Monday, May 4, 2015
ACB - Storytelling #1 Measured Up - Unedited
Long long ago, so long ago, nobody knows how long ago, in a remote village near the coast in China, lived a rice farmer whose name was Fu-Hsing. He was a soft-spoken, gentle man who toiled hard on his rice field which has been in his family for 10 generations. He was a well-known and respected person in the village. Hsing was tall, a bit plump, gentle brown eyes, flowing long hair tied in a ponytail, and had a heart of gold. Hsing was not wealthy but he earned enough from his farm to support him and his beloved wife, Soong. Soong was a beautiful woman, tall, slim, big dove-shaped eyes, lush long hair which flowed till her waist, dainty hands, and the spark of intelligence in her eyes. She had an elegant, graceful manner and a pleasing personality. Soong loved her husband so much that she went to the field with him every morning and helped Hsing all day long mindless of the sun and the heat. Hsing always protested about this, but Soong always won the argument. Soong possessed such intelligence that her devoted husband, used to call her “My Wisdom, My Intelligence, my dearest Capability”.
So much so, that he had a scroll posted on his gate which read
“My Wisdom, My intellect, My Capability, is so bright and beautiful,
She can make an impossible task, look so easy and wonderful”
People who knew the couple saw the scroll and admired the adoration of Hsing for his wife and went away smiling with warmth and love in their heart. But even good intentions can be so easily misinterpreted.
One day the village elder was passing by Hsing’s home and read the scroll. Rage and fury filled up inside him and he shouted “Who is this Hsing. Surely he is conceited and an ignoramus who is harping about his own intelligence. I shall put him in his rightful place.”
And so, the next day, when Hsing opened his door to go for a walk, he found an order to appear in front of the village council and answer for his conceited words and action. Terror took the heart of Hsing in the next instance. He stood frozen in the morning sunshine, cold sweat glistening on his forehead, eyes reading the same words again and again, without being able to comprehend its meaning or reason.
He took the summon and showed it to Soong. Soong immediately understood what must have happened. The elder must have seen the scroll hung on the door and the summon was a way to punish Hsing for appearing conceited. Keeping her wits about her, she consoled the shivering Hsing, calmed him down, made him a cup of soothing tea and helped him get dressed for his appearance before the council.
At the appointed hour, Hsing presented himself before the council. The village head was sitting in a high seat with an ancient pagoda surrounded by the other village council members and curious villagers. With barely controlled anger, he said, “Hsing, you have the impudence to display such a conceited message in front of your home. Lies are not tolerated this village. You will now have to prove your mettle but completing three tasks that I shall set. If you fail to complete even 1, I shall have you publicly lashed, and paraded around on a donkey.” Hsing didn’t trust himself to open his mouth, so terrified he was. He shivered, sweated and kept silent. He nodded his head and accepted his fate, whatever was to come.
The elder banged his fist on the chair and said, “the first task is to weave a cloth as long and wide as the road”, he banged it again on the table and said “the second is to make wine as much as the water in the ocean” and with a final thump he said “and the third is to raise a pig as big as a mountain. You have 1 day to think about the tasks and you should come with your tools tomorrow to begin the work. You may leave now”
Hsing didn’t need any further encouragement. He hurried home and told everything to Soong. Soong listened intently to all the Hsing had to say. Once he had told whatever the council had said, Soong thought for a moment. Suddenly her eyes lit up and smiling she said “My dear husband, the tasks the elder has given doesn’t require any special tools. It is already with us. I shall tell you exactly what you need to tell the council word by word tomorrow and everything will be all right. Do not worry and sleep with peace.” Against his will, Hsing went to sleep but he was anything but at peace. He twisted and turned, and woke up shivering. But somehow, the night passed away.
The next morning Hsing woke up earlier than usual and just sat on the bed staring into blank space. After a lot of poking and prodding, Hsing got dressed up. Soong handed him his hat and said “Now say exactly what I tell you to say to the council.” After Hsing heard it, he smiled, woke his hat and laughed “You really are the cleverest of them all “. He hugged Soong and with a new found spring in his stride, he left for the meeting. Hsing arrived at the council meet and said “Respected sir, I have come prepared to start the 3 tasks you have set me but before that I need some more information regarding the task. Please help me with it.” With that, he took off his hat said “Using this hat as a reference, please tell me the exact length of cloth I need to weave, kindly let me know how many hat full of wine to be made and how high a stack of this hat should the pig be”.
The elder was stumped. The other members were stunned. The curious passer bys were stunned. But slowly it dawned on them and they nodded and smiled. The village elder too smiled and with a bright red embarrassed face, realised that he has been outwitted by Hsing. He pardoned Hsing for his transgressions and acknowledged that his wife was really intelligent and resourceful.
When Hsing returned home, he saw that the poem in front of his home was replaced by another one
“You may travel far and wide, hoping for a light to shed,
On all your lofty questions, whose answers are in your head.
The answers for all the questions, be it hard or be it smart
Forever lies within you, in your mind and your heart.”
Posted by HELLSLAYER at Monday, May 04, 2015