Welcome to the A to Z Challenge! Today’s letter is N…
The Nang Ta-khian belong to a type of spirits or fairies related to trees and known generically in Thai folklore as Nang Mai (“Lady of the Tree”). Legends in the Thai oral tradition say the spirit inhabits a Ta-khian tree and sometimes appears as a beautiful young woman wearing traditional Thai attire. It is generally a sylvan spirit, for the Ta-khian is a tall forest tree not naturally found near inhabited areas. As it has a large trunk and a wide-spreading root system, it is not planted close to homesteads.
In some parts of Thailand, the spirit has become a popular tree deity. Miracles are attributed to her power and trunks where lengths of colored silk are tied as an offering are an object of pilgrimage.
The tree is almost never felled for lumber, since the spirit will be furious and follow the wood. About the only place Ta-khian is used as lumber is in a Buddhist monastery, where the merit of the monks is considered sufficient to render the spirit harmless.