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have a long tradition here in Cambodia. There is hardly any pagoda, place or mountain that is not linked to an enchanting but also teaching tale. Many of these originated in the monasteries of the country and were used as gentle reminders for the common people.
Morals, ethic and wisdom are mirrored in sagas and fable tales which were passed on only orally for a long period. By the 20s of the last century such sagas were published in a local buddhist magazine called "The Sun of Cambodia" and a good collection of these printings are located in France today. In times of the former DDR a publishing company provided translations into German and published even a few books. Some of these stories we have made accessable online, unfortunately it is only available in German.
Banteay Chhmar Temple (Battamang Province)
Chau Chak Smok
Choosing His Son-in-law
Hanuman And Sovann Macha (the Monkey And The Mermaid)
Moni Mekhala And Ream Eyso (the Goddess And The Giant)
Neang Neath - One Of Battambang's Folk Story
Origin Of The Tiger
Phnom Bayongkour (takeo Province)
Phnom Borey Phnom Da (Takeo Province)
Phnom Choeung Prey (Kompong Cham Province)
Phnom Vorvongs Sovongs (Kompong Speu Province)
Phome Poun Temple (Sorintr Province)
Sdech Toek Sdech Phnom (Kampuchea Krom)
Svay Ang Temple (Svay Rieng Province)
The Crocodile And The Carter
The Crow And The Deer
The Female Crocodile Who Wanted To Eat The Monkey's Heart
The Fisherman And His Wife
The Ghost That Entered The Jar
The Golden Fish
The Rabbit And The Palm Fruit
The Seller Of A Donkey
The Tiger, The Toad And The Tortoise
The Two Neighbors
Wat Norkor Temple (Kompong Cham Province)
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by Judy Ledgerwoord
Dept. of Anthropology
Northern Illinois University
Aksar roluat jeat roleay Aksar ponnareay jeat thlai thla.
If letters disappear, the nation will disappear
If letters are brilliant, the nation is excellent.
The Khmer word, aksarsastra, generally defined as "literature", comes from the base, aksar, meaning letter or script. In addition to what we would think of as literature, the study of texts, the word also has the connotation of the study of writing, of "letters". Thus studies of Khmer aksarsastra generally begin with the study of Khmer stone inscriptions. Rather than a complete review of all such works, what follows is only a brief glimpse of some of the different genres of Khmer literature and a sense of change over time. The earliest inscriptions in Khmer date from the 7th century AD The "classical" works of Khmer literature were written between the 16th and 19th centuries. Nepote and Khing write of these works:
For centuries, classical Cambodian literature followed a
pattern. Comprised mostly of verse, its language is characterized
by symmetry and circumlocution, with the rhythm of the sentence
prevailing over punctuation. Its vocabulary was carefully selected and
comprised archaism, borrowed terms and metaphors, the hallmark of
"appropriate" language. It was partly inspired by Indian literature and
was linked to two institutions: the palaces of princes and mandarins,
and the Buddhist monasteries (1981:56).
The stylized language, the use of complex rhyme schemes, and archaic language means that these works are extremely difficult to read. Jacob writes for example of the Ramakerti (the Cambodian version of the Ramayana) that, "with its early pages full of archaisms, obsolete vocabulary and unfamiliar words spelt in a variety of ways, the printed text looked formidable even to Cambodians and was not much read or studied until the 1960's" (1986: xii).
But we know that these texts were set to memory by professional storytellers who would then often travel doing performances. Such was the case with the man that Bizot interviewed in 1969, Ta Chak . Ta (grandfather) Chak had memorized the Ramakerti in 1920 at the age of 23 from palm leaf manuscripts. "He quickly became known," Bizot writes, "and was called to perform at village festivals and then on the stage in the monastery theaters during the big people's celebrations lasting several days" (1981: 263). The entire performance, given five hours each day, lasted about 10 days. It is through such performances that most Khmer would have known classical literary works.
The whole body of these works is little known. Few of then have been published, and many exist only as palm leaf manuscripts. Given the large number of deaths over the last thirty years, and the disruptions to Khmer society, perhaps no storytellers survive who can give complete performances like Ta Chak .
But the entire body of work has not been lost; rather, some of these stories, such as Neang Kakey and Dum Deav, are among the best known of Khmer works. This is due first to what Nepote and Khing refer to as a "renaissance" of classical Khmer literature in the mid-20th century. Scholars began to collect and study, and then to publish these works. With changes in the education system in the late 50's and early 60's, those works became textbooks in the classroom.
"Modern" versions of these stories began to appear in prose. Nepote and Khing write,
owing to the development of printing, which was cheap and
classical literature, formerly oral (folk) or handwritten, took on a new
dimension. An enormous amount of classical literature was soon being
produced, ranging from traditional publication to the progressive adaptations
using modern audio-visual techniques, including comic strips and television
films; all this proved very popular with the Cambodian public (1981:57).
Piat (1975) also writes about the popularity of this new popular literature. She says that prices were extremely low. The classical poems had all been done in "film strips". These "comic books" used film strips with "bubbles" drawn in with dialogue. Piat points out that these served the extra purpose of acting as advertising for the movie, though they were more expensive to produce than hand-drawn cartoons (1975:251-252).
But still, buying books or attending movies, even attending school, was the realm of a limited percentage of the population. One of the final major factors in the revival of classical stories was radio. They were regularly read on the air, and potentially, Khmer throughout the country could hear them.
A second genre of Khmer literature that virtually all Khmer would be familiar with are the Jataka tales, tales of the previous lives of the Buddha. While the body of Buddhist religious literature is extensive, unless a man remained in the monkhood beyond the brief stay common to most young men, his exposure will be limited to the memorization of a few oft-repeated prayers. The greater depth of knowledge of the vinaya, sutras, and discourses was the exclusive realm of monks. But this is not the case with the Jataka tales. While both enjoyable and useful for conveying religious messages, these stories were and are a popular medium for preaching, and standard pictorial adornment on Khmer temple walls.
Of all these 547 stories, by far the most popular with the Khmer is the Moha Vessandar Jataka . It is regularly recited in its entirety in Pali, with Khmer translation and commentary at religious festivals. The entire performance can take several days. Khmer may not know that a particular story is from the Jataka collection, and may just call it one more reuang preng, folktale, or simply a reuang or story.
A third genre is the chbap, or didactic codes. Composed in verse, these works provide specific advice for daily living to several different and overlapping groups. For example, there are chbap kaun cav, grandchildren's chbap; chbap srey, women's chbap; chbap bros, men's chbap; as well as the chbap peak cas; chbap of ancient advice; and the chbap ker kal , or safekeeping of the heritage chbap.
These works are generally of unknown authorship and are undated. Thierry points out that besides a couple of works that are known to be of more recent origin, these works have generally been passed on from the 14th to the 18th centuries without ceasing to be copied, and without ceasing to be memorized (1978:18-19). She also notes that it is clear that the authors had knowledge of Sanskrit texts, the Niti Castra or "texts of conduct", which are cited in inscriptions and known to be part
of an intellectual inheritance from Angkorian times (1978:18).
The chbap are meant to be memorized and chanted according to particular bat or rhyme schemes. They were learned in temples and later in state schools. The chbap srey was often passed on at home from grandmother to granddaughter or mother to daughter. As Thierry points out, the memorization of the chbap accomplished many goals at once: "the students gained in the same blow the acquisition of religious ideas, of wisdom of experience, and thus of reading and writing itself: a
simultaneous apprenticeship of the text and of the language, of good manners and of tradition" (1978:19-20). The goal was to shape young people who would fulfill proper familial obligations, act according to certain religious precepts, and be good subjects/citizens.
Reuang Preng, folktales, make up the fourth genre. These stories have been told and retold for centuries by all types of individuals. These include a wide variety of storytellers, often travelers who accompanied the telling with a chabey (a two-stringed guitar), sometimes blind men who positioned themselves at a temple or along a main path. But Thierry points out that the notion of "professionalism" with regard to telling these stories is misplaced. Although some, gifted with an exceptional memory, have made a living at it, "old people" would likely be the ones to tell stories in any given village (1978:90). Thus the common reply to the question of where people learned a story is "from my grandmother" or "from my grandfather."
Some of the stories may have been written as early as the fifteenth century on palm leaf and then recopied, but generally they were not written until the early 20th century. The folktales received specific attention in the 1920s and 1930s when the Commission des Moeurs et Coutumes du Cambodge, a research organization begun by the French, and the Buddhist Institute collaborated to collect stories from around the country. The Brachum Reuang Preng Khmaer, collected Khmer folktales, was published by the Buddhist Institute as eight separate volumes between 1967 and 1971. In 1926, the magazine Kambuja Suriya began publication and included some folktales as well as proverbs, Buddhist commentaries, and serialized novels.
The final genre I will mention here is the modern novel. The first novels written in prose appeared in the late 1930's. Since it was difficult to get books published and the author often had to bear printing costs in advance, many works were first published as series in newspapers. Among the most popular were Phka Srapon by Nu Hac, 1940, Sophat by Rim Gin, 1938, and Koulap Pailin by Nuk Thaim, 1936. All three were used as texts in state schools, and all three were made into popular films. Between 1950 and 1975, nearly 1,000 novels were published; in the early 70's they appeared at a rate of about 50 books per year (Nepote and Khing 1981:64).
During Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979), nothing of significant literary importance was produced within the country, but a few works were published by Cambodian refugees in France (see Khing Hoc Dy 1994). During these horrific years, much of Cambodias literary heritage within the country was destroyed. The national library was used as a storage facility and the grounds were used for raising pigs. The library at the Buddhist Institute was destroyed, though many publications from their presses have survived. It has been estimated that 80 percent of the books and manuscripts in Khmer in the country were destroyed during the Khmer Rouge period (see Ledgerwood 1990b for a discussion of the National Library).
Since 1979 Khmer literature has begun to revive, both abroad and in Cambodia. In Cambodia in the 1980s, under the Vietnamese backed Peoples Republic of Kampuchea, literature was specifically used for state propaganda, and stories often related the heroic acts of soldiers serving the revolution (Khing Hoc Dy 1994). During this time much of the Khmer works published in the refugee camps along the Thai-Cambodian border and abroad were reprintings of classic works of literature, including folktales and chbap. This same process occurred in Cambodia after the UN sponsored elections in 1993. Classic stories, folktales, novels and other pre-revolutionary literature began to appear in re-printings. The Buddhist Institute has also begun to reprint Buddhist texts. The publication of new works was hindered in the 1990s by a lack of funding, authors generally had to front the money to pay for the printing, without any guarantee that their books would turn a profit. There is also the issue of slowly rebuilding a literate reading public, since a new generation is only now reaching adulthood after the death and destruction of the Khmer Rouge period.
1981 "The Reamke," IN Asian Variations in the Ramayana, Iyengar K.R. Srinivasa, ed. Pp. 263-275. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi.
1996 The Traditional Literature of Cambodia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
1986 "The Deliberate Use of Foreign Vocabulary by the Khmer: Changing Fashions, Methods and Sources," IN Context Meaning and Power in Southeast Asia, Mark Hobart and Robert H. Taylor, eds. Pp. 115-129. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program.
Khing Hoc Dy
1994 "Khmer Literature Since 1975," IN Cambodian Culture Since 1975: Homeland and Exile. May Ebihara, Carol Mortland and Judy Ledgerwood, eds. Pp. 27-38. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
1990a Changing Khmer Conceptions of Gender: Women, Stories and the Social Order. Ph.D. Dissertation, Anthropology, Cornell University.
1990b "A Building Full of Books" Cultural Survival Quarterly. 14(3): 53-55.
Nepote, Jacques and Khing Hoc Dy
1981 "Literature and Society in Modern Cambodia," IN Literature and Society in Southeast Asia. Tham Seung Chee, ed. Pp. 56-81. Singapore: Singapore University Press.
1975 "Contemporary Cambodian Literature," Journal of the Siam Society. 63(2): 251-259.
1978 Etude dun Corpus de Contes Cambodgiens Traditionnels. Thesis. University
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Banteay Chhmar Temple ( Battamang Province )
Banteay Chhmar temple is in Banteay Chhmar commune, Banteay Chhmar district. It is about 12 kilometers north of Battambang town. The tale related to it as the following:
Once upon a time, there was a king, who reigned in Chambark Borey ( Banteay Chhmar at the moment ), named Preah Bat Yosker. This king was merciful and indulgent and never had trouble with neighboring countries. His people lived peacefully and happily. His name was well-know by king Hou Lou who throned in Prao temple. At that time, king Hou Lou wanted to use his authority to invade Chambark Borey by selling a letter for taking the throne of Preah Bat Yosker. Being always fond of quietness, Preah Bat Yosker did not wage a war against him, he escaped from the royal palace in order not to cause a war and casualties.
From that time on, Banteay Chhmar in the region of Chambark Borey was under the control of king Hou Lou. Later, king Hou Lou attempted to enlarge his territory with the afraidness of previous king's taking the throne back, he announced publicly, " Nowadays, king Yosker is about to gather forces to recontrol Chambark Borey, therefore, if anyone can find out his residence, I will give a thousand Tamloengs ( Unit of weight equivalent to 37.50 grams ) of gold as a reward.
