October 8, 2016
Tree Fairies in Thailand – An ancient fable where sexual desires are quenched by a fruit in the guise of a beautiful women that can still be seen today
Thailand is steeped in history and legends, one of its oldest tales concerns beautiful Tree Fairies, or as they are known in the Kingdom, Nariphon or Naree Pon (or Pol), Thai: นารีผล – literally “fruit women”, also known as Makkaliphon (Thai: มักกะลีผล, “fruit of the Makkali tree”). While fairies and pixies in one guise or another pop up throughout history in many parts of the globe, these, perfectly formed, miniature, beautiful, female apparitions are only found in the Himmapan Forest. They share this forest, with other mystical creatures, images and statues of which you can find through-out Thailand (Southeast Asia and India).
The main Himapan creature in Buddhism is the Naga, (a being, taking the form of a great snake), which spread itself to protect Lord Buddha. Most of the other multitudes of creatures, are what can be best described as a “combined-animal” for example, a horse with a bird’s head, a man with lion body, etc (See more below).
Mystical Fruit Trees
Naripon are the fruit of the tree of the same name, According to Buddhist mythology, the God Indra (Phra Indra or Phra-In in Thailand) created a home for Lord Vessantara, his wife (Madi), and their two children to live, close to this legendary forest. The forest is said to be located in the Himalaya Mountains, below the Buddhist heavens and is not visible to mortals eyes, who also can neither approach or enter it.
To protect the family from miscreant Deities, who had not been able to overcome their sexual desires and who also lived in the forest, Indra created sixteen of these magical Nariphon trees, which would bear fruit whenever Madi, went into the forest to collect food. The fruits were all in the image of Indra’s beautiful wife. These tiny beautiful creatures would emerge feet-first as fruit of the tree where they would remain attached at the head, waiting to be plucked by the rampant male deities, who would take the fruits to their dwelling and after making love to them, would then fall asleep, awakening sometime later without their super natural powers.
There is a Buddhist prediction that the forest, trees and the home will disappear when the Buddha’s teachings have become lost (thought to be five thousand years after his death)
The Mystery deepens
There are many fake photos and video clips on the Internet of green, female-shaped fruit on what is claimed to be a “Nareepol tree”, while in neighbouring Lao, there grows a tuber or seed-pod which when dried, is carved into human shapes and sold to tourists, often in male-female pairs. Some of these are used as talismans here in Thailand. If you look hard enough at the many temple murals and carved panels, you will find thought-out the Kingdom, such as those at Nakhon Phanom‘s, Wat Okat Si Bua Ban; in amongst the many Himmapan creatures you will notice ardent young men climbing the tree, sword in hand, ready to cut down the nubile but impassive maidens.
Whether you are inclined to believe in fairies, pixies and other mystical creatures, if your imagination is pricked just enough, then you may wish to visit Wat Prangmuni, Promburi district, just opposite the great Phra Prom Shrine, in the central Province of Sing Buri, where you will find two preserved bodies of these out-of-this-world “creatures”. While few foreign tourists will know of this ancient temple, it is a popular attraction for the Thai people who know of its contents and the story of the Makkaliphon Fairies.
Classifying Himmapan creatures
Mr. Chueng Slaylanon wrote a book titled “Thai Art” (1951 AD) in which he categorized Himmapan creatures into 3 categories: two-legged creatures, four-legged creatures, and fish-based creatures. This categorization method has since been a standard for grouping Himmapan creatures. For a full list of these creatures click here
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