“I give you this symbol as the rightful certification for your achievement in your study. You must buckle it on your waist and carry it with you whenever you go. Perhaps this will become your lucky charm one day”...
Po Khai accepted his reward proudly and tied the rope around his waist, thanked and said goodbye to his master. He left the school followed by the sound rat tat tat… rat tat tat… made by the bamboo hitting the ground.
The grandmother missed her grandson very much and expected him to come back proudly to her some day. Then came the rat tat tat sound far away which made the grandmother stretched her neck and strained her ears. The sound came directly towards her and then with astonishment she found out that the owner of the sound was Po Khai himself. The grandmother was very happy to see her grandson back in good shape and didn’t bother asking him many questions. The grandmother thought that Po Khai had gained much knowledge and needed good rest to start a new life. So, she managed the whole work by herself.
Then, one day a king’s decree was made known to all the inhabitants of the kingdom. In the decree it said...
“The king will hold a great contest for the kingdom’s top young men to compete for the hand of the king’s daughter. Besides, anyone who wins the contest will also become the next new king when the current king’s time is up. In this fair deal, the country expects the best king the world has ever had. The criteria needed for the competition is bravery…"
So, when the day of contest drew near, many nobles and princes came from far and near. When Po Khai heard the news and thought himself that it was another opportunity for him to stay away from hard work again. He asked permission from his grandmother and prepared himself for the journey. His grandmother hoped that Po Khai will win the contest and that they could escape from their present poverty. She never prevented Po Khai from doing what he enjoyed.
Po Khai took the bamboo his master gave him as his only credit, tied the rope around his waist and left the house as if a knight braced himself to go out for battle. The court yard of the king’s palace was filled with nobles, dignitaries, princes from far and wide. The population was also excited on this occasion. They were very eager to see who would be the best contenders to win the most beautiful princess of the kingdom and became their next king. When the time came, all the contenders were called to come before the king and admired the beauty of the princess and the pride of he father. Not far away from the podium a place of contest was embroidered with colorful decorations. The young princes and nobles thought themselves that they had to fight each other until one person left to claim the reward. They all prepared to use flamboyantly their skill and valor, gained from their training. They all poised to draw the princess’s attention by all means to get her approval during the contest.