The Lovers' Leap

: Romance and Tragedy
: 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,

lthough 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.