The Misfortunes Of Paw Yan

: Strange Fortunes of Strange People
: Laos Folk-lore Of Farther India

Upon a day, Paw Yan[22] said to his wife, "Today I shall build a

watch-tower in the rice fields."

"You will need four posts about the size of our children here," replied

the wife.

Taking the four children with him to the rice fields, Paw Yan dug four

post holes and made the children stand in them. Then he packed the earth

about their feet to make them firm, took the beams and laid them on
their shoulders, tied them in place, and went for more bamboo to finish

the watch-tower.

The eye of day had closed in the West, yet the husband and the children

returned not, so the wife, in distress, sought them in the fields, and,

lo, when she reached them, there stood the four children as posts for

the watch-tower.

"Know you not anything? I said take four posts the size of our

children," cried the wife.

And upon another day did Paw Yan attempt to build the tower, but so

utterly did he fail that his wife said, "While I build the watch-tower

you gather the food for the pigs, and, when the eye of day closes, give

it to them."

Paw Yan watched until the eye of day was about to close, but forgot to

gather the food for the pigs, so he took all the rice, which was the

food for the family, and went out to the pigs. He called, "Ow, ow,

ow,"[23] and the pigs ran about trying to find the food, but Paw Yan

forgot to throw it to them, for, while he stood there, he saw ants

running down the trunk of a tree, and he could think of nothing else.

"That's an easy way to get down a tree," thought Paw Yan. "I'll try it,"

and, throwing the rice aside, he climbed the tree, and, head first,

started down, but fell to the ground and broke his neck!

22: Paw Yan--a blunderer.

23: Ow--take.