Angkor Wat

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Angkor Wat in Cambodia
the world's largest religious monument built in the 12th century
now a world heritage site
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Roeung Sdech Nung Satt Seik

Story of

A King and A Parrot

 

A long time ago, there was a King who kept a parrot as a pet. He loved the parrot so much that he never let it out of his sight. One day, the King and his entourage went out for a horse ride deep into a forest far away from the palace. At one point, the King realised that his parrot was missing and so he commanded his subjects to search for it. Unfortunately, to the King’s deep distress, the parrot could not be found. Consequently, the King suffered from this loss for a long while. 

One day, the parrot suddenly appeared in front of the King at his palace. The King was delighted to have it back and noticed that the parrot looked extremely beautiful and a lot younger than it had been before it disappeared. Its multi-coloured feathers were so shiny and bright that the King looked at it in awe. As pleased as he was to have the parrot back, the King could not resist asking the parrot to reveal how it had achieved such a transformation. 

The parrot then told the King what had happened when it got lost in the forest. Unable to find its way back to the palace, the parrot just flew on further and further until it reached a ‘Hemm-Pien’  forest or a ‘Himalayan’ forest where it ate the fruit of a magic mango tree. Having eaten them everyday, the parrot found itself getting younger, stronger and more beautiful. The parrot went on to say that there were also old people who became young again after eating the same fruit. 

Upon hearing the story, the King was very excited at the prospect of getting young again himself. He then asked the parrot to go back to the Himalayan forest to bring him the fruit. As ordered, the parrot returned to the forest and, as it is only a small bird, brought back only one mango in its beak.  The King was delighted to receive the magic mango. However, he thought to himself that one mango would not be  sufficient to make him as young as he wanted. And being a kind King, he also wanted to share it with his wife, family and close friends. So, he ordered that the mango be planted in the ground, and carefully cultivated until the resultant tree bore fruit. 

As ordered, the King’s servants planted the mango in the most fertile area they could find in the palace grounds. They took great care of the tree which grew from the mango and carefully guarded it. However, they didn’t realise that the ground under the mango tree was the home of a family of a giant venomous snake. As it was growing, the tree absorbed the venom from the snakes. 

Five years had passed and the mango tree was loaded with fruits. When they became fully ripe the servants picked the best ones and presented them to the King. The King couldn’t wait to eat them but, as a palace tradition, he had to let his kitchen taster eat it before he did. The food taster started to eat the mango. All of a sudden, he experienced chest pains, foams spilling out of his mouth, blood flowing from his eyes and nose, and he died straight away. 

The King and everyone in his court were horrified. Having realised how close to death he had been, the King was furious with the parrot. He concluded that the parrot had told lies and planned to destroy him. He then grabbed the parrot and hit its head with all his might on to the floor until it died. Ever since that incident, no-one in the palace dared to go near the magic mango tree. 

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Many years later, an old couple who had been looking after the King’s elephants in the palace fell ill. As they were childless, they didn’t have anyone to take care of them. Life was very difficult and miserable. They therefore decided that they wanted to die. To achieve this, they went to pick a big basket full of ripe mangoes from the magic tree. Sitting opposite each other, they started to eat them and expected to die quickly. For some reason they did not die.  

The wife looked up at her husband but instead saw a young man in front of her … she was startled so asked him, ‘who are you?’ The husband lifted up his head … was also startled to see a young woman in front of him, and replied with the same question: ‘and who are you?’ After a long silence, they suddenly realised that the fruit had actually worked its magic.  Not only did they become younger, but they were the best looking couple in the palace. 

The King quickly heard of this couple’s magic transformation. He was delighted to hear about it but was still very cautious about eating the fruit. To test the effect, he decided to let a few of his servants taste the fruits first, and all of them became young, strong and beautiful. The King finally plucked up the courage to eat some and as expected, he too became young, strong and handsome. However, it still bothered him as to why the fruit had been poisonous many years ago. He ordered that this mystery should be investigated. 

After a lengthy investigation, the palace experts informed the King that there had been venomous snakes living under the mango tree and that the venom had poisoned the fruit. However, at some point the snakes had moved away and so the fruit was no longer poisonous and had regained its magical properties. When he learned of this, the King thought of his dead parrot, and was filled with deep regret and guilt for acting impulsively without knowing the facts. 

THE END

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