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Posts Tagged ‘fable’

There was a frog that lived in a shallow well.

” Look how well off I am here ! ” he told a big turtle from the Eastern Ocean. ” You ought to see what treasures I hide in my little kingdom.’

The wise old Turtle could not believe his ears. So he asked whether he would show a few of them. The frog said,”You come tonight I shall show.” That night the turtle came around, calling the frog he announced he was at his disposal,’I shall be grateful if I could add something to my knapsack of knowledge. The frog said,”I have a wonderful brotherly feeling towards you.” The treasure is however so buried deep I cannot yet show you. May be another night. The turtle was so eager that he came around next night and he was disappointed. After a few nights the frog showed him the reflection of a quartermoon and said, “ this well is my garden and I planted some seed which I forget when. But it is sprouting.”

The turtle smiled and said, surely your garden is a magical garden. “

“Don’t you wish you had rather been born in this well than any other?”

The old turtle said,” The Emperor dragon put me in the backwaters while he appointed you to take care of his inestimable jewels.”

The frog said, “Pity, you were not singled out for luck; my forefathers in their time were doorkeepers of the Imperial Palace and the Emperor must have found their service excellent.”

“It seems so.” Replied the Old Turtle and went off wishing him well.

Are not we like the frog in the well when we speak of our belief-systems for which we stone, kill and burn others?

If we cannot handle this world of shadows what shall we do with the real?

benny

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Man is a social animal. Language was a necessity, a tool with which he could communicate with others. Culture is a natural extension of such communal living in context of his environment. In savannah folks need carry water from the nearest watering hole. In their daily chores they alter their environment indelibly. So many feet carrying on daily fetching water must surely create a path? Necessity and custom becomes set on a familiar pattern. It also gives groups of men with similar needs and aims a certain guidelines. Folks do not consider creating another path between the watering hole and their dwelling place. Culture creating a tradition is similar.

Prophet What’s-his-name was born on the saddle so to speak. In Mongolia among the nomads it was nothing unusual. But the baby was born with a wart as big as a quail’s egg. It was right hanging on the chin and every time he saw his reflection in some vernal pool he shuddered. In deep embarrassment he grew a beard as soon as it would grow. He would not miss the single shrine he passed along the caravan route. Something of a habit and it somewhere connected. He became a spiritual person and when he reached age of maturity he took time to retreat into some part of the Gobi desert to commune with his uncle’s as he said.

One day he told his companions to hit in the direction of the Big Heap a mound of stones that had lain for centuries undisturbed since it was out of the route of caravans. As he predicted there was plenty of water for the animals to drink and a grazing ground. It made the entire tribe happy. They revered him as a Prophet. For the simple nomadic folks the Prophet was a figure of awe and they averted their eyes not daring to look.

They began growing their beard precisely in the same cut as that of the prophet.

It was an unwritten rule: all men in the tribe must sport a similar beard or be cast out of the group. Some traditions are useful and some are useless.

benny

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A Shadow Play

 

In the time of Emperor Wen a minor official in the Palace, Lai Chutang having retired from his office returned to his native village. By special permission he had retained his title meaning ‘Reflected Glory” which reminded all of his closeness to the Imperial person of the Emperor. As days passed his pride also increased. Once he slapped a villager who stepped on his shadow and let it be known then and there that he shall not tolerate any impertinence to his person or his dignity.

One night a burglar broke into his house. He jumped on to the terrace from a tall tree only to land squarely at the feet of Chutang who, as bad luck would have it, was awake. It was with great difficulty that he managed to escape. Next day the burglar was asked by his wife what happened to his face, which was black and blue. The man said that he stepped into darkness, which however had a life of its own. ”What’s more it carried the voice of Reflected Glory,” he added. How did you know that?”

I knew where I was going.”

How come that you are in pain and bruised all over?”

Going into was easy. It was getting out in that darkness, that nearly did me in. O dear not a word of this to any one.”

benny

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An Identity Crisis?

