March 21, 2008

Khmer folk tale : 1- The Ghost that Entered the Jar

Manay 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 live with her.

When the former 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 they 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 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 anong 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 shup up in the jar was throw into the deep water of a lake and on one saw him anymore since that day.