tradi_lao_lit.gif (6790 bytes)

taod_king_cover.jpg (18207 bytes)

The king and queen of Inthapatthanakhon gave birth to a meritorious son who was as ugly as a toad. The prince was named Khankhaak, which means toad. When Khankhaak was twenty years old, Indra came to make him handsome, give him the most beautiful wife, and build him the most splendid castle. Realizing the prince's merit, the king resigned from the throne to allow his son to become king.

Phya Khankhaak became a powerful king, with all the kings from all human, demon, animal, and angel lands as his protectorates. Every creature in the universe came to pay tribute and homage to Phya Khankhaak, but neglected to pay tribute and regards to Phya Thaen, the rain god. This behavior so humiliated Phya Thaen that he became infuriated with Phya Khankhaak. Phya Thaen then refused to let the naga play in his lake in heaven. As a result, the whole universe was faced with the catastrophe of drought.

After asking the Naga King for the cause of the drought, Phya Khankhaak organized a great army of all humans, animals, demons, and angels and marched up to heaven to fight Phya Thaen. After a long, perilous, and miraculous battle, Phya Khankhaak won. He then taught Phya Thaen to be just and to bestow rain to the universe seasonally. After enjoying Phya Thaen's heaven for a few months, Phya Khankhaak came back to rule the fertile earth happily. Every once in a while, Phya Khankhaak would recount the story of how he led a great army to fight with Phya Thaen and how he enjoyed spending some time in heaven after his victory. Later, many people retraced Phya Khankhaak's way to heaven and went to learn all kinds of magical knowledge and power. They came back to earth and began to test their powers. They fought until everyone on earth was completely destroyed. Corpses piled up and became a mountain. After the mass massacre of the people, piles of corpses became a mountain and a giantic vine called Khue Khao Kad grew from the foot of the mountain until it reached the heaven of Phya Thaen.  Phya Khankhaak shot his magic arrow at the vine, which completely destroyed the vine and everything else (presumably Phya Khankhaak himself too).  Then the root of the vine disintegrated and left a large crater on earth.  Later, the crater became a lake that was called Nongkasae.


For those interested in the entire myth of Phya Khankhaak, The Toad King, please see:   Phya Khankhaak, the Toad King: A Translation of an Isan Fertility Myth in Verse, translated by Wajuppa Tossa, original transcription by Phra Ariyanuwat Khemajari, Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1996. 


SEAsite Laos | Overview | History | Art & Culture | Language | Literature

Gallery | Folklore | Other Topics | Links | SEAsite

2002 SEAsite Laos.