Confucius was waiting in the Hall of Thousand Moons at the Palace Grounds on Yu Island. The Emperor of China had come on an expedition and expressed his desire to see him. So Confucius was at the appointed hour at the palace and settled himself to be called in. A man in splendid robes peered at the sage and frowned. When he was told that it was Confucius he became so glad and said that he had always wanted to meet so illustrious person as he. Introducing himself as the Keeper of His Majesty’s Seals he asked: “How is every one in Hoon Chow?”
“Hoon Chow?” Confucius was perplexed.
“Come, come,” said the fellow in the courtly dress. “I am so honored to see the man who discovered Hoon Chow.”
Confucius was all the more confused. “Didn’t you describe the land where men walk on all fours and women sported tails? They even eat grass. Do they not?” The nobleman chuckled.
Confucius wondered if he were dreaming or talking to one who had lost all his senses. Confucius strained to speak but the man said that from his travel books he imagined him to be different. “No matter, at last I have met the man who made Hoon Chow popular in the Court. The emperor also is taken by your book.”
“But I…” Before the sage could explain the mistake the Keeper of the Seals smoothly said: ”I expected you to belittle your great achievement, so modest just as I had expected.”
As the King’s First Minister approached them, the Keeper murmured, ”The Emperor is weighed down by various affairs of the state and as a friendly advice, royalty takes ill of modesty from one of such merit. Do not correct the messenger of the Sun and the Moon. He is apt to lose temper.”
“But I am the other Confucius” Confucius explained but the Keeper with a wave of his hand seemed to say, ‘Tell it to the birds!” With a quick courtly bow he went out.
Before he could recover his astonishment a gong sounded and he looked up to see the inscrutable face of the First Minister who with his entourage bowed before the sage. “The emperor will receive the Incomparable Master of Hoon Chow!”

Illustration: Pen and ink

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Work and Play©
Once the gods who roosted in the Yggdrasil conferred with one another to find out how the nine worlds were doing.
Wotan said,’Oh well we are always at hand to give the worlds their buoyancy. Freya said,Hear hear,!’ I can always turn the despair in women’s heart with a motherly touch’. Each god had something to speak about their role in keeping the order. Hope, Joy, Pleasure-well every emotion that made the worlds run on and on was discussed.

Image

After a painful silence they looked at the dragon who was hopping from the three roots which never stayed still,’I see someone who has nothing to do but make a play on our tree.’ they said.
Prompt came the retort.’Play you call? If I did not put my foot down the root will swat some worlds to oblivion. You calll my role as a trifle, Do you?’
The gods knew the tree itself stayed the course since the keeper made a play of his work. It needed all the foresight and concentration. The dragon, after all was the balance wheel that made the tree work.
benny

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Image

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The Tree of Terror ©

 

 

In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil is an immense tree that is central in Norse cosmology, in connection to which the nine worlds exist.
yggdrasil-2

When one morning the gods had left the tree to pursue their tasks for the day a gnome with his hair riding the wind like some hundred wild stallions came across the tree and said, ‘I am the East Wind!’ The dragon who guarded the sacred tree said , ‘ None that has cold breath is welcome here’.

East Wind said: ‘ See my sword and it is still sharp and red hot. I gave all my warmth to it. I have no heat left.’

While the gnome of East Wind finished speaking there came a whirlwind and wasps in the rear. The stranger within it was a spectre, and he said, ‘Let me in. ’ The dragon looked him up and down and said, ‘None but the strong shall enter the sacred halls here.’ South Wind said, ‘The vast open spaces where the swirls of dust blow about shaped me as I am. My strength is in each speck of grit. They shall vouch for me.’ In answer the wasps buzzed and the whirlwind said ‘It is indeed so!’ The dragon smiled and said nothing. Who comes in but the West Wind in a titter. Stopping in front of the Cosmic Tree he said: ‘I am neither strong nor weak; neither a hero or a feckless woman,- I am what I choose to be.’ The dragon looked at the newcomer and sniffed. He said, ‘You smell nothing. I know bitter when I taste wind. Nor I get sweetness here.’ Perplexed the dragon asked ‘What are you really?’ ‘Oh my sweat!’ the West Wind giggled. “My smell is all in dem crystals and the oceans hold them for me.” The dragon raised his hand and said, ‘Hold it! I have my own counsel here’. He snapped his finger. The North Wind came. The dragon asked, ‘These three here. Are they to be admitted?

The West Wind brought salt out of thin air and sprinkled: The North Wind said, ‘My heart melts simply. He has charm.’

Then he went to the East Wind who drew his short sword and flashed, ‘Oh he dazzles my eyes with fire!’ the North Wind cried out. When the North Wind went to the South Wind the specks of dust swirled about as dervishes and became snowflakes. The North Wind was speechless. At last he found voice, ‘Of the Tree of terror, look at these fragile beauties against which no terror can overcome. ’  The tree said, ‘Yes let them all in. The gods could learn something useful from these three.

ack: wikipedia note: Yggdrasill would also mean “tree of terror, gallows.

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