The Magic Millstone
September 29, 2007, 10:11 am
Filed under: Khmer Folktales

Khmer Folk Tale

The Magic Millstone

Translated from Khmer by Chhim Chan Bora

 

O

nce upon the time, there were two brothers. The elder brother was rich and the younger brother was very poor. The younger brother earned his living as a wood-cutter.

One day, the woodcutter went into a deep forest to cut wood. After getting enough wood, the man felt exhausted and climbed up a shrine built to the forest spirit to sleep.

The forest spirit took very pity on that woodcutter because he saw him come to sleep in the shrine everyday. On the other hand, the woodcutter was honest, gentle and respectful. He always swept clean the area around the shrine everyday. 

When the woodcutter was sleeping the forest spirit made him dream of him (the forest spirit), saying: “You must climb the high mountain near my shrine. When you arrive at the top, you’ll see a piece of rock. Then, you must say to that rock: “The door! Open, the door! Open” You must enter that door when the door opens. Don’t be afraid when you see a lot of evil spirits with horrible appearances approaching you. Remember! When you go up the mountain you have to bring along a bundle of food and cakes to give out to those evil spirits to eat. Once they eat their fill they will bring you gold and diamonds, but you must not take them. Instead, you must ask them for a magic millstone because the magic millstone will be able to produce whatever you want. When the magic millstone sufficiently produces what you want from it and you want it to stop, you must tell the millstone: “It’s enough! It’s enough!” because it will not stop if you use other words besides these.”

             “There is another thing that you must remember,” The forest spirit said adding, “When you have taken that magic millstone, you have to say to the rock: “The door! Close, the door! Close” so as not to enrage those evil spirits.

             The woodcutter woke up and looked here and there for a moment before realizing that he had had a dream. He thought : “Perhaps, Lok Ta      (= He referred to the forest spirit) told me the truth exactly like in the dream.” Then, he carried firewood to his home and told his wife to sell the firewood and buy food and cakes with the money as he had to get up early tomorrow morning to go up the mountain. His wife was a good woman. She did not ask him any questions as she thought it was so secret that her husband did not tell her anything.

             In the early morning, she bundled up food and cakes and gave the bundle to her husband. The woodcutter received the bundle from his wife and said: “Don’t go anywhere, today. I’ll probably come back in the afternoon, my dear.”

             The woodcutter exactly followed the forest spirit’s instructions given to him in his dream. When he got to the top of the mountain, he saw a big rock and said to the rock: “The door! Open, the door! Open.” The big rock then opened. While he was walking into the cave, the woodcutter saw a lot of evil spirits with horrible appearances running toward him. The woodcutter kept fishing food and cakes out of his bundle and gave them to those evil spirits until he ran out of the food and cakes. After having eaten their fill, the evil spirits were very happy and they brought gold and diamonds for the woodcutter, but the woodcutter refused to take them. Then, the evil spirits said: “You do not take gold and diamonds, so what do you want?”

             The woodcutter said: “I want the magic millstone. Could you give it to me?” Those evil spirits went to bring the magic millstone for him. The woodcutter got the magic millstone and walked out of the cave, but he did not forget to say to the rock: “The door! Close, the door! Close.” The rock door then closed as before.

             In the afternoon, the woodcutter carried the magic millstone home. His wife came out to take it from him to keep in the home. She said: “Where have you brought this millstone? I first thought it would be a valuable thing. We have already had one and why did you buy one more?”

             The woodcutter told his wife not to tell other people about the millstone because it was not an ordinary millstone and that it was the magic millstone which the forest spirit had given him.

      The wife said: “Have you eaten anything? There has been nothing left for us to eat today. I ate only vegetables because the money earned from selling firewood yesterday was used to buy food and cakes for you.”

        The husband said: “Don’t be worried, my dear. From today on, we will not be starving anymore. Now, our millstone will produce what we want.” Hearing that, the wife told her husband to tell the millstone to produce food as they had not had lunch yet.

     The husband said to the millstone as instructed in his dream: “Oh! The magic millstone! We need cooked rice.” The millstone started turning round and round, producing magic hot cooked rice. Seeing that, the wife went to get plates for putting the rice. When they had got enough cooked rice, the husband told the magic millstone to produce food to eat with rice. Then, the millstone turned round and round, producing magic food. Having had enough food to eat, the husband said to the millstone: “It’s enough! It’s enough!” Then, the magic millstone stopped.

           From then on, the husband and the wife had a good house to live in and all kinds of household utensils like other people, but not beyond their ability because they were not too greedy.

            As for the rich man who was the woodcutter’s elder brother, after he had seen his younger brother get better-off, he sent people to spy for him to know where his younger brother had got the wealth from. When he knew that his younger brother had the magic millstone, he became greedier and greedier and wanted to get richer and richer. In the silence of the night, he secretly came to his younger brother’s house to steal the magic millstone. He was then afraid that his younger brother might have known about it, so he had put the magic millstone in a sailing ship and sailed to the middle of the sea where the ship was later anchored. He thought : “I’ll order this magic millstone to produce what the people need to use more than anything else everyday to sell for money so that I will become the only millionaire in the world.” He then thought that there was only salt because at that time, there was not much salt in the world. The sea water was all fresh and people took salt from under the ground. Struck by that thought, the rich man ordered the magic millstone to produce salt. The magic millstone kept producing salt till the salt filled the ship. The rich man did not know the words to stop the magic millstone. The magic millstone kept producing more and more salt until it sank the ship, killing all the people on board.

            The magic millstone sank to the bottom of the sea and kept producing salt till the present time. That’s why the sea water becomes salty and it is different from the waters in other rivers and lakes.

This story gives you a concept :

·        Being too greedy is the root cause which leads to the destruction of

both wealth and social ranks that we have had before and our existing property and social ranks as well as the property and social ranks which are about to exist. It even destroys our lives like the rich man who was so greedy that he stole his younger brother’s magic millstone.

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1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

I think this was an interesting story because i’ve never actually heard of a magic milestone.I’d really want one.

Comment by kimberly




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