Terrifying classic Thai stories

If Grimms’ fairy tales have taught us anything, it’s never to trust the word ‘fairy’ in any of their tales as some are anything but whimsical.

We can say the same about most of Thai literature and folklore, as most stories are packed with gore and violence beyond imagination.

Here are 8 disturbing Thai fairy tales that will make everyone live scarily ever after.

Note: All of these tales are from long-form Thai literature, so we’ve only taken excerpts to share with as much context as possible. 

1. Pla Boo Thong – The Golden Goby 

This tale is basically a twisted version of Cinderella, with lots of deaths and torment. 

A rich merchant has two wives – one has a heart of gold and another, well, not so much. Weirdly, both wives give birth to daughters who look much alike.

Like her mother, Aueay is charitable and kind-hearted while her sister Aai is full of hatred and jealousy towards her sibling. The apples don’t fall far from the tree after all.

Thai literature
Image credit: apisaraporn

As time goes by, Aai and her mother’s hatred transform into real actions. They decide to hire a murderer to get rid of Aueay’s mother. Because of good karma, however, she is soon reincarnated as a golden goby to stay close to her vulnerable daughter. 

But the wicked never rest. After Aai and her mother realise what’s going on, they catch the fish, cook it, and feed it to the family – yep, Aueay is forced to eat her own mother. 

Thai literature
Image credit: Dek-D

Soon later, a prince meets and falls in love with Aueay because of her goodness. She then escapes her devious step-mother and sister by moving into the palace.

Aai, now drunk on jealousy, lures Aueay back to the house by telling her that their father is gravely ill. When Aueay walks towards her father’s room, she suddenly falls into a trap of boiling oil and dies.

After the horrific murder, Aai takes her sister’s identity and lives with the prince instead. But karma has kept its receipt, with the truth soon being exposed and Aai getting executed. 

Aueay is then brought back to life by a wizard and she lives happily ever after with the prince.

2. Khun Chang Khun Pan 

Thai literature
Image credit: Pubat

Khun Pan is arguably the most charming man in the Thai literary universe. Besides his good looks, he’s good at fighting, casting spells, and making love. And for these reasons, he has too many wives and lovers in his lifetime.   

While most of his romantic affairs revolved around drama and jealousy, there’s one that ended in a gruesome tragedy.

At one point in his life, Khun Pan lived with Bua Kli, the daughter of a great leader of a gang of robbers. They resided in her house until she became pregnant, and everything seemed perfect.

After a while, however, Bua Kli’s father felt threatened by Khun Pan’s magic and fighting skills so he persuaded his daughter to poison her husband.

Thai literature
Image credit: Dek-D

Learning that his pregnant wife and her family planned to kill him, Khun Pan was quick to seek revenge by killing everyone in the household, including his wife. 

He then ruthlessly cut up Bua Kli’s womb and took out his still-born baby boy. The worst part? Khun Pan made his baby’s ghost into his servant for the years to come. 

Who would have thought that ‘lady killer’ could have a literal meaning? 

3. Nang Sip Song – The 12 Sisters

Thai literature
Image credit: Pantip

In this story, a giant named Santra seeks revenge on her 12 step-daughters after they run away from her when they realise she’s not human. 

After knowing that all 12 sisters were married to the king, Santra disguised herself as a charming young lady and made the king fall head over heels for her. 

Thai literature
Image credit: Pantip

She then persuaded the king to lock up all the sisters, who are now pregnant, in a cave, but not before gouging their eyes out. Only the youngest sister was left with 1 eye to see a series of horrific things in the cave.

All sisters ended up giving birth to their babies one by one. But due to starvation, each one decided to kill and share their child as a meal for all sisters to share. Eeks!

The youngest sister, however, couldn’t bring herself to do that so she decided to raise him. Once he was grown up, he eventually got his mother and aunts out of the cave and defeated Santra. 

4. Si Tha Non Chai – The Cunning Boy 

Thai literature
Image credit: Petmaya

Although Si Tha Non Chai is just a village boy, he was always known for his cleverness and cunningness ever since he was young. Throughout his life, he used these qualities to win over his competitors and boost his status.

Si Tha Non Chai’s extraordinary mind did not just bring about absurd and hilarious moments but also some morbid ones as well.      

Thai literature
Image credit: Babimild

As a boy, Si Tha Non Chai was responsible for taking care of his baby brother, including showering and putting him to bed, while their parents were at work.

