Here in one slim volume is a selection of the best-known and best-loved Lao folktales that have entertained the Lao people for generations. We meet the legendary trickster Xieng Mieng who matches his wits with merchants, monks, and kings. We find a quick-witted toad that terrifies tigers, a turtle that flies, a cadre of snails that race a rabbit, and a mynah bird that speaks five languages fluently.
The reader may recognize a whisper of Aesop or a Jataka tale, but each story is distinctively Lao, retold with Lao humor and charm reflecting a Buddhist culture in a Marxist state. Works by Anoulom Souvandouane, the foremost illustrator in Laos, enliven the stories.
Steven Epstein lived in Laos from 1990 to 1997. He worked for the Swedish government setting up English training programs in different ministries.
IntroductionXieng Mieng Follows the King ExactlyThe Tragic Tale of the Flying TurtleIt Tastes SweetThe Bottle of HoneyMonkey Hearts for LunchHow Xieng Mieng Got His NameThe Tug of WarWhat's in the Bamboo Tube?The Magic Cloth ContestThe Bird that Spoke Five Languages FluentlyThe Lion's LunchXieng Mieng's RevengeSpeed vs. CunningThe King Tries to Trick Xieng MiengThree Friendly FliesA Cure for the KingThe Painting ContestThe King of the JungleThe Intrepid ToadThe King Loses His AppetiteThe King's CatThe Tiger RetiresThe Last Trick