Thursday, July 27, 2017

Five Chinese Folk Stories

Researched and Compiled by Dr Abe V Rotor 

Living with Nature - School on Blog

1. The Spider and the Silkworm
Both the spider and the silk worm spin silk. One day the spider said, "I admit your silk is better than the silk from the spider, your silk is yellow and white, dazzling and bright. You use the silk that you spin yourself, to make a beautiful cocoon, then live inside thinking falsely you are kings.

In your little cocoon you wait until the women put you in scalding hot water and peel your silk off strand by strand. Then your beautiful cocoons are all gone. What a shame, though you have the ability to create such beauty, then die because of it, is this not stupid?"

The silk worm thinking about what the spider said, answered, "Our actions are actually like suicide, but we spin silk so that people can weave beautiful brocades, giving all the people the ability to look beautiful, can you say our labor is a waste? Look at you spiders, all you weave for is to make a trap that will let you eat the cute little bugs that fly in. You don't regret it either but don't you think that is a little cruel?"

Many people think it's such a waste to do things that don't benefit them. These people cannot understand why would one sacrifice for the benefit of others. But on the other hand there are some people who are satisfied knowing that their sacrifices can benefit others. These people don't think their labors are stupid actions since they gain satisfaction not by bettering themselves but others.

So if we are not able to understand one's decision, don't despise, let's just respect it.

2. A Fish Stranded in a Dying Puddle

Once there was a fellow walking along a road. Suddenly he heard a faint cry. He looked around but saw nothing. Thinking he heard nothing, he continued to walk. Again he heard the faint cry. This time the call was nearby. He searched high and low, and found the sound was coming out of a little fish lying in a drying pond. His mouth gurgling. That person looked at the fish strangely and asked,

"Was that you who was just calling me ? Was it you needing my help ? "

The small fish looking pleading at the man gasping and breathless said, "Please save me quickly, I am dying, I need water. I am not a normal fish, rather I am the eastern sea dragon's official. Please give me a little water." That person hearing this hurriedly nodded his head and said,

"I understand, I will immediately go to the south and let the southern king redirect a river to here so that you can swim and return to the eastern sea." The fish angrily cried out, "Can a fish live out of water? I am only in need of a little water. Your idea is pointless. I think that the next time you see me will be in a shop that sells dried fish. "

The story tells us to reconsider solutions that we usually propose to solve real life problems. Sometimes we take our time too much to find the most ideal solution, while what the problem really needs is time critical solution.

We must always aware that many times in our lives we don't need the best solution but some quick fixes for the current situation to prevent it of becoming worse. Only until then, we have much more time to think and find the ideal solution.

3. A Frog at the Bottom of a Well 

Irene Y Tsai and Pattie Caprio

Once upon a time, there was a small and shallow water well, and in that well lived a frog. Everyday he lived life at his leisure and felt he was truly blessed.

One day a turtle came to his well, the frog happily welcomed and invited him to stay. As they talked the frog proudly said, "I can play in the well or I can frolic as I like, when I'm tired I rest in a hole in the wall of the well. Look at the small shrimp and insects to eat, don't you want to come and see my well ? It's my heaven on earth.

Hearing these stories, the turtle very much wanted to go and see the well. But he was too fat, and couldn't slip into the hole of the well. With a sigh he told the frog a story about the sea,

"The sea, have you ever seen the sea ? The sea is a massive expanses of blue. You can swim heading for faraway places and never reach them, you can swim down but never reach the bottom. The sea has always been this deep and big. Only when you are in the sea can you really feel truly free and happy." The frog hearing this was dumbfounded. He was so shocked he could only stare into the distance.

We ought to have a broad and far-reaching vision of life, unlike the vision of the frog living in the well, seeing only his little heaven on earth. One must have an open mind, ready to explore beyond his current knowledge, understanding and even his proudly proven skill.

4. False Orchestra Player 
During the Warring-states Period, the Qi Kingdom had a king who was particularly fond of listening to orchestras. His favorite performance were those of hundreds of musicians playing in symphony, so he sent his servants to find 300 musicians and to organize them into an orchestra. There was one fellow called Nanguo, who actually couldn't play the instrument, accepted the offer.
So everyday he performed for the king with the hundreds of musicians, pretending to play, imitating exactly and seeming to play expertly. For a longtime no one else realized. Afterwards this king passed away, and his son succeeded him. His son also liked to listen to music, but he didn't like the listening to the cacophony of a 300 strong orchestra, rather he liked listening to them play individually in succession. Nanguo when he heard of this news knew he could no longer pass himself off as a musician and stole away never to be seen again in the palace.

Some members of an ancient Chinese orchestra 

Around you, you may have people like Nanguo, who in reality have no skill but in the numbers can pass themselves off. You should be careful to detect them and be aware of their true strengths.

5. Wait for a Second Luck

Once in the Song Kingdom there was a farmer, he always wished all good things would by chance fall in front of him. One day he was working in the fields when a wild rabbit ran headlong into a wooden post, snapped its neck, and died. He happily bent and picked it up thinking, "If I can find a rabbit every day like this, I won't ever need to farm again." So he discarded his hoe and everyday sat by the wooden post and hoped for another stroke of luck like the first.

Days passed - but he had no such luck, and more and more people ridiculed this foolish man.

Sometimes opportunities and good fortune incidentally befall us, but we must not always rely on them. Good fortune is to be appreciated, not expected. If you want success you must rely on your own hard work.

Acknowledgement: Chinese Folk Stories,Myths and Legends, Internet, Wikipedia 

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