Sri Thanonchai - Sri Thanonchai was a very clever man. Some people thought he was too clever. Others thought he was just a fool. They all talked about him.
When the king heard about Sri Thanonchai, he was surprised. “I am a clever man myself,” said the king. “Surely this fellow cannot be more clever than I am.”
The king decided to visit Sri Thanonchai. He put on old clothes and called for his elephant. He rode to Sri Thanonchai’s house near the river. Sri Thanonchai was sitting on the step.
“That’s a nice elephant you have, mister,” he called out. “Why, thank you,” said the king. “In fact, it’s a palace elephant. I work there.”
“Then you must be very clever.”
“Yes, I’m one of the king’s minister. I’m almost as clever as the king himself.”
“Oh, no one is as clever as the king,” said Sri Thanonchai.
“Some people say you are,” the king said. “So I have come to test you. If you are more clever than I am, perhaps you are as clever as the king.”
“What kind of test did you have in mind?”
“Well,” said the king, “I don’t suppose that you’re clever enough to make me jump into the river.”
Sri Thanonchai thought about this, he looked at the river, and he looked the king. He scratched his head. “No,” he said. “I’m not that clever. I can’t make you jump into the river.”
“Then I win,” said the king.
Sri Thanonchai looked at the king. He looked at the river, and after a while he said, “Of course I am not clever enough to make you jump into the river. But it would be even more difficult to make you climb out. Only a very, very clever man could make you do that.”
Hearing this, the king jumped into the river. “Are you clever enough to make me climb out?” he shouted.
Sri Thanonchai laughed. “You can stay there for all I care,” he said. “I made you jump into the river. Surely you are clever enough to climb out.”
The king swam to the shore. He climbed out of the water. “Sri Thanonchai,” he said, “You bare more clever than I am. You are the cleverest man in the kingdom.