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Dead python believed to bring curse

Villagers in Kampong Speu province are claiming that the vengeful ghost of a butchered python has caused freak accidents and the grisly deaths of two people.

Un Thun, a Prey Krasaing commune councillor, said yesterday that a woman’s death earlier this year was blamed on the snake, as was the recent demise of a man in the past two weeks. Their exact ages are unknown, though they are not elderly.

According to Thun, the bodies of both snake-ghost victims contorted and writhed right before dying, and their skin grew scales resembling a python’s leathery exterior.

The saga of the haunting reptile began like many sagas: with wine and a murder.

Thun said that last year, seven Prey Krasaing villagers caught a large python near the pagoda. They killed, cooked and ate it, washing the apparently tainted meal down with wine.

Sicknesses and accidents were not long in arriving. Someone fell from a palm tree, another slipped while walking, and a third became mentally ill. Everything was blamed on the angry spirit of the python.

When the second man became ill, villagers took him to a doctor. “But he could not cure him, and then they went to see the fortune-teller, who said that he had done a bad deed,” Thun recalled.

And the appetite of the murderous, grudge-bearing reptile is far from sated.

According to Thun, “As the fortune teller said, the spirit of the python will avenge those who killed and ate it. All the people who killed and ate the python cannot escape from dying. Even now, some of them do not die, but they will next time.”

At the funeral for the man last Sunday, villagers reportedly saw a small snake slither up to the man’s coffin. Villagers did not dare harm the creature, for the lesson of the snake had been learned. They removed it from the ceremony and placed it peacefully back into the grass.

But even after recounting the mysterious tale, Thun remains a sceptic, preferring to stick with more boring, if likelier, explanations.

“I don’t think they died and got sick because of the python’s spirit, but maybe they had a disease which could not be treated,” Thun said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at kunthear.mom@phnompenhpost.com

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