NONG KHAI: Villagers in Phon Phisai and neighbouring districts have been flocking to Tambon Soem to pay respect to a mysterious hole that appeared in a rice field shortly before Songkran.
Residents of Village 9 told reporters that one morning earlier this month, after a day and a night of constant rain, they heard a loud bang – like that of a bomb exploding.
When they went to investigate where the sound seemed to have come from – about 200 meters from the road – they found a hole about a foot in diameter and three to four meters deep in a field belonging to Sawat Nonsurat.
Sensing that the hole was not quite of this world, the villagers went to fetch the local spirit medium to see if he could shed any light on the issue.
After the medium had examined the hole and conducted his ceremonies, he announced that the hole had been made by a naga – a type of serpent deity from Hindu-Buddhist mythology – called Thao Jed See. The creature had come to the village to drive out evil, the medium explained.
Very happy with this explanation, the villagers immediately sealed off the hole with tape to prevent anyone falling into the realm of the naga. Then they set up a tent nearby to make offerings to the deity.
Sawai Janthasri, 71, said that this was not the first time a naga had chosen to visit their village. Five years earlier, a similar hole had appeared in the field.
That cavity belonged to a female naga called Mae Nakhi Daeng, believed to be the elder sister of Thao Jed See. She sent her younger brother to take her place in the village, Mr Sawai explained.
Thao Jed See wanted the villagers to perform a traditional dance with at least seven dancers as an act of worship, he said.
Those wanting the naga to help them with problems in their lives could bring incense and flowers to offer by the hole. The naga is even able to cure illnesses, Mr Sawai enthused.
Soon word of the miraculous hole spread to other villagers in the province and more and more people came to make offerings.
Nual Bamphenchop, 55, from Fao Rai District said that five years earlier when the naga Mae Nakhi Daeng appeared in the village, her husband brought her to pay respects to the deity.
At that time she was suffering from a growth on her right eye and was due to have it surgically removed, but was very apprehensive about the procedure. She paid respects to the naga and took water from the hole home to drink and wash her face.
After a week of drinking the muddy water, the growth disappeared, she said.
On hearing of the appearance of Mae Nakhi Daeng’s younger brother, she brought her family to get some of the sacred water, which will bring them good fortune, Mrs Nual said