Adjectives in a Series...........................................................................................................................101
Spatial Order of Details........................................................................................................................102
Objective and Subjective Details in Description..................................................................................103
The First Quarter: Narrative
The Story of the Aged Mother
A Japanese Folktale
Long, long ago there lived at the foot of the mountain a poor farmer and his aged, widowed mother. They owned a bit of land which supplied them with food, and their humble were peaceful and happy.
Shinano was governed by a despotic leader who though a warrior, had a great and cowardly shrinking from anything suggestive of failing health and strength. This caused him to send out a cruel proclamation. The entire province was given strict orders to immediately put to death all aged people. Those were barbarous days, and the custom of abandoning old people to die was not common. The poor farmer loved his aged mother with tender reverence, and the order filled his heart with sorrow. But no one ever thought a second time about obeying the mandate of the governor, so with many deep hopeless sighs, the youth prepared for what at that time was considered the kindest mode of death.
Just at sundown, when his day’s work was ended, he took a quantity of unwhitened rice which is principal food for poor, cooked and dried it, and tying it in a square cloth, swung and bundle around his neck along with a gourd filled with cool, sweet water. Then he lifted his helpless old mother to his back and stated on his painful journey up the mountain. The road was long and steep; the narrowed road was crossed and recrossed by many paths made by the hunters and woodcutters. In some place, they mingled in a confused puzzled, but he gave no heed. One path or another, it mattered not. On he went, climbing blindly upward – ever upward towards the high bare summit of what is know as Obatsuyama, the mountain of the “abandoning of aged.”
The eyes of the old mother were not so dim but that they noted the reckless hastening from one path to another, and her loving heart grew anxious. Her son did not know the mountain’s many paths and his return might be one of danger, so she stretched forth her hand and snapping the twigs from brushes as they passed, she quietly dropped a handful every few steps of the way so that they climbed, the narrow path behind them was dotted at frequently intervals with tiny piles of twigs. At last the summit was reached. Weary and heart sick, the youth gently released his burden and silently prepared a place of comfort as his last duty to the loved one. Gathering fallen pine needle, he made a soft cushion and tenderly lifting his old mother therein, he wrapped her padded coat more closely about the stooping shoulders and with tearful eyes and an aching heart said farewell.
The trembling mother’s voice was full of unselfish love as she gave her last injunction. “Let not thine eyes be blinded, my son,” she said. “The mountain road is full of dangers. Look carefully and follow the path which holds the piles of twigs. They will guide you to the familiar way farther down.” The son’s surprised eyes looked back over the path, then at the poor old, shriveled hands all scratched and soiled by their work of love. His heart smote him and bowing to the grounds, he cried aloud: “Oh, Honorable mother, thy kindness thrusts my heart! I will not leave thee. Together we will follow the path of twigs, and together we will die!”
Once more he shouldered his burden (how light it seemed now) and hastened down the path, through the shadows and the moonlight, to the little hut in the valley. Beneath the kitchen floor was a walled closet for food, which was covered and hidden from view. There the son met his mother, supplying her with everything needful and continually watching and fearing. Time passed, and he was beginning to feel safe when again the governor sent forth heralds bearing an unreasonable order, seemingly as a boast of his power. His demand was that his subject should present him with a rope of ashes. The entire province trembled with dread. The order must be obeyed yet who in all Shinano could make a rope of ashes?
One night, in great distress, the son whispered the news to his hidden mother. “Wait!” she said. “I will think. I will think.” On the second day she told him what to do. “Make rope twisted straw,” she said. “Then stretch it upon a row of flat stones and burn it there on the windless night.” He called the people together and did as she said and when the blaze and died, behold upon the stones with every twist and fiber showing perfectly lay a rope of ashes.
The governor was pleased at the wit of the youth and praised greatly, but he demanded to know where he had obtained his wisdom. “Alas! Alas!” cried the farmer, “the truth must be told!” and with deep bows he related his story. The governor listened and then meditated in silence. Finally he lifted his head. “Shinano needs more than strength of youth,” he said gravely. “Ah, that I should have forgotten the well-know saying, “with the crown of snow, there cometh a wisdom!” That very hour the cruel law was abolished, and custom drifted into as far a past that only legends remains.
The Cricket Boy
A Chinese Tale
A long time ago, cricket fighting caught on in the imperial court, with the emperor leading the fad. A local magistrate in Huayin, who wanted to win the favor of the monarch, tried in every way to get him the best fighting crickets. He had a strategy for doing so: He managed to get a cricket that was very good at fighting. He then made his subordinates go to the heads of each village and force them to send in a constant supply of fighting crickets. He would send to the imperial court the crickets that could beat the one he was keeping.
Theoretically, everything should have worked smoothly. However, as the magistrate was extremely zealous to please the emperor, he meted out harsh punishment on any village heads who failed to accomplish their tasks. The village heads in turn shifted the burden to the poor villagers, who had to search for the crickets. If they failed to catch them, they had to purchase them from someone else, or they had to pay a levy in cash.
The small insects suddenly became a rare commodity. Speculators hoarded good crickets, buying them at a bargain and selling them for an exorbitant price. Many village heads worked hand in hand with the speculators to make profits. In so doing, they bankrupted many a family.
Cheng Ming was one such villager. The head of his village delegated part of his duties to him because he found Cheng Ming easy to push around. Cheng Ming did not want to bully his fellow villagers as the village head did him, so he often had to pay cash out of his own pocket when he failed to collect any competent crickets. Soon the little proper ties he had were draining away, and he went into a severe depression. One day, he said to his wife that he wanted to die.
“Death is easy, but what will our son do without you?” asked his wife, glancing at their only son, sleeping on the kang. “Why can’t we look for the crickets ourselves instead of buying them? Perhaps we’ll strike some good luck.”
Cheng Ming gave up the idea of suicide and went to search for crickets. Armed with a tiny basket of copper wires for catching crickets and a number of small bamboo tubes for holding them, he went about the tedious task. Each day he got up at dawn and did not return until late in the evening. He searched beneath brick debris, dike crevices, and in the weeds and bushes. Days went by, and he caught only a few mediocre crickets that did not measure up to the magistrate’s standards. His worries increased as the dead line drew closer and closer.
The day for cricket delivery finally came, but Cheng Ming could not produce any good ones. He was clubbed a hundred times on the buttocks, a form of corporal punishment in the ancient Chinese judicial system. When he was released the next day, he could barely walk. The wound on his buttocks confined him to bed for days and further delayed his search for crickets. He thought of committing suicide again. His wife did not know what to do.
Then they heard about a hunchbacked fortune teller who was visiting the village. Cheng Ming’s wife went to see him. The fortune teller gave her a piece of paper with a picture on it. It was a pavilion with a jiashan (rock garden) behind it. On the bushes by the jiashan sat a fat male cricket. Beside it, however, lurked
a large toad, ready to catch the insect with its long, elastic tongue. When the wife got home, she showed the paper to her husband. Cheng Ming sprang up and jumped to the floor, forgetting the pain in his buttocks.
“This is the fortune teller’s hint at the location where I can find a perfect cricket to accomplish my task!” he exclaimed.
“But we don’t have a pavilion in our village,” his wife re minded him. “Well, take a closer look and think. Doesn’t the temple on the east side of our village have a rock
garden? That must be it.” So saying, Cheng Ming limped to the temple with the support of a make shift crutch. Sure enough, he saw the cricket, and the toad squatting nearby in the rock garden at the back of the temple. He caught the big, black male cricket just before the toad got hold of it. Back home, he carefully placed the cricket in a jar he had prepared for it and stowed the jar away in a safe place. “Everything will be over tomorrow,” he gave a sigh of relief and went to tell his best friends in the village the good news.
Cheng Ming’s nine-year-old son was very curious. Seeing his father was gone, he took the jar and wanted to have a peek at the cricket. He was removing the lid carefully, when the big cricket jumped out and hopped away. Panicked, the boy tried to catch the fleeing cricket with his hands, but in a flurry, he accidentally squashed the insect when he finally got hold of it.
“Good heavens! What’re you going to say to your father when he comes back?” the mother said in distress and dread. Without a word, the boy went out of the room, tears in his eyes.
Cheng Ming became distraught when he saw the dead cricket. He couldn’t believe that all his hopes had been dashed in a second. He looked around for his son, vowing to teach the little scoundrel a good lesson. He searched inside and outside the house, only to locate him in a well at the corner of the court yard. When he fished him out, the boy was already dead. The father’s fury instantly gave way to sorrow. The grieved parents laid their son on the kang and lamented over his body the entire night.
As Cheng Ming was dressing his son for burial the next morning, he felt the body still warm. Immediately he put the boy back on the kang, hoping that he would revive. Gradually the boy came back to life, but to his parents’ dismay, he was unconscious, as if he were in a trance.
The parents grieved again for the loss of their son. Suddenly they heard a cricket chirping. The couple traced the sound to a small cricket on the door step. The appearance of the cricket, however, dashed their hopes, for it was very small. “Well, it’s better than nothing,” Cheng Ming thought. He was about to catch it, when it jumped nimbly on to a wall, cheeping at him. He tip toed to ward it, but it showed no sign of fleeing. Instead, when Cheng Ming came a few steps closer, the little cricket jumped onto his chest.
Though small, the cricket looked smart and energetic. Cheng Ming planned to take it to the village head. Uncertain of its capabilities, Cheng Ming could not go to sleep. He wanted to put the little cricket to the test before sending it to the village head.
The next morning, Cheng Ming went to a young man from a rich family in his neighborhood, having heard him boasting about an “invincible” cricket that he wanted to sell for a high price. When the young man showed his cricket, Cheng Ming hesitated, because his little cricket seemed no match for this gigantic insect. To fight this monster would be to condemn his dwarf to death.
“There’s no way my little cricket could survive a confrontation with your big guy,” Cheng Ming said to the young man, holding his jar tight. The young man goaded and taunted him. At last, Cheng Ming decided to take a risk. “Well, it won’t hurt to give a try. If the little cricket is a good-for-nothing, what’s the use of keeping it anyway?” he thought.
When they put the two crickets together in a jar, Cheng Ming’s small insect seemed transfixed. No matter how the young man prodded it to fight, it simply would not budge. The young man burst into a guffaw, to the great embarrassment of Cheng Ming. As the young man spurred the little cricket on, it sud denly seemed to have run out of patience. With great wrath, it charged the giant opponent head on. The sudden burst of action stunned both the young man and Cheng Ming. Before the little creature planted its small but sharp teeth into the neck of the big cricket, the terrified young man fished the big insect out of the
jar just in time and called off the contest. The little cricket chirped victoriously, and Cheng Ming felt exceedingly happy and proud.
Cheng Ming and the young man were commenting on the little cricket’s extraordinary prowess, when a big rooster rushed over to peck at the little cricket in the jar. The little cricket hopped out of the jar in time to dodge the attack. The rooster then went for it a second time, but suddenly began to shake its head violently, screaming in agony. This sudden turn of events baffled Cheng Ming and the onlookers. When they took a closer look, they could not believe their eyes: The little cricket was gnawing on the rooster’s bloody comb. The story of a cricket fighting a rooster soon spread throughout the village and beyond.
The next day, Cheng Ming, along with the village head, sent the cricket to the magistrate and asked for a test fight with his master cricket, but the magistrate re fused on the ground that Cheng Ming’s cricket was too small.
“I don’t think you have heard its rooster-fighting story,” Cheng Ming proclaimed with great pride. “You can’t judge it only by its appearance.”
“Nonsense, how can a cricket fight a rooster?” asked the magistrate. He ordered a big rooster brought to his office, thinking that Cheng Ming would quit telling his tall tales when his cricket became the bird’s snack. The battle between the little cricket and the rooster ended with the same result: The rooster sped away in great pain, the little cricket chirping triumphantly on its heels.
