Nang Usa-Thao Barot (นางอุษา-ท้าวบารส)
Name of a folk tale
that is set in
and which describes the love story between
Usa, the daughter of
took his daughter to a hermit, who lived near a mountain in the
forest, in order for her to be educated in science.
She lived there alone in a
mushroom-shaped earthen pillar, which the local population referred
to as Ho Nang Usa (หอนางอุสา),
i.e. ‘Nang Usa's Tower’. One day, striving to find true love, Usa
made a flower arrangement in the shape of a
i.e. a mythological swan (fig.), in
which she hid a love message. She took this to the river
and set it afloat on the water.
Thao Barot, a
prince from the city Meuang Phra Kho, retrieved the flower
arrangement and upon reading the message, he
immediately fell in love with Nang Usa. Hence, he left his hometown
on his beloved horse, searching the forest until he arrived at Usa's
tower. There, he tied his horse on a stone pillar, which consequently
became known as Khok Mah Thao Barot
(คอกม้าท้าวบารส), i.e. the ‘Thao
Barot Horse Stable’.
When the couple finally met, they loved each other instantly.
However, when the
news of their affair reached Phraya
the father was outraged and challenged
by putting forth a wager, in which they were to compete in building a
temple, which had to be finished before the planet Venus would rise,
or else would have their heads cut off. However, it was Phraya
Phaan's side who
lost the wager and the latter hence quickly took back his pledge.
had to fight Phraya
Phaan, who he killed in
the process, thus saddening Nang Usa over her father's death.
When she eventually moved to
Meuang Phra Kho
Thao Barot, she was
ill-treated by the 10 other consorts of the prince, who conspired
against her and
plotted a scheme, sending the prince away to the forest for a year.
Thus, Usa returned to her tower, where she died of sadness, heartbroken and disillusioned in
her quest for love. The tower and other
sites mentioned in the story are found in
(fig.), located in
amphur Ban Pheu (บ้านผื),
in Udonthani, and appear on a set of Thai postage stamps
issued in 2006 (fig.), while a full-size replica of Ho Nang Usa, the mushroom-shaped earthen pillar, is also found in