At four and a half, Maung Htun Kyaing (pictured above) could recite Pali verse flawlessly, correct errors in written scripture and preach on the Abhidhamma. Ko Pan Shwe was forced by insurgents to eat two plates of pounded chilli and he survived. Disappointed with his purchase of a white elephant from King Thibaw, American showman P.T. Barnum brought Thai experts to confirm its authenticity. A penniless scam artist convinced an entire village to hold a religious festival in honour of a large donation that he was never to make.

These are among the stories in Moe Myint Maung’s 1986 publication, Htoohsan-htwelar Pyi-Myanmar-hma (сАЩсАнсАпсА╕сА╗сАЩсАДсА╣сА╖сА▒сАЩсАмсАДсА╣сБК сАСсА░сА╕сАЖсАФсА╣сА╕сА▒сАСсА╝сАЬсАмсА╗сАХсАКсА╣сА╗сАЩсАФсА╣сАЩсАмсАЩсА╜сБК сА╗сАЩсАЭсАРсА╣сАЫсАКсА╣сАЕсАмсА▒сАХсБК сББсБЙсБИсБЖ), which contains accounts of the weird and wonderful from the human, animal and vegetable worlds.

When was tear gas first used in Burma? How did a diamond that a Frenchman stole from Pagan end up at the Smithsonian? What kind of UFO caused a stampede in the Mergui market? Could a group of Burmese sailors who went missing before World War Two have joined with Chandra Bose’s men only to be executed by the Nazis for refusing to fight on the eastern front? The answers to these and many other questions that you’ve probably never asked are all here.

The book is among recent acquisitions of the National Library of Australia being catalogued as the U Shein Than collection. Other titles in the collection cover law, education, history and travel.

[This post is provided by the National Library of Australia as part of our Book Zone feature. For further information on the featured publications contact Nick Cheesman at [email protected]]