Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Legend of the Fanged King from Kedah

There was a legend taken from the Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa about the Fanged King ("Raja Bersiong" in Malay) who lived during ancient Kedah kingdom. The king was known as Raja Ong Maha Perita Deria (probably Om Maha Parita Darya, will it make a better Sanskrit?) who craved for human blood. One day, his cook accidentally cut his finger while preparing for the king's meal but later, the king found the dish to be very tasty. He used force upon the cook to find out about the secret to the tasty meal. The cook was not left with a choice but to reveal that the secret ingredient was the drip of blood from his finger that fall into the dish. From thereon, the king sacrificed his subjects in order to get the human blood to be added to his meal. But later he was hunted down for his atrocity.

This story really remind me of Jean-Paul Bokassa, the former dictator of Central African Republic who was a cannibal. Probably the story of the Fanged King was not a work of fiction but was based on a true story. It was a story of a cannibal tyrant ruler. I just read a blog where the blogger was of the opinion that the story was inspired by a Jataka Tale of Sutasoma where there is a character known as Kalmasapasada, a cannibal king.

Probably Ong Maha Perita Deria was merely a tyrant but natives of Kedah then associated him with Kalmasapasada and came out with such a bizzare story.


Googoozool said...

Good post!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post.

tutudutta said...

I'm researching Raja Bersiong myself. He is supposed to be the fifth ruler of the Kedah Dynasty, which dates back to the 4th Century AD. He is known as Raja Ong Maha Perita Deria in Kedah but in Thai history he is known as Phra Ong Maha Yatidahara. I also believe he is based on a real person. But I don't think it has anything to do with the Jataka Tales. It is quite possible for a person to develop an obsession for blood. Who knows?

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adrina said...

Thai language is a newcomer in SEA. It cannot go tht far as 4th century. Old Kedah was a port city, nothing mentioned of it being a kingdom. I think it was part of the larger Langkasuka, which also form the confederation of Sriwijaya.

I think ths story is a Jataka tale. Kedah was under Buddhist influence.

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