The Glass Diamond

Nai Chamnan was a famous jeweller in Bangkok. He knew the value of every jewel. He sold many diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.

Now also living in Bangkok at that time was a man called Krua Dee. Krua Dee was very clever. He made money by fooling other people. Oddly enough, Nai Chamnan and Krua Dee had been friends when they were boys. And they still saw each other from time to time.

One day Krua Dee found a glass bottle stopper He carefully cut and polished the stopper. Soon it glittered in the sunlight. Then Krua Dee went to Nai Chamnan's shop.

"I have a jewel here that I want to sell," he said to Nai Chamnan. "My mother gave it to me, and I want to sell it for a thousand baht."

Nai Chamnan looked at the 'jewel'. "Fool!" he said. 'This is just an old bottle stopper. Nobody would buy it. I wouldn't pay you even one baht for it."

Krua Dee looked very unhappy when he heard this. He looked so unhappy that Nai Chamnan said he would do his best to sell the glass bottle stopper.

Several months passed. Krua Dee and Nai Chamnan didn't see each other, and Nai Chamnan almost forgot about the glass stopper.

Then one day a very rich man came into the shop. He said the prince of Laos was looking for a jewel. He wanted to give it to his wife. Naturally. Nai Chamnan was pleased to have such a customer. He showed the man fine emeralds and rubies. He showed him sapphires and diamonds. But none of these jewels pleased the man. He found something wrong with every one of them.

Finally Nai Chamnan brought out the glass bottle stopper. The man looked at it. "This is the perfect jewel for the prince," he said. "How much is it?"

Now Nai Chamnan knew that the man was a fool, so he de­cided to charge a fool's price for the bottle stopper. "You must pay me two thousand baht for such a fine jewel," he said.

"That's a fair price," said the man. "But I must get the money from the prince. I'll come back in about a week. Now, don't sell the jewel to anyone else."

Nai Chamnan promised to keep the stopper for the man. He was very happy to have made such a clever sale.

Two days later Krua Dee came to Nai Chamnan's shop. "I want my jewel back," he said. "There's a rich Laotian in town and I think I can sell it to him."

"I'm glad you came in today, old friend," said Nai Chamnan. "I've been wanting to tell you that I made a mistake about the jewel you gave me. When I looked at it carefully, I saw that it was a fine diamond after all."

"Why, that's wonderful," said Krua Dee. "I can sell it to the Laotian for an even higher price."

Nai Chamnan said, "In fact, old friend, I was hoping to buy the jewel myself. I'll give you one thousand five hundred baht for it; and you won't have to bother about the Laotian."

Krua Dee thought about this. At last he decided to sell the bottle stopper to Nai Chamnan. The jeweller was pleased. He knew that he would make five hundred baht when he sold the jewel to the Laotian. Not bad, he thought, for a piece of glass.

Krua Dee took his money and went away to share it with his Lao friend.

Nai Chamnan waited for the Laotian to return. A week went by. Two weeks went by. Three more weeks went by. The Laotian never returned to the shop, and Nai Chamnan never found another buyer for the shiny glass 'diamond'.

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