The magistrate was first astonished and then pleased, thinking that he finally had the very insect that could win him the emperor’s favor. He had a golden cage manufactured for the little cricket. Placing it cautiously in the cage, he took it to the emperor.
The emperor pitted the little cricket against all his veteran combat ant crickets, and it defeated them one by one. What amused the emperor most was that the little creature could even dance to the tune of his court music! Extremely pleased with the magic little creature, the emperor rewarded the magistrate liberally and promoted him to a higher position. The magistrate, now a governor, in turn exempted Cheng Ming from his levies in cash as well as crickets.
A year later, Cheng Ming’s son came out of his stupor. He sat up and rubbed his eyes, to the great surprise and joy of his parents. The first words he uttered to his jubilant parents were, “I’m so tired and hungry.” After a hot meal, he told them, “I dreamed that I had become a cricket, and I fought a lot of other crickets. It was such fun! You know what? The greatest fun I had was my fight with a couple of roosters!”
The Spider’s Thread
By Akutagawa Ryunosuke
One day, the Buddha was strolling alone along the edge of a lotus pond in Paradise. The blooming lotus flowers in the pond were each pure white like jewels, and the place was filled with the indescribably wondrous fragrance continually emitted from each flower’s golden center. It was just morning in Paradise.
After a time, the Buddha paused at the edge of the pond and from between the lotus leaves that covered it saw a glimpse of the state of things below. Now this celestial pond just happened to lie directly over Hell, and peering through that crystal-clear water was like looking through a magnifying glass at the River of Death and the Mountain of Needles and such.
The Buddha saw there, in the depths of Hell, a single man writhing along with the other sinners. This man was named Kandata, and he had been a notorious thief who had performed murder and arson and other acts of evil. In his past, however, he had performed just one good deed: one day, when walking through the deep forest, he saw a spider crawling along the road. At first he raised his foot to crush it, but
suddenly he changed his mind and stopped, saying, “No, small though it may be, a spider, too, has life. It would be a pity to meaninglessly end it,” and so did not kill it.
Looking down upon the captives in Hell the Buddha recalled this kind act that Kandata had performed, and thought to use his good deed as a way to save him from his fate. Looking aside, there on a jade-colored lotus leaf he saw a single spider, spinning out a web of silver thread. The Buddha carefully took the spider’s thread into his hand, and lowered it straight down between the jewel-like white lotuses into the depths of Hell.
Kandata was floating and sinking along with the other sinners in the Lake of Blood at the bottom of Hell. It was pitch black no matter which way he looked, and the occasional glimpse of light that he would see in the darkness would turn out to be just the glint of the terrible Mountain of Needles. How lonely he must have felt! All about him was the silence of the grave, the only occasional sound being a faint sigh from one of the damned. Those who were so evil as to be sent to this place were tired by its various torments, and left without even the strength to cry out. Even the great thief Kandata could only squirm like a dying frog as he choked in the Lake of Blood.
But one day, raising up his head and glancing at the sky above the lake, in the empty darkness Kandata saw a silver spider’s thread being lowered from the ceiling so far, far away. The thread seemed almost afraid to be seen, emitting a frail, constant light as it came down to just above Kandata’s head. Seeing this, Kandata couldn’t help but clap his hands in joy. If he were to cling to this thread and climb up it, he may be able to climb out of Hell! Perhaps he could even climb all the way to Paradise! Then he would never be chased up the Mountain of Needles, nor drowned in the Lake of Blood again.
Thinking so, he firmly grasped the spider’s thread with both hands and began to climb the thread, higher and higher. Having once been a great thief, he was used to tasks such as this. But the distance between Hell and Paradise is tens of thousands of miles, and so it would seem that no amount of effort would make this an easy journey. After climbing for some time Kandata tired, and couldn’t climb a bit higher. Having no other recourse, he hung there from the thread, resting, and while doing so looked down below.
He saw that he had made a good deal of progress. The Lake of Blood that he had been trapped in was now hidden in the dark below, and he had even climbed higher than the dimly glowing Mountain of Needles. If he could keep up this pace, perhaps he could escape from Hell after all. Kandata grasped the thread with both hands, and laughingly spoke in a voice that he hadn’t used in the many years since he had come here, “I’ve done it! I’ve done it!”
Looking down, however, what did he see but an endless queue of sinners, intently following him up the thread like a line of ants! Seeing this, surprise and fear kept Kandata hanging there for a time with mouth open and eyes blinking like a fool. How could this slender spider’s web, which should break even under just his weight, support the weight of all these other people? If the thread were to snap, all of his effort would be wasted and he would fall back into Hell with the others! That just would not do. But even as he thought these thoughts, hundreds more, thousands more of the damned came crawling up from the Lake of Blood, forming a line and scurrying up the thread. If he didn’t do something fast, surely the thread would snap in the middle and he would fall back down.
Kandata shouted out, “Hey! You sinners! This thread is mine! Who said you could climb up it? Get off! Get off!”
Though the thread had been fine until just then, with these words it snapped with a twang right where Kandata held it. Poor Kandata fell headfirst through the air, spinning like a top, right down through the darkness. The severed end of the silver thread hung there, suspended from heaven, shining with its pale light in that moonless, starless sky.
The Buddha stood in Paradise at the edge of the lotus pond, silently watching these events. After Kandata sank like a stone to the bottom of the Lake of Blood, he continued his stroll with a sad face. He must have been surprised that even after such severe punishment Kandata’s lack of compassion would lead him right back into Hell.
Yet the lotus blossoms in the lotus ponds of Paradise care nothing about such matters. Their jewel-like white flowers waved about the feet of the Buddha, and each flower’s golden center continuously filled the place with their indescribably wondrous fragrance. It was almost noon in Paradise.
The Two Brothers
An Ancient Egyptian Story
There were once two brothers, Anpu was the older, Bata was the younger. Anpu had a wife, and owned a farm. Bata came to live with Anpu and his wife. Bata worked hard for his brother, plowing the fields, and harvesting the grain, and doing many other tasks. He was very good at his work. The animals would even speak to him.
One day Anpu announced that it was time to plow the fields and sow the seeds. And he instructed his brother to take sacks of seed out to the fields. They spent the next few days plowing and sowing seeds.
Then Anpu sent Bata back for more seeds. At Anpu's house, Bata found Anpu's wife fixing her hair. Bata said, "Get up and get me some seed, Anpu is waiting."
Anpu's wife replied, "Get the seed yourself. I'm busy with my hair."Bata found a large basket, and filled it with seed. And, he carried the basket through the house.Anpu's wife said, "What is the weight of that basket you carry."Bata replied, "There are three sacks of wheat and two of barley."She said, "How strong you are, and handsome. Stay with me and let us make love. And Anpu will
never know."Bata replied in horror, "Anpu is like a father to me, and you are like a mother to me. I won't tell
anyone of the evil words that you have said. And never let me hear them again." He picked up his basket, and rushed out into the fields.
When Anpu got back home, he realized that something was wrong. No fire had been lit, no food had been cooked, and his wife was in bed moaning and weeping. Her clothes were torn, and she seemed to be bruised. Anpu demanded that she tell him what had happened.
She replied, "When your brother came to fetch the seed, he saw me fixing my hair. He tried to make love to me. And I refused, saying, 'Is not Anpu like a father to you? And am I not like a mother to you?' And he became angry, and beat me. And he said that he would hurt me more if I told you what had happened. Oh Anpu, kill him for me, or I will surely die."
Anpu was angry like a leopard. He took a spear, and hid behind the door of the cattle pen, waiting to kill his brother.
When the sun had gone down, Bata returned with the cattle. The first cow said to Bata, "Your brother hides with a spear, behind the door. And he plans to kill you. Run away while you can."
Bata would not believe the cow. But the second cow gave him the same warning. Then he saw his brother's feet behind the door. And he was afraid and ran away. Anpu chased him in great anger. As he ran, Bata called out to Ra, "O my good lord, who judges between the bad and the good, save me."
And Ra heard Bata's prayer, and caused a river to flow between them. The river was wide and full of crocodiles. The two brothers stood on opposite banks of the river. Bata shouted to Anpu, "Ra delivers the wicked to the just. But I must leave you. Why did you try to kill me, without giving me a chance to explain?" And Bata told his side of the story.
Then Bata took out his knife and cut himself, and he fell to the ground. And Anpu believed him, and was sick at heart. And he longed to be on the other side of the river, with his brother.
Bata spoke again, "I must go to the valley of cedars, to be healed. And I shall hide my heart in a cedar tree. And when the cedar tree is cut down, I will be in danger of dying. If your beer turns sour, you will know that I need your help. Come to the valley of cedars and search for my heart. Put my heart in a bowl of water. And I will come back to life again.
Anpu promised to obey his brother, and went home. He killed his wife, and threw her body to the dogs.
Bata traveled to the valley of cedars, and rested until his wound had healed. He hunted wild beasts and built a house for himself. And he hid his heart in the branches of a tree.
One day, the nine gods were walking in the valley. And they saw that Bata was lonely. And Ra ordered Khnum to make a wife for Bata, on his potters wheel. And when the gods breathed life into her, they saw that she was the most beautiful woman who ever lived. The seven Hathors gathered to declare her fate, and said that she would die a sudden death.
Bata loved her. And he knew that whoever saw her would desire her. Every day, as he left to hunt wild animals, he warned her, "Stay in the house, or the sea may try to carry you away. And there is little I could do to save you."
One day, when Bata had gone out to hunt, his wife grew bored and went out for a walk. And, as she stood beneath the tree, the sea saw her, and surged up the valley to get her. She tried to flee. But the tree caught her by the hair. She escaped, leaving a lock of her hair in the tree.
The sea took the lock of hair, and carried it to Egypt, where the Nile took it. And the hair floated to where the washermen of the King were washing the King's clothes. And the sweet-smelling hair caused the King's clothes to smell like perfume. And the King complained of this. This happened every day.
One day the overseer of the washermen saw the lock of hair caught in the reeds. He ordered that it be brought to him. And he smelled its sweet smell.
And he took the lock of hair to the King. And the King's advisers said, "This is a lock of hair from a daughter of Ra." And the King wanted to make this woman his Queen.
The King sent many messengers to all lands. All returned to say that they had failed to find the woman. But one returned from the valley of the cedars to say that his companions had been killed by Bata, and that Bata's wife was the woman that he sought.
The King sent many soldiers to fetch Bata's wife. And with the soldiers, he sent a woman to give jewels to Bata's wife, and to tell her that the King wanted to make her a queen. Bata's wife told this woman that Bata's heart was hidden in the tree, and that if the tree were cut down, Bata would die. And the soldiers cut down the tree. As the tree fell, Bata fell down dead. And the soldiers chopped up the tree and dispersed the pieces.
At the same moment that Bata died, Anpu's beer began to bubble and turn sour. And he immediately put on his sandals, and grabbed his spear and his staff, and hastened to the valley of cedars.
There he found his brother dead, and he wept. But he remembered his brother's instruction and searched for his heart. He searched in vain for three years. And he longed to return to Egypt. At the beginning of the fourth year, he said to himself, "If I don't find my brother's heart tomorrow, I will go back home."
The next day, he searched again. And near the end of the day, he found what he thought was a seed. But it was Bata's dried up heart. And he put it in a bowl of water, and sat down to wait. The heart grew as it absorbed water. Bata came back to life, but was very weak. Then Anpu held the bowl to Bata's lips, and he swallowed the remaining water, and then swallowed his own heart. And his strength returned to him. And the two brothers embraced.
Bata said, "Tomorrow, I will change myself into a sacred bull. And you will ride me back to Egypt. Lead me before the King. And he will reward you. Then return to your house."
The next day, Bata changed into a bull. And Anpu rode him to Egypt, and led him before the King. The King rewarded Anpu with gold, and silver, and land, and slaves. And there was rejoicing throughout the land. And Anpu returned to his house.