The hunters found Preah Bat Yosker, his wife Bortom and his son, royal boy Vibolker staying at Ta Moan temple on Dangraek mountain range. Wanting to get a thousand Tamloengs of gold, the cruel hunters caught Preah Bat Yosker and brought him to king Hou Lou while he was taking meditation alone in the quiet forest. And king Hou Lou ordered the executioner to give severe punishment. As for princess Bortom and her son, they were very sorrowful because of losing husband and hearing that king Hou Lou was punishing her husband severely. She brought up her lovely son until he was 12 years old.
Royal boy always asked her about his father that she could no longer keep and told her son the problems. The royal boy, Vibolker missed his father all the time and wanted to revenge immediately but his mother often warned and reminded him of forgetting. Although she warned, the royal boy was not peaceful in mind. Some time the royal boy said goodbye to his mother to find his father. He found him in the march to execute the prisoner in Banteay Chhmar. The boy looked at and recognized his father, so he got through the crowds into the place in front of king Hou Lou who sat watching the march, too.
The royal boy said loudly, " The prisoner is my father. He is innocent. It is not reasonable to have him executed so release him now. If you want to kill please kill me " King Hou Lou heard and was very surprised. He asked " Where are you from? Why did you say like this? I will ask executioner to kill you " " I am the son of Preah Bat Yosker who is the prisoner " the royal boy replied, " I am not afraid of dying of unjustice, I can die for my father. " " The brave boy! Is he your real father? " King Hou Lou continued, " If so. Please come in. I will punish you. "
The royal brave boy walked in to get punishment at once. Then, the king ordered executioner to put an end to the boy's life in front of the crowds so as to make a sign of warning. By power of his gratitude to the father, the sharp sword of the executioner became blunt and rolled up which could not harm the royal boy at all. Having seen that, King Hou Lou asked the executioner to pile up bonfire and put the boy on the fire. But it was useless, the fire became cold and got no heat. The royal boy walked out of the bonfire with smiling face to king Hou Lou and all people.
King Hou Lou told the body guards to take a number of cruel elephants to step on the boy. The elephant keepers galloped the elephants very fast towards the royal boy, the elephants did not run on when they arrived in the front about two steps from the royal boy, they knelt there. They not only knelt in front of the boy but the head elephant of the herd also carried the boy and put him on the head with good care of him. By seeing the power of the royal boy, king Hou Lou escaped from the crowds who were in chaos.
After that the royal boy asked his father to get on the elephant back to Ta Moan temple on the Dangraek mountain range peacefully to visit Bortom. But it was not so long, Preah Bat Yosker died because of the suffering. The royal boy, Vibolker, offered the fire and buried the ashes of his father traditionally. Later the residents of Banteay Chhmar such as royal officials prepared a march to bring him for crowning as a monarch legally in the royal palace in Banteay Chhmar. As for Princess Bortom, she stayed with her son forever happily.
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Chau Chak Smok
There was a man called CHAU CHAK SMOK whose name means the man who weaves boxes with palm leaves. One day he went to weave boxes at the top of the palm tree. He cut strips of the leaves and then he planned to make the boxes. While he wove the boxes, he thought " When I make a lot of boxes, I will sell them to the store, then I shall buy a hen. Later the hen will give chickens, then I will sell the chickens. So I will get five hundred riels. With, this, I will buy a pig.
When the pig has young ones, I will sell them, I will thus earn two hundred riels, then I will buy a colt. When I sell it, I will make a lot of money, about two or three hundred riels, then I will buy fields and cultivate them. When the field crops, I will sell them and I will have a good deal of money, then I will find a pretty girl to be my wife. Later I will became a rich man and I will buy slaves to toke care of my children. When my slaves cannot take care of my children I will hit them. "
While the man was daydreaming, he kicked at the palm leaves. The leaf was broken so the man fell, but he caught himself under the palm leaves. When the wind blew, he swung like a swing, but he could not climb up to the top of the tree. Meanwhile, there was a man who rode on an elephant coming near the palm tree, then Chau Chak Smok asked the man for help " Please save me. Please take me down. I will serve you all my life. "
When the elephant-driver brought the elephant to the palm tree, he stood up on the elephant's back, his toes seemed to let the elephant go, so the elephant-driver was hanging under the man, then the elephant-driver begged the man not to let go of the palm leaf and he said " Please do not let go of the leaf and I will be your servant all my life. "
The man's hands were very weary, then he told the elephant-driver to let go of his legs, but the elephant-driver did not let go, and then he said again " If you do not let go of my legs, I will fall from the leaf and drop my body on your and kill you. " The elephant-driver begged the man to hold the leaf very strongly, and he said " I fear to let go and drop my body down. Please hold on. If you save my life, I will be your servant. "
While they spoke to each other, there were four bald men who came by that way, and brought a large net. When the men who swung under the palm branch saw them come by, they called for help, but they told the two men " How can we help you down, because you are swinging below each other " then they begged them to help and said " If you save us, we will serve you all our life. Please spread your net and tie it around your necks, and we will drop in the net. "
The four bald men spread the net in a square, then they said " Please drop one after one. " But the men did not drop one after one, they dropped at the same time into the net, so the four bald men were dragged to hit each other's heads and crushed their skulls.
When the two men were saved, they saw four bald men die, then they discussed with each other about burning them, but one said " If we burn them at the same time, some one will think that we killed the men, and the government will put us in jail. So we had better bury them, and we will pardon them, because they died for us. "
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Choosing His Son-in-law
Once there were an old man and woman who had a pretty daughter. They would never accept a boy to marry their daughter if the boy called someone names. One day, a smart, handsome boy went to ask for their daughter in marriage. They said " Yes! we accept you but must abstain from calling anyone names and serve us as we order you. If you can't abstain I won't give my daughter to you. I have to tell you first because I do not want you to think later on that I am very severe and wicked. "
The boy said " Yes! I can abstain from calling anyone names and do everything for you as you order. " The father told him " If you can abstain from calling anyone names, you had better go home, but you must come back in the morning early. " The boy said good bye to him and came back home. In the morning, the boy came to serve his future parents-in-law. The father told his daughter to give him some food to eat, then he told him " Son! you go plowing in the field and plow until a stone near the field cries. When you hear the sound of the stone crying you take the yoke off the oxen. "
The boy yoked the oxen and went plowing from dawn until afternoon. But the stone did not cry. The oxen could not pull the plow and the stone was still quiet. The boy was very hungry. He could not work without eating anything, so he called the stone names " Mother stone! why don't you cry? " The boy called the stone names and the father appeared from the bush near the stone. He told the boy " I break your betrothal with my daughter, because you can't abstain from calling the stone names. " The boy took off the yoke from the oxen and went home sorrowfully.
Later there was another boy who came to ask for the hand of daughter and the father ordered him as he did the first boy. But this boy was not handsome. He was very clever. When his father-in-law asked him to plow the field, he brought some food with him to eat. He worked until he was hungry, then he stopped for a while to eat and kept working until afternoon. The oxen could no longer walk. When he directed the plow near the stone, he talked to the oxen " Oh, stone! Please cry! The oxen can not pull the plow! Take pity on the oxen! For myself, I do not care! I have some food to eat, and I can plow until night! If you do not have pity on me, please have pity on the oxen because they are animals"
That boy begged the stone, but the stone still did not cry. He did not call the stone names because he knew that his father-in-law was hiding behind the stone. He begged many times for the stone to cry until the father saw his oxen so tired. The father had pity on his oxen, then he cried behind the stone to mimic the sound of the stone. The boy let the oxen to pasture in the field and came back to his future father-in-law. The father asked his daughter to prepare food for him. That night the father told him to go to his house and come back in the morning. The boy said " Good bye " to the family and went home.
At night, when the future parents-in-law went to bed, the boy came stealthily and hid under their house to listen to what plan they made. The father went to bed with his wife and made plans
" Hi dear! That boy can abstain from calling the stone names, but he is not handsome, so we had better make plans to make him angry, then he won't abstain from calling someone names " His wife said " It is very easy to find out his mistakes. Tomorrow you hid in one sack and I will put some rice in the other sack, In the morning when that boy comes, I will tell him to carry them on his shoulder for you, who will have gone to cut wood at the top of the mountain.
He will not able to carry them because they are so heavy. So he will be angry and then he will call them names. As you are in the sack you will hear very well. When you come back we will break him with our daughter. " The husband and wife made this plan and slept. The boy who was hiding under their house already knew their plans and went back home. In the morning, the boy came to serve his future parents. His future mother-in-law showed him two sacks and told him " Son! Your father has gone to cut some wood at the top of the mountain. He wanted me to tell you to carry these two sacks for him and to cook for him. Do not be late. "
The boy carried the two sacks near the foot of the mountain, but they were too heavy for him to go up the mountain. Some distance from home, he dropped them on the ground and said " Oh, father! I am hungry, I can not carry these sacks up the mountain. They are so heavy. Who can carry them up the mountain? If father has no pity on me, he will hit me, but I will submit to this punishment. " Then he carried them down and put them on the dry grass. He left them for a while. When he came back to these sacks he put the dry grass on fire around them. When the grass was burning the fire went to the sacks.
The father who was in the sack felt hot and moved the sack, because he was afraid that the fire would burn his sack, but he could not get out. That boy came running from somewhere and exclaimed " Gee! who burn my sacks? How can I come thought because the fire is burning around like this? " Then he stood outside of the fire and exclaimed until the fire was burning the father's sack. The boy jumped into the fire and dragged the sack from the fire. As the fire was burning the tie of the sack, the father appeared from the sack. His body was plotted, his hair was scorching.
The son coaxed him " Hi ! Father! Why didn't you tell your son! If I hadn't saved you from the fire maybe, the fire would have burnt you alive and mother would have been a widow. " The man was so angry, he could not say anything, then he went home without saying anything. He was weary, because his future son-in-law had dragged him from the fire and as well, the fire had burned his body and scorched his hairs. At home, he told the boy to go to his house and come again in the morning. The boy went back and came at night to hide under the house to listen to his parent's plans.
At night, his parents-in-law went to bed and made another plan. The husband asked his wife " How can I find the trick to break him off from our daughter? This boy is very clever, but we cannot give our daughter to him, because he is not fit for our daughter. Yesterday, he knew that I was in the sack, he swung that sack in which I was against the stone and set a fire to burn me alive. Now how can we make another plan? " The wife told him " Now I have a plan, tomorrow, you will pretend to be a master and tell him to be a dog. Then you and he go hunting tortoise in the bush. But you make him creep like a dog. If he cannot find the tortoise or cannot crawl after you, we will break off his engagement with our daughter. "
The husband agrees to her plan and said " It is fine! Tomorrow, I will do as you say " They slept. The boy under their home knew their plans and went home and bought some tortoise. He put all the tortoise in the bush everywhere, then he went back home to sleep. At dawn, he went to serve his future parents-in-law. They asked their daughter to give him some food to eat and said to him " Son! Today I want to hunt tortoise, but we do have any dog. Now you are a dog, I am your master and we will go hunting some tortoise for dinner. " The boy said cheerfully " Yes! "
The father carried the food and water. The boy crawled after him. When they arrived in the bush where the boy tied the tortoise, the dog boy ran in front of him and barked for tortoise. The father ran towards the place where his dog was barking. He saw his dog bring a tortoise in his mouth. He caught seven tortoises. At the afternoon, the father was hungry, sat down and ate lunch. His dog crawled looking at him. His master did not give him anything to eat, so the dog saw a herd of oxen near by and he ran and bit them.
When the oxen came into the field and ate the vegetation, the father ran towards the herd of oxen and called them off from the field. The dog returned to eat all the food and ran away. The father did not have anything to eat, so he was very hungry, because the dog had eaten up his food. He was very angry with his dog. He beat his dog, but the dog ran so fast, he could not beat him anymore. The father was very hungry, his home was very far away, he was too weary to walk home. He did not punish his dog because this was the way of the dog.
They arrived home together. After dinner, he told his future son-in-law to go home and come again in the morning. At night the boy came and stayed under the house to listen to their plans for the next day. At night, the parents-in-law went to bed. The husband told his wife that his son had maltreated him and asked for another plan from her. His wife answered " Today, you are his master, now it is your turn to be a dog and make him your master. Tomorrow, you and he go hunting tortoise again. " They slept. The boy under their house knew everything and went back home.
In the morning, the boy came to serve them. His father asked his daughter to give some food, then he told him " Yesterday you were my dog, today I am your dog and you are my master to go hunting tortoises again. " " Yes! " the boy answered and they left home together. The dog, his father, crawled after him. Some distance from home, the boy walked at full speed, because he did not want his dog father walking near him. His father could not crawl well, because he was too old, and he stopped after him.
