajah Bayani,” decided her father, and he motioned her away. Laarni retired in vexation to her chamber.
    You appear incredulous, my children? It is only in your time that you can say “no” to your elders. They were submissive in those days. Yes, my dears. I shall hasten on with the story.
    The days passed uneventfully. Maharlika was often with Maginoo Mataas, arranging the dower. He attended the councils of the barangay and endeared himself to the heart of the old man by his wisdom and courtesy. He did not speak to Laarni; but his eyes pleaded eloquently. Try as she would, Laarni could not sufficiently hate the love – traitor.
    One day Laarni was approached by a slave with a message. The Chinese junks leave on the morrow, and she had not been on board. Would she deign to visit them that day? They had brought their richest silks and satins this year, and they were waiting for her, so the slave announced. Laarni decided to go. It had been always the custom of her people to go aboard those junks and exchange their products of gold dust, wax and honey for goods brought by the Chinese traders.
    Laarni took only one slave with her. The Mandarin Li Ho Weng met her life as she went with this stately Chinese trader. She looked at his gold – embroidered robe of heavy silk. She would have plenty like those and jewels galore.
    Laarni was lost in ecstasy at the goods brought before her. All the wealth of the East seemed to spread out before her. She cried in admiration over a silk robe on which was embroidered a pagoda and a garden. Flowers seemed to arch in life from the stems.
    “Would you not like to dwell in such a palace, beautiful Princess Laarni?” asked the low voice of Li Ho Weng. She was silent. “There is such a place waiting for you most gracious of women,” he continued.
    Laarni shook her head and turned to go away, but Mandarin Li Ho Weng barred her away. He smiled slyly. “I have waited of you all these days, but you did not come. Now that you are here, shall I let you go?”
    “Do you think that you can bear me away as if I were a piece of goods?” she questioned haughtily. “My father can raise a thousand warriors at the flick of a hand.”
    The mandarin shrugged lightly, and motion caused the light to ripple over the gold embroidery of his robe.
    “Can your spears and arrows avail against those?” he asked as he pointed to little cannons on the side of the junk. He came nearer to Laarni. “Across the seas where I dwell in a house of gold and recline on a couch of silk, your beauty haunts me. Year after year, I have come, seemingly to trade with your people, but it was a glimpse of the beautiful blossom of this wild land. Year by year my love grew until I decided that I would have her, cost what it might. You think all those junks are laden with goods? They are full of men and weapons.”
    A commotion cut short his speech. Two Chinese came dragging a wet Maharlika before them. He looked defiantly at the master, glancing gently at Laarni.
    “I heard all you said, thief of women.”
    The mandarin, lord of where he stood, looked contemptuously at him. “Who are you?” he asked. Laarni could not help smiling. Everybody who saw Maharlika asked him that question.
    The captive drew himself up rapidly. “I am Maharlika, son of Rajah Bayani. My father died just yesterday, so I am Rajah Maharlika.” Laarni started in surprise, “I have come to take the Princess Laarni,” he announced with easy confidence.
    The mandarin laughed contemptuously. “If you had not told me that, I should have freed you.” Now, the imperious mandarin gave an order to a shrunken, shriveled Chinese. The latter disappeared and came back bearing a cage made of fine wire. Laarni shuddered. The cage contained a snake – a cobra.
    The mandarin regarded the snake for some time. A cruel, little smile was on his lips. “Touch it,” he commanded and the Chinese seemed to shrivel in to a wrinkled mass. Fear, ugly fear, yellowed his seamed face.
    “I cannot, I cannot, o heaven-born,” he whined.
    “Touch it,” thundered the master.
    “I cannot, I cannot, oh Celestial-being,” he moaned in fright. The master drew a dagger significantly. There was no alternative; the Chinese knew he would meet a more horrible death if he disobeyed. With hands that trembled mightily, he opened the door of the cage and thrust his hand. He pulled it out instantly with a terrible cry. He fell and rolled down dead.
    “You shall die like that,” Li ho Weng told Maharlika grimly. Laarni made no protest; she knew it would be useless. Beside there was a savage desire in her breast to see that confident man tested.
    Maharlika smiled at her, and then, without hesitation, he stepped near the cage and thrust in his hand. How he did it, I do not know. As his hand emerged from the cage, it bore a wriggling snake. It writhed fiercely and tried to reach the hand that choked it unmercifully.
    Maharlika suddenly thrust it into the mandarin’s face. A terrible cry arose from the followers when they witnessed their master fall dead. But Maharlika kept them at the bay with the snake he held.
    “Jump, jump, and swim to the shore,” he commanded Laarni. “My men are coming and they will rescue you.” A few minutes later he was splashing beside her. No men came, and together they reached the shore safely.
    “Thrust your spear into my father’s staircase,” she whispered before she was led away by her frightened slaves. “Thrust it for yourself, and you will not thrust in vain.”
    There my dear, is the story of the winning of the beautiful Laarni. You don’t believe such things happened in those days? Age confuses dreams with memories – I do not know. But who can tell – love always exists at all times and in all climes.