Eventually, Bata encountered his wife, who was now the Queen. And he said, "Look upon me, for I am alive."
She asked, "And who are you?"He replied, "I am Bata. And it was you who caused the tree to be cut down, so that I would be
destroyed. But I am alive." And she trembled in fear, and left the room.That evening, the King sat at a feast, with his Queen. And she said to him, "Will you swear by the
gods that you will give me anything that I want?" The King promised that he would. The Queen said, "I desire to eat the liver of the sacred bull, for he is nothing to you."
The king was upset at her request. But the next day, he commanded that the bull be sacrificed. And the bull was sacrificed. And its blood splattered on each side the gate of the palace.
That night, two persea trees sprang up next to the palace gate. The King was told of this miracle, and there was much rejoicing.
One day the King and Queen were standing in the shade of one of the trees. And the tree spoke to the Queen, "False woman, you are the one who caused the cedar tree to be cut down, and you made the King slaughter the bull. But, I am Bata, I am still alive." And the Queen was afraid.
Later, when the King and Queen were feasting, the Queen said, "Will you swear by the gods that you will give me anything that I want?" The King promised that he would. The Queen said, "It is my desire that those two persea trees be chopped down, to make furniture for me."
The King was troubled by her request. But the next day the King and Queen watched as the trees were cut down. As the Queen stood watching, a chip of wood flew from one of the trees, and flew into her mouth, and she swallowed it. And it made the Queen become pregnant.
After many days, the Queen gave birth to a son. The King loved him, and made him heir to the throne.
In time the King died, and rejoined the gods. And his son succeeded him as King.The new King (who was Bata) summoned his court, and told everyone the story of his life. And he
judged that his wife, who had become his mother, should die for her crimes. And the court agreed. And she was led away to be killed.
Bata ruled Egypt for thirty years. Then he died. And his brother Anpu then ruled Egypt.
The Lady Chang
By Marjorie Clark
When the Lady Chang arrived in the city of Canton, she possessed nothing in the world but the clothes she was wearing, the jewels on her fingers, and most precious of all, her little son, Ko. Everything else – her husband, her fine home and all her servants, even the village in which she lived – had been washed away and lost forever in the great flood that had swept down upon them so suddenly.
She found a house which costs very little, for it was in a poor part of the city, near the rubbish dumps. Every morning the carts rumbled by, taking all the city rubbish to be burned and buried.
“I am lucky to have this small house,” the Lady Chang told herself. “I can clean my house in the morning: I can play, with my dear son, Ko, each afternoon; and in the evening, when he is asleep, I can weave
and embroider. The cloth I make will sell easily, and so I shall be able to feed and clothe both Ko and myself.”“Little Ko grew fast and was a great joy to her.
“What are you doing, my son?” asked his mother one day, as she turned from her weaving to catch him at play.
“I am the butcher, Mother,” laughed Ko. “I am working in the market. See how cleverly I kill this goat, and how I cut it up for customers.” And he raised his voice and shouted harshly as he had heard the butcher shouting each day in the market place.
The Lady Chang sighed. “Indeed, my son learns quickly. He should not be here to copy the ways of rough men. He should be learning to be a scholar as his father was.” She searched the city and found a house near the university.
“To live here will cost a great deal,” she thought. But she did not hesitate for long. She left their house near the market and sold her last ring of pearl and silver, and soon she and her son were living in their new house.
Now indeed, life was hard for the Lady Chang. In order to live and pay for Ko’s schooling, she had to rise at dawn each day. She would clean her house, do the cooking, wash the clothes, and then work hard at her weaving until far into the night. Ko learned quickly, and the Lady Chang often smiled as she wove the bright threads and watched the cloth growing beneath her busy fingers. “Ko will be a learned man,” she told herself proudly. “Already his teachers speak highly of him. He works so well that I care not that I must sit here weaving all day long.”
She threaded her loom with fine threads and began to weave a lovely pattern of gold and silver and scarlet.
Each day when Ko returned from his studies, he admired his mother’s work. “This is the most beautiful piece of cloth you have ever woven, Mother, he said one day. “Surely you will strain your eyes with such fine work.” “Ah, my son,” she laughed, “this is to pay for you to be a wise and great man. My eyes are a poor price to pay for that.”
By this time Ko had grown to be a fine, tall lad. So easily and so well had helearned his lessons that he began to grow proud and vain. “I know as much as any of the professors who try to teach me,” he said scornfully.
“That is boastful talk,” the Lady Chang reproved him. “You should learn humility as well as knowledge from books, my son. You still have much to learn, I fear.”
A little later, however, Ko came home one day and threw his books on the table. “I have finished with schooling,” he said defiantly. “I am tired of learning. I know quite enough to earn my living.”
“Do not stop!” cried the Lady Chang. “You will be a wise and great man like your father, if you would only complete your studies.“No, Mother,” declared Ko. “I mean what I say. I have finished with Learning.”
The Lady Chang did not argue with him. She reached across the table and got a sharp knife that lay there. Then, without a word, she slashed her weaving from the loom. The cloth fell, its gold and silver and scarlet in a tangled unfinished heap at her feet.
“Mother!” cried Ko in horror, “what have you done? All your hard work is wasted! If you had worked a little longer, this would have been a perfect piece of cloth. Now it is nothing but a half-finished rag.”
The Lady Chang looked at her son with grave eyes. “Son, you could have been a wise and great man,” she told him. “Now you will be little more than a peasant who toils in the fields or labors in the market place.”
Ko’s cheeks grew red as he looked again at his mother’s lovely work, ruined and unfinished. Then, he picked up his books. “I have learned a lesson, Mother,” he said in a low voice. “I will finish my studies. They’ll not be wasted. I may never be a great man, but I will try to be a wise one.”
The Lady Chang’s heart was filled with joy as she watched Ko return to his studies. She drew her seat close to the loom and began to pick up the threads once more. Many, many hours of hard work lay before her, but that which she had already done would not be wasted. Ko indeed became a wise man, and great one. He was famous through all the land of China.
And now, when Chinese children are told tales of brave people in their country’s history, they listen to the story of the Lady Chang, who was not afraid to ruin her most perfect work in order to teach a lesson to her son.
The Chinese Cinderella
A long, long time ago, there was a cave chief named Wu in south coast of China. He married two wives. Unfortunately, one of them died after giving birth to a baby girl. After growing into a young lady, the girl was extremely beautiful and had a remarkable gift for embroidery and spinning. Chief Wu liked her very much and named her Ye Xian. Before long, Chief Wu died too leaving Ye Xian to be reared by her stepmother. The mean woman did not like Ye Xian for she was prettier and smarter than her own daughter so she treated her poorly. Apart from giving her the worst jobs like collecting firewood and drawing water, she and her daughter often mock at her, while Ye Xian always silently did her work without any complaint.
One day, while drawing water, Ye Xian found a lovely little fish with big golden eyes and red fins. She loved it so much that she took it home and put it into a big bowl. Though the young lady had little food for herself, she was willing to share with the fish. Under her care, the small fish grew up every day, soon being too big for a bowl. Ye Xian had to move it to a pond nearby. Each time she approached to the pond, the fish would come out of the water onto the bank to greet her. It became her only friend companying her in her hard time.
Her stepmother heard about the fish. Angry that Ye Xian had found happiness, she planned to kill the fish. She followed Ye Xian to the pond and saw the fish from the distance. But as long as she came onto the bank, the fish immediately sank into the deep water. So the next day, the malicious woman made Ye Xian go carry water from a new place far away from their house, and then she put on her step daughter's clothes and imitate her voice to call the fish. Unaware of this deadly trap, the innocent creature floated up to greet its friend as usual. When it clearly saw the dagger in the bad woman's hand, it was too late.
Ye Xian's step mother cruelly killed the fish on the bank, cooked its flesh and deeply buried its bones with rubbish. Ye Xian was distraught when she learned of the fish’s death. But she could do nothing but cry on the bank. As she was mourning for her friend, an old man wearing the coarsest of clothes and with hair hanging down over his shoulders flew down from the sky and landed by her side.
"Don't cry", he said, "I know where the fish bones were buried. You go there, dig them out, keep them secretly. When you are in bad need, you could pray to the bones which would give you what you want. But memorize, don't be greedy, otherwise, you will be punished by the God." Then, the old man leaded Ye Xian to a abandoned cellar, disappearing.
Ye Xian retrieved her friend's remains there and hid them in a safe place. Remembering the warning of the old man, Ye Xian rarely used the magic bones until Cave Festival which was an important local festival when the young people gathered in the village to meet one another and to find husbands and wives. Every young girl was keen on going to the festival in beautiful dress. Ye Xian was not an exception, but she knew that her stepmother would not allow it because she feared that someone would pick Ye Xian rather than her own daughter, which meant she would lose her half property to pay her step daughter's dower. Moreover, Ye Xian did not have any decent clothes.
After the stepmother and her daughter left for the festival, desperate Ye Xian asked the bones for clothes to wear to the festival. Suddenly she was wearing a sumptuous gown of kingfisher feathers. On her
feet were a pair of shining golden shoes which were magically lighter than a feather and did not make any noise while touching stone floor.
Ye Xian arrived at the festival and soon all were looking her way. Attracted by her charm, young men circled her dancing and singing; shocked by her beauty, young ladies looked at her from the distance with envy complaining the stranger stole their thunder. Ye Xian's step sister was one of them. After a while staring, she screamed to her mother: "Look! Mom, she just looks like my sister!" They both started moving towards Ye Xian to have a clearer look. At the same time, Ye Xian too recognized them in the crowd. Seeing that she would be found out, Ye Xian dashed out of the festival leaving behind one of the golden shoes.
On reaching home she quickly change back into her rags and pretended to be sleeping under a tree in the yard. When her step mother and sister came back, they found nothing unusual.
Ye Xian's lost shoe was found by a merchant and a few months later sold to the king of Tuo Han, a strong kingdom of tens of islands, covering thousands of miles.
Fascinated by the delicate ladies shoe, the young king could not resisted yearning for its owner. He ordered his ministers to travel round the kingdom with the shoe and bring back any lady who could fit in it. But no one was found, because the shoe could magically change its size. No matter how tiny a girl's foot was, the shoe was always a inch shorter than it. The eager king called in the merchant again for inquiring of the spot where the shoe was found, only to know it was somewhere near a mountain in mainland.
The king himself sailed off to the mountain right away. To his disappointed, it was a remote and poor area. He could not believe that the owner of the golden shoe could live there. But he still had his men search every house of the neighboring villages for the other shoe. Finally, they found it and the gown that Ye Xian had worn to the festival in her bed-drawer.
Ye Xian was taken to the king. Pretty as she was, the king yet doubted that the village girl in rags would be the one he had been longing for day and night. So he asked her to try on the shoes and clothes. After a while, from the shabby cottage was walking out a lady beautiful like a fairy. A charming smile was shining on her angelic face, the splendid gown was wrapping her appealing body, and the golden shoes were the perfect fitting for her feet. At the moment, the king realized that she was the one for him.
The step mother and sister begged for forgiveness, and Ye Xian forgave them for their cruelties. The king took Ye Xian back to his kingdom where they married and lived happily ever after.
Creating the EarthA Yoruba Tale from West Africa
The entire world was filled with water when God decided to create the world. God sent his messenger Obatala to perform the task of creating the world. Obatala brought along his helper, a man named Oduduwa as well as a calabash full of earth and a chicken. Then they began their descent to earth from a rope.
Along the way, they stopped over at a feast where Obatala got drunk from drinking too much palm wine. Oduduwa, finding his master drunk, picked up the calabash and the chicken and continued on the journey.
When Oduduwa reached the earth, he sprinkled earth from the calabash over the water and he dropped the chicken on the earth. The chicken then ran around spreading the earth in every direction he moved until there was land. Oduduwa had now created earth from what used to be water.
