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Python prayers pay off for farmer

Python prayers pay off for farmer

Villagers in Kampong Chhnang province’s Phsar Chhnang commune gather at the home of a local farmer to pray and receive blessings from a python. The villagers believe that the large snake possesses magical powers and will bring them good luck. Photo supplied
Ever since he found a three-metre long python and its 39 babies near his home on Monday, farmer Chan Tha, 40, has become something of a minor celebrity in his village in Kampong Chhnang province’s Phsar Chhnang commune.

Believing the snake to possess magical powers, hundreds of villagers have arrived daily to Tha’s home to pray to the animal and make donations for good luck, commune police chief Ngouk Bunthy said yesterday.

“And some pay money,” he added. “Five hundred or 1,000 riel to the python.”

Tha and his son found the 20-kilogram python and its offspring when searching for crickets near his house. The duo took the animals back home and have been caring for them as pets.

Sun Kosal, chief of the provincial forestry administration, declined to comment yesterday, but Bunthy said the authorities were reluctant to remove the python as villagers feel misfortune would befall them if that happened and might use violence to stop forestry officials.

“We are worried that what they are doing will harm the python and its babies,” he said. “So we asked the farmer to take the python to the experts for safe-keeping, but he rejected us because he thinks having this python has improved his living standard.”

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