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Kraithong (ไกรทอง)

A Thai classical story about a crocodile named Chalawan. It is a love story that originated in the province of Phichit (fig.). On the bank of the Chao Phraya River, there was a huge underwater cave, which contained a magic crystal ball that sparkled day and night, as well as a lot of crocodiles. However, upon entering the cave, each of the crocodiles would become a human and keep this form for as long as it stayed inside the cave. Among those crocodiles, there was an elderly crocodile called Thao Ram Phai, which was respected by all others. He had a son named Thao Ko Jon, who in turn has a son called Chalawan. He was very clever and strong. Later, his father was bitten and died and Chalawan moved to live with his grandfather, who taught him everything. When he grew up, he wanted to be the leader of the crocodiles. He became a thug and always left the cave. He also caught cows and buffaloes, as well as humans for food, using his tail to turn over boats and break down the village bridge. He was very big and most people were afraid of him. One day, he came across two beautiful women bathing in the river and fell in love with them. They were the daughters of the local governor and called Taphao Kaew and Taphao Thong. He captured them with his mouth and took them to the cave, where he became a human and with the help of the magic crystal ball was able to entice them into becoming his wives. When the governor learned of their ordeal, he became furious and announced that anyone who could bring his daughters back, would be given half of his wealth and be allowed to marry the girls. Hence, a brave young man named Kraithong came forward. He made a raft, put on a magic shirt and went to Phichit. When he arrived at the underwater cave, he started murmuring an incantation that he had learnt in order to subdue the crocodiles. Agitated by this, Chalawan wanted to take a look outside the cave, but his grandfather discouraged him from doing so. Not seeing Chalawan, Kraithong after a while decided to bomb the cave. This forced Chalawan out and upon seeing Kraithong, he attacked him. When Chalawan got closer, a fight erupted. This caused large waves in the river and the raft fell apart, though not before Kraithong was able to seriously stab Chalawan, piercing him with a spear in his stomach, after which it bled to death. Hence, the two girls were liberated. Also transcribed Grai Thong. See also POSTAGE STAMP.