The Golden Swan


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There was once a mighty hunter who lied in Laos. He was a good husband and a kind father, and he looked after his family well. In fact, he was such a good hunter that people called him the chief Hunter. People knew he was a very lucky man.

Everything about the chief hunter’s life was fortunate. His childern always had food. His wife could trade the birds and animals be caught for the best rice in the village. They had the best cloyh to make their clothing. Life were rich and happy for the chief hunter’s family. Then one day the chief hunter hurt himself while he was hunting. He came home to his wife, and he said, “what’s wrong? Your face looks pale, and you are moving so slowly. What happened?”
“I don’t know” the chief hunter said wearily. “I feel very sick. Let me lie down.” So he went to his bed, and his family nursed him devotedly and watched him with great care.


At first the chief hunter seemed to get better, but then he slipped back. He died a week later. His widow grieved terribly. She missed her husband, and she did not know to live without him. The family became poor, and it was difficult to find enough food to eat. The childern often cried when they went to sleep because they were hungry. The widow could not sleep because of her worries and sadness.

One night, as the poor widow was slee[ping restlessly, she heared her husband’s voice. “I have come back to help you”, the voice said. The widow sat up and looked around. She knew she was dreaming, and in her dream she went outside. A large swan spoke to her with the chief hunter’s voice. “I know how hard it is for you”, the swan said in the chief hunter’s voice. The widow was happy to her husband’s voice, yet sad because she knew it was a dream.

The words stuck her throat so she could not speak. The swan stood in the moonlight and said, “I wish I could be here with you” then it came closer. She could see that many of its feathers were made of gold, in the moonlight it seemed to be a golden swan.

The golden swan said in the voice of the chief hunter. “go to sleep now. In the morning you will know this was a special dream” so the widow put the feather beside her bed and went back to sleep. She slept so well and deeply as if her husband were still alive.

When she woke up she remembered yhe dream and looked for the golden feather. There in its place was money and gold. The women was very happy and later  she went to the village and bought food and clothing. She was careful not to spend too much.

The widow was wise with the money, but then there was a little left, and she began to worry. Would the golden swan come back again? On the day she spent the last coin, she felt alone again just like when she was first a widow. The golden swan come bac k to her, and she took a larger feather than before. The golden swan flew away, and the widow dreamed on and planned what she could do with the money.
The next day, sure enough, there was an even larger pile of gold and coins. The widow laughed and gave her children a little money to buy food in the market. When she went to find people who ran the gambling in the village. She was sure she could double her money.

“I would like to famble”, she said “will anyone play with me”
“do you have any money?” the gambler asked.

She let the gamblers see part of the gold. The game started that moning, and by nightfall the widow had no money left. She went home, angry and depressed. On the way she thought of a plan.

“my husband wiil be angry when he finds out how I lost the money”, she thought. “if I had a lot of money, I would not to need to ask him for more”

That night as she was lying down, she waited for the golden swan to come. He came as usual and offered his feathers. This time she plucked all the golden feathers she could find. She didn’t care how much she hurt the swan. She was greedy. The widow put the feathers into a pile by her bed so that she could see them as soon as she woke up. “such a large pile of feathers should turn into a lot of money” she thought.

The next day morning she woke up and looked for the money. All she found was a pile of dull dead swan’s feathers.

That night the widow was afraid to fo to sleep. But at last she didi. The golden swan come to her in her dream and said “I will necver come to help you again. You do not deserve anything from me, and you now you must look after yourself” then the golden swan flew away and never returned.
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