|We were walking on a trail wide enough for an
oxcart. After traveling through the jungle for two hours, we came upon an open meadow.
Across the road on our right were fields of cotton, sesame, cucumbers, and other valuable
crops. In the distance, we saw coconut trees, which overshadowed smaller trees. Among the
trees, we saw two or three rooftops, with a few others hidden behind the thick foliage. At
last, we were nearing our destination.
accompanied me on the journey. They came to collect information about the village
illiteracy rates, while my purpose was to record oral folk stories, which would be used as
As I walked along the side of the trail, certain feelings and
memories began to surface. I reflected on how I had left and returned to my own
birthplace. Along with these flashes of emotional memory, in the wind I could smell the
pungent scent of the khio grass. I beard the stalks of bamboo creaking against one
another, ood aed . . . From afar, the sound of cicadas fiddling with their wings
made a beautiful music that echoed in my ears. All of these sounds conjured up the
familiar atmosphere of my own birthplace. But in fact, we were all returning to the
birthplace of Bounkham, one of my traveling companions.
As he came within sight of his former village, Bounkham cried out
excitedly, "Its been twenty years since I left this place! When I see the trail
leading to my village, all my tiredness seems to vanish. Its like a picture engraved
in my memory." Bounkhams voice was filled with laughter.