The Four-Footed Doctor
September 24, 2007, 1:37 am
Filed under: Khmer Folktales

Khmer Folk Tale

The Four-Footed Doctor

Translated from Khmer by Chhim Chan Bora




nce upon a time there was a family of a millionaire with five children who were all sons and the fifth of whom was born crippled. He had only arms and torso, but no legs.

The parents felt very embarrassed at having such a crippled son who they thought did not suit their honor and ordered a maid to put the baby boy in a cooking pot and floated it in the river.

The pot containing the poor baby boy floated quickly down the stream the whole night and finally arrived at a border village in which there was a Brahman with medical knowledge.

To his great pleasure, the Brahman found the pot with the legless baby boy still alive. He brought the boy up like his own and named him “ Komphak Komar”.

As for the maid who floated the boy away, when coming back home she felt pity for the infant boy so much that she could not sleep. At the mid-night, she decided to run away from her boss in order to search for the baby to take care of him. She met the baby at the Brahman’s house on that night, but she did not say anything except that she offered to serve the Brahman free of charge.

The Brahman was very surprised and thought: “ This baby really brings me good luck because I have a maid once I have brought him home.”

Eight years passed by. “ Komphak Komar “ could now speak and was able to understand everything. Then, the maid took a chance and told the boy everything. Upon learning the truth, the boy with tears in his eyes felt pity for himself, thinking that he was both a crippled and homeless boy who was abandoned like a log and that he was never able to make himself a rich or ranking man. He then asked the maid to take him to the Brahman, his adopted father, to tell him the truth.

Having heard the boy out, the Brahman comforted him and said: “ Wealth and social ranks do not come from arms or legs, parents or from relatives. They are really from perseverance and industriousness. Even a drop of water which is a soft senseless parentless and limbless object still can pierce through a mountain rock due to dropping one drop at a time everyday.” “ As for you,” the Brahman said, adding : “ You only have no legs, but if you have perseverance and industriousness, you will be far better than those who have legs. You see! Beggars have both arms and legs, but why do they have no wealth and ranks? On the other hand, why was the ten-faced giant called Dasakantha, who also had a thousand arms, in the Ramayana story still defeated by Prah Ream and Haknukman.”

The Brahman went on to say : “ My dear son! From today on, you should try to learn literacy and medicine from me. I’ll teach you.”

Twelve years later, “Komphak Komar” learned literacy and medicine very well and skillfully. His adopted father took him to the capital to sit an examination in which he was ranked first as a medical doctor who became famous all over the capital.

The king conferred a highest distinction upon him as a higher honorary dignitary and gave him two strong men and a hammock with a carrying pole as vehicle. Since then, “Komphak Komar” had been called “ the four-footed doctor ” because he had two men to carry him on the hammock as vehicle.

As for “Komphak Komar” ‘s four brothers, who were all dear to the parents, they were poorly educated owing to their absorption in great pleasure. Some married wives at their own will and some even ran away from their parents, bringing along as much property as they could take with them.

One day the millionaire fell seriously sick. Despite variety of treatment given by several doctors, his illness did not in the least seem better. The millionaire then ordered a servant to send for the “four-footed” doctor as he was known to be very famous.

The servant met the maid, who was serving the “four-footed” doctor, but she did not tell him the secret. She said: “ Nowadays I serve the “four-footed” doctor, but he is too busy to treat your boss, so please go back and tell him.” The servant came back to tell everything to the millionaire. The millionaire and his wife were not complaisant and ordered the servant to come to send for the doctor again. They told the servant to tell the doctor that they would give him all the millionaire’s property if he could cure him.

On hearing what the servant had said, the maid took him to see the “four-footed” doctor, but she did not tell the doctor that the millionaire was his father. The doctor agreed. He completely cured the millionaire of his illness and the millionaire gave all his property to him as promised.

During the time when the millionaire gave the property to the doctor, the maid showed up and said: “ This “four-footed” doctor is your most hated son, whom you had ordered me to float away in a cooking pot. Once the maid finished her last word, the millionaire and his wife rushed to embrace the doctor with great joy and asked him to forgive them. The doctor was absolutely delighted to meet his parents and to be recognized as their son.

The doctor took the Brahman to live in the millionaire’s house together with his parents. He also upgraded the maid as his natural elder sister, who lived together ever since.

This story gives you to concepts :

1- One should not look down on a child in whatever modest family

the child may be born or however crippled or naughty it may be because its future can not be predicted and it might enjoy both wealth and social rank freely.

2- Perseverance and industry are seeds of wealth and social ranks of

the people of all strata.

›››› & šššš


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