Phra Lak-Phra Lam
  A Previous Life of the Buddha

 
The battle for Lanka was won, but that very night Phra Lam had a bad dream.  After consultation, Thao Phik Phi said to him: "It is the sign of imminent danger, but you can do nothing about it, for it will be your last kam ven."

An order was immediately issued to the princes and officers of all ranks to mount guard around Phra Lam.  For some time Phagna Padthaloum, king of the Naga, who lived at the bottom of the ocean, had been annoyed by the coming-and-going and the commotion caused by the movements of Phra Lam's troops above his kingdom.  He blamed Phra Lam for it and that night decided to seize him.  He rose to the surface of the ocean, and using his magical powers, put to sleep all the guards and carried away Phra Lam, whom he took to the bottom of the ocean and kept as prisoner in an iron cage.

Phra Lam's disappearance was known to his entourage only at dawn.  Upon consultation, Thao Phik Phi said: "It is Phagna Padthaloum who carried away our king.  But four of our men may easily rescue him."

These men: Houlaman, Thao Khouan Thau Fa, Thao Sataphagna and Thao Phanh Lahaphagna, were designated for this mission.  Plunging into the sea, they penetrated the kingdom of the Naga, raised the iron cage and rescued Phra Lam.  But in their flight, they were pursued by four young men with whom they had to engage in combat.

The four men shot arrows, but when they touched the bodies of the fugitives, they became flowers of an exquisite perfume.  The fugitives shot bullets, but on contact with the pursuers, they became appetizing cakes.

The fugitives realized that the young men were no other than the children that they had had with the four young daughters of Phagna Padthaloum, those who had come to damage the bridge that they had recently constructed to cross the sea.

Rescued from his last Kam ven, Phra Lam intended to lay hands on the palace of Hapkhanasouane who was still holding out.

First of all, Phra Lam consulted Thao Phik Phi who told him that Hapkhanasouane possessed marvellous arrows which would kill anybody who might be touched by them, if in a period of one day no one gave him medicine prepared with a plant from Phanh Khamad mountain, the droppings of the Ousouphalad Ox and the pillow of the Naga.

Further, Thao Phik Phi confided, Hapkhanasouane was almost invulnerable, and that only the "Asilaphed arrow", kept at the bottom of the Ocean by a Yak, (demon), could kill him.

It came to pass that some time later, Phra Lam was touched by Hapkhanasouane's arrow.  To save his father, Houlaman hastened to go to find the medicine spoken of by Thao Phik Phi.

Houlaman first went to look for the plant, and when he arrived at the foot of the Phanh Khamad mountain, he called on the genie of that mountain to ask him where the marvellous plant could be found.

 

 
The genie appeared at the summit of the mountain and said to him: "Come here and I will tell you about it".

When Houlaman climbed up to the summit, the genie appeared at the foot of the mountain to repeat the same words.  This went on until, exasperated and tired by this game of hide-and-seek, Houlaman deemed it more convenient to carry in his arms the entire mountain in order to give it to Seta Kouman, who was charged to find the plant.

Houlaman later went to see the Ousouphalad Ox in order to ask him for his droppings.  The bovine answered him that he was willing to comply with the request but that for the moment he could not, to his great regret, give them to him because he did not feel the need to relieve himself.  Furious, Houlaman slit the animal's belly with a violent slash of the sword and gathered his droppings from among the entrails of the half-opened beast.

What finally remained was the pillow of the king of the Naga.  The sun was nearing the horizon and the day was going to end when Houlaman arrived at full gallop.  Fearing that he would not be able to get the pillow before the end of the day, Houlaman jumped into the air and went to look for Phra Athit, the Sun God, to request him to stop his course.  Phra Athit refused to comply with the request, so Houlaman grabbed him and hurled him so violently toward the East that he fell under the horizon.

However, Houlaman was successful in obtaining from the king of the Naga his precious pillow and hastened to return in order to save his father.

Phra Lam was saved in time, but Phra Athit was angry with Houlaman and did not want to reappear any more.  The world was then covered with darkness, and Phra Lam had to ask the roosters to appeal to the Sun God to resume his normal course by crowing lamentable supplications three consecutive times.  Phra Athit reappeared and since then the sun rises whenever the roosters crow three times.

Finally, thanks to Houlaman, Phra Lam obtained the Asilaphed Arrows guarded by a Yak (demon) at the bottom of the Ocean and was successful, during the assault on the palace, in killing Hapkhanasouane, who descended to hell to rid himself of the sins that he had committed.

Phra Lam made his entry into the palace of Lanka where he was very happy to find his beloved wife finally.  Thus, the goals for which he had fought for so long and so patiently, were attained.  Among other rewards distributed to the great servants devoted to his cause, Phra Lam appointed Thao Phik Phi as King of Lanka and gave him as wife his sister, Nang Chantha, widow of Hapkhanasouane.

He later sent Manikap, the marvellous horse, to gather the fruit of the Manikhod tree for his son Houlaman.  After having eaten it, Houlaman became a very charming young man.  His Kam ven had reached its end.

 
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