Reading Short Story 1                 

Mother's Beloved: 1 



English Translation:

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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.

Two journalists 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 teaching materials.

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, "It’s been twenty years since I left this place! When I see the trail leading to my village, all my tiredness seems to vanish. It’s like a picture engraved in my memory." Bounkham’s voice was filled with laughter.


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