One day, however, Si Tha Non Chai was tired of his mother telling him to bathe his younger brother every day. So, he gutted his brother’s insides like a fish, thinking he would stay clean for a longer time. 

He then put his ‘clean’ brother into the bed and proudly informed his mother of what he had done, not knowing he just murdered his poor sibling. His parents then chased him out of the house. 

5. Lilit Phra Lo – Love’s Deadly Triangle

Thai literature
Image credit: Wannacadeethai

The story begins with Princess Puen and Princess Pang falling for the same man, Phra Lo, and deciding to charm him with magic although he’s the son of the rival kingdom. After all, Phra Lo was described as the most handsome prince who was loved by those who saw him.

They then lived happily together at the princesses’ chambers until their family found out what was going on.

Thai literature
Image credit: Bannjomyut

Though the king was furious about what happened, he loved his daughters enough to arrange a marriage for all 3 of them.  

But unlike her son, the princesses’ grandmother still saw Phra Lo as the offspring of her enemy. She then ordered soldiers to capture the prince. But the princesses loved him too much and fought by his side. All three were killed by a rain of arrows. 

6. Uthai Thewi The Toad Queen

Thai literature
Image credit: Thai Literature

Uthai Thewi was a product of forbidden love between a naga (serpent) princess and a male tree nymph. Though she was equipped with magic and beauty, her mother decided to hide her in an ugly toad’s body to disguise her godly beauty and left her with human parents.  

Once she grew up, Uthai Thewi fell in love with a handsome prince. But, their love didn’t come without obstacles. The prince’s mother didn’t like Uthai Thewi so she secretly arranged a marriage between her son and a princess named Chantana.

This love triangle turned violent as Chantana tried to kill Uthai Thewi with black magic. Needless to say that her plan wasn’t quite successful.

Thai literatureImage credit: SAMSEARN OFFICIAL

Wanting revenge, Uthai Thewi disguised herself as an old hag who prided herself as the best beautician in town so Chantana would call for her service.

As expected, Chantana trusted this old lady to do her hair. Uthai Thewi shaved her archenemy’s head and cut into her skin with a razor. She then persuaded Chantana to wear an ‘anchovy hat,’ claiming that her hair would grow back beautifully and abundantly. However, the princess’ cuts became infectious and she died 7 days later. 

After Chantana’s gruesome death, Uthai Thewi reunited with the prince and lived happily together.

7. Sung Thong – The Golden Conch

Thai literature
Image credit: Thanchanokprisri

Sung Thong is a charming boy who was brought up by an adoptive mother, a giant named Panthurat. 

Once he grew up and discovered the truth about her, Sung Thong decided to run away to a magical mountain where giants couldn’t climb up. Soon after, Panthurat caught up with him, but she couldn’t climb up the mountain.

Thai literatureImage credit: SAMSEARN OFFICIAL

Brokenhearted, Panthurat begged for her son to come down and talk to her before deciding to do anything. But Sung Thong strongly believed that giants and humans shouldn’t be in the same family despite his love for her.

Seeing her son’s indifference, Panthurat then began crying blood, but he still ignored her. 

Eventually, she cried to death and left him with a benevolent spell for him to make a living.

8. Sano Noi Ruen Ngam – The Beautiful House of Princess Sano

Thai literature

Princess Sano saved a handsome prince’s life with a revival potion that was given to her by an angel. 

Unfortunately, her jealous friend Kula fell for the prince too and took Sano’s identity to trick everyone into thinking that Kula was the prince’s saviour and that Sano was just her servant. 

To show her their appreciation, the prince’s parents took Kula in as a daughter-in-law. The whole time, Kula was mean to Sano although she didn’t try to tell anybody the truth. 

Thai literature

Not long after, the truth surfaced when Princess Sano escaped Kula by entering a toy house that was blessed by angels. Furious, Kula tried to destroy it and kill Sano. However, this made the king and queen suspicious enough to begin a trial to find out the truth.  

The royals ordered Kula to be executed by torturing her to death. She was skinned alive and rubbed with salt until she died. After this turn of events, the prince asked the real Princess Sano to be his wife. They then lived happily ever after. 

Share these classic Thai tales

Disturbed yet? Share these gory Thai tales with your friends so they can no longer have a good night sleep for many weeks to come – mwahaha!

Cover images adapted from (L-R): Thai Literature, Bannjomyut, and Dek-D

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