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The Tale of the "Twisted Tryst" Bracelet
by Kim

A Burmese prince named Phao who lived in 13th century Rangoon was reputedly a great patron of the arts as well as an accomplished sculptor himself. He was a loner, however, and paid little attention to the doings at court, preferring to work on his own or to study the work of the great artists at the time. He worked in silver and gold but excelled at silver, having created some remarkable bracelets, one of which he wore regularly.

It was probably due to his disinterest in and disregard for court existence that he suddenly and disconcertingly discovered that he was betrothed to young Mai, a girl of highest background and with whom he had played as a child. Though there had no doubt been a good deal of planning, he had failed to notice what was taking place and thus found himself headed, apparently inextricably, toward matrimony.

Mai was very fond of the prince and had, in her own way, engineered the betrothal with ploys and hints. It was thus a great shock to her when after the wedding, prince Phao refused to consummate the marriage and to cohabit.

Phao did have a weakness, however, and one day Mai learned that he was enamored of a courtesan. Mai sought out the courtesan and struck a bargain. Prince Phao was approached by the courtesan who agreed to a tryst, on her terms and demanded in return the bracelet he wore. This bracelet was unique, and of his own making. Though loathe to part with it, he acceded to her demands.

The tryst was to take place on a moonless night. The room was thoroughly dark when the prince entered and the lady did not permit him to light a lamp. When he held her, he knew her by the bracelet he had given her and which he could not fail to recognize as he knew every detail of its craftsmanship.

In the morning the prince was dumbfounded to discover that he had slept with his own wife. But such was the nights experience that he accepted thenceforth his role as husband.

Twisted Tryst Bracelet

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