Author Topic: Isaan Myths and Folktales  (Read 2817 times)


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Isaan Myths and Folktales
« on: August 02, 2010, 08:45:25 PM »
Myths and Folktales

The Hare and the Fish

Once upon a time there was a village surrounded by a forest at the edge of which there lived a hare. Somewhere near the village was a big pond in which a snakehead mullet fish lived.

The fish and the hare had been friendly with each other for a long time but did not meet often. The hare sometimes came to drink the water in the pond.

One nigh the hare came to the pond and met the fish. They began chatting and the hare asked the fish, "When they throw nets into the shallow water, I hide myself in the deep water. And when they throw nets into the deep water, I hide in the shallow water near the pond's edge.

Then the fish asked, "How do you always manage to escape when the willagers put up trapping nets and chase you towards them?"

"Whenever they do this on the hill near the village I run away to a hill in the distance. And when they chase animals on the distant hill, I run to the hill by the village," was the reply.

As the two animals were chatting, a man walked by. He heard them talking and stopped to listen and heard all that was said. When the hare was taking leave of the fish, he hurriedly went into hiding and neither of the animals knew that they had been overheard.

The next morning, that man persuaded his neighbours to go hare-hunting. They went to chase animals on the hill near the village and failed to find the hare, so they moved to the distant hill. They were successful this time.

That same morning the man's friends went to throw nets in the shallow and deep parts of the pond. They caught the fish, the hare's friend.

The two groups of men brought the hare and the fish back to their village and put them on the patio. The hare pretended to be very still, as though he were dead. The fish did the same. Then the men returned to their houses after having agreed to come back for their shares of the catch later.

When everyone had gone, the fish started speaking to the hare, "They have all gone, can you run away?"

The hare, glancing to the left and the right, answered, "It won't be difficult for me to escape but what about you?"

"It won't be difficult for me either. I can even do it now," peplied the fish. And then he rolled over towards a gap in the floor and fell into a foul-smelling puddle underneath.

At that monment, the man came back from doing his errands. He saw the fish in the puddle and picked him up to wash at a pond. All the way there, the fish feigned death, but when the man put him into the water he flipped so hard that he got out of his hand and swam away into the deep water.

So the man returned home, intending to cut up the hare. As he was walking up the steps leading to the patio, he saw the hare about to run away. So he grabbed a stick and ran after him, trying to hit him. The hare ran into his kitchen and was chased rund and round there. The man tried and tried to hit the hare but always missed. Instead, he struck and broke his own pots and plates. Finally the hare jumped down from the house and ran into the forest.

The moral of the story : Never let other people know your secret.

Fable of the Northeastern Thai Children
Niwet Chomphu
735 Chayangkun Road, Tambon Bung
Amnat Charoen District, Ubon Ratchathani Province