The boy looked back at him " Dog! Do not waste the food! Work for me! Why don't you run before me! Don't walk after the master! How can you find the tortoise? " His father could not run in the bush and could not find tortoises. The boy beat him almost to death. The father crawled wearily, but he did not say anything, because he was ashamed before his son. In the afternoon, the boy ate food and gave some fish bones to his father to eat and said to his dog father " I never saw a dog like you run after the master, how can the dog run after the master and catch tortoise? I don't waste food on you! Eat the fish bones! "
His father could not eat bones, because he was toothless. He was so hungry, that he crawled looking at him eating food until he had finished. His son beat him with a stick and told him to crawl home.
His father was very tired. He could not crawl, so he walked after his son. His son told his mother-in-law " Mother! I did not catch any tortoise because this is not a good dog. " His father was very hungry. He told his son to go home and come back in the morning. He went home and came at night to listen to their plans under the house.
At night when the old ones went to bed, the husband told his wife about how his son had maltreated him and not given him any food to eat. His wife said " So, give our daughter to him, we can't break him from her. This boy is so clever, he know all our plans. He maltreated you almost to death. Why are you not afraid of death? " The husband said " I don't want to give our daughter to him because he is not handsome, and he is not fit for our daughter. When we played tricks with him, he was never angry, he did not call anyone names. So can you make another plan to break him from our daughter? "
His wife told him " Yes! Now in the earliest morning you wash your face eat and smoke, then you get in the sack again and I will put some rice in another sack. In the morning he will come and I will tell him that you are going to the town to buy something. " She added " I will tell him to carry these sacks at lunch time. Perhaps, he cannot carry them, because they are heavy and it is a long way. If he cannot get there on time we will break him from our daughter. " After making the plans, they went to bed. And the boy who was under their house, knew their plans and went back home.
In the morning, the boy came to serve them again. His future mother-in-law asked her daughter to give him some food. After breakfast, his mother gave two sacks to the boy to carry to the town for her husband as they had planned the night before. The boy carry the two sacks on the way to town, thinking " This time, I will terribly maltreat my father-in-law until he cannot play another trick and will have to give his daughter to me. " He carried the two sacks on his shoulder, about half way from home to town, he dropped them down and put them near the edge of the bridge, strongly tying the sack in which his father was.
He said " Oh, it is too late. My father will call me names. I cannot carry the sacks on my shoulder, because they are so heavy. I cannot not be there on time. If my father will call me names, I will not care. I had better put them here and go somewhere for rest, then I will carry them on. " For a while he took a stick as long as an elephant's leg and stepped on the bridge. The sound was like an elephant's walk. He went across the bridge and said " Who put two sacks on this bridge? My elephant will step on them. Please move them. " he warned and stepped toward the sacks.
The father in the sack thought it was an elephant and afraid of death, he moved the sack away from the "elephant" over the bridge and fell down into the water. His father's nose was full of water. His son saw his father's sack fall into the water, but pretended not to see, because he wanted his father to drink some water in the sack and wanted him not to make another plan. Then exclaimed fearfully " Who rides the elephant to kick my sack into the water? oh, my rice will be spoiled! oh, my father may call me names, the sun is high, my rice is spoiled. "
The boy saw his father struggling in the sack " Oh, there are some fish come beating in my sack, I had better lift it. " Then the boy lifted it to land and said " If it gets wet, I have to dry it, then I will carry it back for my mother to make cake for my father. " When he untied the sack, he exclaimed sorrowfully " Oh, father! Why didn't you tell your son. If I had not lifted you, perhaps, you would have died. Some one has ridden from somewhere and he let his elephant kick you into the water. "
The father heard, stood up and went back home silently. He arrived home, could not find another plan, so he prepared the wedding for his daughter and the clever boy.
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Hanuman And Sovann Macha (the Monkey And The Mermaid)
Retold by Toni Shapiro
The monkey general Hanuman was a very close aid of the Prince. When the Prince's lovely wife Sita was kidnapped and taken prisoner, the Prince asked Hanuman to help him rescue her.
Hanuman didn't hesitate. He called the monkey army together and devised a plan. First they would construct a bridge across the ocean. Then they would cross waters to the land where the Princess was being held, fight off her captors, and bring her safely home.
One-by-one, the monkeys started lifting heavy boulders, and placing them on the sea. They would heave one huge stone after the other, and put them all down close together to form a causeway. But, as they were working, they noticed something strange. After struggling to move a big stone into place, the monkeys turned around to get another boulder. When they returned with the next stone, the one they had just left had disappeared. This happened again and again, until, finally, they went to inform Hanuman, their leader.
How unusual, thought the monkey general. "Don't worry," he told the soldiers. "We'll get to the bottom of this." He ordered them to fly with him into the sea to try to discover what the problem might be. Down and down they swam until, from a distance, they noticed mermaids moving in the water. But the mermaids weren't just swimming. They were holding huge stones. In fact, it was these mermaids who were removing the monkey's boulders, and disrupting the progress of their bridge construction.
Slowly, the monkeys crept up on the mermaids. They swam around and around, trying to catch them. Off to the side Hanuman spotted Sovann Macha, the leader of the mermaids. He figured that if he could catch her, he could convince her to tell the others to stop destroying the bridge.
He tried to reach her without letting her see him. From the back, from the side, he attempted to grab her. But she kept swimming in her beautiful, graceful style, oblivious to his antics. Eventually, he knocked her down. She was not only surprised; she was angry. She swam away. He swam after her. He did somersaults and cartwheels; she kept her balance and never stopped moving.
But while they were involved in this struggle, Hanuman realized that he had fallen in love with Sovann Macha. So he tried to woo her rather than attack her. For her part, she eventually realized she shared his feelings. And she told the other mermaids to not only stop interfering with the monkey soldiers' work, but also to help them complete the bridge.
Thus, in the end, the Prince was able to cross the bridge with the monkey army, and rescue the Princess.
This story is an excerpt from the epic talk the Ramayana (with origins in India), known in Khmer as the Riemker. The dance of Hanuman and Sovann Macha is often performed on its own. It can also be one scene in the longer Riemker dance-drama.
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Moni Mekhala And Ream Eyso (the Goddess And The Giant)
Retold by Toni Shapiro
There is a Cambodian legend that, once, a long time ago, there lived a goddess and a giant who were studying with the same teacher. A wise and powerful hermit who lived deep in the forest, the teacher possessed a magic ball, which he wanted to present to one of his devoted students. However, it was difficult for him to judge which of his star pupils, the goddess Moni Mekhala or the giant Ream Eyso, both of whom were just completing their studies with him, was more deserving of the ball. He decided to offer his pupils a challenge: The two were told to collect the morning dew. The first of them to present the hermit with a glassful of this liquid would be the winner. And the winner would receive the magic ball.
Ream Eyso, the giant, had a clever idea which he thought would surely bring him the honor of the best student. Early the next morning, Ream Eyso gathered as many leaves as he could, and one-by-one, let the droplets of dew slide from each leaf into his glass.
Moni Mekhala approached her task differently. She spread a handkerchief on the grass and left it there overnight. By morning the handkerchief was damp, and it took just a moment to squeeze the dew out of the cloth and into the glass. She arrived to present her full cup of dew to her teacher before the giant did. As a reward for her ingenuity, the hermit bestowed upon Moni Mekhala a glittering ball. Ream Eyso received a magic ax as a consolation prize.
But instead of being the end of an isolated contest, this was just the beginning of an eternal struggle for the small ball that Mekhala now carried was very powerful, much more so than the ax that Ream Eyso wielded. The giant was jealous. He had to have that ball!
Ream Eyso stalked Moni Mekhala. He taunted her and threatened her. He crept up behind her and tried to grab the object of his desire. He even flirted with the goddess. But the goddess was not at all bothered. Indeed, she was aware of all of his tricks and teased him in return. In desperation and anger, Ream Eyso flung his ax at Mekhala, barely missing her. Moni Mekhala finally tossed the ball into the air, creating a bolt of lightning that blinded the giant. Down he fell, defeated, as Moni Mekhala gently flew away. But moments later, wiping the sweat off his brow, the giant regained his composure and stood up. Realizing that his foe had escaped he pranced around in fury and disappeared into the sky.
In this tale we find the origin of thunder and lightning. Ream Eyso's ax flying toward the goddess creates the thunder. And Mekhala's sparkling ball lights up the heavens. Together they bring rain, the symbol of renewed life as it imparts fertility to Cambodia's farmlands.
The confrontation between the giant and the goddess reoccurs every year, around the time of the Cambodian New Year in mid-April. This is the height of the dry hot season, just before monsoon rains wash away the dust and bring nourishment to the fields. When Cambodians see dark clouds forming in the sky, they know that Ream Eyso and Moni Mekhala will soon be engaging in their eternal battle, and the rice fields will soon be flooded. They also know that the giant will be vanquished, but only temporarily. Sooner or later he will reappear.
This legend has been enacted for centuries at least once a year as part of a sacred ceremony known as the "buong suong." Held under royal patronage, buong suong is a way to ask the deities for blessings in exchange for offerings of elaborately presented fruits, meats and other foods, incense, flowers, and most importantly, sacred music and dance. Swathed in velvet and brocade, with a golden tiara or fearsome mask on their heads and delicate flowers over their ears, the dancers personifying Moni Mekhala and Ream Eyso recreate this most essential of battles. In reenacting this legend, the dancers serve as messengers between the king and the gods, asking for fertility of the land and well-being for the people.
The classical dance of Cambodia has a long history interwoven with that of religions and kings and, more recently, modern nation states. The dancers, whose poses of extraordinary suppleness and flexibility are immortalized in stone carvings that grace the walls of the 12th-century temple complex of Angkor Wat, have variously been messengers between the royalty and the gods, symbols of the independent country of Cambodia and entertainers. In all these guises they have remained vehicles for the maintenance and passing on of tradition. Just like Moni Mekhala who guards something so precious and potent (her sparkling ball), the dancers have been granted possession by their spiritual teacher of a priceless jewel: the dance.
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Neang Neath - One Of Battambang's Folk Story
Neang Nath was known as the most beautiful lady in her village. A
lot of men liked her but she loved only her husband. He was in the army and one
day, he was sent to the frontline.
After a few month later, a letter came from home asked him to come back as Neang Nath will give birth to her first child. Neang Nath was waiting eagerly for her husband, but due to long journey, he couldn't reach home on time. By having difficulty in giving birth, Neang Nath and her baby died.
Still waiting for her husband to be home, her spirit didn't go away and she become "Kmorch tai horrng". Every day, she waited for her husband and every night, the villagers heard her singing for her baby (Bom'pay koan).
Finally her husband reached home and they were so happy to meet each other. After a few days, the husband found out that both his beloved wife and his baby was already dead. First, he didn't believed what was told by the villagers.
One day, the spoon felt down to the ground and without knowing that she was observed by her husband, Neang Nath lengthened her tongue to pick up the spoon and fed her baby with some worms.
All the love to his wife couldn't win his fear of his wife, the husband rushed to get help from the ghost catcher who was invited by other villagers to catch Neang Nath. By a magic spell from the ghost catcher, Neang Nath cried in pain and asked for help from her husband but she got none from him. By all her anger, she killed the ghost catcher and willing to take her husband home but then she got caught by the monk. By all his advices, she finally agreed to leave her husband. With the help of the monk, she was able to get a reincarnation and a new life.
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Origin Of The Tiger
retold by Toni Shapiro
A long time ago, there lived a great king who ruled over a rich Kingdom. He had a wise and beautiful Queen, four Chief Ministers, a Royal Astrologer, who always helped the king make decisions, and a whole class of Mandarins and great Officials to perform all the honors for the king.
But unfortunately, neither the King, nor the four chief Ministers knew anything of magic practices, which were so necessary for victory in battle. Because of this the king was very worried about his kingdom. As he got older, he worried that if an army should invade his Kingdom, it might be easily overrun.
One day, early in the morning, the King, accompanied by the Queen, went to his Throne Room. The Royal Astrologer, all the Mandarins and Officials, and the four Chief Ministers were prostrated for the Royal Audience. It was then that the King formed the idea of going to learn magic with a great and famous teacher called Tisabamokkha, who lived in the far-off kingdom of Takkasila. There they found Tisabamokkha and asked him to instruct them in magic, which the great teacher did.
So the King and his whole retinue were taught magic practices. They learned how to change themselves easily into all kinds of animals and heavenly beings.
When they had learned all that their teacher could tell them, the King decided it was time to return to their own Kingdom. He set out on his journey again accompanied by the Queen, the Royal Astrologer and the four Chief Ministers. After they had traveled for three whole days from Takkasila, they got lost in a huge forest. They had eaten all the food they had brought with them and they began to eat all the roots and berries they could find. The king began to worry that perhaps he would die so he called all the other members of the group together. "Our end may be near because we have no food to keep us alive, what should we do?" The Royal Astrologer suggested to the king "perhaps we should use the magic which we learned to turn ourselves into a tiger, then we could catch other animals to eat. We could wait until we got back to our own Kingdom to turn ourselves back into humans again. The other members of the group all agreed with the Astrologer's idea. Which part of the tiger's body do you each wish to be?" the king asked. The four Chief Ministers wanted to turn into the four legs of the tiger, the Astrologer into the tiger's tail and the Queen into the tiger's body. The tiger's head was left for the king himself.
