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More than 1,000 years ago, the Khmer civilization began blossoming in Southeast Asia. In the following centuries, the Khmer changed the art, architecture and culture of the entire region. In the millennium that followed kingdoms rose and fell as people throughout the region fought and loved, sharing and intermingling their creativity,  ideas, dreams and destiny.

Today, the modern lands of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam use the latest technology. But there we also see ancient traditions that stretch back to the roots of these rich lands.

Told over countless  generations, folktales reveal the essence of these people. Legends express origin myths and sacred ideals, the humor and aspirations of the people, and they can even preserve historical truths, hidden in what seems to be innocent fiction.

DatAsia Press presents a series of legendary Southeast Asian works in English, French and Khmer, allowing modern readers to once again enjoy tales that have entertained for generations.

The Naga Prince

Serpent Prince Cover front1 About This Site

“The Serpent Prince – Folktales from Northeastern Thailand” 1969

Originally published as “The Serpent Prince – Folktales from Northeastern Thailand” in 1969.

In 1963, Kermit Krueger joined the Peace Corps to begin the greatest adventure of his life…and he had no idea where that adventure would take place.

John F. Kennedy had just founded the Peace Corps and they were seeking projects around the world where Americans could contribute to local cultures. Kermit was soon sent to teach English to future teachers in Mahasarakham, Thailand, located in “Isan” as Northeast Thailand is known.

One brilliant assignment he gave his students was to write down folktales and legends they heard growing up in their home villages. His students came from all over Isan and their papers became a “folktale time-machine.”

His students, then in their early 20s, recalled stories told in the villages in the 1940s. Parents and grandparents who told these tales heard them when they were young in the early 20th century.

The 1969 edition of the book included less than half of the tales Kermit collected. The new DatAsia edition will include more than 40 of these rare, entertaining legends, preserved by storytellers of the region for more than a century.

Tales of the Hare

Tales of the Hare Front 500 About This Site

Tales of the Hare – 27 Classic Folktales of Cambodia

The Asian Kingdom of Cambodia has many ancient legends about powerful jungle animals. But in this surprising book you’ll meet an unlikely hero: a small rabbit!

As you’ll discover in these 27 classic folktales, Mr. Hare uses his brain to make up for his size. Time and again he outsmarts huge elephants, hungry crocodiles, fierce tigers…and even men!

Khmer language expert and translator Chhany Sak-Humphry presents Mr. Hare’s tales here in Khmer and English, with side-by-side translation, so students of both languages will continue his tradition. Now available on Amazon.com.

Women’s Wiles

Cambodian Legends Collected by G.H.Monod

 

9781934431214 Womens Wiles Cover Front 72dpi About This Site

Women’s Wiles: Cambodian Legends Collected by G H Monod.

In 1922, Guillaume Henri Monod published “Légendes cambodgiennes que m’a contées le gouverneur Khieu“. As the title implies, the stories are based on a Cambodian governor’s account of these classic tales. This fascinating collection of legends entertains readers with psychology, humor and clever insights into Cambodian people and their culture. 

Khmer folktales in the book include:

Women’s Wiles
Meayea Srey

The Father Who Chooses a Son-in-Law
Apuk 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

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

In this new edition, Cambodian scholar Solang Uk translates these tales to English for the first time, adding a foreword with his own perspectives of life in Cambodia. Fascinating, funny and always entertaining these tales preserve the oral traditions of his birth country. In 2010, Solang and his wife Beling Uk released a new English translation of the 12th century account book,  A Record of Cambodia’s Land and Customs by Chinese diplomat Zhou Daguan.

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8 Responses

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  1. Jon Dobbs says

    The Serpent Prince is a wonderful little book. I cant wait to get a copy of the new and unabridged Naga Prince, with all the stories that were left out of the original. When will it be available?

  2. admin says

    Dear Jon, Thank you for your interest. In December 2009 I’m traveling to Mahasarakham in Thailand (where the stories were gathers by Kermit Krueger in 1963) to revisit the site of the old teachers college and to connect with university staff. We hope to have the new edition available in the US, UK and Canada on Amazon by mid 2010.

    With best regards,
    Kent Davis Publisher – 2010 Edition

  3. cloudedlep says

    My wife was a Thakornyang girl of the 70’s. She cried when we read the Chee River crocodile story. It brought back a lot of memories of her past being told the same story; and we both feel the regret that most Issan kids today are more interested in cell phones and keeping modern than with connecting with the past. Of course this is the case for kids everywhere….but it’s sad to see.

    Great web page, especially love the 1963 photos!!

    Lon and Poo

  4. admin says

    Hi Lon, Thanks for posting. My wife was born in Kalasin. (-: Yes, it seems that most kids today are not too interested in thinks other than pop culture…but all pendulums swing both ways. It’s taking longer than I thought to get this book back in print but stay tuned! Kent

  5. Isaan Reminiscence says

    Thank you for the information. I had heard of the story when I was a child growing up in Isaan in the form of “Morlum Gorn.” I am still enjoying this art form very greatly. I also want to encorage your reader to check out the National Geographic Magazine website to read an article on Angkor. The searchword is “Divining Angkor.” The article was published in July, 2009. It summarizes the extent and influence of the Khmer Empire in SE Asia.

  6. Lon Grassman says

    Hi Kent,

    When will The Naga Prince” be available?

    Thanks,

    Lon

  7. admin says

    Thank you for your interest. The new edition will add much content that was previously published in 1969 so it’s taking longer than expected.

    In the meantime, one Cambodian title is available now: Tales of the Hare. Also the first English translation of Monod’s 1922 book, Cambodian Legends, will be in print by Fall 2013.

  8. Frans Betgem says

    How can I contact Kermit Krueger? Thanks and best regards



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