The Cambodian myth of lightning, thunder, and rain – Prumsodun Ok


Once, a long time ago, there was a powerful hermit
named Lok Ta Moni Eysei. He had three promising students: Moni Mekhala,
the brilliant goddess of the seas, Vorachhun, the princely
manifestation of the earth, and Ream Eyso, a demon whose
heart burned with passionate fire. Lok Ta wished to bestow a gift
upon his most deserving student. To determine which of the three that was,
he announced a contest: whoever first brought back
a glass full of morning dew would be master of this mysterious gift. When dusk came, Vorachhun
and Ream Eyso ventured into the forest. They left not one leaf
or blade of grass untouched, impatiently shaking
the precious fluid into their glasses. When they returned to the hermit’s hut, they found Moni Mekhala sitting patiently
with a full glass of morning dew. She had left her shawl out overnight and won the contest by simply
wringing out the fabric over her glass. Proud of all his students,
and loving them like his own children, Lok Ta surprised all three with gifts. He turned the dew Ream Eyso
collected into a diamond axe, Vorachhun’s into a magic dagger, and Moni Mekhala’s into a crystal ball
unlike anything ever seen. Soon Ream Eyso grew covetous
and decided he must have Mekhala’s prize. He and Vorachhun tried to woo the goddess
so they could get the precious gem. But after she rejected their advances
and flew off, Ream Eyso resolved
to take the crystal ball by force. Ream Eyso flew through the air
in search of Moni Mekhala, propelled on by a jealous rage. On his way, he encountered Vorachhun
and attacked him, knowing that the righteous prince would
never allow him to steal the crystal. The demon gained the upper hand
in the heat of battle, and hurled Vorachhun
against the side of a mountain. Sure of Vorachhun’s death, Ream Eyso continued his search
until he finally found Moni Mekhala. He demanded that she
and her friends either submit to him, the most brilliant of Lok Ta’s students
and rightful master of the crystal ball, or die like Vorachhun. Mekhala, without fear,
refused and flew off into the clouds, hoping to draw the demon away
from her friends. Ream Eyso took the bait, ripping through
nimbus after nimbus in his crazed pursuit. Once far enough away,
Mekhala confronted her pursuer. Ream Eyso made one last demand
but the goddess remained unfazed. Enraged, he began
to swing his diamond axe. Before he could hurl the weapon,
Mekhala threw her crystal into the air. As it climbed the height of the sky, it emitted powerful flashes
of lightning that blinded the demon. Ream Eyso let his axe loose
in wild desperation. As the weapon flew through the air
it cut through clouds, creating deep, rolling peals of thunder. And when the lightning and thunder mixed, precious seeds
of water fell from heaven: rain. Mekhala drew close to Ream Eyso,
now blind and impotent without his axe. She pondered what
she should do to the murderer. Remembering the kindness
and love of her teacher, Moni Mekhala chose compassion
and flew into the sky. Shortly later, Ream Eyso regained his
strength, found his axe, and followed her. Thunder, lightning, and rain continued
to dance across the earth. Some drops fell on Vorachhun
and revived him, his skin golden like
a rice field ready for harvest. Grabbing his magic dagger, he flew into the sky in search
of Ream Eyso and Moni Mekhala.