So they all recited the magic formulae to transform their bodies and . . . there stood a Royal Tiger. Soon the Tiger felt quite hungry and bounded off to catch deer and antelope to eat. After a time, the Tiger was so happy that he forgot to return to his own Kingdom. He did not regret his wonderful new life.
This is how there came to be tigers in the world which are stronger than any other animals. When the tiger goes off to hunt for his prey, the tail, waving from side to side and guiding him on is the Royal Astrologer; the supple, pliant body is the Queen, that wise woman; the four strong feet of the tiger, with their sharp claws, are the four Chief Ministers; and the head, awesome and majestic as it looks around, is the King greater and more powerful than all the other kings.
"The Origin of the Tiger" in Cultural Context
The word Tisabamokkha is a word of Pali origin, which means "great teacher." Also Takkasila is a district in north-west India. The use of such words shows the Indian influence in Cambodia.
This story is a famous Cambodian folktale because it explains the origin of the tiger and also emphasizes the idea that people must cooperate together for the common good. However, it is also meant to teach the audience that people should not turn their backs on their country or community when they experience increased wealth or great happiness. Many Cambodian proverbs warn people not to forget their responsibilities. In this tale, the King and his entourage originally wanted to help the people of the kingdom. However, in their excitement of being able to transform themselves into tigers they forgot the original reason that they wanted to learn such powerful magic, which was to assist the people of the Kingdom.
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Phnom Bayongkour (takeo Province)
Once upon a time, there were a king, Preah Bat Bayong, in Cambodia, who had a royal residence on Dangrek mountain and a queen, Preah Neang Sakkro Oub because she had fragrant hair which was fragrant for about a Yojana ( ancient unit of measurement equivalent to about 16 kilometers ). And the beauty of herself was the most beautiful which famed to the king of Siam. Siamese king sent persons to find out the truth that she was full of all appearances.
Siamese king found a trick to take the princess for his own-country honor. King Bayong knew the case so he lead his wife, woman servants and forces into the sailing junk and left the royal residence at night to wards south-east. Before he left, Preah Bat Bayong prayed for Gods and spirits looking after the territory that he would succeed in three wishes " 1. Safe-sea journey. 2. Please do not let Siamese thieves reach. 3. Meet a suitable place. If I succeed I will shave my hair. "
The king sailed the junk days and nights without stopping. When they had sailed for long way the king looked for a place to land the junk for resting. At that time. The wind blew heavily which caused the junk to circle and break the helm of the junk. That place was called Bak Changkot village and now it is Bak Kot village. Seeing so, the king was very fearful and he prayed that the wind would not blow more, he would offer things for the spirits of water. Then there was no more wind.
The junk went on a bit to cast anchor in order to land. That place was called Kanlaeng Chot ( landing place ) until now. The landing was made in order to give offerings to the spirits of water and repair the helm. The area where offerings were offered was named Saen Bon village until nowadays. These three places are in Leay Bo, Tram Kok district, Takeo province. When finishing the work, the king continued the trip towards south-east. While they were traveling their junk broke open, the king ordered people to repair.
This place was called Sampao Thleay till nowadays. They went on and saw an area with a lot of thatch. They took the thatch to close the broken parts of the junk. The place was called Prek Sbao until now. The junk went on and reached a place where Preah Neang Sakkro Oub worried about a lot of things. One thing was that the junk continued and they could not find a place and the Siamese groups would reach them or not: Princess lit the candles to worship the spirits of water, land, and the guardians of all places to meet a peaceful place and the Siamese thieves to be eliminated in the sea.
The place where princess worshipped was called Anlong Tien village till now. The ceremony of her worship was succeeded that was the junk of Siamese king which was sent to look for the princess went past one another. The junk of king Bayong went by the lower way on the east and the Siamese junk went by the upper way on the west. After worshipping, the junk of king Bayong turned towards the south-west. After that there was a violent storm blew towards Siamese junk and caused them all to die.
This place was called saenlung village. Now it is called Sanlung. As for Bayong's junk went ahead quickly, the king landed the junk near an island. He went to look for resting place and then he ordered forces to bring things out of the junk. The king asked the queen to go to the forest, suddenly it rained very heavily. After king, princess and royal servants got on the land the lightning made the junk to sink at the port. That place was named that Phnom Runtah until now.
Then king Bayong looked for a place to build a royal resting place. After that the king had a chat with the queen about the pitiful journey from the beginning. At that time, Princess reminded the king of shaving his hair for worshipping the spirits of water. So the king had to shave in order to fulfill the pledge. Since king Bayong worshipped and shaved his hair for the spirits of water, he was called king Bayongkour. And the high hill where he shave was called Phnom Bayongkour till nowadays.
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Phnom Borey Phnom Da (Takeo Province)
Phnom Borey Phnom Da is located in Angkor Borey commune, Prey Kabbas district, Takeo province. The tale related to this Phnom is as the following:
At that time there was a king who took the throne in Champasacc or Basacc where is the upper part of Mekong River and had a daughter, Princess Ak Or. The princess was the most beautiful no one could be compared with. Because of delirium of love, she fell in love with a pitiful man without thinking about honor of king relatives. That was why the king ordered to have the princess and her lover exiled on the raft on the river and large sea.
The king also ordered the arrangement of unhusked rice, husked rice, corns, beans, sesames, salt and fish cheese with that raft. The raft drifted for days and reached a mountain, Phnom Borey ( Borey mountain ) where nobody lived. Ak Or and her husband felt very happy that they arrived at the shore which survived them. So, they brought all things to live there. Both of them earned a living by planting and entering the forest to look for wood and build a cottage.
After constructing a comfort residence, Ak Or was very worried about her pain and happiness. She missed her homeland as well as being sorry about her reputation which was always prosperous. That was why she often burned incense sticks and candles every night before going to bed for praying for the spirits, mountain guardians, and Mrinh Kongviel ( forest ghost, kind of ghost which is believed to take care of wild animals in forest ) who looked after lakes, and hill to care and give them happiness with no shortage in earning a living.
Because of the power of everyday prayer, not for long, there was an honest man coming to make her dream, " Don't worry from today on. Don't be frightened. I am an honest man who keeps truth will help you to be famous and wealthy in this place. But I do not have to show you my face. " Right after listening to the honest man, she woke up and told her pitiful husband. From that day, she told the husband to find wood in the forest. As for the husband, he went to cut firewood which all was aloe-wood with fragrance.
He put it in piles for using only because he did not know that it was valuable firewood. One day, Ak Or went to see firewood piles, she knew all of firewood was aloe-wood. She told her husband smilingly to bring more this firewood. The husband took more due to his wife's advice. Some time he went into deep forest, he saw bright red pieces of gold. He thought, " these rocks have different color from others. So, I will take three of them for my wife in order to set up a fireplace. "
The man took those rocks and put them in small shallow basket and carried home without knowing that they were pieces of gold. When his wife saw those pieces of gold. She knew clearly but she did not tell her husband. She only said, " If you see these kinds of rocks please bring them all home. " The husband always took her advice.
One day , she thought, " My aloe-wood firewood and gold are increasing. So, I think I can place a high flag as the sign. There may be ships sailing from other countries that can see and come to land the ships to contact.
" Not for years, it was only 5-6 years, there were more and more outsiders coming and earning a living there. As for the long-living residents, they produced children and grandchildren, too. That was why the villages and districts were bigger and all local people respected princess Ak Or and her husband by nothing that, they both were the owners and merchants of that place. That was a reason why princess Ak Or lead her husband to declare himself that he was a king who throned there with the name, Preah Bat Songkh Chak and Princess Ak Or as the queen.
At that time, Preah Bat Songkh Chak appointed the ministers in groups and parties between the people living there. He also managed to have fort made of stones and bricks built to surround a large area and he called that surrounded rampart as Borey. The word " Borey " means the city with people and residence in the area which is considered as the belongingness of the city dwellers and property of the city. That was why mountain was called Phnom Borey ( Borey mountain ) till now.
When finishing constructing Borey with the wanted honor, Preah Bat Songkh Chak and the queen ordered people to build a beautiful, small, stone temple on the eastern top of the mountain which is now called Prasat Phnom Da in order to pay gratitude to the honest man who promised them previous day.
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Phnom Choeung Prey (Kompong Cham Province)
There are two mountains, about one hundred meters from each other, in Choeung Prey district, Kompong Cham province, which are located on the north of National Route 6, west of Pa-ao market, about three kilometers and the way to the north is about one thousand and five hundred meters. The mountain on the east is Phnom Srey or Phnom Thom the other on the west is Phnom Pros or Phnom Preah Bat. The two mountains are together called Phnom Choeung Prey.
Calling like this because of tale saying that women and men on building Phnoms ( hills ) which are the same as Phnom Pros Phnom Srey in Kompong Cham but Phnom Choeung Prey is only a bit different because of the ground hole of Phnom Srey where the women digged became a large pond, with water in raining and dry season, which is called Srah Toek Preah ( Toek Preah Pond ).
As for the ground hole near Phnom Pros where the men digged to build Phnom became a large pond without water in wet and dry season which is called dry rampart. This dry rampart pond does not have water in wet and dry season even though it is raining heavily in wet season. The water does not stay in the pond. When the rain stops, there is no water in the pond right after that as if it has big pipe to drain water.
It is strange. The two ponds, the women's pond and men's pond are not over one hundred meters from each other. Why does the women's pond have water in all seasons while the men's pond is dry? According to the old people living nearby the pond, they said, " The reason why it is dry because of the curse of women at the men. " There are a lot of antiques on the top of Phnom Choeung Prey but they are almost damaged. The things that have remained until nowadays are a statue of Buddha attaining nirvana, a statue of Buddha in standing position and Buddha foot prints.
There is clear inscription on the top of the east and west doors of the cavern in which the objects of worship are kept the inscription can be seen from far distance and it is thought that the inscription was written in Khmer. When it is near it cannot be read by those who know present Khmer language because it is ancient Khmer language. The other antiques are stone sheets which are called Kei Neang Teav. But, nowadays, they are round things because of the damage and being worn out. There is a stone sheet with human foot print which was called Ta Preng's foot print on the front of Phnom Srey.
There is a good, smooth area on the north-east of the mountain, too, where it was called shuttlecock playing place of Khun Chharng.
There is a stone hole on the west of cavern which is as big as the former regime riel coin, that is, the hole is big enough to put riel coin. The hole was called the hole of Ta Preng where he played in the after noon. According to the residents belief, when they go and arrive at Phnom Choeung Prey for pleasure or business, they have to be careful for two things:
1. There is a small cottage on the mountain under the Samrong tree which is the cottage of red-neck spirit. This spirit is very powerful and he was called Phnom spirits. In the past, the magical persons, pregnant women, government staff, and high-ranking persons could not walk past. If they dared to walk past, they would have no magic, a miscarriage, and lost their positions. It is less powerful now but they still have to be careful.
2. They dared not chase the monkeys on Samrong tree that are the sons, grandsons of red-neck spirit. If they chased, they would have accidents in severely swollen arms, feet and body. Phnom Choeung Prey now becomes an attractive place for various tourists especially, Cambodian people who are living in Choeung Prey district and Prey Chhor district, always pay a visit during Khmer New Year. Especially they go there at the end of Khae Chaet ( March-April ) which has been their habit for a long time.
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Phnom Vorvongs Sovongs (Kompong Speu Province)
The tale " Phnom Vorvongs Sovongs " is marked by the long mountain range from Kompong Speu province to Koh Kong province. It is as the following:
Once upon a time, there was a king, Preah Bat Sorya, who took the throne in Krosonn country. The first wife was, Vongs Thyea, had two sons, Vorvongs and Sovongs. The second wife, Montea, had a son, Vey Vongsa. At the time, the three royal sons were mature, princess Montea, the second wife, was jealous of the throne which she thought it would be help by the first wife's sons. Because of that she made trouble and provoked enmity in order to break everyday.
One day, the royal children, Vorvongs and Sovongs went for a walk together in the area. Princess Montea caught them and squeezed them between her thighs and she shouted loudly accusing the two royal children of being brave to catch her and do improper things aggressively. As for the king, he got furious when seeing that and he ordered executioners to bring the royal children to be killed without considering.
Because of their power, when the executioners were about to kill princess Vongs Thyea, the mother, arrived and asked the executioners not to kill. The executioners helped the two royal sons with escaping from the country. At that time the mother gave royal rings to both of them and sent a verbal message, " When you are ten, please come back to our country " The two royal boys took the message, left the country, and wandered in the forest. They both got asleep in the quiet forest because of tiredness.
When Indra understood them he transformed himself into a while rooster and a black rooster walking and eating near the two royal boys. The two roosters talked to each other. " I am the black rooster. If someone eats me, they will become king in 7 years, " said the black rooster. " As for me, I am a white rooster, " the white rooster said " If anyone eats me, they will be king in 7 months. " The two chicken fought against each other until they both died in front of the royal children.
