Khmer Legend – The Two Neighbours
All the nations in the world have their own legend stories, the stories that were created and told from generation to generation. Some stories are attached with the teaching purpose of how to be a good person living in this world. Khmer also has many legends of this kind, and the elders always tell their youngsters from time to time. Below is one of the Khmer legends that also consist the teaching meaning.
There were two men living next to each other. One day, they had a date to lay trap for animal in the forest together. Until late afternoon that day, they started their journey. When arrived in the forest at a tree trunk, a man said: “I want to place my trap here, because this tree has fruits, at night there will be animals come to eat the fruits.” “I also want to place my trap here,” another man also said, “if you already place the trap at the tree trunk, I will place my trap on top of the tree. Let’s see who will get the animal.” After said, the two men are busy laying their trap as their determined positions, then they’re back to their homes.
At night, the man who placed the trap on top of the tree discussed with his wife:” since ancient time, I’ve never heard who place the trap on top of the tree. If so how can an animal that walk on the ground would go into my trap? So I must get up in the early morning to see, if the trap at the tree base caught animal, I’ll take it to attach with my trap on the tree top. And when we go to check the trap together, I will take the animal and give to the parrot-wise-man (សុភាសេក). Because if his neighbor doesn’t agree or feel unfair, he would complain to the wise-man. However, the parrot-wise-man would help me to win him.
In the very early morning, the man got up and went to see the trap. There was a small deer was trapped at the tree base, so he took the small deer to attach on his trap at the tree top and re-prepared the trap at the tree base.
When the sun rises, the two neighbors went together to check their traps. The one who has trap at the tree top said: “I don’t hope that my trap could caught any animal, because it’s on the tree top. But your trap might have caught.” This is the words of mocking as he already knew what had happened.
When they’ve arrived the trapping place, saw there is a small deer attached on the trap at the tree top, but the trap at the tree base is empty. The owner of the trap at the tree top said: “Haha, you don’t believe me, I said do not place the trap at the tree base, now you see I got a deer.” As he said he climb the tree to take off the deer, then both of them went homes.
As planned, the man who got the deer, hurriedly bring some deer flesh to the parrot-wise-man and politely said: I and a man went out to lay trap for animal, his trap is at the tree base, my trap is at the tree top. I cheated his animal, that’s why I come to ask for your help. If that man come to seek for judgement, please let me win, I would remember your favor.” The parrot-wise-man received the deer flesh and said:” Now you go and bring me the areca and betel leaf. If he come, I’ll tell him this quest too. If tomorrow morning he come later than you, I’ll let you win.”
The man, who placed the trap at the tree base, after come home feel very unfair. So he went to meet the parrot-wise-man for help. And he is told to bring the areca and betel leaf too.
In the next morning, the cheated man first brought the items to the parrot-wise-man. The other man still cannot find the items yet, because is so poor, he run from village to village seeking. Then he met the rabbit-wise-man, “Hey, what happened to you, why you are so hurry?”, the rabbit-wise-man asked. The man described the whole story, “Don’t worry, this evening I’ll go with you.” The rabbit-wise-man promised to help.
Once they’ve arrived the parrot-wise-man house, he asked: ” Why you are too late, your case has lose.” ” We’re late because we’re waiting to see a fish jump up to eat the tamarind shoot.” The rabbit-wise-man replied.
” Since my ancestor’s time, no one have ever heard that a fish can jump up to eat the tamarind shoot at all.”
” Since I was born, I have never heard that the trap at the ground doesn’t caught animal, but the trap on the tree top does?”
The parrot-wise-man kept silent, dare not to say anything more. So the rabbit-wise-man had decided that the owner of the trap at the tree base is the winner in this case.
As a wise-man in the village, the parrot was shamed by his greediness, he turned away from the crow with his head bend down.
The moral of this story is: Greed without shame, ruin the law. (លោភឥតខ្មាសវិនាសច្បាប់).