Told by Ta’ Ge
This Mél Mool was a person who had a husband already, she had two children, all boys. She went flirting with the dragon, at the time her husband went to call her, “Mél Mool eey Mél Mool, your child is crying, your people have arrived.” She replied, “Don’t rush me, I’m still washing my hands.” Later he went to call her again, “Mél Mool eey Mél Mool, your child is crying, your people have arrived” She replied, “Don’t rush me , I’m still washing my feet.” Finally the third time, “Mél Mool eey Mél Mool, your child is crying, your people have arrived” Yes, this time she came out.
Every day and at every morning whenever she went to fetch water for the family she would just disappeared. One day when the wife went to fetch water, the husband waited to eat together when she gets back, but she never returned. She was gone for the whole day and he very upset because he was hungry while waiting for her to return. He called her to eat again and again and while when was calling, he was also sharpening his sword. He knew and had already seen her flirted with the dragon in the river. Once his sword was very well sharpened he called, “Mél Mool eey Mél Mool, your child is crying, your people have arrived.” She replied, “Don’t rush me , I’m washing my feet.” He kept calling her, “Mél Mool eey Mél Mool, your child is crying, your people have arrived.”
He ordered for the third time and she finally returned. As she returned he was hiding alongside the trail. He had hidden all the knives at the house, but he forgot one knife, the betel knife in the lime bowl. He used that sword to cut through her seven canteens, all torn. He cut through six layers and one layer remained. She dropped the canteens there, let them fall. He cut the carrying-sling, and the canteen rope, everything was torn completely then. She then ran away home. Once she got home she searched for a knife, but there were none. She searched and saw the lime bowl that still had the betel knife. She grabbed the betel knife and cut the Achilles tendon of her husband’s horse. She grabbed one of her children, climbed onto her own horse, and took off, running away from her husband.
When she arrived at one village, she rested, and she squeezed milk from her breast into a bottle to give her child to drink.The husband grabbed the second child and rode off on his horse chasing after her. “Run horse run, run cdèq cdèq, go cdôôr cdôôr.” The horse hobbled on t`nok t`nok; his achilles tendon was cut. When he arrived at that village, he asked, “Have you seen Mél Mool arrive here?” They answered, “She arrived and drank strong wine, she ate but didn’t finish. She squeezed out milk to give her child to drink here.” He picked up the milk to give to his child to eat. When he poured it, it turned into blood.
He then rode the horse after her again.“Run horse run, run cdèq cdèq, go cdôôr cdôôr.” T`nok t`nokhe hobbled on, and arrived at another village. He asked them, “Have you seen Mél Mool arrive here or not?”
They answered, “She arrived and drank strong wine, she ate but didn’t finish. She just left right now, she then squeezed her milk to give her child to eat here.” He picked up the milk to give to his child to eat, but it turned into blood! He continued on, riding his horse in search of his run-away wife. “Run horse run, run cdèq cdèq, go cdôôr cdôôr.” T`nok t`nok.
The wife arrived at the large pool, the Mékong , at Vaq Khooq Vaq Reey pool, and she entered into the deep water. He couldn’t enter the Mékong River and so he and the 2 children waited outside the pool. While waiting outside for the wife to come out, he told his children, “ I will climb up the tree pretending to be a tlôt tôt bird there. You two stay down here and call for your mother. Make sure you say, “ Mother, mother, the tlôt tôt tlooq toq bird is scaring my brother and me. ”Make sure you should say like that,” the father told his two children. Then he climbed up to the top of the tree there and made the bird sound, “ Tôt tlôt tôt, tôt tlôt tôt.”
The children called, “Mother, mother, the tlôt tôt tlooq toq bird is scaring my brother and me.” The mother came out, picked up the younger brother, and fed him with her breast milk. The father then jumped and grabbed her. He caught her and told her to go home. When they’re about to leave home, he wanted her to carry the children, but she wouldn’t. She wanted him to carry them. Finally, he couldn’t convince his wife and carried the children himself. He wanted to have her go first but she refused. She wanted him go first, but he too refused. They argued for a long time and he gave up. He decided to head home first. As soon as he turned his back to go, she jumped into the water again and disappeared. He didn’t know what to do to get her to come out again. He pretended to be the tlôt tôt again, but she never came out. He and the two boys waited by the pool for a long time, but the mother never came out. He brought a raincoat and covered the older son. He brought a brightly striped towel and covered the younger son. After the man covered his children with raincoats, he jumped into the water there, to go down and look for his wife there. Because he was not a dragon and does not have the skills to swim and survive like a dragon. He drowned and died in the deep water.
The older son became an eagle and flew high in the sky saying, “Kléél lék lék looq looq, Kooq our father died at the head of the pool and became dried tobacco, our mother died at the tail of the pool and became the tqra fish.” The younger brother became a wanderer. He had traveled everywhere and had no place to stay or place to sleep. One day this younger brother met a young lady who was known as Liq’s mom and she was fetching water at a nearby stream. He screamed at her, “Put down the canteen, scrape the taro stew. When the night comes, I will eat all your chickens.” Liq’s mother got angry and used the bottom of the canteen to strike his forehead, “kuuk kuuk kuuk” and he became a civet. This is the story of Mél Mool.
Written and shared by: Thomas Manokoune
Related Folk Tales/Superstitions
- (Snta’ rvaay tooc sqkhwaq) String-pulling tiger clan (In English)
- Story of Mél Mool (In English)
- Snta’ Rvaay tooc sqkhwaq (tooc hmpiat) (In Khmu)
- Mél Mool (In Khmu)