A Poor Boy

Veun Ta Seng Saephan

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Hund Pong. His father died three years after he was born so his mother raised him by herself. When he grew up, he married the most beautiful girl in the village.

One day the king of that country heard about the poor boy and his beautiful wife. He told his men to take Hund Pong out to the fields and cut off his ears. His wife was then forced to live with the king.

When she went outside looking for her husband, she saw him far away digging weeds in the field.

She sent a message to him saying, “You can no longer hear me, but remember, when you die, I will follow you.”

The next day a messenger reported to the king that Hund Pong had died.

Several days went by and one night Hund Pong’s wife dreamt that her husband was complaining about her promise to die after him. She cried bitterly during her dream. The king awakened her and asked, “Why are you crying so hard?”

She told him about her dream and that Hund Pong wanted to be respected and served at his gravesite. She went to the grave with the maids and bowed and prayed for the grave to open. Suddenly it opened and she quickly jumped into it. But as she jumped, the maids grabbed her clothes and tore two pieces of cloth from her dress. When they dropped them the scraps of cloth turned into two pigeons which flew to a huge tree near the king’s house. Every day the pigeons sat up in the tree cooing. They said that the king would die next year because he was guilty of cruelty. He didn’t want to listen to the pigeons so he tried to hire someone to chop down the tree. Finally, an eighty-year-old man offered to help.

When the old man arrived at the tree with his axe, a beautiful feather dropped to the ground near him. He picked it up and dusted himself with it. Wherever it touched him, his skin became very smooth. The old man turned into a young and handsome man.

Then he refused to cut down the tree, and he rushed to the king’s house to report what had happened. The king asked for the feather because he, too, wanted to make himself younger. The man gave it to him, and the king dusted himself all over his body. He was amazed at the results. Finally, he brushed the feather across his neck, but it immediately turned into a knife and cut off his head.

Since then people believe they should not be greedy with somebody else’s beautiful wife.