PREK KDAM, Cambodia (CNN) -- Several hundred people waited on the bank of the
Tongle Sap River Thursday, praying and burning incense while they awaited the return of
Prahang Andoek, the magic turtle.
They sprinkled perfumed water on the river and played special music until at last a turtle
emerged from the river in the shade of ornate ceremonial umbrellas placed in the shallows.
The turtle was picked up and carried to a makeshift shrine on the river bank where it was
placed briefly in a series of large tanks filled with water.
Thus sanctified by Prahang Andoek and deemed "holy," the water was then given to
people who carried it away in plastic jugs, coolers, even plastic bags.
Some poured it over their heads, some drank it, some carried it home to their families.
"I've never seen this kind of magic turtle before," said Yey Nam, a 60-year-old woman.
"I've spent several hours here to get some holy water to treat my sick relatives. I believe
the magic turtle comes to save our lives."
A middle-aged man, Ton Saron, said he had regained the ability to walk after drinking the
"I drank the water and now I feel better," he said. "Before I couldn't walk, but for a week now
I've been able to."