The story is a tale of destiny set in a rural village nestled in the lush forest of Chiang Mai, Thailand. This tale isn’t new but a fresh take on an older one. A volunteer teacher teaches the children in the remote village of Pha Pun Dao, located near the neighboring country’s border. They don’t name the country, but given the setting’s location, it appears to be Myanmar. The teacher loves her life there, loves the children, the villagers, and loves the forest ranger, a military officer in the source novel. She leaves the village to return home to the big city for a break and is struck by a car.
—Edited by TheFNGee
Simultaneously, while the teacher lived her life with purpose, and there is a young master in the city who is indulging in all the vices because he has little time left to live. He has a weak heart, and he’s sure he will die soon, so why not try to find as much pleasure as possible with the time he has left. As he collapses in a fancy hotel, the teacher gets hit by a car, and their fates become irrevocably intertwined. She gives her heart to him, and he receives her pure heart. He goes on a journey of discovering who she was, following her path to find his purpose. When getting to the village, he meets the chief, and sparks fly between the two. Is their fate written in the stars?
Torfun, portrayed by Aye Sarunchana Apisamaimongkol, is a volunteer teacher who teaches the children of the village Pha Pun Dao. She loves her life there. She has a crush on Phupha, a forest ranger in charge of keeping their village safe. While home for a break, she is hit by a car and dies. She is an organ donor, though, so part of her lives on through people’s lives she saves.
Earth Pirapat Watthanasetsiri, in an excellent performance for this BL comeback role, plays Phupha Viriyanon, a Forest Ranger Chief in charge of a group of other rangers. Since the village is located near the border to a neighboring country, the Rangers patrol the area to keep them safe from attack from the rebels who cross the border. He has tender feelings for Torfun. Reflecting on her death, he is angry. He wants to punish someone for her death.
Portrayed by Mix Sahaphap Wongratch, Tian is a spoiled young master living in the big city. He is reckless & indulges himself in all sorts of hedonistic pleasure. He has a heart condition that will most likely cause him an early death, so he lives fast and furious as if there is no tomorrow. He collapses one day on the same day Torfun dies. Her heart becomes his heart. And he decides to follow her life to understand his donor.
Played by BL veteran White Nawat Phumpkothingham, Tul is also a rich young master and best friend of Tian.
Is a ranger, played by Champ Nattharat Kornkaew who is a technician with the forest rangers.
Portrayed by BL favorite Drake Sattabut Laedeke is an apparently new and inexperienced young forest ranger.
The village’s resident physician, the doctor of the Pha Pun Dao village, here portrayed by Nammon Krittanai Arsalprakit
The Village Chief played by Witaya Jethapai
Khaotung Thanawat Ratankitpaisan portrays Khama’s son. Fans will also recognize our Chonlatee anywhere.
Backaof Noppharnach Chaiwimol, the talented veteran of directing several BLs, is both a Screenwriter and Director for this series. His previous work includes He’s Coming to Me, Dark Blue Kiss, and Gay OK Bangkok 2. Kornphom Niyomsilp, the Screenwriter for this series also penned Theory of Love, 2gether and Oxygen, is Assistant Director. With these two men at the helm, the audience has high expectations for this series.
The show begins by dropping us into the capricious life of a rich young master, Tian, as he is out gambling and drinking with his friends. He appears fearless, looking for a thrill. As he says, well, he can’t take his watch with him, so might as well gamble it away. We know that this is the behavior of someone who doesn’t have long to live.
In the next scene, we see a group of armed forest rangers engaged in a shootout situation in the woods at night. Some bandits escape, but they capture one of them. Phupha, Yod, and Rang are introduced to us here.
During the third scene, a young woman, Torfun, travels on a bus back to her hometown. She looks at her journal and see’s a picture of Phupha, which makes her smile. After arriving at her destination, she takes a moment to look again at the photo. The wind picks up and blows the picture onto the road. As she walks and bends to pick it up, we hear tires squeal. We know what is about to happen.
