The Gossipy Man
October 14, 2007, 4:58 am
Filed under: Khmer Folktales

Khmer Folktale

The Gossipy Man

Translated from Khmer by Chhim Chan Bora



nce upon the time, there lived a man named Ream. He was the door-keeper of a millionaire.

           People who wished to see or to contact the millionaire always had to ask Ream first to know whether the millionaire was at home or not, or whether they could or could not see the millionaire. People could go to see the millionaire only after having received Ream’s permission. Before allowing a person to see the millionaire, Ream always asked the person about his/her name, whereabouts and intentions.

           Ream was the only person who was loved most by the millionaire. One day, the millionaire secretly told Ream : “You must be responsible for everything for me, including overseeing the slave workers and the care-taker of the warehouse to make sure that they work hard and sincerely for me or not. From today on, I assign you as both my spy and my door-keeper. I’ll double your salary.”

           Ream was a talkative man and never hid any secret. He always told other people of what he should have kept secret. Therefore, he told his wife and friends about the millionaire assigning him as the spy.

           His wife was very glad. She whispered the secret to her friends and her friends whispered that secret to their husbands and friends and so on. The secret was soon widely known. The millionaire’s slave workers and  care-taker of the warehouse on learning that Ream was the millionaire’s spy tried to incite the millionaire to dismiss Ream from his employment.

           After he had been fired by the millionaire, Ream felt very depressed and stayed at home doing nothing. He sold all his properties and house to get money to buy food until nothing was left to him. Ream became very poor and homeless. He then went to live with one of his friends. As for his wife, she also divorced him and married another man.

           Knowing that, the millionaire asked Ream to come back to live with him again as a house cleaner.

          One day, there were a ship’s three businessmen bringing a precious diamond to sell to the millionaire. The three businessmen honestly told the millionaire : “We bought this diamond from the chief of the royal treasury, who had stolen it and sold it to me. We had this diamond cut in a different shape so that it could not be recognized as belonging to the king.” The millionaire asked those businessmen to clarify the exact shape of that diamond to make sure that it was really so different from the original shape that no one could recognize it. Therefore, he bought it. At that time, Ream was also wiping the furniture nearby and he heard all what the businessmen had said.

           Three days later, there was an art festival organized in the city. Ream asked the millionaire for permission to go to see it with a friend. While watching a performance, Ream recollected the diamond businessmen. Then, he gave his friend a full account of the story. Coincidentally, the three businessmen were also there watching the performance and overheard everything. They thought that if they let Ream and his friend live longer, their secret would be revealed. After the festival had been over, the three businessmen went to hide themselves at a quiet place. When Ream and his friend walked to that place, the three businessmen came out and killed them./.


This story gives you two concepts :

1-                 Being a human, one should adapt himself to circumstances. Don’t be so straightforward as a ruler. Even a sugar cane or a bamboo has its joints and substances.

 2-                 Before speaking, one should first consider which words he/she should say in public, which words he/she should say to each individual and which words he/she should not let other people know.

After taking these into account, he/she then can manage to speak them out in a suitable situation, which can achieve his/her aims and bring benefits for both himself/herself and the national society.

If one is so talkative and always speaks nonsense, it may spoil his/her own benefits and those of the national society until he/she loses his/her life because of his/her words.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hello, can someone give me details about the author Chhim Chan Bora? We need it for our Literature class and purely on the class. A short biography will do. Great thanks.

Comment by Mai

Mr. Bora is just a translator and English teacher. He merely translated the folk tale from Khmer.

Comment by chhimborom

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