Legends
Narrative

Mouse and Cat Island and Dog Mountain

Context:

The following informant is a 60-year-old Thai immigrant who heard the following story growing up as a kid. This interview was carried out in a mix of Thai and English. In this I will be denoted as C and the informant will be denoted as S

Item:

S: When you go traveling in the south of Thailand, where there is a lot a sea. Like Pattaya, Hua Hin, and whatever there are islands named Mouse and Cat, and so forth.

C: Right.

S: Okay, I will tell you how those places got their name. So there’s this merchant, a Chinese merchant. Who is carrying merchandise. A Chinese merchant with merchandise from China brings his merchandise on a boat to Thailand. After selling all his merchandise, before he leave the merchant sees a beautiful cat and dog and brings them with him on his boat. Now once the cat and dog are on the boat it is very boring for them and they want to go back to Thailand. They want to go back to the sea and their house that is next to the sea. They want to go home and go back to being home. So they start trying to figure out how they can make their way back home.

So, the dog, the dog says to the cat that the merchant has, uh, a special glass. This mean a special crystal that whoever holds the crystal will not drown. They will be unable to drown, do you understand?

C: Yes, I understand.

S: Now the cat starts thinking about how it can get the crystal so it starts talking to a mouse and, uh, orders the mouse to steal the crystal in exchange for being able to join them on their journey back to Thailand. So the cat, the dog, and the mouse. When the boat starts going back to Thailand again the mouse sneaks in and steals the crystal, the special crystal, the magic crystal, and holds the crystal in the mouth. So the three of them, the mouse, the cat, and a dog, escape from the ship near Thailand.

When they’re swimming the mouse is swimming in front and starts thinking that the crystal, the one that it is holding in its mouth, is worth a lot and the cat and dog will probably try to take the crystal from the mouse. So the mouse starts thinking it should escape the cat and dog and then crystal will be the mouse’s forever. The cat is also thinking that it should take the crystal for itself so it swims up towards the mouse. When the mouse sees the cat it freaks out and swims away and when it does it the special crystal falls out of its mouth and sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Now when it’s at the bottom of the ocean, the uh, the mouse and the cat can’t swim anymore and the cat and the mouse drown. This is why the there is a Mouse Island and Cat Island in Songkhla Bay. The dog is able to keep swimming but since the land is so far away, once it gets to land it dies immediately. This is why there is a Dog Mountain in the Songkhla Bay. And the special crystal broke up in the ocean becoming glassy sand that is white beautiful sand that looks almost like glass.

Analysis: It is very interesting to hear a story about how these islands and locations go their name and also an explanation for why the sand in the south of Thailand is so fine and white.

Annotation:
A different version of the story can be found here. It is printed on a plaque of a statue depicting the mouse and cat in the story. Interesting the mountain is not called Dog Mountain in this version but Tangkaun Hill.

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMBWWY_The_Sculpture_of_the_Mouse_and_the_CatHat_Yai_Thailand

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