My name is Keuk Seang. I am 74 years old and I am Bunong. I was born in Pou Trou village, Sen Monorom commune, O Raing district, Mondul Kiri province. Currently, I live in Pou Radet village, Sre Ampoum commune, Pich Chreada district and I have been here for 30 years. I heard the story of this river from my grandparents and I tell it to the young people as well. The story is as follows:
Hundreds of years ago, O Ply got this name because there was a cobra that had pushed and broken a hole near Pou Trok mountain. After it hit that mountain, a big flow of water came down the mountain and it got wider and wider with a lot of Na Touch animals in it. Na Touch was a bad water spirit and it could change itself into many different kinds of appearances. Since that time, spirits came to introduce themselves to our ancestors in their dream- I am Brab Tov Ply, I am Ra Nel water fall, I am An Long Toek Chatt, I am Tras Chong Taub, etc,. At the lower part of O Ply river, two streams called Ping Ratoung and Ping Treng flow into O Ply river and further down two other streams called Anglong Males Srey and Anlong Males Pros, and at this point are the Na Touch animals living. When the O Ply got bigger in the rainy season, we could whistle and a big cobra appeared and laid its body as bridge across the river and we could pass it. At that time there were Bres and Ra Dae, two indigenous groups, living on the other side of O Ply and they wanted to attack the Bunong who lived on the opposite side. On the day of the attack, the Bres and Ra Dae group arrived at the O Ply and the O Ply got bigger and impossible to cross so they whistled. All of a sudden, a cobra appeared as bridge to let them pass. While they were crossing the river, the last person had seen the eyes of the cobra, so he stabbed these eyes with his spear. The cobra was in a lot of pain – it turned his body around and all people on its back died. Since that day, there were a lot of cruel and dangerous Na Touch there; we could not even talk about this. If we did talk about it, we would drown or get sick. Therefore O Ply divided its living place into two parts, the lower part for him and upper part for his wife. At the lower part where O Ply himself was living, it was very dangerous for people because O Ply still remembered that people had stabbed his eye. Everybody who crossed that place would drown by the magic of O Ply. When O Ply’s wife saw that her husband seemed to be cruel to people, she moved her living place to the lower side with O Ply. There were many holes and waterfalls there. When I was a soldier at Sihanouk regime and I was assigned to deliver rice to the Vietnamese at Nam Lia mountain but I ignored my order because I was scared of O Ply. On the way to Nam Lia mountain, I had to cross the O Ply river. So they delegated the other Khmer soldiers to go there. One among them was very arrogant and he said “nothing scares me with O Ply”.
Then they drove the car onwards and arrived at O Ply. The water looked shallow but they all sunk into the river including the car. Luckily, all soldiers were alive accept the arrogant guy had disappeared. The soldiers who were alive tried to find the dead body of that guy but it was hopeless. They could only find his hat and shoes; his gun was lost as well. We should remark that O Ply had crossed the O Kraung and turned back to flow in the same direction with O Kraung in the rivers flow racing. At that time O Kraung said “please don’t try to make yourself stronger than me”. People cannot do something against their tradition. For instance, there is a single woman who is pregnant. It could happen something bad to her, like the foot of her elephant that she is riding to cross the river gets stuck. I had met O Ply as well during the Communist period. One day, I went to O Ply to make a fishing net. Meanwhile, I saw lots of Na Touch animals swimming, with black, red and blue colors. I took out my gun and wanted to shoot those animals but they changed into a mixed-color. It was so scared to talk about that. So I went ahead with my fishing and I got one fish before going back home. When I fall asleep, I had a dream about O Ply. O Ply said “Don’t try to fool yourself; if you see other people ride a motorbike, you should ride motorbike; if you see somebody driving a car, you should as well drive the car”. I saw a lot of cars in that dream. Not only said O Ply this to me, he also invited me to go with him but I refused. O Ply said “If I don’t want to go with me, let’s carry this motorbike and follow me”. I ran away after I got the motorbike and I wake up from the dream. I have been doing well since that time till now.