A forest monk appeared in our community today. It was lottery day. It could have been a revelation, or it could have been his nomadic wanderings that brought him here. He made a bee-line to the rented cottage; a Thai lady, Prauew, and her Farang husband, Gheriss, are staying there – they are our friends.
With his begging bowl, at first light. And his mobile needs recharging (as it would).
Five forty-seven a.m.
The time when most of us are thinking that we’ve survived another night, and slap a hand on the alarm clock for another 30 minutes kip. I find out afterwards my friends are up and about; more to the point, Prauew has cooked rice, meat and fish and she shares it with the monk, plus adding some fruit for afters.
A good deed is not forgotten. According to my honey, he tries to phone Prauew many times during the day. He had sunk into meditation and, lo and behold, he knew the lottery number.
Let me explain. There is the government lottery and there is an underground lottery. The underground lottery bases its results on the last three numbers of the main six number draw. There are other prizes, but this is the main one.
The monk, being a monk, cannot buy his own ticket. He couldn’t raise Prauew (he says because her phone was switched off – never, in my experience do Thai ladies switch off their phones), so he asks someone else to buy the ticket on the underground.
Lo and behold, again, he wins half a million baht (£10,000) with his number. Gasps of astonishment all round. Dewy eyes everywhere.
So I am told.
Call me cynical, but I can smell a scam. Of course, I cannot raise my doubts – a monk is like a living god in Thailand...
Part 2 – the miracle, to follow.