The Life of Jose Rizal

      Jose Rizal's life is as colorful as his character. This section details the important points of the young hero's life, from the experiences of a child to the death of a martyr.



José's mother taught him his letters learned at three and his uncles and an aunt interested themselves in his, training until a young man named Monroy who had studied for the priesthood but never taken the final orders, came into the house as José's tutor.

The impression of his first reading lesson, which was the story of the foolish butterfly in Abbé Sabatier's "Children's Friend", was prophetic of a martyr’s fate, for the child envied the insect which had died for the sake of the light. Early the injustices and abuses daily to be seen Kalamba attracted his attention and he wondered if in the land across the lake, which to him then seemed a distant country, the people were happier and the officials less cruel than they were on the shore where his house was.

No small part of his childhood training came from listening to the Spaniards officials and priests, who generally were guests in the Rizal home when they visited Kalamba. The parish priest, Father Leoncio Lopez, also made the boy the companion of his walks, and the confidant of views on the injustices done the Filipino clergy.

On his pony or root with his dog Usman, José explored all the picturesque region which lies about Kalamba, but his first journey from house was at seven when his family visited Antipolo during the festival in honor of the Virgin "of Peace and Safe Travel" which had been brought from America by an early Spanish governor.

Until he went away to school, and then during his holidays at home, entertainments were given the neighbors of Sleight-of-hand tricks and shadow moving pictures. These shadowgraphs were made by paper figures moved by his clever fingers between a lamp and a white curtain. Their novelty and his skill were the subject of village talk that magnified them as it repeated the stories until the boy came to be involved in a sort of mystery. As he became more than a local hero, these tales spread through the archipelago abreast with his growing reputation and were doubtless the foundation for the belief in his miraculous powers which existed the illiterate of his countrymen.

      Craig, A. (1909). The Story of Jose Rizal.
          Manila, Philippine Education Publishing Co.

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