Hundreds of people with all types of illnesses are paying 500 riel each, hoping to
be licked by a Kampong Chhnang cow, pictured left, said to have magical curative
As the visiting hordes pray for miracle cures, the inscrutable Preah Koo keeps her tongue firmly up her right nostril while she ruminates on whom she will bestow her next lick.
After the cow made local (and international) news, the numbers of visitors increased
from between 30 and 40 up to 100 a day, and the owners say they are now grossing
60,000 riel a day.
On Wednesday, July 14, the inevitable happened: the commune police called the cow
owners to their office and asked for a cut of 25,000 riel per day, to which they
The cow's name is Preah Koo, which translates to "Holy Cow".
Every day people travel long distances to pay the admission requirements of incense
sticks, areca fruits, betel nut, cigarettes and 500 riel. They remove their shoes
and join a queue that moves slowly past the cow's pen.
There is no guarantee Preah Koo will lick them. She decides who she will favor. Water
from the cow's drinking trough is also considered holy, and is sprinkled over visitors.
Her co-owner, Put Mich, 38, a cattle trader, said some people waited as long as three
days for a lick. "No one can force Preah Koo to lick people; it's up to her,"
He said he discovered the holy cow's healing powers when his wife Kong Mith, 40,
recovered from a chronic wasting illness after being licked. Then a neighbor was
cured of fear of the darkness. When the news spread, locals began arriving for the
cure. And now people come from Kampong Chhnang, Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Speu,
Kampot, Pailin, Phnom Penh and other places.
Pan Norn, 57, from a nearby village, said she a had knee pain and blurred vision
in one eye. She visited Mich's house almost every day for three months as a visitor
and on four days she was licked. She said her ailments were cured.
Dy Chan Ly, 52, from Rolea Piear district, said her husband had partial paralysis
of his body for three days. Preah Koo licked him twice and he was getting better.
They went to the holy cow because a neighbor had reported good results.
Explaining her miracle cure, Kong Mith said the cow licked her whenever she was nearby
and after three months her illness was gone.
She said: "I feel very happy that Preah Koo has come to help us have a better
life and higher standard of living."
They are planning to have a big public ceremony to bless and thank the spirit of