Later when Obatala got out of his drunken haze, he discovered that Oduduwa had already performed his task and he was very upset. God however gave him another task to perform – to create the people that would populate the earth.
And that was how the world was created in a place now called Ile-Ife.
The Forbidden Fruit
An Efe Tale
God created the first human being Ba-atsi with the help of the moon. He kneaded the body into shape, covered it with a skin, and poured in blood. When the man had thus been given life, God whispered in his ear that her, Ba-atsi, should beget children, and upon them he should impress the following prohibition: “Of all the trees of the forest you may eat, but of the Tahu tree you may not eat.” Ba-atsi had many children, impressed upon them the prohibition, and then retired to heaven. At first, men respected the commandment they had been given, and lived happily. But one day, a pregnant woman was seized with an irresistible desire to eat of the forbidden fruit. She tried to persuade her husband to give her some of it. At first, he refused, but after a time he gave way. He stole into the woods, picked a Tahu fruit, peeled it, and hid the peel among the leaves. But the moon had seen his action and reported it to God. God was so enraged over man’s disobedience that as punishment, he sent death among them.
God Leaves the World
An African Folk Tale
The Mende people of Sierra Leone say that God made everything, heaven and earth, and animals, and last of all he made men and women. He told them that they could have whatever they wanted if they asked him. So when men were in need they demanded this or that, and God always gave it to them. But men came so often that they thought God’s name must be just “Take It!” which he said when they asked him for anything. God grew tired of people troubling him so often, and saw that they would wear him out with their demands. He decided to make himself a dwelling-place far away and above men. While men slept, God went away and when they woke up, they could not find him. But then, they looked up and saw God spread out in all directions, and they said that God was great. God said farewell to men, but warned them not to do evil to one another, for he had made men to live in agreement. Then he went up on high, and men began to cal him “High.” God also gave me and women a fowl each, so that they might sacrifice to him if they did wrong to one another. So men still sacrifice and call on God to come down when they offer him a fowl in reparation for wrongdoing.
The Gentlemen of the Jungle
An African Folk TaleTold by Jomo Kenyatta
Once upon a time an elephant made a friendship with a man. One day a heavy thunderstorm broke out. The elephant went to his friend and said to him: “My dear good man, will you please let me put my trunk inside your hut to keep it out of this torrential rain?” The man replied: “My dear good elephant, my
hut is very small, but there is room for your trunk and myself.” But what followed? As soon as the elephant put his trunk inside the hut, slowly he pushed his head inside, and finally flung the man out in the rain.
The man started to grumble; the animals heard the noise and came to see what was the matter. In this turmoil the lion came along roaring, and said in a loud voice: “Don’t you all know that I am the King of the Jungle! I command my ministers to appoint a Commission of Enquiry to go thoroughly into this matter and report accordingly.”
The elephant, obeying the command of his master, got busy with the other ministers to appoint the Commission of Enquiry. On see the personnel, the man protested and asked if it was not necessary to include in this Commission a member from his side. But he was told that it was impossible, since no one from his side who was well enough educated to understand the intricacy of jungle law.
The Commission sat to take the evidence. The Rt. Hon. Mr. Elephant was first called. He came along with a superior air and said: “Gentlemen of the Jungle, I have always regarded it as my duty to protect the interests of my friends. He invited me to save his hut from being blown away by a hurricane. As the hurricane had gained access owing to the unoccupied space in the hut, I considered it necessary, in my friend’s own interests, to turn the undeveloped space to a more economic used by sitting myself in it.
After hearing the Rt. Hon. Mr. Elephant’s conclusive evidence, the Commission then called the man, who began to give his own account of the dispute. But the Commission cut him short, saying “My good man, please confine yourself to relevant issues. All we wish you to tell us is whether the undeveloped space in your hut was occupied by anyone else before Mr. Elephant assumed his position. The man began to say: “No, but—“. But at this point the Commission declared that they had heard sufficient evidence from both sides. After enjoying a delicious meal at the expense of the Rt. Hon. Mr. Elephant, they reached their verdict. “In our opinion, this dispute has arisen through a regrettable misunderstanding due to the backwardness of your ideas. We consider that Mr. Elephant has fulfilled his sacred duty of protecting your interests. As it is clearly for your good that the space should be put to its most economic use, and as you yourself have not reached the stage of expansion which would enable you to fill it, Mr. Elephant s hall continue his occupation of your hut, but we give you permission to look for a site where you can build another hut more suited to your needs.
The man, having no alternative, and fearing that his refusal might expose him to the teeth and claws of members of the commission, did as they suggested. But no sooner had he built another hut than Mr. Rhinoceros charged in with his horn lowered and ordered the man to quit. This procedure was repeated until Mr. Buffalo, Mr. Leopard, and Mr. Hyena and the rest were all accommodated with new huts. Then the man decided that he must adopt an effective method of protection, since Commissions of Enquiry did not seem to be of any use to him. He sat down and said” Ng’ enda thi ndagaga motegi,” which literally means “there is nothing that treads on the earth that cannot be trapped,” or in other words, you can fool people for a time, but not forever.
Early one morning, he went out and built a bigger and better hut a little distance away. No sooner had Mr. Rhinoceros seen it that he came rushing in, only to find Mr. Elephant was already inside, sound asleep. Mr. Leopard next came to the window, Mr. Lion, Mr. Fox and Mr. Buffalo entered the doors, while Mr. Hyena howled for a place in the shade and Mr. Alligator basked on the roof. Presently the all began disputing about their rights of penetration, and while they were all embroiled together the man set the hut on fire and burnt it to the ground, jungle lords and all. Then he went home, saying “Peace is costly, but it’s worth the expense,” and lived happily ever after.
The Second Quarter: Drama
The Calabashi Kids
A Tale from Tanzania
NARRATOR 1: Once there was a woman named Shindo, who lived in a village at the foot of a snow-capped mountain.
NARRATOR 4: Her husband had died, and she had no children, so she was very lonely.NARRATOR 2: And she was always tired too, for she had no one to help with the chores.NARRATOR 3: All on her own, sheNARRATOR 1: cleaned the hut,NARRATOR 4: cleaned the yard,NARRATOR 2: tended the chickens,NARRATOR 3: washed her clothes in the river,NARRATOR 1: carried water,NARRATOR 4: cut firewood,NARRATOR 2: and cooked her solitary meals.NARRATOR 3: At the end of each day, Shindo gazed up at the snowy peak and prayed.SHINDO: Great Mountain Spirit! My work is too hard. Send me help!NARRATOR 1: One day, Shindo was weeding her small field by the river, where she grew vegetables and
bananas and gourds. Suddenly, a noble chieftain appeared beside her.CHIEFTAIN: I am a messenger from the Great Mountain Spirit.NARRATOR 4: He handed the astonished woman some gourd seeds.CHIEFTAIN: Plant these carefully. They are the answer to your prayers.NARRATOR 2: Then the chieftain vanished.SHINDO: (skeptically, looking at the seeds in her hand) What help could I get from a handful of seeds?NARRATOR 3: Still, she planted and tended them as carefully as she could.NARRATOR 1: Shindo was amazed at how quickly the seeds grew. In just a week, long vines trailed over the
ground, and ripe gourds hung from them.NARRATOR 4: Shindo brought the gourds home, sliced off the tops, and scooped out the pulp. Then she
laid the gourds on the rafters of her hut to dry.NARRATOR 2: When they hardened, she could sell them at the market as calabashes, to be made into
bowls and jugs.NARRATOR 3: One fine gourd Shindo set by the cook fire. This one she wanted to use herself, and she
hoped it would dry faster.NARRATOR 1: The next morning, Shindo went off again to tend her field.NARRATOR 4: But meanwhile, back in the hut,NARRATOR 2: the gourds began to change.NARRATOR 3: They sprouted heads,NARRATOR 1: then arms,NARRATOR 4: then legs.NARRATOR 2: Soon they were not gourds at all.NARRATOR 3: They were—
ALL NARRATORS: children!NARRATOR 1: One boy lay by the fire, where Shindo had put the fine gourd.NARRATOR 4: The other children called to him from the rafters.CHILDREN: Ki-te-te, come help us! We’ll work for our mother. Come help us, Ki-te-te, Our favorite
brother!NARRATOR 2: Kitete helped his brothers and sisters down from the rafters.NARRATOR 3: Then the children started quickly on the chores.CHILD 1: Clean the hut!CHILD 2: Clean the yard!CHILD 3: Feed the chickens!CHILD 4: Wash the clothes!CHILD 5: Carry water!CHILD 6: Cut the wood!CHILD 7: Cook the meal!NARRATOR 1: All joined in but Kitete.NARRATOR 4: Drying by the fire had made the boy slow-witted. So he just sat there, smiling widely.NARRATOR 2: When the work was done, Kitete helped the others climb back on the rafters.NARRATOR 3: Then they all turned again into gourds.NARRATOR 1: That afternoon, as Shindo returned home, the other women of the village called to her.WOMAN 1: Who were those children in your yard today?WOMAN 2: Where did they come from?WOMAN 3: Why were they doing your chores?SHINDO: (angrily) What children? Are you all making fun of me?NARRATOR 4: But when she reached her hut, she was astounded.NARRATOR 2: The work was done, and even her meal was ready!NARRATOR 3: She could not imagine who had helped her.NARRATOR 1: The same thing happened the next day. As soon as Shindo had gone off, the gourds turned
into children,NARRATOR 4: with headsNARRATOR 2: and armsNARRATOR 3: and legs.NARRATOR 1: The ones on the rafters called out,CHILDREN: Ki-te-te, come help us! We’ll work for our mother. Come help us, Ki-te-te, Our favorite
brother!NARRATOR 4: Kitete helped them down, and they did all the chores.CHILD 1: Clean the hut!CHILD 2: Clean the yard!CHILD 3: Feed the chickens!CHILD 4: Wash the clothes!CHILD 5: Carry water!CHILD 6: Cut the wood!
CHILD 7: Cook the meal!NARRATOR 2: Then they climbed back to the rafters, and turned again into gourds.NARRATOR 3: Once more, Shindo came home and was amazed to see the work all done. But this time, she
decided to find out who were her helpers.NARRATOR 1: The next morning, Shindo pretended to leave, but she hid beside the door of the hut and
peeked in. And so she saw the gourds turn into children,NARRATOR 4: with headsNARRATOR 2: and armsNARRATOR 3: and legs.NARRATOR 1: And she heard the ones on the rafters call out,CHILDREN: Ki-te-te, come help us! We’ll work for our mother. Come help us, Ki-te-te, Our favorite
brother!NARRATOR 4: Kitete helped them down. As the children rushed out the door, they nearly ran into Shindo.NARRATOR 2: She was too astonished to speak, and so were the children. But after a moment, they went
on with their chores.CHILD 1: Clean the hut!CHILD 2: Clean the yard!CHILD 3: Feed the chickens!CHILD 4: Wash the clothes!CHILD 5: Carry water!CHILD 6: Cut the wood!CHILD 7: Cook the meal!NARRATOR 3: When they were done, they started to climb back to the rafters.SHINDO: (urgently) No, no! You must not change back into gourds! You will be the children I never
had, and I will love you and care for you!* * *
NARRATOR 1: So Shindo kept the children as her own.NARRATOR 4: She was no longer lonely.NARRATOR 2: And the children were so helpful, she soon became rich, with many fields of vegetables and
bananas, and flocks of sheep and goats.NARRATOR 3: That is, all were helpful but Kitete, who stayed by the fire with his simple-minded smile.NARRATOR 1: Most of the time, Shindo didn’t mind.NARRATOR 4: In fact, Kitete was really her favorite, because he was like a sweet baby.NARRATOR 2: But sometimes, when she was tired or unhappy about something else, she would get
annoyed and yell at him.SHINDO: You useless child! Why can’t you be smart like your brothers and sisters, and work as hard as
they do?NARRATOR 3: Kitete would only grin back at her.NARRATOR 1: One day, Shindo was out in the yard, cutting vegetables for a stew. As she carried the pot
from the bright sunlight into the hut, she tripped over Kitete.NARRATOR 4: She fell, and the clay pot shattered. Vegetables and water streamed everywhere.
