It is a Saturday morning. I do not know where should I hang out. So I just call my former high school friends to join a Japanese festival TANABANA (Star Festival). We plan to meet up at 1:30 pm. Since I do not have much things to do at home, I come early to event place which takes place at Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center (CJCC) in Royal University of Phnom Penh.
I enter the CJCC library. I love the environment here. It is clean, quite, and comfortable. I skim some books on the bookshelf. Oh I found a children book with a nice cover. It hooks me to open a few more pages. There are an interesting folk tale and drawings inside.
“In the Land of the Elephants” is the title of the book. Let’s me briefly tell you about the story.
Long time ago in Mondulkiri, the eastern of Cambodia, a group of male hunters enter the jungle to catch the wild elephants. Among those hunters, there is a young man. After they reach the elephant area surrounded by mega trees, a lake, and waterfall, the hunters prepare to hunt the wild elephants. Unfortunately, there is a big raining storm that separates all the hunters. When the storm is over, the hunters gather at the place they promise to meet if there is something bad happens.
All the hunters are meet at the meeting point, except the youngest man. The men give sign by playing ivory. Sadly, there is no sign reply back. The sun is about to set. Thus, the hunters decide to leave the jungle going back home.
Talking about the young hunter. He and his elephant keep going into the deep of the forest without any direction. To defend themselves from rude wild animals, the boy sets the fire.
In the morning, the least-experience hunter with the elephant step ahead. Finally, they find a giant cave. Because the cave gate is small that cannot allow the elephant to enter, the boy decides to left the elephant outside and walk into the cave alone. He sees stone stairs which make him thinks that there are people living in. Along the way, the boy sees a school of vultures, a group of crocodiles and hundreds of bats that makes him feels scary.
Luckily, the boy meets a man dressing yellow robe without hair sitting on a lotus-shape stone. The light brights on the monk body. The monk asks the boy what leads him to here. After hearing the boy’s story, the Buddhist man tells the young hunter to stay in the cave with him for a few days. A few days later, the monk gives direction the way going back to village. Magically, the monk disappears quickly while the boy salutes him in front of the cave gate.
Everything has changed. There is automobile vehicles, and electricity in the village. Villagers dress modern clothes. When the young hunter searches for his relatives and friends, he could not find one. Additionally, the villagers call him ice-age person since he dresses different from other villagers and rides an elephant. So, the villagers force him to leave the village.
Finally, the boy and the elephant go back to the cave in the jungle. Mysteriously, the cave is disappeared.