Upon a day, Paw Yan said to his wife, “Today I shall build a watch-tower in the rice fields.”
“You will need four posts about the size of our children here,” replied the wife.
Taking the four children with him to the rice fields, Paw Yan dug four post holes and made the children stand in them. Then he packed the earth about their feet to make them firm, took the beams and laid them on their shoulders, tied them in place, and went for more bamboo to finish the watch-tower.
The eye of day had closed in the West, yet the husband and the children returned not, so the wife, in distress, sought them in the fields, and, lo, when she reached them, there stood the four children as posts for the watch-tower.
“Know you not anything? I said take four posts the size of our children,” cried the wife. And upon another day did Paw Yan attempt to build the tower, but so utterly did he fail
that his wife said, “While I build the watch-tower you gather the food for the pigs, and, when the eye of day closes, give it to them.”
Paw Yan watched until the eye of day was about to close, but forgot to gather the food for the pigs, so he took all the rice, which was the food for the family, and went out to the pigs. He called, “Ow, ow, ow,” and the pigs ran about trying to find the food, but Paw Yan forgot to throw it to them, for, while he stood there, he saw ants running down the trunk of a tree, and he could think of nothing else.
“That’s an easy way to get down a tree,” thought Paw Yan. “I’ll try it,” and, throwing the rice aside, he climbed the tree, and, head first, started down, but fell to the ground and broke his neck!
This content is from the Project Gutenberg EBook of Laos Folk-Lore of Farther India, by Katherine Neville Fleeson, originally published 1899.
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