As Tian recovers in the hospital, his curiosity grows about the donor of his new heart. He asks the nurse. She tells him it is confidential information that he is not allowed to access. Then begins the long road to recovery.
These three people’s fate becomes irrevocably entwined that night. We know from the plot synopsis that Torfun’s heart is transplanted into Tian, whose heart had failed him. And that Tian will retrace the steps of her life to know who she was. Along the way, will he find a reason to treasure the heart given to him? And can love be transferred from one heart to another? The Tale of 1000 stars was Torfun’s dream with Phupha, albeit one-sided. They wanted to find 1000 stars before the new year. I don’t know what will happen if they do. That has not been revealed yet. Will a wish be granted? Will true love find you? I don’t know, but I want to know.
These first two episodes do a great job at setting up the story and establishing the character dynamics. Torfun is a beautiful sweet young volunteer teacher with a pure heart. Phupha is a dedicated and stoic Forest Ranger in charge of protecting the village and its people. Tian is the spoiled kid trapped in a gilded cage. After he receives her heart, he longs for freedom from his family. He runs away like a thief in the night, taking his backpack, Torfun’s journal, and his determination to become a volunteer teacher in the remote village North of Chiang Mai near the border.
Along the way, there will be many obstacles for Tian. Will he persevere, or will he throw in the towel when things get tough?
After the credits roll, we see Tian rushed into the operating room with his distraught parents outside. The doctor informs them that Tian’s heart is failing, and he needs a transplant, and contacted the donor center but that the list was long. A nurse approaches the doctor, saying they have had a call back from the donor center. Tian is on the operating table, dreaming. He is in the darkness holding a lantern when he sees Torfun. As he approaches her, she reaches out, placing her hand on his heart. “Take good care of it for me,” she says.
The transfer is complete. As Tian turns around, he comes face to face with Phupha. Tian looks startled to find someone there. Phupha is smiling sadly with tears in his eyes.
Tian awakens in the hospital. The nurse tells him that he is recovering after having had a heart transplant. The next morning, as he wakes up, Tian hears his parents talking about the hospital director. His mom is encouraging his dad to get in touch with him. She reminds Tian’s dad that the director helped them jump to the top of the donation queue for Tian to receive his heart in time to save his life.
We see Torfun’s funeral in the city where Phupha, Yod, and Rang have come to pay their respects. Phupha says he won’t forgive whoever did this. Yod and Rang chastise him by saying that no one intended this to happen. It’s no ones fault.
We see Tian at home, eating cleanly, being scolded, and reminded to be careful. There are servants everywhere. He gives away his sausage to his whining nephew at a family dinner, and the family looks on in surprise. Apparently, this kind of behavior is new. He decides to get out of the house for a while, so he goes to a club. The friends are curious. How does it feel to have someone else’s heart inside you? Eventually, the questions get under his skin, and he goes home. His mom scolds him for not telling her where he was. He asks them again who gave him the heart. All he hears is that he should be grateful and be careful. He sneaks into dad’s study and finds Tofun’s name. He convinces his best friend to take him to her house. He pretends to be an ex-boyfriend looking for something. He doesn’t know what he’s searching for, but a piece of her to help him learn who she was. He finds the journal with her ID tag inside and takes them with him.
Thus his journey of discovery and newfound purpose begins. Tian decides to walk Torfun’s path, becoming a volunteer teacher in the remote village of Pha Pun Dao. He wants to know if he, too, can find meaning in his life in this far-off land.
As he travels to the village, the vintage Land Rover breaks down. He and Yod, the ranger who is escorting him, have to walk a few miles to the town. Along the way, Yod tells him that they are in the dangerous red zone. Due to their location, they have forest rangers protecting the village. When Tian arrives, he sees the man from his dreams and promptly faints, with Phupha catching him in his arms. It’s a cheesy plot device, but it works. We can understand him fainting due to exertion and not having recovered from his surgery. Also, seeing the man in his dream shocks him, so he faints. But I did smile when Phupha caught him.
