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The Mountain Spirits And The Stone Mortars

Category: Fables From the Forest

Source: Laos Folk-lore Of Farther India

The spirits, who lived in the mountains near a large city, upon a time
wanted money for some purpose, and they brought down to the people of
the city a number of large and heavy stone mortars which they commanded
them to buy at an exorbitant price.

The men of the city said, "The price you ask is too great; moreover, we
have no need of your mortars, as they are too large for us to use in
pounding out our rice, or for any other purpose. Therefore, we do not
wish to buy them."

The spirits were very angry because they did not cheerfully agree to pay
the money, and answered, "If you will not buy these mortars which we
have brought for your use, you shall carry them up to our home on the
top of the mountain, for the labor of bringing them down has wearied

Not daring to incur the wrath of the spirits, and yet being utterly
unable to carry the huge mortars to the high mountain, they paid the
price, for, they reasoned, "Is any price too great to risk our falling
under the displeasure of the evil spirits?"

The spirits departed with the money, and to this day, the stone mortars
are scattered about the streets of that city, and, when strangers ask
why they are there and what use is made of them, this story will be
told, and all people say it is verily the truth, for do you not see them
with your eyes, and how else could they have come here, had not the
spirits brought them?

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