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Khun Chang Khun Paen (ขุนช้างขุนแผน)

A classic of Thai literature written in verse by King Phra Phutta Leut La, the second monarch of the Chakri Dynasty. The story is set in Ayutthaya, Suphanburi and Kanchanaburi, and relates an eternal love triangle involving Khun Paen (Khun Phaen), the dashing lover and skilled warrior, Khun Chang, the comic but faithful husband, and Wanthong (Nang Phimphilalai), the bigamous heroin who vacillated between true love and respectability. The narrative is believed to be based on a true story from the Ayutthaya Period. Since then it has been handed down as a folk narrative. Prince Damrong Rachanuphaap, the Father of Thai history, assumed that its origins lay in a chronicle called the Testimony given by the People of the Ancient City, known in Thai as Kham Hai Kaan Chao Krung Kao. These three characters were from Suphanburi, where today life-sized statues of Khun Paen and Wanthong can be found at Wat Pah Leh Laai Worawihaan (วัดป่าเลไลยก์วรวิหาร). Wanthong and Khun Phaen were involved in a secret love affair but were not yet married when Khun Paen was conscripted for war. Khun Chang then made every attempt to win Wanthong as his wife. When Khun Paen returned from the war, he abducted Wanthong. Khun Chang then went to search for her, only to be hurt by Khun Paen. A plan was devised to track them down and, after their arrest, Wanthong was executed as a troublemaker, because of her indecisive love for the two men. In 2011, the some of the main characters and scenes from the story were depicted on a set of 4 postage stamps, issued to mark the National Children's Day. Also transcribed Khun Chang Khun Phaen. See also Sala Taeng Ngae, Wat Khae (fig.), and POSTAGE STAMPS (1), (2) and (3).