As for the royal boys, they both wondered very much but with great hunger Sovongs picked up the white rooster and Vorvongs took the black one to be cooked. The two royal boys went on after they had eaten the chicken. They reached a rest hall in the forest in Kunthop Borey country and they rested there. It was then 7 months. After the death of the king in Kunthop Borey country, the royal officials and ministers prepared an adventure for the honored person to hold the throne.
The march of the adventure arrived at the front of the rest hall in which the two royal children were staying. Suddenly, the elephant with throne ( richly ornamented and reserved for the king ) stopped steadily in the respect manner. The officials, ministers, and soldiers appointed a person to see the rest hall and saw two royal boys sleeping. They decided to ask a royal boy, Sovongs, to hold the throne in Kunthop Borey. The royal boys refused but the soldiers did not agree and they carried him to the throne on elephant's back to the capital.
Sovongs missed Vorvongs very much. He asked those officials to bring his brother along but they did not. When arriving, they arranged to marry the royal boy, Sovongs to princess Sar Bopha, the daughter of this country king and to crown him a monarch with happiness. The royal boy, Vorvongs could not find his brother and he cried and called in the forest when he got up. He was hopeless so he walked along the elephants footprints until he got to the palace of his brother.
The boy asked for permission from the guards to see his brother but they did not allow. Then, the royal boy turned away and ventured on. He walked in the forest for five days and nights when he arrived at the old lady's house near the royal palace of king Thoraneth, he asked her to stay for a night. The old lady saw the royal ring at that night and she thought the boy stole royal property so she went to inform the king. The king got very furious when he heard. He told the soldiers to bring the royal boy to be questioned.
Although the royal boy answered that it was his mother's heritage he was still accused of being a thief and he was kept in the iron jail. One day, King Thoraneth wanted to go to Chey Borey country which was proposed by king Soutoth, his friend. He ordered the soldiers to launch the junk for his place in the journey. The soldiers could not launch the junk so they called for powerful man to launch the junk into the water. The royal boy, in the iron-bar jail, guaranteed that he launch it.
The king said to the boy, " If you can launch I will release you as free man and I will give you a lot of rewards " Because of the honor and luck from the past, the royal boy, Vorvongs was able to launch the junk easily. The king stepped down into the junk and left for Chey Borey country with Vorvongs and his daughter Princess Keskesey as well as soldiers. Arriving in Chey Borey country, the king told the soldiers to prepare tent near the royal palace of king Soutoth and went to contact with king Soutoth in the palace.
As for Princess Keskesey, when she was asleep she dreamed of an old man who told her that the royal boy was her former-life husband. Then she got up, she always thought of the royal boy that she fell in love with him. After having discussed with king Soutoth, king Thoraneth knew that there was a cruel giant entering the palace and chased to eliminate the spirit who guarded there and wanted to eat the flesh of king Soutoth, too. The giant went to live in the cave of the spirit.
Preah Bat Thoraneth thought of means to get rid of that cruel giant so he asked a person to bring royal boy, Vorvongs to be told. He told the boy to kill the giant. " If you can kill the giant I will give you a lot of rewards, " said the king. The royal boy took the royal order but in order not to make the giant recognize him as a simple person, he asked for the equipment of king Soutoth to be equiped with him so that he really looked like king Soutoth and he went to fight against the giant until the giant died.
Preah Bat Thoraneth offered throne and princess Keskesey to the royal boy as his queen when he saw that the royal boy Vorvongs was such a powerful person. As for king Soutoth, he thought that the killing of giant was the help which kept him from death. So he offered his daughter, Princess Vorvatey to be the queen and the throne to the royal boy, too. The royal boy had to reign two countries and had two queens, Princess Keskesey and Princess Vorvatey and spent pain and happiness in Chey Borey country.
The spirit that always looked after Chey Borey country escaped when the giant took control of the cave. He returned back to look after Chey Borey country with Keo Monirath ( precious stone ) which could fly to give to Preah Chao Vorvongs, the new king. When Princess Keskesey had 3-month pregnancy, Preah Bat Vorvongs wanted to visit his father due to his mother's message " When it is 10 years, return back to the country " So king Vorvongs said goodbye to his father-in-law.
Princess Keskesey asked to go with. Preah Bat Vorvongs and Preah Neang Keskesey waved Keo Monirath and flew. When arriving at a hermitage, they landed and went for a walk with each other. At that time, the hermit took Keo Monirath secretly to fly in the sky for pleasure. Because of extreme wind, the head was cut off and the hermit died. As for Keo Monirath fell down in Kunthop Borey, the country of his brother. The soldiers took that precious stone to give to Preah Bat Sovongs.
Preah Bat Vorvongs and Preah Neang Keskesey continued their journey to the parent's country on foot when they knew that the hermit took Keo Monirath. The journey was of many obstacles and difficulties and they met the elder brother, Preah Bat Sovongs. From then, the two royal decided to go back to native country due to their mother's message. When they arrived in Kroson country, their parent's country, the two kings told soldiers to surround that country.
Preah Bat Sorya, their father, kept Preah Neang Vongs Thyea in iron jail by accusing of being a bad woman and gave the throne to the royal boy Veyvongsa after he had ordered executioners to kill the two royal boys. When Preah Bat Veyvongsa knew that there were enemy troops surrounding the country he was very frightened. Preah Bat Vorvongs told the royal servant to inform Preah Bat Veyvongsa to give this country to Preah Bat Vorvongs otherwise there would be fighting.
" I am not afraid, " Preah Bat Veyvongsa replied, " If your boss wants my country. I agree to give but ask your king to have elephant fighting. If I lose I will give this country to your king. If I win I only want to reign this country. " The royal servant went back to tell things to Preah Bat Vorvongs. Preah Bat Vorvongs agreed. King Veyvongsa and elephant forces were killed by Preah Bat Vorvongs and Sovongs. Preah Bat Sorya, the father, whose son was defeated, went to confess and surround.
When he arrived he did not recognize them as his sons because he thought his sons were killed by the executioners. But he believed they were his sons because of the royal rings as the recognized things. When he knew they were his sons, he asked about things which previously happened. He understood that Princess Montea was a shrew who stirred up trouble to separate royal sons and Princess Vongs Thyea from him.
Then, the king ordered executioners to take Princess Montea to be killed and he released Princess Vongs Thyea, the legal wife and offered the throne to the two royal sons to reign instead of him with peace and happiness since then. This is the folk tale about Phnom Vorvongs Sovongs which is recognized by a female-stone statue without head as the figure of Neang Montea who was a mean and greedy person. This statue is in Chambok commune, Phnom Sruoch district, Kompong Speu Province.
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Phome Poun Temple (Sorintr Province)
Khmer kings built a capital located in the jungles for keeping royal family from other people's eyes when there was emergency or when the war occurred. That city was called Prasat Phome Poun where it was the place of victory to maintain happiness and it was far from other main cities. That capital did not have ponds as well as roads. They only created paths and made a clear-cut of grass for walking so that they could hide temple and capital from enemy.
Then, the ancient Kingdom of Cambodia was of chaos because the enemy invaded the capital. In order to keep royal family safe, the king sent his daughter, princess Serichan but most people called her big-breast girl, with one hundred and one soldiers and women servants. The chief of soldiers named Bun Chan who was most faithful to royal family accompanied her.
At that time, there was a king who reigned in a country away from Phome Poun city ordered seven hunters and a number of elephants to hunt and catch wild animals which were scare and beautiful for feeding in the royal palace. The seven hunters walked and reached a pond which was on the south of Tapriem Village. Suddenly, three hunters saw human trace traveling everyday in the middle of jungles.
With suspicion, the hunters followed the trace and saw a temple in the woods where the soldiers were on duty around it. They put their bows, crossbows and hunting tools and entered to contact with guardians in order to spy on princess Serichan clearly. Having seen her beauty, they returned back to their country to inform the king. When his Majesty the king heard from them he ordered forces prepared to travel to bring the princess to be his wife.
As for princess Serichan, when having a wash in the pond she did not know the hunters hid themselves and looked secretly at her. She felt restless at that night. When she got asleep she dreamed that if she wished herself, all soldiers and her woman servants happiness she had to make a leaf-made bowl wandering for a fiancé. There had to be a picture of her, a letter written about her wish for a fiancé and cosmetic that she applied to her body and her seven hairs in that cosmetic container.
She had to bring that bowl and float in the pond in front of the temple. When the morning came, she asked her woman servants to prepare that leaf-made bowl. Before floating it, she prayed for meeting the person with power to control and take care of her. After praying, she floated the leaf-made bowl on the water. The bowl disappeared after for a while from her eyes. Princess Serichan or big-breast girl has another name called Neang Sork Kro-Oub ( Fragrant hair girl ) or Phum Ham.
At the same time, there was a country with a king who was on throne named Haknuman. This Kingdom was powerful and famous through out all directions. There wasn't any invasion from the enemy. The king had a prince who was a slim, beautifully-dark man with thick lips and kinky hair but he had good virtue and loved the truth more than his wife. One day, the son of king Haknuman went to take a wash in the pond in the royal garden with his soldiers. Then the prince saw the leaf-made bowl in the pond and he went to take and had a look at it.
He saw a picture of princess Serichan. He fell in love with her immediately that he got light-headed. He walked quickly back to royal resting place without washing himself. This happening spread out to his father to order soldiers to arrange a praying ceremony for the owner of the bowl. After praying ceremony finished, the prince and soldiers were transformed by powerful magic to hide themselves and fly in the sky with so loud sound that shook the sky.
But no one could see them and they landed on the west of the temple of princess Serichan. As for princess Serichan, she was very frightened when she heard very long, loud sound but she could see nothing. So she ran to the temple and locked the door firmly. The son of king Haknuman after seeing the princess gathered those who came along to return back to his country in order to inform his parents everything so that they went to ask princess Serichan for marriage traditionally.
This time the price went to find her by getting into the earth. That was why the earth, shook and made roaring sound when traveling it was like a march of thousands of soldiers but nobody could see. The princess of Prasat Phome Poun and soldiers entered the temple to hide by making a firm lock of the doors. Inside the temple, the princess ordered close soldiers, woman servants about one hundred and one to keep themselves, but only three could show faces.
After closing the doors, the walking out or into the temple had to be done through the secret entrance door that was on the north west. The son of king Haknuman showed his face in front of the temple with his left and right body guards, the others were not allowed to show their faces. The prince begged the princess to open the door but she refused. At last, the prince asked her to set a door ajar so as to pass the leaf-made bowl back to the princess who prayed for controller or fiancé.
In fact, the strength and power of the prince could break the door to meet her but did not want to do that because he had virtue. After that the princess set a door ajar to get the bowl. She saw the picture, fragrant box, seven hairs and the article describing about praying for a fiancé. Then she agreed to open the door and went out to salute to the prince and she wept with sorrow and remorse.
As for the son of king Haknuman when seeing her with such sorrow and remorse he comforted her and he said " Oh princess! Do not be afraid of me. Although we have faces that are different from common people or not the same as yours we will keep the truth, honesty and passion forever. If you do not want to live with me or to be my wife I cannot force you. If you need something and wish something I can give you. "
Princess Serichan or big-breast girl was no longer afraid when she heard the prince. " How many of you are coming here? Because I heard the tumult sound but I did not see. I just saw you and your two body guards " she asked the prince. Having heard this, the prince showed the princess the one hundred and one soldiers who stayed in front of the temple. When seeing the power of the prince, princess Serichan decided to accept the prince as her husband.
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Sdech Toek Sdech Phnom (Kampuchea Krom)
There was a king who reigned in the kingdom of Norkor Phnom and did not have clear name. That king had a daughter with unclear name, too. A lot of men fell in love with her because she was the most beautiful girl in the kingdom. The famousness of her beauty spread to two young men of marriageable age who had just returned from studying magic.
The two men went together to ask the princess for marriage. At that time, the king said that the two men had to take a test of magic if anyone won he would marry his daughter to him. They both accepted the king's purpose. The first man showed the knowledge of magic to make flood over the area. The second man showed his power to build high mountains to save the lives of human and animals from the flood.
The deeper water was the higher mountains were. Finally, the second man won and was married to the princess by the king and reigned the country. That was why it had names names Sdech Toek ( King of water ) Sdech Phnom ( King of mountains ) until nowadays.
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Svay Ang Temple (Svay Rieng Province)
In Svay Ang commune, Svay Rieng district, Svay Rieng Province, there is a hill where it is not flooded, the ancient people called Svay Ang hill.
There was an ancient tower made of bricks and laterite on the hill with 83 meters long and 44 meters wide. In the central part of the hill there was a big Jrey tree ( a kind of tree ) and a Sivalinga at the front part. As for the body of the temple, it almost broke down only ruins of rocks and bricks are left. The tale connected with the name Svay Ang is as the followings:
When the city was in Longvaek, there was a man, Samrith, who was a powerful and strong person live on that hill. At the time of waging war with Siamese, the king called on all people living in all provinces that if anyone was strong and powerful, please join in the army in order to fight against Siamese who invaded provinces along the border such as Battambang and Siem Reap Provinces.
