Saturday, September 1, 2012

Si-the-liar story

(Favourite stories from Cambodia)

Long ago, there was a boy name Si-the-Liar. He lived with his mother and took care of a pig. When the pig was big and fat, Si-the-Liar said to his mother, “Mother, I want some pork. Please let me kill the pig so that we can have a party.
“No,” said his mother. “Don’t be so greedy. We’ll keep the pig and sell it for silver coins.”
But Si-the-Liar wanted the pork even more.
One morning, he woke up and called out “Mother, I dreamt about a place where there are lost of silver and gold. Come on, let’s go and find it.”
“but where is this silver and gold?” his mother asked.
“Come on, mother, just do what I ask you.”
Si-the-Liar took a big rice-basket and led his mother far into a forest. He stopped in the middle of the forest and suddenly put down the basket. He looked very hard at the ground under the basket.
“Mother,” he said, “the silver and gold are here under the basket. Wait here. I’ll run home and find a spade. Don’t move or the silver and gold will disappear.”
 So his mother sat on the basket while Si-the-Liar ran home. He killed the pig and cooked it. Then he invited all his friends and relatives to a party.
His mother waited and waited. She became very hungry and then she became quite weak. Finally she got up and looked under the basket. She could not see anything. “My son has tricked me,” she thought. When she returned home, she found him eating pork and drinking wine.
She was so angry that she called her brother to the house, “My boy is too much trouble for me,” she said to him, “I can’t look after him any longer. Catch him, put him in a sack and throw him into a lake.”
“Why are you so angry?” her brother asked. And he listened to her story.
“He always lies to me,” she said.
“Don’t worry,” her brother said, “I’ll take your son away.”
So he caught Si-the-Liar, put him in a sack and tied it up. He carried him on stick to the edge of a lake. He was going to throw him in when Si-the-Liar called out. “Oh, uncle!” he said, “have pity on me! Since I’m going to die, please do something for me. Run home and bring back my book called How to Tell lies. I’m going to the land of the dead. If I don’t have that book, I won’t be able to trick people. And if I can’t trick people, I won’t have anything to eat.”
“Where did you put the book?” his uncle asked.
“Under the roof of our house,” he replied.
His uncle ran off to find the book. He left Si-the-Liar tied up in the sack beside the lake.
Soon a man with leprosy came along. Si-the-Liar began to talk to himself, “this sack has cured my leprosy, now I want to get out so that I can see if I am really well.”
When the man with leprosy heard Si-the-Liar, he said, “Is it true? Is it true?
“Oh yes,” said Si-the-Liar. “I’ve been inside this sack for a long time but I’m not sure if I’m really well. Please untie the sack so that I can get out.”
The man with leprosy agreed. He untied the sack and Si-the-Liar climbed out. Then he dusted himself carefully and said, the leprosy has certainly gone.”
The man with leprosy said, “What is the cure in that sack?”
Si-the-Liar thought to himself, “I’m not going to die. This man will go in the sack instead of me.” so he said to the man with leprosy, “You have to follow the rules. Don’t speak to anyone. If they ask you questions, scold you or beat you, keep quite. Remember, don’t speak a word!
So the man with leprosy climbed into the sack.
The boy’s uncle soon came back. He had looked everywhere for Si-the-Liar’s book How to Tell Lies. “I’ve been tricked,” he said and ran back to the lake. He pick up the sack and threw it into the water. The man with leprosy remembered the rules. He did not speak a word and so he died.
After some time, Si-the-Liar met a man who was as good as a liar as he was. They decided to be brothers and went around tricking people from that time on.

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