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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

TOP - Mythology

The Nong Khai Naga

The seven-headed serpent of the Mekong
Breathes fireballs known as; ‘bang fai paya nak’.
For centuries, this legendary ‘Naga
Has haunted Isan with its ‘S’ shaped track

Late autumn, full moon; the end of Buddhist Lent
Location: the heart of Nong Khai province
The sixteenth century temple, Wat Paa Luang
Provides the setting for our vigilance

A ball of pink light reflects on the river
Followed by more, with similar features
Without a sound, they hurtle ever-skywards
Up to a height of hundreds of metres

The ‘Nong Khai Naga’, like the ‘Loch Ness Monster’
Inhabits the depths, rarely seen or heard
An existence which is disputed by some
But photographs ‘prove’ the witnesses’ word

Like all good myths, this one’s fiercely contested
Legend claims a monster breathing fire
“It’s folk-lore, and however deeply rooted,”
Science counters, “Legend is a liar”

“Merely Mekong Methane,” agree professors
“Ignited by the natural forces
Of pressure, heat, gravity, oxygen, and
Proximity to Sun’s UV sources.”

Believers hit back with their words of caution
To those who would put nature to the test
“Don’t ever doubt the power of the Naga
Don’t make him angry…if you know what’s best.”