Samrith volunteered to serve the country and prepared weapons and left from home land for Longvaek on foot to join the armed services. As for the Khmer military officer in that regime appointed Samrith as a chief of soldiers to march to Battambang and Siem Reap provinces to break the enemy. Samrith and all forces defeated Siamese and then Samrith asked the king if he could return to his home land, Svay Rieng Province.
As he arrived home he untied the package and knew that the package was not his because there were a sampot and only a few mangoes in it. So, it must have been taken by mistake when returning back from the battle because he spent a night at Angkor. The mangoes were brought from Angkor. Then his wife took them to be transplanted along the fence.
Not so long, the mango-seeds grew up with flowers continuously. The residents called Angkor mango trees because they were taken from Angkor. After that the words was contracted into Ang. When Samrith and his wife died, their children were married and moved to different places until no one stayed on that hill. The villagers built a monastery called Wat Svay Angkor ( Svay Angkor pagoda ) with a head of monastery and a lot of monks studying there.
Years later, there were so many birds on the mango tree, it was hard to clean and there was short of residence, so the head of the pagoda asked the monks and novice monks to cut it down. They could only cut half of the tree trunk because of its powerful bigness. And in the morning, those cutting marks were not seen on the tree and the tree barks covered and grew as usual.
One day the head of the pagoda asked a lot of monks and novice monks to find axes and adzes in hands to cut down that big mango tree only in a day. The mango tree could not bear so it fell down but its leaves, were not faded, grew more branches with flowers and bore fruit normally. At night, they heard played Pinpeat (band or orchestra composed of five different kinds of musical instrument ) melancholy and made the residents admire very much.
Not for a long time, the head of the monastery was seriously ill that he was crazy and senile. Having seen this, the monks and novice monks ran away. And the laymen and lay women went to build another pagoda, one kilometer from old Svay Ang pagoda, which is now called Svay Pa-aem Pagoda. The old pagoda has big mango trees at the present time and Cheour Tiel ( a type of tree ) and other thick young trees behind it.
This is the source described the above ancient place due to the folk tale. But if it is directly taken a look at historical place it is not reasonable that the word And shortened from Angkor, the place was an ancient shelter for Brahmanism because of having Sivalinga placing in as a worship object during that time. That was Sivaliga that the residents called Ang. Later, at the time of practicing Buddhism, the Brahman worship places were changed into Buddhist monasteries but remained the names of those places as Ang such as Ang Prasat, Ang Brey, and Ang Snoul.
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The Crocodile And The Carter
In a certain pond once there lived a crocodile. As the rainy season passed, and the dry season advanced little by little, small ponds and lakes began to dry up and plants began to wither away. Because of this, the crocodile crawling out from the waterless ponds began to wander hither and thither in search of water.
An old man riding in his bullock cart came along the lonely road and discovered the crocodile. Being tried by that time, the crocodile said to the carter " May I go with you in your cart, grand father? " " Where do you want to go? " asked the carter " I look for a pond where the water is abundant. " replied the crocodile " Would you mind carrying me to such a pond? " The carter said " Well, I'll gladly carry you in my cart. "
Then the carter freeing his oxen from the yoke said to the crocodile " Crawl up this front frame of the cart! " But as the crocodile was not sure that its slippery body would not fall down from the front frame he said " Please fasten me to the frame strongly so that I might not slide down. " And so did the carter.
When this was done the carter started. After some-time he saw a pond full of water and stopped his oxen and after untying the crocodile, he said " Now, you have a good pond, go and live here happily! " But the crocodile instead of thanking the man accused him, saying " I have suffered a great deal from your tight bond, so I have to eat one of your oxen! " And it also added " If you refuse this, I take instead of this your head. "
Being frightened, the carter said " It is strange, I have brought you here to find out a good pond. Why do you speak like this? " And he went on saying " Indeed, I am innocent and I think I am not to be eaten and our case should be judged by someone. " " Find out a judge if you please! " said the crocodile.
The carter being depressed in mind went about to find out a judge who would solve the question. Roaming about here and these with some ripe bananas in his hand, the carter met a rabbit near a small hill. And the rabbit said to him from a distance " Hey old man, why do you look so piteous? "
The carter went near the rabbit and told it what had happened to him unexpectedly. Indifferently the rabbit said " Never mind, old man! I shall help you, but first, give me your bananas! " The carter gave it the bananas. And the rabbit ate them up till it was satisfied.
Then they two stared for the spot where the old man had been accused. There, they saw the crocodile waiting for them. Just then the rabbit said " Oh crocodile! What's going on? I heard you had once lost the direction and you had been brought here to find the pond by this old man, why are you so rude and ungrateful that you claim to eat him? "
" Certainly, " replied the crocodile " he is kind to me, but his kindness hurts me even now, he bound me so tightly that I nearly lost my breath, I there for asked him to give me to eat only an ox! " And the rabbit turned to the old man said " Oh good old man, are the crocodile's words true? "
Shaking his head, the man replied " No, I did not bind it so tightly as it has said, I tied it just to make it impossible for it to slide down. " When the rabbit got such different answers, it said " Since each one of you has no eye-witness, you the crocodile have again to climb up the front frame of the cart! "
And so did the foolish crocodile. The rabbit went on saying
" And you the carter tie it as tightly as you have done! " And so did the carter. When this was done, the rabbit asked " Was it as tight as this, crocodile? " " Oh no, it was not like this. " answered the crocodile.
" Tighten it a little more! " the rabbit said to the carter. And so he did. " Was it as tight as this? " the rabbit asked again. " No, why should I be angry if it was as tight as this? " it said. As it was impossible to tighten with hands, the rabbit said to the carter " Go, old man, to look for a stick so that we can make a tourniquet. "
When a stick was brought, a device being made with the stick, the carter tightened the crocodile's bond with the front frame of the cart so much it became difficult for it to move any more. The rabbit asked the crocodile again " Was it as tight as this? " "Yes it was! " uttered the crocodile with difficulty.
" Stick! " commanded the rabbit " What's the use of stick, old man? Send it to yama! " But instead of stick, the carter brought out his exe and chopped the ungrateful crocodile into pieces and then thanking the rabbit for its help returned home in peace.
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The Crow And The Deer
Once there lived together as friends two animals, a crow and a deer. Later on a wolf met the deer in the forest and wanted to be his friend, then the deer agreed. Then the two animals often met each other. But the crow knew that the wolf was very wicked, and dishonest; then he warned the deer not to be friendly with the wolf.
The crow said " The wolf pretends to be friendly, when you are taken in by his tricks, he will kill you sometime " By and by the deer fell into the wolf's tricks, so did not listen to the crow's warning. He agreed to come to the wolf 's place everyday.
One day the wolf saw a trap in the forest, then he thought he would lead the deer to it, and when the deer was caught in the trap, he would eat him. Planning to kill the deer, the wolf went to see the deer at his place, and then the wolf told the deer that there was good food somewhere in the forest.
It was not easy to find food, when the deer heard this, he was very happy to go with the wolf who guided him to the trap. And finally he was caught in the trap. Being afraid of death, the deer called for help from the wolf, the wolf pretended to be afraid of the man who came to see the trap, then he went in to the forest to hide until the deer would be killed, then he would eat him.
One day when the crow did not see the deer come back in the evening, he flew around everywhere as far as the forest where the deer was caught in the trap, then he saw the deer and said to him " Oh, friend! why are you caught in the trap? " The deer told the crow " This is my mistake in believing the wolf who asked me to come with him to find food here, now, when the trap holds me, he leaves me here and he goes away. Please save my life."
The crow told the deer to play a trick with the hunter, then he said " when you see the hunter come to see the trap. You lie down as a dead deer and don't move. Do not even breathe! The hunter will be sure that you are dead. When he takes you off the trap, you will hear me crowing, you are get up and run into the forest away from the man." the deer agreed to the crow's plan.
When the hunter came to see his trap, he saw the deer caught, then he thought that the deer had died. He took the deer off the trap and put him on one side, then he looked around him, when the crow saw that the hunter was not paying attention to the deer, he crowed to let the deer run away and the deer ran quickly at high speed into the forest.
when the hunter saw that the deer ran away, he took a sword and ran after the deer to throw the sword at the deer, but the sword dropped on the wolf who waited for the deer's meat in a bush near the trap, the sword struck the wolf's neck killing him. The crow guided the deer to the forest where the hunter could not kill him any more.
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The Female Crocodile Who Wanted To Eat The Monkey's Heart
When in one of his former births, the Buddha was born as a monkey, called Mahakabin, he was powerful and lived in the forest near the river in which there was a small island in the middle. That island had every kind of fruit for his food. Between the river and the shore there was a sand bank. The monkey leaped from the shore to the sand bank first, then to the island.
Mean while there were two crocodiles, female and male, who lived in the river. Latter on the female crocodile was with child and wanted to eat the monkey's heart, then she told her husband " I am eager to eat a monkey's heart. If you can not find one for me, I will die and leave you alone."
The male crocodile said " Oh, darling! Do not worry. If you are eager to eat it, let me bring it for you, because I see every day a big monkey who crosses the river to the island. Usually he stops on the sand bank before, he goes to the island, I will swim and creep on that island to kill him for you."
The crocodile swam to the island and crept on to the sand bank to cover it. He thought that the monkey would think that he was the sand bank. When the monkey came back from the island at sunset, he leaped over from the shore of the river and he almost leaped on the bank which the crocodile covered, he saw the crocodile on the bank.
Then the monkey wondered " This bank is always as high as the surface of the water and why is this bank higher today? Maybe there is some ferocious animal who is lying on it and wants to kill me " and then the monkey called the bank of sand " Oh, friend Sand water, but today you are Bank ! You are always as high as the surface of the higher. How can you grow so high? "
The monkey repeated this sentence three times. When the crocodile heard the monkey call the sand bank, he thought that the bank was not talking to the monkey, because he covered it, then he pretended to be the sand bank and replied " Oh, friend monkey I am not higher than yesterday. Please leap on me! "
The monkey said " Oh, poor animal, my bank does not know how to talk. Who are you? " The crocodile told the monkey " I am the king of the crocodile who live in this river." The monkey asked the crocodile, " why do you sleep on this bank? " The crocodile said " Oh monkey! I want your heart for my wife, because she is eager to eat your heart."
" If you need my life, Please open your mouth widely and close your eyes, I will jump into your mouth " said the monkey, " and be sure to close your mouth. " Then the monkey saw that it was a good chance to leap to pass to the shore. He then jump on the crocodile's body and from there leaped on to the shore as fast as an arrow.
When the crocodile thought the monkey passed over his back could not catch him, he was very sorry to be out witted by the monkey, and he left the sand for his own place in the river.
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The Fisherman And His Wife
There was a man who went fishing with his son in a river. When he dropped his fishing line into the river, it got tangled around the root of a tree, but the man thought that his fishing line caught a big fish, he could not lift the line, then he told his son to go home and tell his wife to quarrel with the family and the neighbors, because he did not want his relatives to ask for some fish. Then his son went to his house to tell his mother to provoke a quarrel.
She put on only a strip of cloth round her chest and a sampot under her navel and she pretended to be like a foolish woman, then she painted her face black, and then went to her relative's houses.
All her relatives saw her in a strange condition, so they asked her " Hi! why did you do this? why do you put black coal on your face? " Then she blamed them and called them names " Damned! are your heads heavy, when I paint my face black? What is that to you. Do I hurt you, when I paint my face black? "
All her relatives heard her calling them names and they were very angry with her, then they called her names in return. Some were very angry, they took her to the judge. The judge asked her to pay money to those whom she called names. After the fisherman had told his son to ask his wife to provoke a quarrel with his relatives, he dived to take the fish that the fishing line had caught.
When he dived into the water, his head was hurt by the tree which got tangled with the fishing line, his eyes began to bleed, then he fumbled around to find the fish, but he found only the root of the tree, then he got out of the water and put up his hands to shield his eyes, and finally he went to the place where he had took off his clothes. But while he dived into the water his clothes were blown away by the wind.
The fisherman felt very cold, his eyes pained him very much, and he wanted to go home but he could not go because he was naked, then he hid within a bush till night came. At night he crept in to his house, but he could not get into his house because it was lighted, then he called his wife to give him some cloth, after putting this on, he entered his house.
His wife told him that she gave as a fine all the money and goods to their relatives because she called them names. The two lost everything, the man did not catch the fish, his eyes were hurt, his clothes were gone, and his wife was fined by the judge.
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The Ghost That Entered The Jar
Many years ago, there lived a ghost in a certain village. He always wandered hither and thither in search of food.
One day, while he was in his way looking for food he saw a farmer's wife. The ghost then came to like, her very greatly, and when night came, he transformed himself into the farmer that no one could say that he was not the same man. Then he went to like with her.
