March 26, 2008

Khmer Folk Tale: 5- The Basket-Making Man (Part II)

Be continued from part I

A wife is the most necessary of all things! I shall get betrothed to a charming young woman. I shall marry her and shall comfortably live with her in my new house. I shall love her and she will love me. Se, in course of one year I will have a delightful boy. I shall love him very much. I shall engage some servants to look after him so that my beloved wife has no difficulty. All the servants will attentively take care of my child. But if any one of them neglect their duty and let my child fall down, I shall knock him down without any mercy!
As this last idea occurred to him, he forgot what he was doing. So, to punish his headless servant he suddenly raised his feet and gavea heavy blow to the bunch of palm-leaves. As he was about to fall down, luckily he could seize by his hand the end of a palm leaf and hung from there. It was a difficult position. If he wanted to get on the top of the palm tree again, it was impossible to do so. If he left the palm-leaves, he would fall down and meet his death. He therefore remained hanging there.
Shortly afterwards, a man riding this elephant, came towards the palm tree. Seeing him, the basket-maker asked a favour from him, "My brother, please help me to come down, I will be your servant, if I am saved from death "
The elephant driver on hearing this, made his animal stop under the swinging man. Then, standing on the elephant's back, he got hold of the basket-maker's feet to take him down with his two hands. But as he did so, he did not stand firmly and his feet therefore, trembled.
With such a touch on its back, the elephant thought it was its master's signal to go on. If then made a sudden rush forwards leaving its master who was tightly hoding the basket maker's feet, Now, the elephant driver told the basket-maker, "Please catch the palm-leaves as tightly as possible my dear brother, I will be your servant if I am saved!"
The basket-maker who now found it difficult to maintain his grasp of the palm-leaf shouted to the elephant driver, "Leave my feet! I cannot keep my hold with your catching my feet!"
"Please do not let go your hands from the palm leaves, I am afraid of death," said the elephant driver " it is just our bad fate!"
Suddenly there appeared four bald men. They carried a large fishing-net and moved towards the two men in danger. The two men humbly begged their sympathy, "Have pity, dear uncles, by taking us down on the ground, we shall then be happy to be your servant for our life"
"But how can we save you while you are swinging like this? " asked the bald men in bewilderment.
The unlucky men said, "Please spead out your fishing-net under us, and each one of you standing face to face in four corners and lift it up so that we can jump down on it"
The bald men did what they were instructed to do. But instead of raising the fishing-net with hands, they ties each corner of the net to their neck with a robe. Then they told the men in danger to give up the palm-leaves. Instantly, down fell the two men with a loud noise at the net center, tugging the four heads to hit one another so violently that they died a moment later.
But the basket-maker and the elephant-driver were then safe. They were shocked to see the four bald men laying dead with blood-stain on their heads. They discussed, "What should we do with them now? If we cremate them, the headman of our village will accuse us of a crime. If we tell him truly, he may not believe for we have no proof. So,the best way, I think, is to bury them right here"
Then the two being of the dug a large pit and placed the four motionless men into it and, after burying them there, they went back to their houses.


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