top of page

The Story of Pra Law A Legend from Northern Thailand

Chamnongsri Rutnin Hanchanlash


Illustration: LittleLark


MALE NARRATOR

The northernmost part of Thailand with its misty mountains and softly scented air, its whispering streams and cascading falls, was once a part of an ancient state known as Lanna. This northern state’s age-old culture is one of leisured grace enriched with mysticism and romance. Thai people of the north are proud of their wealth of cultural heritage handed down to them from the days of Lanna. Among this heritage is an old love story that inspired a Thai King of centuries past to compose 'Lilit Pra Law', a poetic epic treasured as one of the most beautiful gems of Thai literature.


FEMALE NARRATOR


In the kingdom of Suang, a young king ascended the throne after the death of his father. The name of this new king was Pra Law.

Pra Law was renowned for his reign of justice and virtue. He was loved by the people of his peaceful, prosperous kingdom. Above all, he was cherished by his wise widowed mother, and adored by his gentle wife.


MALE NARRATOR

Pra Law was gifted with extraordinary grace. The fame of his virile grace echoed far and wide. Poets wrote verses in vain attempts to describe its rare perfection; artists tried their futile best to recreate its radiance with their art; the most successful, perhaps, were the minstrels who wove glowing words into golden melodies to convey its supreme perfection to their enraptured listeners.

FEMALE NARRATOR

These were ways through which Pra Law’s beauty become known to all. Its fame sounded throughout his own realm and echoed in all the neighbouring kingdoms.


MALE NARRATOR


And the day came when poets and minstrels who had seen Pra Law came to a kingdom known as Song, and sang their songs in praise of him


The king of Song was hostile to Mansuang, for King of Song’s father had been slain in battle by the former King of Suang. Deep hatred and vengeful memories existed between the two kingdoms.

FEMALE NARRATOR


The kingdom of Song had two daughters whose beauty was as fresh as new-bloomed flowers. The elder was named Puen; the younger, Paeng. The two maidens were precious to their parents, hearts. They grew up under the stern care of their step-grandmother, widow of the slain king. The old Dowager Queen bore bitter grudge against the ruler of Song . It made no difference to her that the man who had killed her husband was dead and war had long ceased. Desire for revenge had blackened her soul.


MALE NARRATOR

Songs of the minstrels praising the unrivalled beauty of the Mansuang King, Pra Law, reached the ear of the Puen and Paeng. Unfamiliar passion was kindled in their virgin hearts. They were consumed by strange yearning for the King of Mansuang. As days passed. their once bright eyes grew dim and the blooms on their young cheeks began to wither.


FEMALE NARRATOR


Puen and Paeng had two faithful attendants whose love for Puen and Pang was so great that they could die for them. The royal maidens’ mysterious malady did not escape these two attendants’ sharp eyes. Little by little, they persuaded the princesses to reveal the cause of their sadness. Realizing that their mistresses would slowly pine away with unfulfilled longing, the attendants set themselves the task of luring Pra Law to the realm of Song.

MALE NARRATOR


They composed songs describing the incomparable loveliness of the twin princesses and gave them to wandering minstrels to sing in the kingdom of Suang. Their songs told of the exquisiteness of the royal maidens of Song, of whom none but the noblest of kings was worthy. Some of the minstrels succeeded in bringing these songs into the court of Pra Law.


FEMALE NARRATOR

In the kingdom of Song, the loyal attendants of Puen and Paeng did not rest their trust in the beguiling romances of songs. They sought magical power of Pu Chao, the mystical spirit of the misty mountains and fog-bound forests.

The dauntless women defied dangers of the dark eerie paths that led to the heart of the forest where the great Pu Chao resided. They begged him to save their lovelorn princesses by bring Pra Law to them.


MALE NARRATOR


With his inner eye, the all-knowing Pu Chao saw that destinies of Pra Law, Puen and Paeng were entwined by deeds in their past lives. The fate of the three were so tightly wrought that none could keep them from finally coming together. With this foreknowledge of the inevitable, the great spirit granted the attendants’ wishes. He casted spells of love to enchant Pra Law and draw him to the realm of Song.


FEMALE NARRATOR

The spells of Pu Chao were wafted on magic winds to Mansuang. The winds wafted them into Pra Law’s palace, into the air he breathed, onto the foods he tasted. The charm made him restless with longing for the princesses of Song whose beauty he had already heard from lays of minstrels. Passionate desires troubled his heart and left him no peace. His mother recognized the symptoms and summoned all the wise men and magicians of the Suang court to cure the sickness of her beloved son. These men did their concerted best and Pra Law recovered—but only for a while.


For, far away in the realm of Song, the love-lorn princesses languished with unfulfilled longing. The two attendants travelled back to the heart of the forest to plead with Pu Chao to shorten the mysteries of their mistresses.


MALE NARRATOR


Pu Chao increased the power of enchantment so that neither Pra Law’s mother nor the wise men of the Mansuang court could oppose its power. The King’s symptoms of love grew worse. He found not a moment of contentment in the once soothing companionship of his loving wife, nor in the tranquility of his palace. He knew that he was under an enchantment that would leave him no peace until he had found the two princesses. He on longer resisted the flame that was consuming his senses. Sadly he took leave of his grieving mother and his heartbroken wife. Torn between the loyalty to Mansuang and the unreasoned passion, Pra Law departed from his domain.

