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The Lovers' Leap

Category: Romance and Tragedy

Source: Laos Folk-lore Of Farther India

Many, many years ago there lived, on the mountains among the rapids of
the Maa Ping, a young man who loved a maiden and the maiden loved him
truly, but her father refused his consent to their union and commanded
that his daughter see her lover no more, nor hold communication with
him. At all times and in all ways the father of the maiden endeavored to
overcome her regard for her lover, but she would think of no other,
although many came to woo her.

Often did the young lovers seek to meet, but so constantly were they
watched it was impossible and they could only wait patiently. Each knew
the other was true and each heart rested in this assurance.

And upon a time the father of the maiden thought she had forgotten her
lover, and, greatly rejoiced, he made a feast and invited all the people
of the province to come and make merry with him, and he reasoned, "Now
that she has forgotten her former lover, will she not consent to marry a
man I choose for her?"

While they were feasting the maiden wandered out to think of the one she
had not seen for so long and weary a time, and, suddenly, the dark
evening became to her as the bright noonday, for her lover was before
her. He entreated her to come with him and to be his wife. Thinking of
the dreary days she had passed and the more dreary ones to come, should
she see her heart's choice no more, she consented. As they were mounting
his strong, young horse, a servant saw them and ran to the house and
gave the alarm. Soon the father and all the men were in pursuit of the
lovers. For a time the young horse kept far ahead of its pursuers, but,
wearying of its double burden, it began to lag just as it reached the
top of a lofty hill overhanging a rushing torrent of the river far

Nearer and nearer came the father and all the men. The only escape, and
a most desperate venture was it, was to leap across the rushing torrent
to the hill on the other side. Looking into each other's eyes, then back
at their approaching pursuers, and then at the wide chasm, they chose
death together rather than life apart, and, urging their jaded horse to
the leap, they missed the opposite cliff and were dashed to pieces on
the rocks of the rapids below.

Next: The Faithful Husband

Previous: The Fatherless Birds

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