SHINDO: (getting up, screaming at him) Stupid boy! Haven’t I told you to stay out of my way? (derisively) But what can I expect? You’re not a real child at all. You’re nothing but a calabash!
NARRATOR 2: The very next moment, Kitete was no longer there.NARRATOR 3: In his place was a gourd.SHINDO: (shrieking) What have I done? I didn’t mean what I said! You’re not a calabash, you’re my
own darling son!NARRATOR 1: The other children came crowding into the hut.SHINDO: Oh, children, please do something!NARRATOR 4: They looked at each other a moment.NARRATOR 2: Then over each other they climbed, scampering up to the rafters.NARRATOR 3: When the last child had been helped up by Shindo, they called out one last time,CHILDREN: Ki-te-te, come help us! We’ll work for our mother. Come help us, Ki-te-te, OUR FAVORITE
BROTHER!NARRATOR 1: For a long moment, nothing happened.NARRATOR 4: Then slowly,NARRATOR 2: the gourd began to change.NARRATOR 3: It sprouted a head,NARRATOR 1: then arms,NARRATOR 4: then legs.NARRATOR 2: At last, it was not a gourd at all.NARRATOR 3: It was—SHINDO & CHILDREN: (shouting happily, as SHINDO hugs him) KITETE!
* *NARRATOR 1: Shindo learned her lesson.NARRATOR 4: Ever after, she was very careful what she called her children.NARRATOR 2: And so they gave her comfort and happiness,NARRATOR 3: all the rest of her days.
It starts in Ayodhya, the jewel among cities. Within this city nobody was hungry, nobody was poor, every woman was faithful to her husband, everybody knew their role in society, everybody was learned in the Vedas, and everybody was happy. And so, at this point, the heroic adventures of Rama truly began.
However, one person in Ayodhya was not happy. It was the king, Dasaratha, and he lamented his lack of sons to carry on the royal line. He presented his problem to the royal sages, and one had an idea. “We must, King Dasaratha, perform a horse sacrifice as prescribed in the Vedas, and if it pleases the gods, they may grant you sons.” The king was pleased with this idea, and ordered the preparation to begin at once.
At the same time, the gods were discussing Ravana, the vile, disgusting demon king with 10 heads and 20 arms. Ravana was terrorizing the sages and ascetics by having his minions disrupt the sacrifices, and
destroy the peace and quiet the holy men needed to have in order to meditate. The gods could not kill Ravana because a long time ago, Brahma had granted him a boon. This boon protected Ravana from all gods, demons, celestial beings, and the like. However, because Ravana believed that no monkey or human could kill him, he did not ask for protection from the beings of the human or animal world. So to remove this thorn from the gods’ sides, Vishnu, the protector of the universe decided to be reborn a human.
Back on earth, Dasaratha was performing his horse sacrifice. He was chopping up a perfectly white horse with three knives, and with the greatest care, threw the piece into the fire. As heput the last piece in the fire, a celestial being in white robes appeared. The being, in a mellow and throaty voice, spoke these words: “King Dasaratha, the gods are pleased with your fine sacrifice. In order to honor your wishes, here is some sacred porridge.” The divine creature handed Dasaratha a bowl with a thick, white substance inside. Then, when the king had returned his attention to the god-like being, it uttered these instructions: “You must give this divine drink to your wives, and then, they in turn will produce sons.” The king was overjoyed at this news and hurried to give the porridge to his wives.
The great king divided the porridge among his three major wives, and to them four sons were born. Rama was the eldest and was born to Kausalya; Bharata was born to Kaikeyi; and Lakshmana and Satrughna were born to Sumitra. They all excelled in the art of war, were taught politics and history, and were well learned in the Vedas. When Rama was barely a teenager, the great sage Visvamitra visited the court and made a demand of the king. “King Dasaratha, I intend to take your eldest son, Rama to the forest in order to kill the demons that are harassing us.” Rama was the king’s favourite son, and the king tried to bargain with the holy man, but it was to no avail. Because Rama and Lakshmana could not bear to be separated, they both immediately left for the forest.
Once inside the forest, Visvamitra took them to Tataka, the terrible demoness. She was hideous in form, and enormous. Around her neck was a human skull. She threw enormous rocks at them while hovering above them and changing shapes. “We must not kill her,” instructed Rama, “for she is a woman, and it would not be right to slay a woman.” But Tataka would not give up, and so Lakshmana pierced her heart with a single arrow, and the gods praised them.
When the threesome had returned to the sage’s ashram, Visvamitra spoke in his deep, unwavering voice, “You have done well, sons of Dasaratha. As a reward for your valor I present you with these weapons.” And he gave Rama and Lakshmana supernatural weapons, with amazing powers, and all a beautiful gold color. There was a quiver with an unlimited amount of arrows, arrows that could destroy entire armies, and bows that were so extremely powerful; one couldn’t begin to contemplate their power and strength.
Now that they had these weapons with an infinite amount of power, Visvamitra enlightened Rama and his brother on their text task: “You must stand vigilant, guarding a sacrifice from demonsfor six days and seven nights.” So the brothers watched over the sacrifice the sages were performing, and guarded it. But there were not demons. Then, suddenly on the sixth day, which was the most important part of the ritual, hundreds of demons swooped down, flinging dead flesh and spitting blood. Lakshmana and Rama took aim, and whoosh, let the arrows fly. Every arrow found its mark and before long, every single demon had been utterly destroyed.
With the grisly task finished, the brother and the sage left the forest to go to the city of Mithila. The king of the city was in possession of a mighty bow, and the Bow of Shiva, which was left in the city many eons ago. The king also had a daughter named Sita. Sita was born of mother earth and has all the qualities of a perfect woman and wife. She was fair, beautiful, kind, loving, and had a heart of gold. In order to win Sita’s hand in marriage, a prince or king had to lift the great bow of Shiva and string it, but nobody could do it. After witnessing everybody’s failure, Lakshmana convinced Rama to try his luck. As Rama approached the bow, a light seemed to shimmer from him. He grasped the great bow with one hand, easily lifted it up and strung it. But when he tried to draw the bow, it broke with the sound like a thunderclap. In fact, the sound was so loud that all but the strongest men were knocked senseless by it. And to Rama’s boundless delight, Sita stepped forward and put a garland of lotuses around his neck, which we all know means that she accepted his marriage proposal.
They returned to Ayodhya, and got married. King Dasaratha realized that he was growing old and decided to give up the reign to his favourite and oldest son, Rama. The people of the city rejoiced when they heard the news, for hey all loved Rama, too. But the maidservant to Kaikeyi, Manthara, convinced Kaikeyi that she would be better off if her son, Bharata, was king. So Kaikeyi approached Dasaratha and said these hateful words: “My husband, remember when I saved your life in the battlefield so many years ago? And do you remember that you granted me two boons at that time? The time has come for you to fulfil your promise! I want Rama exiled for 14 years and forced to live like an ascetic, and Bharata to be made king!” Dasaratha replied in anguish to her venomous words, “Oh woman, have you no heart? Please ask anything but that.” But she would not give in and the king was forced to honor his promise. When Rama heard the news, he wished to honor his father’s wishes, so he departed to the forest immediately, accompanied by his ever faithful brother, Lakshmana, and his new wife, Sita.
Bharata was in his uncle’s court when the news of the kingship and Rama’s exile reached him. When he returned to Ayodhya he found out that his father, King Dasaratha, had died of a broken heart. He refused to profit from his mother’s evil scheming, and departed immediately to the forest with a huge army, and an iron resolve to restore his brother to the throne.
When Lakshmana, heard the thundering of a thousand hooves, a million footmen, and saw the flag of Ayodhya, he tried to convince Rama that Bharata was here to kill them, and that they needed to destroy the army. But Rama calmed him down, and decided to talk to Bharata. As Rama and Bharata met, they hugged each other and Bharata made his plea. “My dear brother, won’t you come back to Ayodhya to rule? The people need you.” But Rama intended to honor his father’s boons and told Bharata that he needed to stay in the forest. So Bharata took Rama’s sandals, put them on the throne, and vowed not to go into Ayodhya until Rama returned. Bharata then ruled in Rama’s name in a small town outside to Ayodhya.
And so Rama and his faithful family members walked through the beautiful forest called Dandaka. They found a pleasant spot that had lots of game by a stream. They built a hut and lived happily for ten peaceful years.
One day Supernaka, the terrible demoness, was travelling through the forest when she saw Rama. She looked at his handsome body and thought, “I would like to have that man for my husband.” So she changed herself into a beautiful lady and tried to seduce Rama. But Rama could see through the guise, and so he brought her to Lakshmana. Lakshmana was so furious at the idea of his brother marrying a demoness that with three swift arrows he promptly cut off Supernaka’s ears and nose.
This terrible demon woman, so terrible to behold, ran to her brother Ravana, the King of Lanka. When he had heard her plight he grew outraged, and sent an army of 14,000 rakshasas to destroy Rama. Furthermore, Supernaka told Ravana of Sita’s exquisite beauty and at once the king of the demons desired her to be his wife.
Meanwhile, the army of demons had approached the place where Rama, Lakshmana and Sita were living. Rama and Lakshmana were ready for the onslaught, bows in hand. The demons attacked! The air was filled with whistling arrows and terrible cries. But finally, Rama had slaughtered every rakshasa and Ravana had sent.
True to his wish, and following his desiresinstead of his brain, all his rakshasas will do, Ravana set out with his Uncle Marica to capture Sita. He had Marica change himself into a golden deer. As Ravana expected, the deer caught Sita’s fancy and she aske Rama to capture it. Rama willingly obliged his wife, but not until giving firm instructions to Lakshmana to guard Sita. As Rama got closer to the deer, he saw it was a demon, and right before Rama killed it, the deer uttered these words in Rama’s voice, “Sita, help me!” When Lakshmana and sita heard these words, Sita convinced Lakshmana to go help Rama. But first he drew a circle around the hut that would protect Sita and told her to stay within it.
As Rama and Ravana met, a light seemed to be shining on Rama, while the clouds darkened about Ravana’s head. Ravana charged, but Rama parried and thrust back with his sword. They fought, long and hard, for many hours, until Rama, using his divine bow, pierced Ravana’s heart. The monkeys, at the same time, defeated the rakshasa army. Rama and his troops gave Ravana a proper burial, for as Rama so wisely put it, “Hostility ends at death.”
Sita’s purity was in doubt by the people, because she had been in the house of another man. To prove her purity she walked into a burning pyre. Her loyalty to Rama was revealed, as she survived unscathed. Lakshmana and Site returned to Ayodhya where Rama was crowned king and he ruled in peace for many thousands of years.
Oli Impan, An Excerpt
By Alberto S. Florentino
After the liberation of Manila, hundreds of indigent families settled in the squalid, cramped space of the bombed ruins of an old government building of Juan Luna. For more than a decade these “squatters” tenaciously refused to move out in spite of court rulings. The “casbah”, as the compound was popularly known, became a breeding place for vice and corruption. The city government was able to evict the “squatters” only on December 20, 1958 – five days before Christmas.
(On the middle of the stage, extending from side to side, is a stone wall one and a half feet high. At left may be seen a portion of a tall edifice. At right, is a portion of the “casbah”. Beyond the stone wall, an estero
(unseen) – and the sky. A five-year-old girl sits on the stone wall, her thin legs dangling in the air. Offstage there is a continuous commotion of evacuation. A woman’s voice rises above the commotion as she
reprimands a child for getting in her way. A six-year-old boy appears on stage walking backwards – away from his mother, nagging offstage. The mother quiets down. The boy turns around and plays with his toy: an
empty milk can pulled along the ground with a piece of string.)
