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Famous Filipino folklore character, Lazy John (Juan Tamad)

The stories of Lazy John or “Juan Tamad” depict a young Filipino boy whose utmost laziness leads his character to doing stupid things. Such stories normally end up comedic and making readers realize how being lazy is a bad thing.

The stories have proven to be timeless, still making it to today’s children’s educational books or even subjects inside the classrooms. The stories’ setting is almost always in the countryside or province, and normally include his mother who always chastises him at the end of the story. Common moral lessons learned from the stories are (a) why it is important not to laze around (b) respect for parents; and (c) becoming enterprising. There has been various versions but two of the more famous of Lazy John’s stories are the following:

Lazy John and the crabs:

In this story, Lazy John is instructed by his mother to buy mud crabs at the market, and so he does, placing his purchase in a basket. Very soon, his laziness gets the better of him as on his way back home, he comes up with the idea that if he sets the crabs free and just tells them to go on home as he would be along later, he will not have to carry his heavy basket anymore, even affording time for a short nap. And so he does, to the consternation of her mother a little while later. They end up not having anything for supper because of John’s laziness.

Lazy John and the mango fruit:

In this story. Lazy John sets his eyes on a golden yellow, ripe and juicy mango fruit hanging from a mango tree in his backyard. But instead of climbing up the tree to pick the fruit himself, he decides to just lie beneath the tree and let gravity do its work. There he remained, waiting for the fruit to fall into his gaping mouth.

A version of the same story above has it that instead of a ripe mango, Lazy John was after a guava fruit, as pictured below .

Over time, there had also been movie interpretations as well as cartoons for Lazy John, as well as stories and versions of him already in his adulthood and even stories about him and his wife and even his children. Each story ends up with valuable lessons readers take with them in life.

Juan Tamad in action


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