Legend of Kabilaphom, the Four-Faced Heavenly King
Kabilaphom, the legendary Heavenly King with a four-faced head, often asked people to solve riddles.  If they provided the wrong answer, he would have them beheaded.  One day, he asked a particularly wise young man to solve a complex riddle within seven days.  Feeling confident in the difficulty of the task, Kabilophom stated that he would forfeit both his own head and his Kingdom if the young man were successful.  On the seventh day, the young man solved the riddle and Kabilaphom subsequently ordered his seven daughters to proffer his head to the wise man. However, because Kabilaphom possessed such great powers, severing his four-faced head would be a catalyst for disaster.  If his head fell to the ground, the earth would burn.  If it were submerged in water, oceans and rivers would boil.  If thrown into the air, tornadoes would destroy the earth.  To avoid such devastation, Kabilaphom instructed the young man to present his head to his daughters to keep deep inside the earth.  In a demonstration of respect, however, Kabilaphom's head had to be paraded on a sacred silver receptacle in an annual procession to prevent the occurrence of natural disaters.  Therefore, during the annual New Year Festival, the seven daughters, each recognizable by her own characteristic animal, flower, and other identifying features, parade Kabilaphom's four-faced head for all to see.


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2002 SEAsite Laos.  Legend of Kabilaphom, the Four-Faced Heavenly King