Girl: Is there a fire?Boy: (Stops playing and faces her) Huh?Girl: I said, is there a fire?Boy: There is no fire. (Continues to play)Girl: (Looks toward the street. After a pause.) I think there is no fire.Boy: (Stops playing_ I told you there’s none.Girl: There is.Boy: How do you know? Do you see any smoke? Do you hear any fireman? (resumes his play. Runs
around imitating a fire engine) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I like it when there is a big fire!Girl: (Worried) If there is no fire, why are they putting these things out? (pints to a pile of household
belongings nearby)Boy: Because we are being thrown out.Girl: Who told you?Boy: My mother.Girl: Who is throwing us out?Boy: (Sits on the other end of the stone wall) The government.Girl: What is a government?Boy: I don’t know.Girl: You didn’t ask your mother?Boy: I forgot to ask her.Girl: Why should the government throw us out?Boy: (Points to the compound) Because it owns this.
Girl: (Enraged) But this is ours!Boy: No, it is not ours.Girl: (Insistent) It is ours! It is!Boy: It is not!Girl: (A tiny scream) It is! It is!Boy: (Loud) How do you know it is ours?Girl: We’ve always been here, haven’t we?Boy: Yes, but that doesn’t mean it is ours.Girl: (After a pause) If they throw us out, we’ll have nowhere to go. How about you? You have any place
to go?Boy: None. But we will have one. (Proudly) My mother has a job.Girl: She has?Boy: Yes!Girl: What does she do?Boy: She reads hands.Girl: She reads – hands? (Looking at her hands) Why does she read hands?Boy: So she can tell what will happen tomorrow.Girl: She can do that? By reading hands?Boy: Yes, She can!Girl: (Showing him her hands) Can she read my hands? I want to know where we will stay tomorrow.Boy: She can’t read your hands.Girl: (Looks at them) Why not?Boy: They are too small… and dirty.Girl: (She quickly withdraws them and quietly wipes them on her dress)Boy: Besides… she reads only men’s hands.Girl: Only men’s hands? Why?Boy: Because they are big.. and easy to read.Girl: How does she read hands? Like she reads the comics?Boy: I don’t know.Girl: You don’t know? Don’t you watch her?Boy: My mother won’t let me. She makes me go out and play. And she closes the door.Girl: She closes the door! How can she read in the dark?\Boy: I don’t know. (Proudly) But she can!Girl: Don’t you ever peep?Boy: No, I don’t.Girl: Why not?Boy: She’ll beat me up.
(Commotion offstage.)Girl: What’s that? What’s happening there?Boy: (Tries to see) I don’t know. I can’t see. (Pulls her) Come out, let’s take a look!Girl: (Resisting) I can’t.
Boy: Why not?Girl: My father told me to stay here. He said not to go anywhere.Boy: (Turning) Then I will go and take a look.Girl: (Frightened) No, don’t. Stay here. Don’t leave me.Boy: Why?Girl: I’m afraid.Boy: Afraid of what?Girl: I don’t know.Boy: But how can we find out what’s happening?Girl: Let’s not find out anymore.Boy: (Restless) But I want to see. (Scampers up the stone wall) I can see from here!Girl: What do you see?Boy: (Incredulous) They are destroying our homes. (Sound of wrecking crew at work)Girl: (frightened) Who are destroying them?Boy: The men with hammers!Girl: Nobody is stopping them?Boy: Nobody.Girl: But why? Are there no policemen?Boy: There are. There are many policemen.Girl: What are they doing? What are the policemen doing?Boy: Nothing.Girl: Nothing? They are not stopping the men?Boy: No.Girl: Why not?Boy: I don’t know.
(Commotion. Shouts. Curses)Girl: (Alarmed) What’s happening now?Boy: (excited throughout) A man is trying to stop the men with hammers! Now the policemen are trying
to stop him. They’re running after him. But the man fights like a mad dog! (A man shouts, cursing)Girl: (Suddenly, with terror in her voice). That’s my father! (In her fright she covers her eyes with hands)Boy: Your father?Girl: Yes, he’s my father! What are they doing to him? Are they hurting him?Boy: No, they are only trying to catch him… Now they’ve caught him! They are tying his hands!Girl: What will they do to him? Boy: I don’t know. Now they are putting him in a car. A police car.Girl: (Whimpers) Father… Father…Boy: They are taking him away! (A car with siren drivers away)Girl: (Screams) FATHER! FATHER!Boy: He can’t hear you now.Girl: (Starts to cry)Boy: (Walks to and sits beside her) Why are you crying? Don’t cry please!
Girl: They are going to hurt my father, aren’t they?Boy: No, they won’t hurt him.Girl: (Removes her hands from her eyes) How do you know?Boy: I just know it. (Suddenly) Come, let’s sing a song.Girl: I don’t know how to sing.Boy: I’ll teach you.Girl: How?Boy: I’ll sing… and you listen. (She nods and wipes her eyes dry)Boy: (Sings) Saylenay…
Girl: (Smiling) That’s a pretty song. Who taught you that song?Boy: (Proudly) My mother!Girl: What does it mean? I can’t understand it.Boy: It’s about God.Girl: What’s a “God”?Boy: I don’t know. I haven’t asked my mother. But she told me God was born in a stable.Girl: What’s a stable?Boy: A place for horses.Girl: (Incredulous) He was born there? In a place for horses? Why?Boy: My mother said he had nowhere to stay.Girl: Was he poor?Boy: I don’t know.Girl: (Suddenly) I like the song. Will you sing it again?Boy: No, let’s sing it together.Girl: I told you, I don’t know how.Boy: I’ll teach you. I’ll sing it a little… and you sing after me. (She smiles and nods)Boy: (Sings) Saylenay…Girl: Saylenay…Boy: Olinay…Girl: Olinay…Boy: Oliskam…Girl: Oliskam…Boy: Olisbray…Girl: Olisbray…Boy: Ranyonberginmaderenchayle…
Girl: Ranyon…(She giggles) I can’t say that!Boy: Let’s skip it. (Sings) Oli impan… n, skip that, too. (Sings) Slipinebenlipis…Girl: Slipinebenlipis…Boy: Slipinebenlipis…Girl: Slipinebenlipis…
The Magic Brocade
A Tale of China
NARRATOR 1: Once in China there lived an old widow and her son, Chen. The widow was known all over for the brocades that she made on her loom.
NARRATOR 4: Weaving threads of silver, gold, and colored silk into her cloth, she made pictures of flowers, birds, and animals—
NARRATOR 2: pictures so real they seemed almost alive.NARRATOR 3: People said there were no brocades finer than the ones the widow wove.NARRATOR 1: One day, the widow took a pile of brocades to the marketplace, where she quickly sold
them. Then she went about buying her household needs.NARRATOR 4: All at once she stopped.WIDOW: Oh, my!NARRATOR 2: Her eye had been caught by a beautiful painted scroll that hung in one of the stalls.NARRATOR 3: It showed a marvelous palace, all red and yellow and blue and green, reaching delicately to
the sky. All around were fantastic gardens, and walking through them, the loveliest maidens.NARRATOR 1: The stall keeper asked,STALL KEEPER: Do you like it? It’s a painting of Sun Palace. They say it lies far to the east and is the home of
many fairy ladies.WIDOW: (sighs) It’s wonderful. It makes me want to be there. (pays and takes it)NARRATOR 4: Though it cost most of her money, the widow could not resist buying the scroll.NARRATOR 2: When she got back to her cottage, she showed it to her son.WIDOW: Look, Chen. Have you ever seen anything more beautiful? How I would love to live in that
palace, or at least visit it!NARRATOR 3: Chen looked at her thoughtfully.CHEN: Mother, why don’t you weave the picture as a brocade? That would be almost like being
there.WIDOW: Why, Chen, what a marvelous idea! I’ll start at once.NARRATOR 1: She set up her loom and began to weave.NARRATOR 4: She worked for hours, then days, then weeks, barely stopping to eat or sleep. Her eyes grew
bloodshot, and her fingers raw.CHEN: (anxiously) Mother, shouldn’t you get more rest?WIDOW: Oh, Chen, it’s so hard to stop. While I weave, I feel like I’m there at Sun Palace. And I don’t
want to come away!NARRATOR 2: Because the widow no longer wove brocades to sell, Chen cut firewood and sold that
NARRATOR 3: Months went by, while inch by inch the pattern appeared on the loom.NARRATOR 1: One day, Chen came in to find the loom empty and the widow sobbing.CHEN: (in alarm) What’s wrong, Mother?NARRATOR 4: She looked at him tearfully.WIDOW: (plaintively) I finished it.NARRATOR 2: The brocade was laid out on the floor. And there it all was—the palace reaching to the sky,
the beautiful gardens, the lovely fairy ladies.CHEN: (in amazement) It looks so real. I feel like I could step into it!NARRATOR 3: Just then, a sudden wind whipped through the cottage. It lifted the brocade, blew it out the
window, and carried it through the air.NARRATOR 1: The widow and her son rushed outside, only to watch the brocade disappear into the east.WIDOW: It’s gone!NARRATOR 4: And the widow fainted away.NARRATOR 2: Chen carried her to her bed and sat beside her for many hours.NARRATOR 3: At last her eyes opened.WIDOW: (weakly) Chen, you must find the brocade and bring it back. I cannot live without it.CHEN: Don’t worry, Mother. I’ll go at once.NARRATOR 1: Chen gathered a few things and started to the east.NARRATOR 4: He walked for hours, then days, then weeks. But there was no sign of the brocade.NARRATOR 2: One day, Chen came upon a lonely hut.NARRATOR 3: Sitting by the door was an old, leather-skinned woman smoking a pipe. A horse was grazing
nearby.OLD WOMAN: Hello, deary. What brings you so far from home?CHEN: I’m looking for my mother’s brocade. The wind carried it to the east.OLD WOMAN: Ah, yes. The brocade of Sun Palace! Well, that wind was sent by the fairy ladies of the palace
itself. They’re using the brocade as a pattern for their weaving.CHEN: But my mother will die without it!OLD WOMAN: Well, then, you had best get it back! But you won’t get to Sun Palace by foot, so you’d better
ride my horse. It will show you the way.CHEN: Thank you!OLD WOMAN: Oh, don’t thank me yet, deary. Between here and there, you must pass through the flames
of Fiery Mountain. If you make a single sound of complaint, you’ll be burnt to ashes. After that, you must cross the Icy Sea. The smallest word of discontent, and you’ll be frozen solid. (with a hard look) Do you still want to go?
CHEN: (daunted yet determined) I must get back my mother’s brocade.OLD WOMAN: (approvingly) Good boy. Take the horse and go.NARRATOR 1: Chen climbed on, and the horse broke into a gallop. Before long they came to a mountain all
on fire.NARRATOR 4: Without missing a step, the horse started up the slope, leaping through the flames.NARRATOR 2: Chen felt the fire singe his skin, but he bit his lip and made not a sound.NARRATOR 3: At last they came down the other side. When they’d left the flames behind, Chen was
surprised to find that his burns were gone.NARRATOR 1: A little later, they came to a sea filled with great chunks of ice.
NARRATOR 4: Without pausing a moment, the horse began leaping from one ice floe to another.NARRATOR 2: Waves showered them with icy spray, so that Chen was soaked and shivering. But he held
his tongue and said not a word.NARRATOR 3: Finally they reached the far shore. At once, Chen felt himself dry and warm.NARRATOR 1: It wasn’t long then till they came to Sun Palace. It looked just like his mother’s brocade!NARRATOR 4: He rode to the entrance, sprang from the horse, and hurried into a huge hall.NARRATOR 2: Sitting there at looms were dozens of fairy ladies, who turned to stare at him, then
whispered to each other excitedly. On each loom was a copy of his mother’s brocade, and the brocade itself hung in the center of the room.
