Cambodian imagination knows no bounds! This new collection of Cambodian folktales in English and French takes readers through imaginative twists and turns to meet simple villagers living deep in the jungle, kings and princesses in fabulous palaces, angels and gods of the Hindu heavens…you’ll even confront (and outwit) fierce pirates hiding in island lairs!
Cambodian Folktales in English and French
In 1898, the 23-year-old Guillaume Henri Monod traveled to French Indochina to seek his destiny in the exotic Kingdom of Cambodia. Located at the crossroads between the great civilizations of India and China, the fabulous Khmer Empire blossomed here more than a millennium ago.
Monod befriended many Cambodians while pursuing his passionate study of their ancient culture. One friend, Governor Khieu of the Pursat Province, shared his land’s rich legends with Monod, inspiring him to record them for future generations in 1922.
In this new edition—translated to English for the first time by Cambodian author and scholar Solang Uk—you’ll find that the wit, wisdom, humor and morals of these lively tales comes in many forms, never failing to surprise, perplex and amuse spellbound audiences.
The simulated leather cover features “La femme aux Poules,” a rare 1912 painting by artist and author, George Groslier that captures the mood of the first tale. Born in Phnom Penh on February 4, 1887, George Groslier became the first French child born in Cambodia and the rich Khmer land infused itself in the boy’s soul. George grew up to devote his life to his birth country and its people, founding Cambodia’s National Museum and its School of Fine Arts, both of which continue their educational missions today.
In his cover painting, George gives us an intimate glimpse of village life that resonates with M. Monod’s opening story: the tale of an unfaithful wife who beseeches a neakta (spirit) to rid her of her unwanted husband. To the woman’s surprise, the spirit tells her to first “…find yourself a broody hen and eggs, cook them, and give them to your husband to eat….” But what happens next is even more surprising…!
The Cambodian Tales and Legends in Women’s Wiles
The new edition of Women’s Wiles: Cambodian Legends Collected by G. H. Monod includes of all the tales M. Monod recorded from Governor Khieu translated to English by Cambodian scholar Solang Uk, a biographical profile of M. Monod, a bibliography of his works, and the complete original French text.
Introduction by Solang Uk
Women’s Wiles (Meayea Srey)
The Father Who Chooses a Son-in-Law (Aovpuk Khmek Roeus Kaun Prâsa)
Tales of Alev (Roeung Alev)
How Alev Became an Orphan
How Alev Arranged a Romance
How Alev Taught His Father to Make Money
How Alev Took a Bride
How Alev Fought the Pirates
How Alev Saved the Pirate Village from Ghosts
How Alev Became Wealthy
Kung the Courageous (Kung Hean)
The Tale of the Female Partridge and the Male Partridge
(Roeung Totea nhee, chmaol)
The Princess Who Would Speak To No Man
The Brilliance of Stupidity
The Princess and the Four Magicians
The Man Who Swallowed His Wife
The Four Women of Siam
Turpolpheap and the Secret of the Soul
The Foundation of Angkor