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Pha Daeng Nang Ai (ผาแดง นางไอ่)

Thai. Name of an epic folktale from Isaan, though thought to have originated in neighbouring Laos, of which parts in the past belonged to Siam. The story describes a tragic love triangle between King Pha Daeng, Princess Aikham (ไอ่คำ), also referred to as Nang Ai, and the Naga Prince Phangkhi (ภังคี), whose names may also be transcribed Phadaeng, Naang Aaikham and Phangkhee, respectively. Though Phangkhi and Nang Ai had been reborn as soul mates throughout many past chaht or existences, Nang Ai, the daughter of the Khmer King, fell in love with Pha Daeng, the King of Phaphong, but their love had to remain secret as it was never recognized, because King Phadaeng had failed to win the Boon Bang Fai rocket contest which the Khmer King had organized, whilst Phangkhi was deeply in love with the princess without her knowledge. In order to be close to the princess, Prince Phangkhi changed himself into a white squirrel wearing a bell to attract her attention. This however got him killed by a Khmer hunter and the people of the Khmer city shared its meat to be eaten. Upon learning that his son was killed, Phayanaag, i.e. the Naga King, sent his troops into battle and ordered all those who ate from the meat to be killed, while he kidnapped the princess and took her as prisoner to the Naga City. When Phadaeng heard about the disaster he ended his life and became a ghost fighting for the release of his beloved, until Phra In came to stop the fight and told everyone involved to wait for the next buddha to judge as to whom Princess Aikham belonged.