NARRATOR 3: A lady near the door rose from her loom to meet him.LI-EN: (graciously) My name is Li-en, and I welcome you. You are the first mortal ever to reach our
palace. What good fortune brings you here?NARRATOR 1: The fairy was so beautiful that for a moment Chen could only stare.NARRATOR 4: Li-en gazed shyly downward.CHEN: Dear lady, I have come for my mother’s brocade.LI-EN: (looks up at him in delight) So you are the widow’s son! How we admire that brocade! None
of us has been able to match it. We wish to keep it here till we can.CHEN: But I must bring it home, or my mother will die!NARRATOR 2: Li-en looked alarmed, and a flurry of whispers arose in the room.NARRATOR 3: She stepped away to speak softly with several others, then returned to Chen.LI-EN: We surely must not let that happen to her. Only let us keep the brocade for the rest of the
day, so we can try to finish our own. Tomorrow you may take it back with you.CHEN: (joyfully) Thank you, dear lady!NARRATOR 1: The fairies worked busily to finish their brocades. Chen sat near Li-en at her loom.NARRATOR 4: As she wove, he told her about his life in the human world, and she told him about hers at
Sun Palace. Many smiles and glances passed between them.NARRATOR 2: When darkness fell, the fairies worked on by the light of a magic pearl.NARRATOR 3: At last Chen’s eyes would stay open no longer, and he drifted to sleep on his chair.NARRATOR 1: One by one the fairies finished or left off, and went out of the hall.NARRATOR 4: Li-en was the last one there, and it was almost dawn when she was done. She cut her
brocade from the loom and held it beside the widow’s.LI-EN: (sighs) Mine is good, but the widow’s is still better. If only she could come and teach us
herself.NARRATOR 2: Then Li-en had an idea. With needle and thread, she embroidered a small image onto the
widow’s brocade—an image of herself on the palace steps.NARRATOR 3: She softly said a spell. Then she left the hall, with a last long smiling gaze at Chen.NARRATOR 1: When Chen awoke, the sun was just rising. He looked around the hall for Li-en, but saw no
one. Though he longed to find her to say good-bye, he told himself,CHEN: I must not waste a moment.NARRATOR 4: He rolled up his mother’s brocade, rushed from the hall, and jumped onto the horse.NARRATOR 2: Back he raced, across the Icy Sea,NARRATOR 3: and over Fiery Mountain.NARRATOR 1: When he reached the old woman’s hut, she was standing there waiting for him.
OLD WOMAN: Hurry, Chen! Your mother is dying! Put on these shoes, or you’ll never get there in time.NARRATOR 4: Chen put them on.NARRATOR 2: One step, two, three, then he was racing over the countryside faster than he could believe
possible.NARRATOR 3: In no time, he was home.NARRATOR 1: He rushed into the cottage and found the widow in bed, pale and quiet.CHEN: (in alarm) Mother!NARRATOR 4: Her eyes opened slowly.WIDOW: (weakly) Chen?CHEN: Mother, I brought it.NARRATOR 2: He unrolled the cloth onto the bed.WIDOW: My brocade!NARRATOR 3: The widow raised herself to look. Color came back to her face, and she seemed already
stronger.WIDOW: Chen, I need more light. Let’s take it outside.NARRATOR 1: He helped her out of the cottage and placed the brocade on a rock.NARRATOR 4: But just then a sudden wind came, and the brocade rose slowly in the air.NARRATOR 2: It stretched as it rose, growing larger and larger, till it filled their view completely.NARRATOR 3: The palace was as large as Chen himself had seen it, and standing on the steps was the fairy
lady Li-en.LI-EN: (beckoning with her hand) Quickly! While the wind still blows! Step into the brocade!NARRATOR 1: For a moment, Chen was too astounded to move. Then he took hold of his mother’s arm,
and together they stepped forward.NARRATOR 4: There was a shimmering, and there they stood before Sun Palace.NARRATOR 2: Li-en rushed up to them, and the other fairies gathered around. She said to the widow,LI-EN: Welcome, honored one. If it pleases you, we wish you to live with us and teach us the
secrets of your craft.WIDOW: (in amazed delight) Nothing could please me more! But, Chen, is it all right with you?NARRATOR 3: Chen looked in Li-en’s eyes and smiled.CHEN: Yes, Mother, it’s just fine with me.NARRATOR 1: So the widow became teacher to the fairies,NARRATOR 4: and Chen became husband to Li-en.NARRATOR 2: And people say there are no brocades finerNARRATOR 3: than the ones they weave at Sun Palace.
The Crystal Heart
A Vietnamese Legend
NARRATOR 1: Long ago, in a palace by the Red River, there lived a great mandarin and his daughter, Mi Nuong.
NARRATOR 2: Like other young ladies of her position, Mi Nuong was kept indoors, away from the eyes of admiring men. She spent most of her time in her room at the top of a tower.
NARRATOR 3: There she would sit on a bench by a moon-shaped window, reading or embroidering, chatting with her maid, and gazing out often at the garden and the river.
NARRATOR 1: One day as she sat there, a song floated to her from the distance, in a voice deep and sweet. She looked out and saw a fishing boat coming up the river. She asked her maid,
MI NUONG: Do you hear it? How beautifully he sings!NARRATOR 2: She listened again as the voice drew nearer.TRUONG CHI: (singing in the distance) My love is like a blossom in the breeze. My love is like a moonbeam
on the waves.MI NUONG: He must be young and very handsome. (with a sudden thrill) Perhaps he knows I am here
and sings it just for me!NARRATOR 3: The maid’s eyes lit up.MAID: My lady, perhaps he’s a mandarin’s son in disguise—the man you are destined to marry!NARRATOR 1: Mi Nuong felt a flush on her face and a stirring in her heart.NARRATOR 2: She tried to make out the man’s features, but he was too far off to see clearly.NARRATOR 3: The boat and the song glided slowly up the river and away.MI NUONG: (softly) Yes. Perhaps he is.NARRATOR 1: All day long, Mi Nuong waited by the window, hoping to hear the singer again.NARRATOR 2: The next day she waited too, and the next.NARRATOR 3: But the voice did not return.MI NUONG: (sadly, to MAID) Why doesn’t he come?NARRATOR 1: As the days passed, Mi Nuong grew pale and weak. At last she went to her bed and stayed
there.NARRATOR 2: The mandarin came to her.MANDARIN: Daughter, what’s wrong?MI NUONG: (faintly) It’s nothing, Father.NARRATOR 3: The mandarin sent for the doctor. But after seeing Mi Nuong, the doctor told him,DOCTOR: I can find no illness. And without an illness, I can offer no cure.NARRATOR 1: The weeks passed, and Mi Nuong grew no better.NARRATOR 2: Then one day her maid came before the mandarin.MAID: My lord, I know what ails your daughter. Mi Nuong is sick for love. To cure her, you must
find the handsome young man who sings these words. (recites) My love is like a blossom in the breeze. My love is like a moonbeam on the waves.
MANDARIN: It will be done.NARRATOR 3: And he sent out a messenger at once.NARRATOR 1: Days later, the messenger returned.MESSENGER: (bowing) Lord, in no great house of this province does any young man know the song. But I
found in a nearby village a man who sings it, a fisherman named Truong Chi. I have brought him to the palace.
MANDARIN: (in disbelief) A fisherman? Let me see him.NARRATOR 2: The messenger brought him in.NARRATOR 3: The fisherman stood uneasily, his eyes wide as they cast about the richly furnished room.
NARRATOR 1: For a moment, the mandarin was too astounded to speak. The man was neither young nor handsome. His clothes were ragged and he stank of fish.
NARRATOR 2: “Certainly no match for my daughter!” thought the mandarin. “Somehow, she must not realize . . . .”
NARRATOR 3: He gave his order to the messenger.MANDARIN: Bring the fisherman to my daughter’s door and have him sing his song.NARRATOR 1: Soon Truong Chi stood anxiously outside the young lady’s room. He could not understand
why they’d brought him here.NARRATOR 2: What could they want? He was just a fisherman, wishing only to make an honest living. He
had hurt no one, done nothing wrong!NARRATOR 3: At the messenger’s signal, he nervously started to sing.TRUONG CHI: (singing) My love is like a blossom in the breeze. My love is like a moonbeam on the waves.NARRATOR 1: In the room beyond the door, Mi Nuong’s eyes flew open.MI NUONG: (to MAID) He’s here! How can that be? Oh, quickly, help me dress!NARRATOR 2: Mi Nuong jumped from her bed. Never had she so swiftly clothed herself, put up her hair,
made herself up. By the time the song drew to a close, she looked like a heavenly vision in flowing robes.
MI NUONG: Now, open the door!NARRATOR 3: Mi Nuong tried to calm her wildly beating heart. She forced herself to stand shyly, casting
her eyes down in the manner proper to a modest young lady.NARRATOR 1: As the door pulled open, Truong Chi shrank back, not knowing what to expect.NARRATOR 2: Then all at once he found himself gazing on the greatest beauty he had ever known.NARRATOR 3: He felt his heart leap, and in that moment, he fell deeply, hopelessly, desperately in love.NARRATOR 1: Mi Nuong could not wait a moment longer.NARRATOR 2: She lifted her eyes to look upon her beloved.NARRATOR 3: And in that moment, her eyes grew wide and she burst out laughing.MI NUONG: (laughs in astonishment)NARRATOR 1: A mandarin’s son? Her destined love?NARRATOR 2: Why, he was nothing but a common fisherman! How terribly, terribly silly she’d been!NARRATOR 3: Shaking with mirth at her folly, she turned her head away and whispered,MI NUONG: (whispering to MAID) Close the door.NARRATOR 1: The door shut in Truong Chi’s face. He stood there frozen, the young lady’s laughter ringing
in his ears. He felt his heart grow cold and hard.NARRATOR 2: Truong Chi was sent home. But he could not go on as before. Hardly eating or sleeping, he
grew pale and ill. He no longer cared if he lived or died.NARRATOR 3: And so, he died.NARRATOR 1: The villagers found him on the sleeping mat in his hut. On his chest sat a large crystal.VILLAGER 1: What is it?VILLAGER 2: It is his heart. The laugh of the mandarin’s daughter wounded it so deeply, it turned hard to
stop the pain.VILLAGER 3: What do we do with it? It is very lovely. Like one of his songs!VILLAGER 4: We should put it in his boat, and let it float down to the sea.NARRATOR 2: At sundown, they set the crystal in the fisherman’s boat.
NARRATOR 3: Then they pushed the boat from its mooring and watched in sorrow as it drifted down the river and out of sight.
NARRATOR 1: But the boat did not drift to the sea.NARRATOR 2: It came to shore by the mandarin’s palace.NARRATOR 3: And so it was that the mandarin found it at sunrise as he strolled along the bank.MANDARIN: What have we here?NARRATOR 1: The mandarin reached in to pick up the crystal. He turned it over in his hand, examining and
admiring it.MANDARIN: What a splendid gift the river has brought!NARRATOR 2: A few days later, when no one had claimed it, the mandarin sent it to a turner to be made
into a teacup.NARRATOR 3: He brought the cup one evening to Mi Nuong’s room.MANDARIN: (to MI NUONG, handing it to her) A gift for my lovely daughter.MI NUONG: Oh, Father, it’s beautiful! I can hardly wait to drink from it!NARRATOR 1: When the mandarin left, she told her maid,MI NUONG: It’s late, so you can go to bed. But first make me some tea, so I can drink from my cup.NARRATOR 2: The maid finished her task and went off. Mi Nuong poured the tea, blew out the candles on
the table, and carried the cup to her window seat.NARRATOR 3: A full moon shone into the room, and looking out, she watched the moonlight play upon the
river. The scent of blossoms drifted from the garden.NARRATOR 1: Mi Nuong lifted the cup to her lips.NARRATOR 2: But just as she was about to drink . . .MI NUONG: (in surprise and fear, staring into cup) Oh!NARRATOR 3: She quickly set the cup down on the bench.NARRATOR 1: On the surface of the tea was the face of Truong Chi, gazing at her with eyes filled with love.NARRATOR 2: And now his sweet song filled the room, familiar but a little changed.TRUONG CHI: (singing) Mi Nuong is like a blossom in the breeze. Mi Nuong is like a moonbeam on the
waves.NARRATOR 3: And Mi Nuong remembered those eyes she had seen so briefly through the open door, and
she remembered her laugh.MI NUONG: What have I done? I was so cruel! I didn’t mean to hurt you. I didn’t know. . . . I’m sorry. So
very, very sorry!NARRATOR 1: Her eyes filled with tears. A single tear dropped into the cup.NARRATOR 2: It was enough. The crystal melted away, releasing the spirit of Truong Chi.NARRATOR 3: Then Mi Nuong heard the song one last time, floating off over the river.TRUONG CHI: (singing in the distance) Mi Nuong is like a blossom in the breeze. Mi Nuong is like a
moonbeam on the waves.MI NUONG: (softly) Good-bye. . . . Good-bye.
