One Woman In Deceit And Craft Is More Than A Match For Eight Men
Category: Parables and Proverbs
Source: Laos Folk-lore Of Farther India
Chum Paw was a maiden of the south country. Many suitors had she, but,
by her craft and devices, each suitor thought himself the only one.
Constantly did each seek her in marriage, and, upon a day as one pressed
her to name the time of their nuptials, she said, "Build me a house, and
I'll marry you when all is in readiness." To the others, did she speak
the same words.
Each man sought the jungle for bamboo for a house, and, it happened,
while they were in the jungle that they all met.
"What seekest thou?" they asked one another. "What seekest thou?" The
one answer was, "I have come to fell wood for my house."
And, as they ate their midday meal together, each had a bamboo stick,
filled with chicken and rice. Now, it happened that Chum Paw had given
the bamboo sticks to the men, and, lo, on investigation, they found the
pieces in their various sticks were the parts of one chicken, and with
one accord, they cried, "Chum Paw has deceived us. Come, let us kill
her. Each has she promised to marry; each has she deceived."
All were exceedingly angry and vowed they would kill the deceitful
Chum Paw, seeing the men return together, knew her duplicity was known
and realized they sought to kill her.
"I entreat that you spare my life, but take and sell me as a slave to
the captain of the ship lying at the mouth of the river."
Relenting, the suitors took her to the captain. She, however, running on
before, privately told the captain she had seven young men, her slaves,
whom she would sell him for seven hundred pieces of silver. Seeing the
young men were desirable, the captain gave Chum Paw the silver, and she
fled while the seven lovers were placed in irons.
Chum Paw fled to the jungle, but, frightened by the wild beasts, she
sought refuge in a tree. And it came to pass that the suitors escaped
from the ship and they, too, sought refuge in the jungle. Unable to
sleep and also frightened, one of them climbed a tree that he might be
safe from the wild beasts, and, lo, it was the same tree in which Chum
Paw had taken refuge.
"Be silent, make no noise, lest the others hear us," whispered Chum Paw.
"I love you and knew you were wise and would escape from the ship. I
only desired the silver for us to spend together."
The unfortunate man believed, and sought to embrace her, but, as he
threw up his arms, Chum Paw threw him down, hoping thus to kill him. The
others, hearing the commotion, feared a large bear was in the tree and
hastily fled. Uninjured the suitor, whom Chum Paw had thrown from the
tree, fled with them.
Chum Paw seeing that they all fled ran behind, as she knew no beast
would attack her while there was so great a commotion. As the suitors
looked back, they saw her, but mistook her for a bear and ran but the
faster, and finally, they all, the seven suitors and Chum Paw reached
Knowing the suitors would again seek her life, Chum Paw made a feast of
all things they most liked and bade the young men to come. (All the food
was prepared by Chum Paw and poisoned.) "I want but to make me boon
before I die, so I beg you eat of my food and forgive me, for I merit
death," said the maiden, as they sat in her house. All ate; and all
Chum Paw carried six bodies into the inner part of the house, and one
she prepared for the grave. Weeping and wailing, she ran to the nearest
neighbor, crying, "I want a man to come bury my husband. He died last
night. As he had smallpox, fifty pieces of silver will I give to the one
who buries him."
A man who loved money said, "I will bury him." When he came to the
house, Chum Paw said, "Many times has he died and come back to life. If
he comes back again, no money shall you have."
The man took the body, made a deep grave, buried the man and returned
for his silver. Lo, on the mat lay the body! He made a deeper grave and
again buried it. Six times he buried, as he supposed, the body, and, on
returning and finding it a seventh time, he angrily cried, "You shall
never return again." Taking the body with him, he built a fire, placed
the body on it, and, while it burned, went to the stream for water. When
he returned, lo, a charcoal man was standing there, black from his work.
Filled with wrath, the man ran up to him crying, "You will come back
again, will you? will cause me this trouble again, will you?"
The charcoal burner replied, "I do not understand." Not a word would the
man hear, but fought the burner, and as they struggled, they both fell
into the fire and were burned to death.
Chum Paw built a beautiful home and spent the silver as she willed.
"The Wisest Man of a Small Village is Not Equal in Wisdom to a Boy of
the City Streets"
Once a boy of the city, watching a buffalo outside the gate of the
largest city in the province, saw three men approaching. Each was the
wisest man of the village from whence he came. The boy called to them,
"Where go ye, old men?"
The men angrily replied, "Wherefore dost thou, who art but a child,
speak thus to us who are old and the judges of the villages from whence
The boy replied, "There is no cause for anger. How was I to know ye were
wise men? To me, ye seem but as other men from a country place,--the
wisest of whom are but fools."
The three men were very angry, caught the boy and said, "We will not
enter into the city, but will go to another province and sell this
insolent boy, because he neither reverences age nor wisdom."
The boy refused to walk, so they carried him. All day they walked along
the road, carrying the boy, and at night they slept by the roadside. In
the morning, when they craved water and bade the boy go to a brook, he
refused, saying, "If I go, ye will run and leave me. I will not go."
Thirst drove one of the wise men for the water, and the boy drank of it
Several days' journey brought them to a wall of a large city, and night
was spent at a sala near the wall. Seeking to rid themselves of the
boy, they bade him go to the city for fire to cook food. Realizing their
motive, he answered, "Should I go, ye will leave me. I will not go,
though, if ye let me tie ye to the posts of the sala, then will I go."
With one accord they agreed, saying, "Do thou even so. We are weary
carrying thee and cannot go for the fire."
Tying them all, the boy ran to the city, where he met a man whom he
asked, "Dost thou wish to purchase three slaves? Come with me."
The man returned with the boy, saw the men, and gave him full value for
Having thus disposed of his captors, the cunning little fellow joined
some men going to his native city, and as he walked along, he thought,
"I was ever wanting to see other places, and now I have been carried a
long journey, and have silver to last me many days ... surely, I have
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