The bluestone, p.1
ancient Chinese script by
English translation by
D .E. Powell
copyright 2011 David Powell
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: The Gift
Once upon a time in a land a little more than halfway across the world— unless, of course, you were traveling in the opposite direction and then it would be a little less than halfway—there lived a boy who thought himself the most loneliest boy in the universe. He had no friends (so he believed), and was without any brothers and sisters. And, he had no parents!
Oh, he did have a guardian, or guardians as it were, in the Buddhist monastery where he lived. But they were very old and very busy and had little time for the boy. Why, they had the mysteries of the universe to solve and that took up most of the elderly gentlemen's days.
So, Chu Yuan-chang sat in his small room in his small monastery and thought himself the most loneliest boy in the universe.
One day Chu's first guardian, Ti Mie-tuang, came in from his labors to find the boy moping about and mumbling softly to himself. Ti Mie-tuang pulled long at his tired face, scratched ponderingly at his stringy white beard, and turned his deep set eyes toward heaven as though seeking divine intervention from above.
“You cannot mope about all afternoon, Chu Yuan-chang,” he said to the young lad. “It is not good for one to do such a thing. You will make yourself ill. Come play with the other children. They are having a wonderful time.”
“I cannot, Guardian,” answered Chu, sadly. “They will not play with me. They say I am a baby.”
“Then you must show them that you are not. You must show them what a fine lad you are. Come out and play with them.”
“I can't,” said the sorrowful boy. “I will go and play with them later, after you have returned to work. Let me get your meal. You must eat before you return to the fields.”
“Yes, I must eat to give me strength for the fields, but you must share in the company of others to give you strength, as well. You will disappear one day by remaining to yourself. You must enjoy your fellow human beings, Chu Yuan-chang. For if no one knows that you exist, than you do not. You must listen to me in this matter.”
“I will, Guardian, but. . . later.” Chu bowed his head in shame.
“You are not going to play with the other children, are you?” asked his guardian.
“Perhaps not today,” said Chu, shaking his head.
“Then you must wait up for me tonight. I will have something for you when I return from the fields. I will give it to you this evening. I am sorry we have not provided the home you wished for, Chu Yuan- chang.”
Chu was left to his mournful thoughts as Ti Mie-tuang returned to the fields. The boy could not escape his feelings of how truly lonely he was. He watched him go as the wind whipped up over the hillside, forcing his guardian to draw tight his wrap. Chu felt sorry that his guardians had to work so hard to keep him. Chu Yuan-chang's life was not a happy one.
That night, Ti Mie-tuang came home coughing. The winter cold had settled in and invaded the old man's bones and Chu had nothing hot prepared to offer him. He had been so preoccupied with his moping that he neglected his chores.
Chu's guardian thought no more about it, merely going to his bed chamber to change into his nightshirt and snuggle up under thick blankets. After a moment, Ti Mie-tuang called the boy into his room. Chu ran forth with more energy than he had shown all day, having not forgotten the promised gift.
“You have been waiting for me?” asked Ti Mie-tuang.
“I have,” answered Chu.
“Then here is the gift I promised.” He handed him a small brown box. “Go to your room. It is for you alone to discover.”
Ti Mie-tuang closed his eyes, waving the young boy away. Chu obeyed, blowing out the candle that lightened the bed chamber and shutting the door behind him. He was terribly excited.
Chu Yuan-chang sat upon his bed with the brown box resting between his legs. He eyed it carefully, turning it around and around to examine from every angle. It was fascinating. The first gift he had ever received. He did not wish to waste it by opening the box hurriedly. The suspense was too great, however, and Chu finally popped it open as though his life depended upon it.
A slight breeze stirred the room. A chill tickled Chu's neck. Lights sparkled in his eyes, as if stars had suddenly sprang to life there. Chu held the box cupped in his hands. Inside set a bluestone, bursting forth like flames erupting into a dark night.
His eyes grew big as apples as he gazed upon the fiery gem, his face lighting up with the brilliance of the stone. A bluestone! The most beautiful Chu Yuan-chang had ever seen; a gift for which he was hardly prepared.
Chu was enchanted, sitting peering upon the bluestone for many moments. Then, as if by magic, the gem started to glow even hotter. Whiteness replaced the blue light and images began to appear in the vibrant rock.
A figure materialized; then another and another, until shortly there were so many figures inside the bluestone that they could not all fit there together; but some came and some went as if marching across the face of the stone. The images appeared to be soldiers upon horseback marching solemnly off to some great war. Chu squinted his eyes to see better. However, the harder he looked the more distorted the images became.
A flash from the stone suddenly sent Chu falling backwards off the bed. All went black as he lay motionless upon the floor. Images of soldiers continued to dance in his head while the light of the bluestone slowly died away like the sun setting upon the horizon.
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