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How Thunder and Lightning Began - (Favourite stories from Cambodia) Long ago, there was a spirit called Mekhala. She learnt many magic trick from a powerful magician who lived all alone. He also taught another spirit. His name was Ramasaur. Both the spirits were clever and worked hard to learn everything from the magician. He loved them both very much. When he had taught them everything, he decided to find out who was cleverer --- Mekhala or Ramasaur.

“You know the water that collects on the leaves and grass in the early morning,” said the magician. “We call this dew. If you can bring me a glass full of dew, I’ll changed it into a magical jewel. This jewel will give you everything you wish for.”

Ramasaur went off to shake the dew from the grass and leaves into his glass. After working hard for several mornings, he had almost no dew at all.

But Mekhala thought of a better way to collect the dew, she found a piece of soft wood. She used it to soak up the dew from the leaves and grass. Then she squeezed the wood into her glass. In a short time it was full. This is how she won.

She brought back the glass full of dew to the magician. He whispered some words that changed the water into a magic stone.

“This is a powerful store,” he said. “If you want anything, just lift the magic stone above your head. Shake it for a moment and all your wishes will come true. Also, with this stone, you can go everywhere you like. You can fly through the sky or hide inside a worm.”

Mekhala took the stone. She shook it above her head and flew off at once into the sky.

Several days later, Ramasaur had, at last, filled his glass with dew. He brought it to the magician. “My child, you’re too late!’ he said, “I’ve given the stone to Mekhala. I’m sorry. I can only say the magic words once. Now they have no power.”

When Ramasaur heard this he was angry. Then he started crying.

The magician was sorry for Ramasaur, “Don’t be so sad, my child,” he said “I’ll give you an axe. Use it to back the stone

You see, Mekhala likes to fly through the sky and bathe in the rain. So, when it rains you can throw your axe at her. She’ll drop the stones. But if she lifts stone above her head, you must close your eyes before you throw the axe.”

As soon as Ramasaur had the axe, he flew off to find Mekhala. But each time he came near her, she knew what he wanted. So she lifted the magic stone above her head. And she flew away, higher and higher, into the sky.

Each time she lifted uo the stone, Ramasaur shut his eyes and threw his axe as hard as he could. “Crash! Crash! Crash!” but it always missed Mekhala and the magic stone.

People say lightning is Mekhala’s magic stone shining above her head. And thunder is the noise of Ramasaur’s axe falling through the sky. 

Source: Favourite stories from Cambodia by David Chandler

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