The Unheard Story

Once there was a certain Po Khai who was raised up by his grandmother. They lived in a deh (hut) near the forest and had to work day in and day out to sustain their lives. Po Khai was never happy to do hard work. He enjoyed telling stories and talking to others. Therefore, he gained quite a lot of friends with this skill. He could narrate many funny stories and his speeches presaged possible events. He used to say to his grandmother that one day he would become king and she didn’t need to worry about doing hard work anymore. His grandmother was quite unconvinced and rebuked him for talking nonsense. Po Khai told her that she just had to wait and see.

As years went by, the grandmother became old and weak. She was worried about planting another crop for their very survival.
She couldn’t do the hard work and told Po Khai to go and clear the forest for the annual cultivation. But Po Khai was far from worrying and he told his grandmother that he would finish all the work in seven days. One day, he went down to the forest and surveyed how much clear ground they needed for this year crop so that they could survive for another year. After this, he found himself a cool, shady tree and took rest. While pondering over how he could find ways to do the work easier, he saw three princes coming along the pathway towards him. When they were near…

From where did you all come back?” asked Po Khai.

From the king’s palace. We went there to tell stories to the king. Have you not heard about it?... If any one can tell the story that the king has never heard of it, he will give him his beautiful daughter and also make him heir to the throne”. They replied.

Po Khai listened very tentatively with no interruption…

We are the best educated of the kingdoms and can invent many charming stories as well as wonderful fables from every part of the world… But to every story and fable that came out of our mouth the king always says that he has heard it all… We don’t realize that we are always at the mercy of the king’s decision and how foolish we are to challenge the king in this kind of contest”. The princes continued.

Po Khai then invited the three princes to stay with him at his hut for a few days and after this he will go with them to the palace and tell the king a story that he has never heard of. The princes were quite amazed and eager to hear the story also. Therefore they accepted the invitation. Po Khai then said…

While you are staying with me you must serve me as if I am a king. When I finished telling the story to the king I will in turn serve you forever”.

The three princes agreed to this and Po Khai made them cleared the forest for cultivation. The three princes, in one full day finished the job. Po Khai’s grandmother came to check and was surprised to see well cleared and fertile ground ready to receive the seedlings. Po Khai said to her…

I told you to come and see after seven days. But now, the work was finished in just a day”.

The grandmother was relieved and went back to her deh to rest peacefully.
The next morning, Po Khai said to the three princes…

Now it is near to go to the place and tell the story.... But you still have work to do for me. Weave for me a bamboo basket as big as a house”.

So the three princes spent another day cutting bamboo and weaving a very big basket for Po Khai. For another day, the princes were told to clear the road up to the king’s place for the giant basket to pass through. Then it was a time for Po Khai’s to go and tell story to the king. He ordered one prince to go in front of the basket and lead the way, the other two princes to carry the giant basket and Po Khai followed after them.