When the farmer once returned home from his farm work, he saw that ghost reposing in his bed. He then became very angry and at once dashed to drive him out. But the ghost pretending to be the woman's husband said "Where are you from? This house is mine, this woman is my wife and I am her married husband, I do not know why you come here and show such a temper. Tell me what you want? "
The farmer strongly opposed this and said "No, it is I who is her true husband. " He uttered exactly the word which the ghost did. Thus the quarrel about possessing the woman ran high between the farmer and the ghost. As for the woman, she was awfully perplexed. She did not know for certain who her real husband was, for they two were exactly alike.
Unable to settle this unhappy matter, they two decided to go to the court. But as the lower court could not find any just way to settle the matter for them, they went to the supreme court. In this second court, there were many expert judges. After hearing the case, they took notice of their appearances. As thy observed them from head to foot, they found out the difference.
Man's eyes and the ghost's are not alike. The ghost's had no iris while man's had, from these different features, the judges know before long who of the two, was the woman's true husband.
But how could they separate the two from each other? And how could other find out the ghost? Here was the skilful way of the judges: they then had a small jar brought in and put it in front of them. When this was done, one among the judges declared "One of you who can get into this jar, is the real husband of this woman, and we shall at once offer her to that man who can do this."
On hearing this, the man was very sad. He knew that he could not enter the jar at all. He therefore stood speechless. As to the ghost, he became very glad. He thought that the woman would be his wife forever. Without delay, he made his body very small and went up to the jar. Bowing his head to touch the open mouth of the jar and straightening his feet in the air, the ghost entered the jar very easily. As soon as the ghost entered the jar, it was firmly closed with a lid. The judges then lifted it up and showed it to the public, saying "Here is a ghost and not a man, man cannot get into a jar while the ghost can, now we have found out the truth, this man is the true husband of this woman. " The judges then sent the man and his wife to their home. But the ghost shut up in the jar was throw into the deep water of a lake and no one saw him any more since that day.
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The Golden Fish
One there were an old man and an old woman. They were very poor. Their cottage was on the seashore. They were fishermen by profession. One day, the old man with his fishing-net on his shoulder went down to the sea. He threw his net into the sea but he caught no fish.
Again he threw the net but there was no difference. On the third time, when he dragged out the net, he found in it a fish of golden color and because of this he called it " The golden-fish. " " Have pity on me, good old man. " said the golden fish, " put me into the sea. I'll offer you something valuable. "
The old man was surprised at the fish's words. He did never see any fish that could speak like a man. Now he saw this strange fish which could speak the human language. So he lifted it up carefully and said " May god be with you, Oh golden fish, I want to have nothing from you. "
On saying this, he threw the golden fish back into the water with the words, " Swim away with joy! " On that day, the old man had nothing for his wife. He went back to his cottage and told his wife of all that had happened.
" How foolish! " exclaimed the old woman, " Why didn't you beg something from it? Our two water pots are very old, why didn't you ask it to give us new ones? " The old man said nothing. He just went back to the sea and called out very loudly, " Oh golden fish! I come to meet you. "
He called out and at last the golden fish came to him " What do you want from me, good old man? " asked the fish. " My wife is very angry with me, now she asks me to come here for a pair of new water pots from you. " said the old man. " Do not get worried, good old man. " said the golden fish, " God will give you a new pair of water posts, go back to your house, please. "
Saying this, the fish was out of sight, and the old man returned to his cottage. He saw a new pair of water pots in his house, but the old woman was still unhappy. She was a bad-tempered woman. She therefore said to him angrily " What a stupid man you are! What's the use of these wooden pots? " And she went on, " Go to the fish again and ask for a house, because our house is too old to live in. "
The old man had nothing to reply. He went wearily back to the sea. This time the water of the sea became rather dirty. As before, he called out again and again until at last the fish came to him and said " What's the matter with you, good old man? "
" My wife is still angry with me. " said the old man " and now she forces me to ask for a house. " " Don't trouble yourself! " said the golden fish " Return to your house, god will give you what you want. "
The old man was very happy. He went back to his house. There he saw no cottage but a large building instead. In it, there were many rooms. It was a building made with bricks, surrounded by tall tree and a lawn and a park. The old woman was sitting near a window.
From that window, she looked at the old man who was wearily approaching the building " You, the dirty beast, " she said to the old man when he came near, " why did you ask for such a bad building? Go back to the fish again and ask it to change me into a charming young rich lady! "
Again the poor old man could not refuse. He moved back to the fish. This time the water turned dirtier. The fish came to him and asked " what is the matter with you, good old man? " " Pardon me please, " said the old man, " my wife wants to be a charming young rich lady. " " Never mind, good old man. " said the golden fish, " God will make her a charming and rich young lady, just go back to your house with joy! "
As the old man arrived at his house, he saw that a palace arose at the site of the building. In the inner room, he could see his wife who was now young in fine and costly clothes sitting in the middle of servants. On her fingers she wore rings adorned with diamonds. Her shoes were shining.
The old man approaching her said, " Good morning lady, are you now satisfies with these things? " But the young rich lady frowned and shouted at him, " Go to work in the stable, do not come here " and the old man went to the stable.
Two weeks later, the young rich lady had a new desire, she again said to the old man " My dear " she began, " go to the golden fish again and ask it to change me into a powerful queen "
Being afraid, the old man said to her respectfully " Do not want to be so, please, you are from a humble family, why do you want to get such a high position? Are you not ashamed of villagers? Limit your desire, my lady! "
But the cruel young lady became more angry. She thundered " Who are you? Don't you know that I am now a rich woman? " And she ordered him, " Go at once to the fish, otherwise I shall use my power! "
The poor old man fearing his wife returned to the sea. This time the water turned dark and the golden fish, " God will help her. " On that very moment, the young rough lady became a queen. A splendid palace with all kinds of pomp and amusement was in her possession.
" Are you now happy with your high position? " asked the old man. But the young cruel queen did not give him even a look. Ten minutes later, he was driven away by servants. Some of them said unkindly to him " You deserve this for your behavior, you have to know that you and our queen are not equal in position. "
The old man ran away. But after two weeks, the queen had another new desire. She asked one of her servant to look for the old man. Then the old man was brought in front of of the queen who said to him " My dear, go to the golden fish again and ask it to change me into the queen of the sea so that I can be a mistress of the golden fish itself. "
The old man did not deny her command. He went to the sea and called the fish. This time the sea was in great waves. The storm was going on. The water became very dark. After some time, the golden fish approached him. And the old man told it what his wife had asked him to say. On hearing that, the golden fish uttered no word. It turned away with its head down into the sea.
The old man waited for it. He waited and waited, but he saw no fish coming back to him. Finally he returned to his wife. But alas! There he saw no palace no queen and no servant, he saw his old cottage with a pair of broken water post under it. And he saw also his own poor old wife sitting near them.
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The Rabbit And The Palm Fruit
There was a rabbit who lived under a palm tree near a hillock. One day he was sound asleep, when a ripe palm fruit fell down on the ground near by. He heard the cracking sound of the dried palm leaves. At this sound, he was frightened, and said to himself " It is an earthquake! ", and then he jumped up and began running without looking behind.
When the Oxen saw him in high speed, they said to him " Rabbit! why are you running so fast? What is the matter? ." The Rabbit shouted in haste " Brother oxen! It's an earthquake! Do not stay here! Run! " The oxen heard what the Rabbit had said and they were frightened too, and they began to run, and soon after they met the Pigs and Deer.
They too ran after the Oxen and the Rabbit. When the Elephants saw them running, they too, asked " Why are you running, Oxen? What is the matter? ". The Oxen told them " do not stay here! The earthquake is coming! " Hearing this story, the Elephants jointed them.
When they all reached the Lion's den, the clever lion, seeing all the panic-stricken animals, asked the Elephants " Why are you running? What is the matter? " The Elephants replied, " We do not know exactly why. We saw the Oxen running, so we ran after them, we heard something about an earthquake ".
The Lion asked the Oxen " Why are you running? What is the matter? Oxen? " The Oxen said " We do not know either. We saw the Deer and the pigs running, so we ran after them ." The Lion asked the Deer and the Pigs, but they answered like wise, so finally he questioned the Rabbit.
The Rabbit answered " I am none too sure, myself. While I was sound asleep under a palm tree, the earth breaking up pierced my ears, so I was afraid and began to run ." The clever Lion then led all the panicky animals to the palm tree, and showed them the cracked palm fruit lying on the ground. The embarrassed animals gave the Rabbit a sound rebuke and went back to their own places.
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The Seller Of A Donkey
Long ago, there was a man named Khek. He had a son and a calf of a donkey as well. When the donkey-calf grew up, it became a handsome and plump donkey with brown and smooth hair.
On seeing the grown-calf donkey, the man said to his son " Now our donkey has became fat and nice, if we sell it now, we can get a good price for it. But here, there is no one who needs a donkey and the village where someone needs it is very far from here, how can we then get a good price for it? If we make it walk to that far away village, it may get thin by fatigue, and its price will go down. Now, what are we to do for getting a good price for it? "
The problem arising from this finally found its solution. The man and his son caught the donkey and fastened each pair of its feet tightly together and passed a pole between the pairs of feet and shouldered its two ends. Thus they began to carry it to the far a way village for getting a good price.
While going on their way, they were seen by village who were very much amused to see such a sight. They burst into laughter and said " Hey what a strange thing! The two men carrying a donkey. " And then they accused the man " Old man, do not do so. The horse, the ox, the elephant and the donkey have never been carried. It is they, which have to carry men on their back. "
On hearing this, the father and the son took down the donkey and untied it. The father then said to the son " We cannot ride all at once, for our donkey is not strong enough to carry both of us. So, ride alone on it, and I will follow you. " And so the young man did.
As he was passing through another village, he was asked " Where are you riding, boy? " " I ride to a village called Kompong. " answered the young man. And pointing out the old man, they asked " Who is this old man behind you? " " He is my father. " the young man replied.
On hearing this, the villagers became angry and said " What an ungrateful son you are! You are strong enough to walk while your old father is not so, you would better get down at once and let your old father ride the donkey.
On hearing this sharp remark, the young man at once got down from the donkey and the old man took his place. And then they continued their journey. The young man walked behind the donkey carrying his father.
After some time, they came near a well at the end of a certain village. Around this well there was a throng of young women who came to draw water from there. Some were noisily pouring water on their body for a bath.
Looking at the handsome young man walking slowly behind the donkey, they felt a great sympathy for him. They envied the old man who was riding so comfortably on the donkey while the young man walked behind him with much hardship.
Then, they approached the donkey and said roughly to the old man " This young donkey is fat and pretty, it is worthy of the young man who is in the same happy state, an old man like you is not fit to ride on it! "
When the old man and his son heard such unkind words, they began to discuss. The father said " First, when we carried the donkey we received an advice. Later, as you rode on the donkey, you got the blame. Afterwards I ride and encounter unkind words from these young women. What should we do to save ourselves from unpleasant words? "
After a thorough discussion, they found out a solution " Now, we ride together on it, you sit in front of and I behind you. " decided the old man. And sitting like that, they continued the journey. After crossing some distance, they reached a custom-house. They were then seen by the officer of the custom-house, who asked " Where are you going, men? " " We are going to the village of Kompong. " they answered.
And the officer blamed them " Your donkey is not strong and old enough to carry both of you. If you keep on riding along as far as the village of Kompong, it will become thin and its price will go down. How foolish you are! Why don't you let it walk? " Again they got off the donkey and led it by means of a rope.
When they arrived at a field, there was no road for them to go any further. So, they began to cross it to find another way. The owner of the field who was working there cried out from a distance " Walk carefully, old man! My field is full of thorns for it is not yet cleaned up. But you have a donkey. Why don't you ride it to avoid the thorns? Why do you treat it as your ruler? How foolish you are! "
After such an experience of life, the father and the son spoke to each other " We cannot be in agreement with all people. See, we receive so much blame. What is good for one man may be bad for another. When it is fruitful for one, it may be fruitless for another, come along, we nevertheless, have to put up with all the blame. "
And then they went on and reached at last the village of Kompong. There, they sold their donkey for a reasonable price and started for home without further loss of time.
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The Tiger, The Toad And The Tortoise
Once there lived a thin tiger in a remote corner of the jungle. One day, he was very hungry because he could not catch any animals. And while he was going about for food, he met a frog that was busily leaping up and down on a lonely road.
On seeing him, the tiger asked " Oh my old friend, where are you going? " But the frog did not answer and just asked him in return " And where are you going? " " I am going to look for food " said the tiger. " Like you, I am, too, going for that! " croaked the frog.
The tiger was on arrogant animal. He said to the frog in contempt " You can have only a short leap at a time, how can you go like me? " But the frog was not silenced. He at once replied " Do not belittle my short legs, I can leap on and travel as for as I like, I can even catch all kinds of animal big and strong, in short, any animal that I want to eat cannot escape me! "
The tiger could not accept the frog's exaggerated claim. He wanted to have a test, so he said " I that is so, let us have a trial, let you and I spring over a pond, one who can do this with success will be the winner of the contest. "
The frog agreed. He said " I am not afraid of you, and I can even surpass you in leaping. " Then they two went to a pond, which was not large. The tiger stood in front of the frog. And the frog was near the tip of the tiger's tail. Now they were ready to spring. The frog gave a signal " One! Two! Three! "
When the word " Three " was uttered, the frog was already on the other side of the pond. How could he go there so quickly? It is usual that the tip of the tiger's tail always turns forward before leaping. By the time when the tiger leapt, the frog already caught the tip of the tiger's tail by biting it. This tail threw off the frog across the pond. And he was on the other side of the before the tiger.