I promise this won’t be as long since we have the setup established. The push-pull dynamic of Phupha and Tian is established early through their interactions. Phupha doesn’t expect Tian, a city boy, to last very long in such a remote location. There is no electricity or running water. No indoor plumbing. No WIFI signal. He is truly in the last place on earth he ever thought he would be, and Phupha is quick to remind him of his shortcomings.
The first morning Tian greets Phupha with a request to take a bath. He brushes his teeth along the way, assuming that’s where he’s going. Instead, Phupha has taken him straight to school to begin the day. He leaves Yod to watch over the teacher and children. He flounders the first day. But as the children introduce themselves, he recalls the notes that Torfun had made about each child in her journal. He feels as if he knows them already. He doesn’t have a successful day as he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do. One of the older children picks up his books, and the others follow suit, and they go home long before class ends.
Phupha stops by and voices his disappointment but tells Tian to follow him to bathe. He takes Tian to the river and waterfall, telling him that all the villagers bathe here. Tian leaves his shirt and underwear on and washes up. Phupha ends up doing the same since he doesn’t see Tian. He jumps in the water. Once Tian is back at the teacher’s house, the bottom fell out of my universe.
I’ll pause telling this tale for a moment to give you a brief background on my story. My son battled cancer on and off for five years. Last year, a month shy of his 18th birthday, he left this world. During his battle with cancer, he endured many things.
When Tian lifts his shirt to view his scar, my heart stopped for a moment. I was thrown back to November 2019, when my child had lung surgery to remove cancerous nodules. This scar began at the bottom of his neck and ran down his chest to an inch or two above his belly button. Seeing Tian’s scar and watching him trace it reminded me of my son.
He had many scars and was self-conscious about their appearance sometimes. I called them his battle scars because they were. In his short life, he had a knee and part of the femur replaced, chemo, radiation, chemo again, half his pelvis replaced, and the last surgery was the lung nodules. So I understood Tian’s look. It hurts. He was filled with anxiety and gratitude that he was still standing. He was grateful to the owner of his heart. My child was thankful to those who gave him longer, helped him fight. And even though he is no longer with me, I pay it forward in his stead. I honor him by helping other teens who battle this. And Tian honors her by carrying on her legacy with the children in that village.
So I took some time to grieve before I came back to the story. But I did continue. As Tian tries to adapt to village life, Phupha reluctantly teaches him what he needs to know. Even though Phupha gets frustrated, he spends more time with Tian helping him learn to do things. There are a few moments of tension between them where you see a spark arise. There is an awareness of the closeness of their bodies. Tian and Phupha will continue the push and pull dynamics for the remainder of the series, I’m guessing.
Final Thoughts of the Initial Story
I am a city girl. But some part of me longs for the simplicity of life in that village. They aren’t captives of their phones or televisions. They live each day being fully present in their own lives. There isn’t a distraction from reality. And with the show being shot on location, the setting is so beautiful. The lush green forest and the bamboo houses, the fields of tea leaves, and the waterfall leave me yearning to find the beauty in the natural world around us.
I look forward to Tian’s journey. Will he count 1000 stars? How much of him is he willing to change? Will he tell Phupha about his heart? Will Phupha open his heart to Tian? I hope to find out the answers to these questions in the series. As for me, my journey continues too. Below are my thoughts on what the series is trying to convey.
Destiny and fate are capricious. They are kind to some, not so to others. I love the idea that a good heart can change a person. People’s lives are entwined like the red thread of fate in the old tales, connecting people to one another. And when one string is cut, another is tied in its place that may lead to the same destination but from a different person. That sentiment fills my heart with happiness because it means when one thread is cut, it may be tied to someone else, and some part of the original continues on. Please let me know what you think.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]