The Boy Who Would Be King

Continued from the Building of Angkor Thom and the King's Seduction by the Naga Princess

MAHA EYSEI: Another of the greatest of the God kings, who ascended the throne almost a hundred years later in about 1113, was Suryavarman II.

The actor who played Indravarman re-appears in resplendent, martial uniform as SURYAVARMAN II.  We shall find some stills to reflect the following as Suryavarman talks of himself in the third person.

SURYAVARMAN: I left the ocean of my army on the battlefield and leapt at the enemy King.  I killed as a garuda on the slope of a mountain might kill a snake.

SURYAVARMAN enters his chamber, removes his head-dress and lies down:

MAHA EYSEI: It has been said that one night an unexpected visitor stole into King Suryavarman's private chamber at the summit of the palace.  This time it wasn't the Naga Princess.

A small boy, the future JAYAVARMAN VII, enters.  If the staging allows we might see him climbing towards the King before the King sees him.  He throws himself down, prostrate before SURYAVARMAN

MAHA EYSEI: The boy avoided the guards by climbing up the side of the building.  He was brave and kind and wanted to help a friend.
SURYAVARMAN: (Starting awake)  Who are you?
BOY: I am only a child.
SURYAVARMAN: How did you get here?
BOY: I climbed.
SURYAVARMAN: Have you damaged the paintwork?
BOY: I took care, Great King.  I am small and light.  I do not come for myself, King, but for another.
SURYAVARMAN: Whose son are you?
BOY: Yours . . .
BOY: Yours in spirit, for I have grown up in your house, but my father is Dharan Indravarman.  He serves as a small king in the northeast.
SURYAVARMAN: I know him.  You can sit up.  I want to see your face.

The boy does so

SURYAVARMAN: What makes you think you are not in a lot of trouble?
BOY: You are a universal King.  You have faced great dangers.  You have no need to frighten me.
SURYAVARMAN: (Growls) You are troubling my sleep.

The boy bows and crawls forward

BOY: King.  You set up new temples, and you give them land and water and parasols and oil and wax and people.  You are very generous
BOY: There is a slave girl. Her name is Fishing Cat.  She was honoured to be made part of our household when she was five.  She is so happy to be here, she has not thought of her village since. She does not even remember its name. But I have checked the records and I see she must have come from near Mount Merit.
BOY: If . . . If that is where you are planning a temple, then perhaps if she is sent there, that would be a good thing.  She could see her family again.
SURYAVARMAN: Is that all you want?
BOY: I have been foolish. I became friends with her. It was easy for me, it was fun. I had no thought of the danger for her. It is my fault, but she is the one being punished.
SURYAVARMAN: (smiles) You climbed up here for a slave girl?
BOY: (sompiahs) My guru says I must learn humility.'
SURYAVARMAN: (chuckles) A strange way to show humility, to wake up a king and make demands.  But you have a brave heart, a good heart, to care for a slave girl. All right. I will order it.
BOY: (making sure the King doesn't forget)  Her name is Fishing Cat.  She lives near Mount Merit.

The King laughs and stands up.

SURYAVARMAN: I won't forget, little fellow. No need to climb down again.  Come along, I will get you past the guards.
BOY: Don't punish them.
SURYAVARMAN: (laughs) I won't punish them.  (PAUSE)  Can I tell you who you are?  Your father is my first cousin. Your mother was from the same pastures as my family.  So I am fond of your family, that is why I asked especially for you to be here.
BOY: That is why I said you are my father.
SURYAVARMAN: I will remember you as the boy with the good heart.  You know the greatest pleasure in being King? It comes when you know you have done something good.
BOY:  Yes.  Yes.  That must be the greatest pleasure.  That would be the whole reason to be King.
SURYAVARMAN: Yes, but bees make honey, only to lose it.  Are you good with a sword, young prince?'
BOY: I'm better with a bow.  Better with a crossbow on an elephant's back.  Swords or arrows, the thing is to have a quiet spirit when you use them.
SURYAVARMAN: I want to train you specially - in the art of war.

The Boy bows and climbs back the way he came.  Suryavarman also leaves.

MAHA EYSEI: The King's heir was Yashovarman, but it is said that this boy was his favourite.  We shall meet him again.

The play continues with:

The Temple, Tomb and Observatory of Angkor Wat

© 2013 Shaun MacLoughlin

If you are interested in this project, please contact Shaun MacLoughlin 

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we recommend the following books which helped with our rersearch: