Bunong Story Telling: A Story Telling about a Wild Chicken Man

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Ms. Pi Cheuv, a Wild Chicken Man’s Story Teller

My name is Pi Cheuv. I am a Bunong man and I am 43 years old. I live in the village of Pou Rales, Dak Dam commune, O Raing district in Mondulkiri province. Pou Rales village is located around 18km’s from the Buffalo roundabout of Sen-Monorom town, Mondulkiri province, along the national road no. 76 to the Vietnamese border. I’d love to tell a story called ‘A Wild Chicken Man’. I know this story from a grandmother named Chrang and a man named Chonh who also live in the village. When I was young I asked them to tell me this story and they agreed. However, they said I would need to go to the fields and strip off the rice seeds with them. The following is the story of ‘A Wild Chicken Man’:

Once upon a time, there was a wild chicken man who went to eat rice seeds at a lady’s field. That lady already had a fiancé. One time when she walked to look after her field she saw a chicken man flying across to eat her rice seeds. She was very mad at that chicken so she insulted and cursed that chick loudly. Suddenly the chicken man replied “I flew here, it’s not because I hate you but because I love you. So please don’t be mad at me. I love you, that’s why I’ve tried to come to see you every morning.” Then, the chicken man and that lady separated and went back to their own homes. wild chicken

The next morning came and the chicken man hit a fallen-down tree at the lady’s field. This was in order to make a noise so that the lady could hear him. He made a poem and said to her “A beautiful lady walks to look after her field because she doesn’t want the wild chicken to eat her rice seed, yet the handsome wild chicken man flies to the rice field because he wants to eat her rice seeds.” After saying that poem, he flew to the lady’s field. After he arrived in the field, the lady brought him to visit her field house and cooked rice and delicious foods for him. After having the meal, both the chicken man and the lady had been chatting and teasing for a while. Afterwards, the chicken man left and went back to his place.

Every morning since, the chicken man and the lady are always together, chatting and teasing each other.

There was one time, when the lady’s father and her younger sister were very angry with her and her father questioned her younger sister, “why does your sister always go to the field every day without stopping and without missing even once?” Thus her father and younger sister went to investigate her at the field. They saw that the lady was chatting and teasing with the chicken man when they got to the field. Her father was very mad at her when he saw them because he wanted her to go with her fiancé (she was asked to crush {by using pestle and mortar} the power of yeast by her fiancé on that day- her fiancé wanted to test her skill and talent to see how good she was at this skill. But she refused her fiancé’s suggestion and came to see the chicken man).

Her father and younger sister returned home quietly and secretly they prepared a trick to kill the chicken man. That evening, as usual, the lady went back home from her field after meeting with her lovely chicken man.

The next day, her fiancé asked her again to help crush the yeast power. This time she accepted the suggestion from her fiancé and she then left for her fiancé’s house. After she left home, her father and younger sister also left for their field to shoot the chicken man. Her younger sister responded and called for the chicken man to show up. Then her father shot him. They brought his corpse home after he died.

The lady’s anklet, necklace, bead jewelry and other jewelry were suddenly cut from her and dropped down to the ground where the chicken man had died. She felt nervous and wondered “It feels weird today, what has happened to me?” So she returned home and left for her field quietly in order to meet the chicken man. When she got to her field, she tried to call the chicken man by a made up a poem, “the lady who looks after the field has arrived in the field so where is the handsome wild chicken man? Please come and eat rice, I am here waiting for you. Where are you?” She called the chicken many many times but he didn’t show up. She returned home sadly after the chicken man didn’t show up. Unfortunately she saw his corpse at home when she arrived there. With painful feelings she cried mournfully because she was deeply in love with the chicken man. She decided to commit suicide by leaving her normal human fiancé and this human world; she hoped to see the chicken man at the other world. She took the bone of her dearest chicken man to stick up on her chest and then she wrapped herself with 6-7 levels of blankets in order to commit suicide in her bedroom.

Her parents, younger sister and the other kin didn’t know that she was committing suicide at the time. Meanwhile, her parents went to check on her as they saw she had been sleeping for a whole day. When they uncovered the blankets they saw that she had already stopped breathing.

The lady of course met the chicken man at the other world after she died. She felt that she had and was again meeting her angel in that world.

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Bunong’s Rice Field & Cassava Plantation at Dak Dak commune, O Raing, Mondulkiri

Click here to see our Eng-Khmer story telling poster

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