My name is Chran Chham, I am Bunong and 81 years old. I was born in Pou Treng village, Dak Dam commune, O’Raing district, Mondulkiri province. I have been living here for 81 years. I know the story of this place from my grandparents and I usually tell it to young people as well.
Grandmother Mevernbras refers to a grass field where a grandmother named Mevernbras always went to graze her buffalos and where she met a surprising thing. That field is located at Pou Tren village, Dak Dam village, O Raing district, Moudulkiri province. It is a flat area close to a mountain covered by grass where one big tall Roka tree is growing. You have to spend almost half an hour by riding a motorbike from the town of Dak Dam to reach that field. The story is as follows:
Once upon a time, there was a reason why this story is being told. Back then, grandmother Mevernbras was not only a bright and strong person during attacks but she was also a tribal chief. She used the Roka tree to celebrate any kind of ceremonies in the village. When there were problems in village, everybody consulted her and she help solve these conflicts. One day, she went to graze her buffalos at a field close to a mountain while at the same time she was weaving Njoh(1) . As she was weaving, a snake crawled out and stopped next to her leg. She thought, why does this snake suddenly appear and stop here? Or it is a divine snake? After thinking for just a little while, she started to speak to the snake: “If you are a divine snake, please change your body into a bridge to cross O Pol river.” Subsequently, the snake changed itself to be small and long sized like a plastic tube and connected from one side to the other side of the river. After that Mevernbras went home in the late afternoon. When the sun set down and the night came, the grandmother felt very sleepy after working hard for a full day at the field and she went to sleep. While she was sleeping, she had a dream about the snake. The snake said to her: “This noon you asked me to change my body to a bridge and I did it. But now I want you to weave seven Nas(2) per day for me and as well I would like to ask your siblings to build a buffalo’s stable for me. The stable has to be built from seven big spiky bamboo trees.” After getting up in the morning, she tried to do what she had dreamed. Unfortunately, she could only weave six Nas within one day and her siblings could build the buffalo’s stable from only six big bamboo trees. After finishing the tasks uncompleted, the snake spoke to her again: “The two tasks I have asked you to accomplish were not done as I requested. Therefore only you can become a tycoon; your children and grandchildren cannot. After that, this field became a very taboo place and people still believe in it today.
(1) is a decoration out of bamboo that looks similar to a flag which is used for the Rice Harvesting Ceremony as well as other ceremonies.
(2) is a thick and expensive blanket for Bunong people; one Nas can be changed with one buffalo.