RAIN CLOUD THE CROCODILE

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An old fisherman and his wife found a crocodile’s egg in their net, and they but it in a small pond at the back of their house. In due course the egg hatched and a little crocodile came out. The fisher couple had no children, and they loved the baby crocodile as if he were their own son. They gave him the name of Master Rain Cloud. Some months passed, and as Rain Cloud had grown too big for the pond the fisherman fenced off a part of the river near his home, and put the crocodile there.

After one or two years Rain Cloud became too big to be shut up behind a fence, and the fisherman said to him, ‘My son, I will now take down the fence, and you are free to go. but at noon every day I will call out to you and you must come to the river bank to take some food from me, and also let me know that you are all right.’ So every day at noon, the fisherman, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by his wife, would call out ‘Rain Cloud, Rain Cloud across the water and the crocodile would swim towards him and take the food from his hands. This went on for many months. In the meantime, Rain Cloud became wild and conceited, for he became the master of that small river. the small river came to be known as ‘The Stream of Master Rain Cloud’, and even at the present day it bears the same name.

One day the old fisherman and his wife forgot to go to the river bank with food and call for Raid Cloud. The crocodile in his conceit had come to look upon the daily gift of food, not as a loving gift from his parents to a son, but as a tribute offer by a vassal to his overload. So he felt vey angry when the fisherman failed to turn up at the usual time. The next day the fisherman came alone and called out, ‘Rain Cloud, my son.’ The crocodile swan towards him and suddenly seized hold of fisherman’s legs. ‘What ails you, my son?’ asked the fisherman gently.

‘You neglect to bring me my tribute yesterday, and I will eat you now,’ was the reply.

‘Remember, my son, that I have been a father to you,’ pleaded the fisherman.

‘I will eat you all the same,’ the crocodile replied insolently.

‘Give me time to pray,’ said the fisherman. When the crocodile consented, the fisherman prayed, ‘I say that I am guiltless and do not deserve to die. If that is true, may I be reborn as a Master of White Magic, and may I be able to kill this ungrateful crocodile. I am ready now,’ he then told the crocodile, who at once killed and ate him.

Rain Cloud wandered up and down the many streams of the Irrawaddy Delta, and he was feared by all, for he killed and ate hundreds of people. But, with the passing of years, he mellowed. Perhaps the memory of his happy childhood years with the fisher couple made him kinder to human beings when his youthful conceit and fiery temper had disappeared with age. He was full of remorse over the killing of the old fisherman. He became the friend of human beings, who learnt to love and trust him. He loved human company so much that when a female crocodile by the name of Brownish, fell in love with him, hw scorned her love making her his mortal enemy.

Now, when a crocodile attained the age of one hundred years, he could assume the form of a human being. So the moment Rain Cloud attained the age of one hundred years he assumed human form and, becoming a merchant, he traded up and down the Delta. At one of the delta towns, he fell in love a beautiful damsel and married her. He spent some happy years with her.

By this time the old fisherman had been reborn, and at the age of sixteen he became a Master of White Magic. The Delta was full of tales about the prowess and power of Rain Cloud the Crocodile, and people were mystified over the long absence of the crocodile, of course not knowing that he had assumed human form. The Master Magician want to test the power of his magic wand, and so he went to the river bank. He struck the water once with his magic wand and commanded, ‘Rain Cloud the Crocodile, some here at once.’ Some miles away at his home, Rain Cloud heard the command, and he realized that the vengeful incarnation of the fisherman would kill him soon. So he told his wife at last that he was going to his death at the hands of the fisherman now reborn as a Master Magician. He requested his wife to follow him and claim his dead body. The Master Magician struck the water for the second time and commanded, ‘Rain Cloud the Crocodile, come here at once.’ Poor Rain Cloud! He bade a tearful farewell to his beloved and reassuming crocodile form, hurried down the river. The Master Magician for the third time struck the water with his wand and commanded, ‘Rain Cloud the Crocodile, come here at once,’ Rain Cloud appeared at his feet, and the Master Magician killed with one blow of his wand. The half of the crocodile’s body which was in the water became pure gold and the other half, which was on land, became rubies. The Master Magician was stricken with remorse after killing Rain Cloud and went away with out touching the gold and jewels. Rain Cloud’s wife later came and built a pagoda over the gold and jewel remains of her beloved Rain Cloud.

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