June 07, 2012

LLR (books): Mini-Series of Lao Folktales and Stories

Title:  Lao Folktales - Xieng Mieng - The Cleverest Man
Retold by:  Steve Epstein
Publisher/Year:  Vientiane Times Publications, 1995
ISBN:  0966145801

Title:  Lao Folktakes - Tales of Turtles, Tigers and Toads
By:  Somsanouk Mixay
Illustrations by:  Savanh
Publisher/Year:  Vientiane Times Publications, 2000
ISBN:  096614581

Title:  Treasures of Lao Literature
Retold by:  Steve Epstein
Publisher/Year:  Vientiane Times Publications, 2004

Lao book - Lao Folktales - Xieng Mieng the Cleverest Man in the KingdomLao Folktales - Tales of Turtles, Tigers and ToadsLao book - Treasures of Lao Literature

I had the fortune of coming across these little books while in Laos.  They include some of the well known and beloved folktales, fairy tales and stories that are told in Laos.  Ex. Champa See Tohn / 4 Champa Trees, Nang Pom Hom / Miss Beautifully Smelling Hair, Xieng Mieng, Sinxay, etc.  It's definitely not exhaustive.  Although it includes some of the more commonly known stories and it's written in English and in a very approachable manner.

You can still find copies of them in Laos and even fewer overseas.  What I love even more is that I got them at a great price - I think I paid a few of dollars at most and this was way back when they were first published.

However if you can't find these specific ones then consider buying the subsequent compilation book that was published as it's more widely available (ie. Amazon).  The details are below:

Title:  Lao Folktales
By:  Steven Epstein
Publisher/Year:  Silkworm Books, 2006
Pages:  124
ISBN:  9789749575871

Lao book - Lao Folktales

I recommend them for the price and content.  Additionally, if you're new to reading Lao stories and literature, it's a good introduction.  I think it's great that Vientiane Times Publications had begun to create a mini-series of books featuring Lao stories which they started in the late 1990s.  Not sure if they've continued it though. 

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