Bamboo Certificate for Po Khai

Po Khai was a Karen incarnate and the word literally means “orphan”. The stories of Po Khai are very popular and are frequently told among Karens.

Po Khai used to live with his grandmother and as they were very poor, they usually made their abode far from the neighbors. The traditional way of Karen life demanded every individual of a household worked hard in order to enjoy a living. The slash and burn cultivation required a year round activity with very little spare time. When Po Khai was in high spirit and good mood he did all the work alone leaving his grandmother enough time to repose. But when he was in no mood to work, he found a shady tree nearby and slept confidently all day.

The elder woman had to bear the bulk of the work among rice field the whole day without complaint. His grandmother loved him very much and it made her heart sank to see her grandson worked hard everyday whether it was sunny or rainy. Therefore she saved what they earned for many years so that Po Khai would have to live comfortably and do well in his life.

Then one day, when she had saved quite few money, she told Po Khai to find himself a very good master. She gave her grandson the money she managed to collect and bid him good bye. She did not argue with him on whether he liked it or not. For Po Khai, just staying away from work was enough. Therefore he left the house happily taking all the money with him. On the way he inquired to the amaze of everyone about the best school the country ever had.

Finally, Po Khai succeeded in getting access to the most exclusive school only princes and nobles’ sons attended. The master of the school was very renown in training young princes and nobles to become the best kings. While the young noble births were very eager to compete with each other to come out top in their learning, Po Khai never seemed to be worried to come out last in the class. The master who used to take pride in having always the elite found Po Khai somewhat unusual. Po Khai was not interested in education necessary to make princes into kings. He was easy going and came to school only to avoid tedious and hard work with which he had grown up with. Though the master tried his best to teach Po Khai princely and kingly education, Po Khai never showed eagerness of getting it. Then, came graduation day, the entourage of each young noble birth also came to the country.

All the princes and nobles finished the training with flying colors and awarded full credit. They all displayed their respective expertise to the admiration of everyone who was present at the occasion. For poor Po Khai, he learned nothing to reveal and stayed aloof from the show. The master also received great reward from the kings and nobles for his well earned service. Then the princes and nobles were escorted back to their respective palaces by their entourage. Now it was Po Khai turn to be recommended by the master. The master loved Po Khai and took pity on him. Even he wished to, he found in Po Khai nothing worth accrediting. Therefore, the master fell one bamboo tree that grew in his yard. He cut a length of one klee (about 2 meters), made a hole through at one side. He then inserted a waist length rope through it. He told Po Khai…

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