Yok Yao Mountain (1)

DSC_1286My name is Teuy Ti. I am 55 years old and I am Bunong. My place of birth is Pou Treng village, Dak Dam commune, O’Raing district, Mondulkiri province and I am living here since I was born. I know the story of this mountain from my uncle and

my grandparents and I usually tell it to the young people as well. The story goes as following:

Yao is a word in Bunong language and it means tiger. This mountain is located at Pou Treng village, Dak Dam commune, O’Raing district. It is a huge and high mountain with big trees growing from the bottom to the top of the mountain. It takes 30 minutes to ride a motorbike from the town of Dak Dam to reach that mountain. In the past, you could see there the cave of the tiger, but now you can’t find it anymore because many trees and big vines have overgrown it. Therefore it is very difficult to go and see that cave. There is a reason why this mountain is called Tiger Mountain. There is a story that two people ate the rice of Srov Pachik Pamarai and became tigers after they ate that rice. The two of them were still living on the mountain after they became tigers and they dug a cave where they delivered many other tigers. Other people, who did not eat from the same rice, did not turn into tigers and they never felt afraid of the tigers at that time. They were living together – the normal people were living at one side of the mountain and the tiger people at the other side. The people did not worry about their own lives or their animals, because they knew that the tigers wouldn’t eat them. However, the tigers only ate humans, if some people were hunting the tigers. For instance after some people have hunted one or two tigers, a group of tigers came out and took revenge on the people by killing one or two of them. In other cases, tigers would catch and eat people if irregular events happened in the village such as doing something wrong with the spirits of the ancestors, a chicken giving birth at nighttime, a pig giving birth outside the pigsty and a newborn piglet having three legs. Tigers rarely let people see them as a big group; they appeared only as a few shapes unless they took revenge or in case of irregular events in the village. Then, many tigers left their cave in order to eat people. Nevertheless, there was nothing wrong as mentioned above, the herd of tigers would not appear near humans and didn’t cause fear and fright among the people.

At the end, I would like to leave a message to all people that theyshould together make an effort to preserve this mountain because it is a sacred place for the Bunong people.

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