FEMALE NARRATOR


The King made a long reluctant journey to the realm of Song. He travelled through brooding forests softly veiled by mountain mists. Constantly in his mind was his noble mother with her immense love for him, and the gentle wife that he had forsaken. He was relentlessly drawn toward the unknown destiny that awaited him in the realm of Song.

One day, as dusk fell softly on the forests, Pra Law and his retinue crossed the Kalong River that bordered the Kingdom of Song. The king decided that they should rest by the bank of the slowly drifting river.

MALE NARRATOR


Alone in dusk gloom, the King bated in the coolness of the whispering water. Silently he asked the river for signs to foretell his fate in the mysterious kingdom of Song. If his quest should lead to happiness let the river run its natural course; but should the journey end in death, let its current whirl in a circle.


Illustration: LittleLark


FEMALE NARRATOR

The Kalong’s crystalline current took on a foreboding tinge of red and swirled in a strange sinister circle.

Seeing signs of what was to come, Pra Law accepted the inevitable. For the King of Suang, fated passions burned unabated in his spell bound breast, and his regal pride permitted no cowardly change of mind.

FEMALE NARRATOR


Days dragged by in the realm of Song. The two maiden princesses wasted and pined in the secrecy of their hope of fulfillment. They dispatched their faithful attendants to urge Pu Chao to hasten Pra Law to the Kingdom of Song.

MALE NARRATOR


In response to the lovelorn princesses plea, Pu Chao summoned all cockerels that inhabited the forest. Out of the throng, he chose the most beautiful of them all. It was a handsome cock whose bright feathers sparkled like coloured diamonds. He gave it magic charm that none could resist.


The fowl appeared before Pra Law in its unearthly beauty. The king fell captive of its enchantment. Closely followed by his two companions, the king pursued the cock until they reached the inner gardens of Puen and Paeng. Its purpose accomplished, the fowl disappeared into thin air, leaving its true nature to be realized by Pra Law.

FEMALE NARRATOR

It was in the scented garden of Puen and Paeng that the becharmed king finally found the sweet virgins of his dreams. It was here that the royal maidens were united with the man for whom they had been yearning for so long.

Secretly they led Pra Law into precincts of the inner palace where they reside. Carefully they eluded the sharp eyes of the Dowager Queen. Pra Law’s loyal companions wooed and became lovers of the attendants of Puen and Pang.


But such happiness could not remain secret for long. The blooms on the princesses; cheeks, the brightness of their eyes, the unusual lengths of time they spent in the privacy of their chamber, the increased amount of food they seemed to partake – all these things were noted by curious ladies of the Dowager Queen’s court. Talks of suspicious changes in Puen and Pang soon reached their father.


MALE NARRATOR


The king of Song made his way to the chamber of his daughters. Unknown to them, he saw the three lovers in their perfect happiness. The magnificence of Pra Law’s beauty matched by the loveliness of his own daughters softened his troubled heart.


The king could not bring himself to the thought of destroying their happiness, for the three were innocent of the bitter past between the two kingdoms. Appearing before his surprised daughters and Pra Law, he granted them forgiveness and promised to unite them in full royal tradition of Song.


He then returned to the royal palace to inform the queen of his decision. Joyfully they ordered preparations for royal wedding.


But, delight of the three lovers was destined to be short-lived.


FEMALE NARRATOR


Words had reached vengeful ears of the harsh old Dowager Queen, grandmother of the princesses. She saw the chance to avenge her husband’s death regardless of consequences. Unable to change the mind of the king, she falsely used his name to command the palace guards to kill the enemy’s son. Pra Law’s life was to be taken at all costs.


Onslaught of palace guards was stemmed for a while by Pra Law’s two faithful companions who died to defend their beloved master. Right behind them were the two attendants. When the men were cut down by the swords of the guards, the two women took their place fighting to their last breath. They died where their brave lovers had fallen.


MALE NARRATOR


Swords in hand, Pra law, Puen and Paeng stood back to back. Bravely they faced those who were ordered to take Pra Law’s life. Intimidated by royal valour, the guards dared not approach. From a distance, they showered poisoned arrows at the fated three.


The King of Song and his wife returned to find Pra Law and his daughters standing, majestic, lifeless and forever transfixed tighter by countless arrows. In the finality of death, they stood undivided.

News of the lovers’ death spread grief throughout the two kingdoms. The Suang king and his two princesses of Song were mourned by the people of both realms. The tragedy dissolved hatred between the two royal houses. People of Suang and Song shared their sorrow. Out of the loss, there grew a friendship enriching the two ancient realms of the north.


FEMALE NARRATOR

The story of Pra Law is a romantic legend of northern Thailand. It is said to have taken place in the late 11th Century. Scholars believe that the site of Suang is in the present province of Lampang and the kingdom of Song was in Prae.


 



โพสต์ที่คล้ายกัน

ดูทั้งหมด

Comments


bottom of page