But the tiger did not know about this. He turned his face to the edge of the pond form where he had stared and cried out " Frog! Frog! " From behind him, the frog answered " But I am here before you! " Then the tiger was ashamed before the frog. He could not the winner in contest.
He began to admire the frog's strength. But he did not completely lose hope. So, he said to the frog again " I believe that you can leap very well, but I want to have some other contest with you, this more we have to catch some animals, one who can catch more animals will be the animals will be the winner in the contest. "
So, when leaping, the frog saw a piece of coal. And he swallowed it. Going a little further, he found a bone of a certain fish. He ate in up also. As he went on a few steps, he saw a grain of Angkram and he ate it. These three things were enough for his stomach. So he came back to the appointed sport to wait for the tiger.
As to the tiger, he also returned to the place where the frog was waiting. He had several kinds of meat in his stomach, too. Where he saw the frog, he asked him " How long have you waited for me? " " For a very long time! And how many kinds of meat do you have? Throw them out so that I can count them! " replied the frog.
The tiger then vomited out all the meat from his stomach
" Is that all? " asked the frog. " Yes, that is all! " was the reply. Now it was the frog's turn to vomit what he had eaten. First of all came the piece of coal. " What is this black piece, frog? " questioned the tiger with wonder. The frog replied " The horn of a rhinoceros! "
" Heaven! " surprised the tiger " you can even catch a rhinoceros? What a strong animal you are? " Next, came out the fish bone " What is this called, frog? " asked the tiger. " The tusk of an elephant. " exaggerated the frog. " Ah, your strength is more than what I thought! " uttered the tiger " And is that all? " " No, no, not at all! " stammered the frog. And he threw up the grain of Angkram. " This is popularly called the tiger's eyes! " he said to frighten the tiger.
On seeing this and hearing the word " Tiger's eyes! " The tiger was very much terrified. He ran off in great haste. Seeing this, the frog smiled and shouted " Wait tiger! Wait for a moment, I am to take off your eyes for my food! "
More terrified than ever, the tiger did not stop. He ran on and on as fast as he could. The frog, too, leaped on after him. Somewhere along the road, he met a tortoise. And the frog asked him " Dear tortoise, have you seen any tiger passing by this road? " " Yes, I have. " answered the tortoise. " Are you following him? " " Yes, I am. " replied the frog.
" May I help you to chase him? " suggested the tortoise.
" Of course, you may, come with me then! " said the frog. The two went on together. Many hours later, they reached a cluster of bamboo where the tiger was hiding.
The frog then made a plan of reaching him. He said to the tortoise " You have to wait for me here, I shall go up to catch
him! " After saying these, the frog began to climb up one of the bamboo. He went up with the help of some small tress.
As he was endeavoring to do so, down, down he fell with a rattling sound Prav...«" Prok! " In a surprise, the tortoise asked " Why! Why do you fall down, frog? " " I forget a rope and now I come for some creepers to fasten him. " replied the frog. Hearing the word " to fasten him. " the tiger at once jumped out and ran away. He ran fasten and faster till he reached a large tree. Then he climbed it up and stayed there quietly.
The frog and the tortoise reached the tiger quickly by following his footprints. At foot of the tree on which the tiger was silently crouching, they saw no more footprints. They looked for him hither and thither but they found no tiger. But when they looked up through the branches of the tree, they could see the tiger.
Again they made a plan. The frog cried out " Here he is! ". And he said to the tortoise " You have to wait at the foot of the tree, I shall go up to bind him! ". With difficulty the frog tried to climb the tree. Near the branches on which the tiger was crouching, there was a piece of dry bark, which the frog climbed on it.
It being not firm enough to support him fell down on the ground with him. The frog was nearly dead. This surprised the tortoise. He said " Why is it so, frog? " But the frog indifferently said " I think it is the best way to cut down the tree for catching the tiger. " Then the frog asked the tortoise to hit the trunk of the tree, making the sound like " Pok! Pok! Pok! " as if tree is being cut down by an axe.
As for the frog, he began to make sound like a tree when it is about to fall down " Krot! Krot! Krot! " And after such sounds he cried out " It is ready to fall down! " The tiger was then trembling in fear, he looked at the sky and he saw some pieces of cloud moved by wind. This made him wrongly understand that the tree was falling down.
Without delay, he sprang down on the ground and again ran off. The frog and the tortoise moved after him. The tiger went as for as a house. It was the house of an old smith. He was making things out of iron. The tiger walked up to him and said with respect " Please have pity, my old father, by taking me to hidden place so that I may escape from two rough animals. " " Yes, be not afraid, sit here near me! " said the old smith.
Some minutes afterwards, the tortoise arrived there. But the frog did not yet arrive. Seeing the tortoise, the tiger cried out for help " He is coming, father, he is coming here! " " Never mind! " shouted the old smith. And he caught the tortoise and sat on it and continued his work. Shortly afterwards, the frog arrived. The tiger again cried out " Help! Help! It's this animal that needs my eyes. "
But the old smith said " If you are much afraid, here is a rope, tie your waist to my bellows! " And so did the tiger. But as the smith was sitting on the tortoise and was busy with his work, it was a chance for the tortoise. He raised up his head and at once bit the old man's thigh and he fell down immediately.
Seeing this, the frog shrieked " Well, one has been finished, we have to kill another at the same time! " As to the tiger, he, too, was more terrified than ever and darted through a river along with the bellows. But the frog and the tortoise ran at once in pursuit of him.
They went as far as the edge of that river. There, the frog cried out " Be careful, tortoise, do not let him spring into the river so that we can see his footprint. " Hearing this word, the tiger was quite joyful. He thought " I have to omit my foot print. " And he quickly leapt into the river. No sooner had the tiger sprung into the river than the water began to enter the bellows and he was then drowned.
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The Two Neighbors
Once there were two neighbors. One day they planned to set traps to catch animals. As the sun was setting behind the mountain, they left together for the forest. In the forest, one said " I will set my trap near the foot of the tree, because this tree has many fruits, and at night, many animals come to eat the fruits. "
The other one said " I want to set my trap here too, but now if you set it near the foot of the tree, I will set mine on the top of the tree and we shall see tomorrow whose trap will catch the animals. " After discussion, one set his trap near the foot of the tree, and the other set his trap on the top of the tree, then they came back home.
But the man who set the trap on the top of the tree, after reaching home, that night, discussed this with his wife. He said " Of all our ancestors, did you ever hear if any one who set a trap on the top of the tree caught four-footed animals who walk on the earth? But right now if I have set my trap on the top of the tree, how will it catch an animal? Thus I will have to wake up very early, and if I see my neighbor's trap on the ground catching an animal, I shall take it off and put it in my trap at the top of the tree, and then I will again go with him to see the trap. Then I have to give a share of the animal to judge Sek. If my neighbor does not agree with me, he will go to judge Sek, too, and Mr. Sek will let me win.
The husband and wife, after discussion, went to bed, but the man woke up very early. He smoked and left his home to see his trap. He saw his friend's trap holding a deer and then he took off the deer and put it in his own trap. After that, he returned home. At dawn, the man who set the trap on the ground asked the other man to come and see their traps, but the other man said " Do not be in a hurry, my trap will not catch any animal because it is at the top of the tree. May be your trap is holding some animal, if your trap is holding some animal, you had better give me some meat to eat. "
He spoke proudly because he already knew what was there. The two men left their home together to see their traps. Unfortunately, the trap on the top of the tree was holding an animal. The man who had the trap in the tree said " Hi! Look! You did not believe me, I told you " Do not set the trap on the ground, set it on the tree " Now look! whose trap is holding the animal? " He climbed up the tree and took down the deer. The two neighbors came home together.
The man whose trap was on the tree went to see judge Sek and told him " I and my neighbor set trap. My friend set it on the ground, and I set it on the top of the tree. I took the deer caught in his trap. If the case comes to you, you have to cover over my fault and give the punishment to my friend. "
Then judge Sek got a share of the deer and said " You have to bring a lot of betels and arecas very early for tomorrow when your friend comes to see me, I will ask him to bring the same thing. As he is very poor, he can not bring anything, so you will win the case. Go ahead to find the betel and arecas. "
The man who had set the trap on the ground was disappointed and did not agree with his friend about the catch. So he went to the judge Sek and told him the same way as his friend had told him. Mr. Sek said to him the same as he said to his friend.
In the morning the man who had set the trap on the tree brought a lot of things very early to Mr. Sek. But the poor man who had set the the trap on the ground could not bring anything to Mr. Sek. He was afraid of losing the case and of being in prison. He ran from village to village to find the betels and arecas.
He went and met another judge, Mr. Rabbit. Mr. Rabbit asked him " What is the matter that you are running about like this? Stop! " He said " Please help me because I and my friend went to set the trap together, but I put it on the ground and my friend's trap was on the tree. Unfortunately, my friend's trap, on the top of the tree, caught an animal. I did not believe this, so went to see the judge. The judge ordered me to bring the betels and arecas very early. The one who could not bring them to him will be punished. This is why I am very afraid. "
Judge Rabbit said " Do not be afraid, this afternoon we shall go together. " In the afternoon they went together to judge Sek's house. He said " Why are you so late? You lost your case. " Mr. Rabbit answered " We are very late because we went to see fish flying and eating the leaves at the top of of the tree. " Mr. Sek said " Who ever heard that, from the time of our ancestors? I have never heard that the fish fly and eat the top leaves of the tree. "
Mr. Rabbit answered " From the time of our ancestors, I have never heard that he who set the trap on the tree can catch an animal who is a quadruped. Do you hear it? Everyone of you, people? "
Mr. Sek was quiet. Mr. Rabbit convinced the court that the man who had the trap on the tree should go to the prison. Mr. Sek was ashamed before the people because of his ambition. He sat quietly and looked towards the wall.
" Ambition is put to shame before law."
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Wat Norkor Temple (Kompong Cham Province)
There is an ancient temple, in the west of Kompong Cham about two hundred meters from national route, which is known that Wat Norkor temple. The tale connected with the temple as the followings:
There were two farmers, husband and wife, living in the Toul Sbaov ( now in Kompong Cham town ). They went to plough the rice fields with their baby who was only three months old. The parents left him sleeping under the Pnaov tree ( a kind of fruit tree ) to work. There were a lot of birds coming to eat Pnaov fruit. They pierced, pecked, shouted loudly and defecated on the baby and made him dirty. A Pnaov fruit fell on him and cut a piece of meat off his body that caused to bleed continuously.
The parents took the child to the water dock to wash their child. The dock named Chroy Thmor. The child fell into the water because the mother was not careful. Suddenly, there was a big fish coming to swallow and eat the child and went away. They cried with great sorrow but they did not know how to do so they went back home. As for the fish, after eating and swallowing the child, it went to the big river and swam down to southern sea of China.
A fisherman caught it when he cast a fishing net and brought that big fish home. He cut open that fish's belly and saw an alive child. The fisherman brought him to give to the king of China. The king took good care of him as he did with his sons. When the child grew up, the king let him study and got high education. The boy asked for a permission form the king of China to pay a visit to his home land in order to find his parents.
The king of China agreed to allow him with five hundred servants accompanied him to Cambodia by large ocean going sailing junk. The junk landed at the Kompong Cham port, the boy got to the villages there and told the junk to return to China. The boy called himself Chao Prom; he stayed in the house of a widow. When living together so long, the widow and the young man fell in love with each other and they regarded each other as husband and wife.
One day the husband lied on his wife's thigh and she parted his hair for pleasure. She saw a mark on the head without hair so she asked for the cause. The husband said he was so pitiful that no one could be as him. Then, the man Prom told his wife all about the cause and the story that he was told by his adopted father, the Chinese fisherman, when he was young.
When hearing all about it, the wife sat saying nothing with tears falling down. The husband wondered so much and tried to ask why she wept. She replied in a sobbing manner about the old story of taking the child to be washed and caused the child into the water and then the fish swallowed and went away. " After that my husband died. " she said.
At the time she finished telling, the husband made a conclusion, " It must be me who is the son. But it is too late now because it has already been a husband and wife. " So he apologized to the mother and asked her to punish him in order to free himself from suffering and to rid himself of malice. The mother ordered him to construct a stupa for keeping her corpse when she died. And when the son died, a statue in a sitting praying manner to the mother's ashes for all the time of Buddhism, five thousand years was made.
The man Prom with high education became a teacher in the village. That was why there were a lot of students helping with his mother's message until they could finished constructing a stupa with the mother's ashes and a statue of Ta Prom in praying manner.
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