    Reply

  26. joyiel
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 09:18:59

    thanks to you may assignment na ako

    Reply

  27. edith
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 04:55:14

    eileenleyva you made my work easier, thanx for providing me a copy of LAARNI A DREAM

    Reply

  28. ANGEL
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 05:41:28

    THANK YOU SA MGA ITO

    Reply

    • eileenleyva
      Sep 02, 2011 @ 21:15:38

      Homework made easy through the search engine? Okay, at least the effort is commendable. I still prefer the library and think it a more conducive space for the learning experience, but hey, you are doing your homework and I am already happy with that. So, you are welcome! :)

      Reply

  29. karen ann
    Sep 04, 2011 @ 13:36:33

    w0w n!cE nman!!ang gnd4 tlga!!!!!!!!grabE ^_^

    Reply

  30. Ronnel Belizar
    Sep 06, 2011 @ 04:55:52

    hey hey , how to post your story to google ? ?

    Reply

  31. dreamknightz
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 12:11:17

    hahay ! salamat at may assignment na aq .

    Reply

  32. kathlen aguilar
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 09:29:44

    it”s so nice i like the story its so touching!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!mmmmmmmwwwwwwwhhhh

    Reply

  33. april joy buendicho (@JoyBuendicho)
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 12:32:57

    :)

    Reply

  34. jerome
    Sep 22, 2011 @ 02:47:18

    sweeeet

    Reply

  35. kyzle my love
    Sep 22, 2011 @ 11:47:04

    its like the story of “Just Call Me Flory”

    Reply

  36. cha-cha
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 13:32:38

    ang ganda nman pala ng story nah tuh,,
    may nalamn nman akuh kahit papanuh,,
    haahahahahaahahahahahah

    Reply

  37. ditter
    Oct 04, 2011 @ 06:04:27

    ang tamis ng pagmamahalan!!!!!!!

    Reply

  38. ditter
    Oct 04, 2011 @ 06:05:15

    “) :) :p

    Reply

  39. trish
    Oct 04, 2011 @ 11:24:59

    thanks ms.eillen you’re such an angel……..:)

    Reply

  40. vhortexz
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 08:18:10

    hehehheeh….hows sweet it shows how friendship go strong…”i like it…wla bang ivang part…gnda kc ehh…:)’

    Reply

  41. Klingkling Datuin Rosalejos
    Oct 12, 2011 @ 12:07:46

    beautiful name

    Reply

  42. kent boyd concepcion
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 12:41:56

    so weak!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  43. kaizen elaine vergara
    Oct 22, 2011 @ 13:18:53

    good stories nman n2 mron pa na ib@ jan pra maiba nman oh dba?

    Reply

  44. cherybie raine g.francia
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 09:35:50

    wow………………you will learn something wen u read dizzz……….it is a gud story dat everyone would admire and love,dis is a story dat shows na how love go strong………………….love itttt…………………..muah muah chup chup………………………….

    Reply

  45. ic
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 09:54:33

    aw

    Reply

  46. jerome
    Feb 05, 2014 @ 08:36:12

    its a nice story laarni -A Dream :)

    Reply

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