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Legend of the Cat and Mouse

Name of a local myth from Songkhla. The tale describes that a Chinese merchant bought a dog and a cat from their master in order to have some company on his long sea journeys. One day, the merchant got possession of a magic crystal that had the power to prevent its proprietor from drowning. Longing to live on land rather than on the boat, the cat convinced a rat that also lived on the Chinese sampan to steal the magic crystal so they could escape together by swimming to the shore. When they where somewhere along Laem Samila's coastline they jumped overboard and tried to swim ashore. The cat and mouse, however, drowned and turned into the islands which are today known as Koh Maew (เเกาะแมว) and Koh Noo (กาะหนู), i.e. ‘Cat Island’ and ‘Mouse (or Rat) Island’, respectively. The dog though, keeping hold of the magic crystal, managed to make it to shore, yet eventually died of exhaustion and became the hill called Khao Tang Kuan (เขาตังกวน). The crystal was totally destroyed and became the white sandy beach called Hahd Kaew (หาดแก้ว), i.e. Crystal Beach. Today, the legend is celebrated in a Thai-Chinese style gate-like monument at Samila Beach (fig.) that is home to the Cat & Mouse Sculpture (fig.), which was damaged in a double bomb explosion in December 2018, an attack linked to the ongoing southern Islamic insurgency and that also damaged the nearby Golden Mermaid Statue (fig.). In Thai, the story is known as nithaan koh noo koh maew (นิทานเกาะหนูเกาะแมว), i.e. the ‘Legend of Mouse Island and Cat Island’.