Jan 21, 2002
I haven't updated my journal in a while, but this time it
wasn't actually my laziness. There still exists small corners of the world without cybercafes.
I get no credit for this story other than forwarding it to all of you. It was just too bizarre not to share. Copied from the Kratie guidebook as translated by Mao Mao from the Star Guesthouse.
Chlong Sombor Temple Crocodile Story
Once, when the capital of Cambodia was in Sombor, there was a really powerful, magical monk who lived in Chlong. He could do all sorts of tricks, which came from a book, which he told people never to look at. But how could you not?
One day a student monk looked in the book and found a way to turn into a crocodile. Cool! he thought, and got his friends round to help. Just hit me three times with this stick and I'll turn into a crocodile, then hit me again and I'll turn back. So they did, and he did, but he frightened them so much they ran away. He couldn't change back so he started to work as a crocodile ferry instead, taking people back and forth over the river.
Then the king's daughter got sick. The king summoned the powerful, magical monk to the palace in Sombor, so the monk headed up there by crocodile. He fixed the princess, and was almost home again, when the crocodile met another crocodile and they started to fight. The crocodile decided to swallow his teacher, the powerful magical monk, to keep him safe. Then the two crocodiles fought and fought and fought, for 7 days and nights. Eventually he won, and the other crocodile died and turned into a mountain (Phnom Sapokalay near Chlong). He thought his teacher would be okay, but when he spat him out again the powerful, magical monk was dead as a dodo.
Convinced that his teacher had died from princess-related causes rather than as a result of not breathing too long the crocodile went straight back to the palace and chomped the princess. That sent the king into a frenzy - he ordered a boat and another magic man to chase the crocodile and kill him. Because he was a magic crocodile he could swim really fast, event faster than the ganoat Royale, so the king's boat had a hard time catching him. But eventually the magic man managed to stop him with some carefully-lobbed magic rocks.
The king's men sliced him open to get the princess out, but, surprise surprise, she suffered a similar fate to the powerful, magical monk. In honor of his daughter the king ordered the slaughter of 100 pregnant women, and the building of a temple at the palace with the pregnant ladies' corpses inside it's central column.
And that is the story of the crocodile of Chlong.