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"He has been playing with the python ever since he could first crawl," said his mother Kim Kannara, who is perfectly happy to allow her son to sleep cheek-by-jowl with the giant constrictor even though it could easily have hi

Boy and python

Three-year-old Cambodian boy Oeun Sambat hugs his best friend, a 13.1 feet long female python named Chamreun or 'Lucky' in the village of Sit Tbow on May 18, 2003. Superstitious villagers in the impoverished southeast Asian nation are flocking to see the boy, who they believe has supernatural powers and was probably the son of a dragon in a former life. (Chor Sokunthea/Reuters)

m for dinner.

Traditional beliefs are still strong in Cambodia and it was not long before the boy's friendship with the female snake -- called Chamreun or 'Lucky' -- prompted a fortune teller to declare he must have been the son of a dragon in a previous life.

His special powers will probably make him a traditional healer at the age of seven, but meanwhile the bond between boy and snake is limiting the movements of the family.

"I don't know what is special about the relationship between my son and the snake -- whether they were related in their previous lives -- but they certainly can't be separated," Kim Kannara said.

"I once took my son off to the provinces, but we couldn't stay because my son was missing Chamreun so much." 

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