Suffused in mythology, caves like the one where 12 boys were trapped feature shrines to the Buddha, Hindu hermits, and spirit lords alike.ANDREW ALAN JOHNSON
I first visited Nang Non Cave in the rainy season of 2007 as part of my research. The name of the cave means literally “the cave of the reclining lady,” referring to a princess who, as the legend goes, committed suicide after she was forbidden to be with her commoner love. Her body became the mountains, and her genitals, the cave. She is now the ruler—the “jao mae”—of both.