On June 26 each year, Thais celebrate the birthday of legendary poet Phra Sunthorn Voharn, widely known as Sunthorn Phu. Born during the reign of King Rama I in 1786, Sunthorn Phu wrote a great number of classic poems, stories and epics. As the most admired writer of the Rattanakosin era, he was declared a World Poet by UNESCO in 1986.
This week's exercise takes a look at two of Sunthorn Phu's most famous sagas.
Sunthorn Phu took more than 20 years to finish his masterpiece, Phra Aphai Mani. The story is about Prince Phra Aphai Mani, whose four wives include a giant, a mermaid and two princesses.
Phra Aphai Mani, the crown prince of Rattana City, spends his time playing the flute, while his younger brother studies swordplay. King Suthat, angry at his sons for ignoring their public administration duties, exiles Phra Aphai Mani and his brother from the city.
Phra Aphai Mani then begins an adventure where, along the way, he faces many problems. He is also taught how to use weapons and magical powers.
The final part of the story mainly concerns the adventures of his children, Sudsakorn and Saowakon.
Apart from Phra Aphai Mani, Thai children are usually familiar with Phra Sunthorn Voharn's epic Singha Kraipop, which is often aired as a play on weekend television.
The story is about King Innumas and Queen Jankaew of Konja City, who long to have a baby. They eventually adopt a boy named Kongka Pralai. Several years later, the queen becomes pregnant. Kongka Pralai, who wants to accede to the throne, rebels against the king and plans to kill him.
The king and the queen escape. The queen then gives birth to her son, Singha Kraipop, who is later kidnapped. Singha Kraipop ends up in a forest where he is looked after by a giant named Pintuman. He later falls in love with a girl named Soisuda, but eventually realises that he does not belong to the forest and wants to find his parents.
He then has many adventures while looking for his parents. Along the way, a hermit teaches him how to use magical powers.
In the end, Singha Kraipop lives happily ever after with Soisuda.
Read the story. Then, determine whether the following statements are true or false.
1. Sunthorn Phu was born in 1876.
2. Phra Aphai Mani had five wives.
3. Queen Jankaew gave birth to Kongka Pralai.
4. King Suthat exiled Phra Aphai Mani and his brother from the city.
legendary (adj): very famous and talked about a lot by people, especially in a way that shows admiration
epic (n): a long poem about the actions of great men and women or about a nation's history
saga (n): a long traditional story about adventures and brave acts
swordplay (n): the sport or skill of fighting with swords
exile (v): to force somebody to leave their country, especially for political reasons or as a punishment
accede (v): to achieve a high position, especially to become king or queen
hermit (n): a person who, usually for religious reasons, lives a very simple life alone and does not meet or talk to other people