* * *NARRATOR 1: It was not many months more when Mi Nuong was given in marriage to the son of a great
mandarin.NARRATOR 2: He was young and handsome, and she felt that her dreams had come true.
NARRATOR 3: Yet now, as she gazed on a different garden and a different view of the river, she often still heard the song of the fisherman echo softly in her heart.
Shakuntala: A Summary
In Hindi mythology, Shakuntala is considered to be the mother of Emperor Bharata and the wife of Dushyanta who was the founter of the Paurav vansha (Paurav Dynasty). Shakuntala was born of Vishvamitra and Menaka. Rishi Kanva found her in the forest surrounded and protected by birds (Shakunton in Sanskrit), so she was named Shakuntala.
Once, while out on a hunt with his army, Dushyanta passed through a forest full of bilv, ark, khadir, and dahv trees. The forest undulated with interspersed rocky hillocks and extended over several yojanas and there was no trace of any man. It was full of wildlife.
Dushyanta, along with his powerful army, happened to pass through extensive desert after which he reached a good forest. This forest was full of ashramas (hermitages) and there were fruit-bearing trees but no xerophytic trees. Here Dushyanta came across the ashrama of Rishi Kanva, the son of Kashyapa Rishi. It was surrounded by the Malini River.
Menaka had come at the behest of the King of the Gods Indra to distract the great sage Vishwamitra from his deep meditation. She succeeded in distracting him, and sired a child by him. Vishwamitra, angered by the loss of the virtue gained through his many hard years of strict ascetism, distanced himself from the childand mother to return to his work. Realizing that she could not leave the child with him, and having to return to the heavenly realms, Menaka left Shakuntala, just after birth, on the banks of the Malini River on the peaks of the Himalayas. As stated above, Rishi Kanva found the newly born girl in the forest surrounded and protected by birds and thus named her Shakuntala.
Dushyanta, pursuing a male deer wounded by his arrow into the ashrama, saw Shakuntala nursing the deer, her pet, and fell in love with her. He profusely begged her forgiveness for harming the deer and spent some time at the ashrama. They fell in love and Dushyanta married Shakuntala there in the ashrama. Having to leave after some time due to unrest in the capital city, Dushyanta gave Shakuntala a royal ring as a sign of their love, promising that he would return for her.
Shakuntala spent much time dreaming of her new husband and was often distracted by her daydreams. One day, a powerful rishi, Durvasa, came to the ashram but, lost in her thoughts about Dushyanta, Shakuntala failed to greet him properly. Incensed by this slight, the rishi cursed Shakuntala, saying that the person she was dreaming of would forget about her altogether. As he departed in rage, one of Shakuntala’s friends quickly explained to him the reason for her friend’s distraction. The rishi, realizing that his extreme wrath was not warranted, modified his curse saying that the person who had forgotten Shakuntala would remember everything again if she showed him a personal token that had been given to her.
Time passed, and Shakuntala, wondering why Dushyanta did not return for her, finally set out for the capital city with her father and some of her companions. On the way, they had to cross a river by a canoe ferry and, seduced by the deep blue waters of the river, Shakuntala ran her fingers through the water. Her ring slipped off her finger without her realizing it.
Arriving at Dushyanta’s court, Shakuntala was hurt and surprised when her husband did not recognize her, nor recollected anything about her. Humiliated, Shakuntala returned to the forests and, collecting her son, settled in a wild part of the forest by herself. Here she spent her days as Bharat, her son, grew older. Surrounded only by wild animals, Bharat grew tobe a strong youth and made a sport of opening the mouths of tigers and lions and counting their teeth!
Meanwhile, a fisherman was surprised to find a royal ring in the belly of a fish he had caught. Recognizing the royal seal, he took the ring to the palace and, upon seeing his ring, Dushyanta’s memories of his lovely bride came rushing back to him. He immediately set out to find her and, arriving at a father’s ashram, discovered that she was no longer there. He continued deeper into the forest to find his wife and came upon a surprising scene in the forest: a young boy had pried open the mouth of a lion and was busy counting its teeth! The king greeted the boy, amazed by his boldness and strength, and asked is name. He was surprised when the boy answered that he was Bharat, the son of King Dushyanta. The boy took him to Shakuntala, and thus was reunited.
The Gifts of Wali Dad
NARRATOR 1: In a mud hut far from town lived an old grass-cutter named Wali Dad.NARRATOR 4: Every morning, Wali Dad cut and bundled tall, wild grass. Every afternoon, he sold it as
fodder in the marketplace.NARRATOR 2: Each day, he earned thirty paisa. Ten of the small coins went for food. Ten went for clothes
and other needs. And ten he saved in a clay pot under his bed.NARRATOR 3: In this manner Wali Dad lived happily for many years.NARRATOR 1: One evening, Wali Dad dragged out the pot to see how much money it held. He was amazed
to find that his coins had filled it to the brim.WALI DAD: (to himself) What am I to do with all this money? I need nothing more than I have.NARRATOR 4: Wali Dad thought and thought. At last he had an idea.NARRATOR 2: The next day, Wali Dad loaded the money into a sack and carried it to a jeweler in the
marketplace. He exchanged all his coins for a lovely gold bracelet.NARRATOR 3: Then Wali Dad visited the home of a traveling merchant.WALI DAD: Tell me, in all the world, who is the noblest lady?MERCHANT: Without doubt, it is the young queen of Khaistan. I often visit her palace, just three days’
journey to the east.WALI DAD: Do me a kindness. The next time you pass that way, give her this little bracelet, with my
compliments.NARRATOR 1: The merchant was astonished, but he agreed to do what the ragged grass-cutter asked.NARRATOR 4: Soon after, the merchant found himself at the palace of the queen of Khaistan. He presented
the bracelet to her as a gift from Wali Dad.QUEEN: (admiring the bracelet) How lovely! Your friend must accept a gift in return. My servants will
load a camel with the finest silks.NARRATOR 2: When the merchant arrived back home, he brought the silks to the hut of Wali Dad.WALI DAD: Oh, no! This is worse than before! What am I to do with such finery?MERCHANT: Perhaps you could give it to someone else.NARRATOR 3: Wali Dad thought for a moment.WALI DAD: Tell me, in all the world, who is the noblest man?
MERCHANT: That is simple. It is the young king of Nekabad. His palace, too, I often visit, just three days’ journey to the west.
WALI DAD: Then do me another kindness. On your next trip there, give him these silks, with my compliments.
NARRATOR 1: The merchant was amused, but he agreed.NARRATOR 4: On his next journey, he presented the silks to the king of Nekabad.KING: A splendid gift! In return, your friend must have twelve of my finest horses.NARRATOR 2: So the merchant brought the king’s horses to Wali Dad.WALI DAD: This grows worse and worse! What could I do with twelve horses? (thinks for a moment) I
know who should have such a gift. I beg you, keep two horses for yourself, and take the rest to the queen of Khaistan!
NARRATOR 3: The merchant thought this was very funny, but he consented. On his next visit to the queen’s palace, he gave her the horses.
NARRATOR 1: Now the queen was perplexed. She whispered to her prime minister,QUEEN: Why does this Wali Dad persist in sending gifts? I have never even heard of him!MINISTER 1: Why don’t you discourage him? Send him a gift so rich, he can never hope to match it.NARRATOR 4: So in return for the ten horses from Wali Dad, the queen sent back twenty mules loaded
with silver.NARRATOR 2: When the merchant and mules arrived back at the hut, Wali Dad groaned.WALI DAD: What have I done to deserve this? Friend, spare an old man! Keep two mules and their silver
for yourself, and take the rest to the king of Nekabad!NARRATOR 3: The merchant was getting uneasy, but he could not refuse such a generous offer. So not long
after, he found himself presenting the silver-laden mules to the king of Nekabad.NARRATOR 1: The king, too, was perplexed and asked his prime minister for advice.MINISTER 2: Perhaps this Wali Dad seeks to prove himself your better. Why not send him a gift he can
never surpass?NARRATOR 4: So the king sent backNARRATOR 2: twenty camels with golden anklets,NARRATOR 3: twenty horses with golden bridles and stirrups,NARRATOR 1: twenty elephants with golden seats mounted on their backs,NARRATOR 4: and twenty liveried servants to care for them all.NARRATOR 2: When the merchant guided the servants and animals to Wali Dad’s hut, the grass-cutter was
beside himself.WALI DAD: Will bad fortune never end? Please, do not stop for a minute! Keep for yourself two of each
animal, and take the rest to the queen of Khaistan!MERCHANT: (distressed) How can I go to her again?NARRATOR 3: But Wali Dad pleaded so hard, the merchant consented to go just once more.NARRATOR 1: This time, the queen was stunned by the magnificence of Wali Dad’s gift. She turned again to
her prime minister.MINISTER 1: Clearly, the man wishes to marry you. Since his gifts are so fine, perhaps you should meet
him!NARRATOR 4: So the queen ordered a great caravan made ready, with countless horses, camels, and
elephants. With the trembling merchant as guide, she and her court set out to visit the great Wali Dad.
NARRATOR 2: On the third day, the caravan made camp, and the queen sent the merchant ahead to tell Wali Dad of her coming. When Wali Dad heard the merchant’s news, his head sank to his hands.
WALI DAD: (mournfully) Oh, no! Now I will be paid for all my foolishness. I have brought shame on myself, on you, and on the queen. What are we to do?
MERCHANT: I fear we can do nothing!NARRATOR 3: And the merchant headed back to the caravan.
* * *NARRATOR 1: The next morning, Wali Dad rose before dawn.WALI DAD: (sadly) Good-bye, old hut. I will never see you again.NARRATOR 4: The old grass-cutter started down the road. But he had not gone far when he heard a voice.PERI 1: (gently) Where are you going, Wali Dad?NARRATOR 2: He turned and saw two radiant ladies.NARRATOR 3: He knew at once they were peris from Paradise.WALI DAD: (kneels) I am a stupid old man. Let me go my way. I cannot face my shame!PERI 2: No shame can come to such as you. Though your clothes are poor, in your heart you are a
king.NARRATOR 1: The peri touched him on the shoulder.NARRATOR 4: To his amazement, he saw his rags turn to fine clothes. A jeweled turban sat on his head.
The rusty sickle at his waist was now a gleaming scimitar.PERI 1: Return, Wali Dad. All is as it should be.NARRATOR 2: Wali Dad looked behind him. Where his hut had stood, a splendid palace sparkled in the
rising sun.NARRATOR 3: In shock, he turned to the peris, but they had vanished.NARRATOR 1: Wali Dad hurried back along the road. As he entered the palace, the guards gave a salute.
Servants bowed to him, then rushed here and there, preparing for the visitors.NARRATOR 4: Wali Dad wandered through countless rooms, gaping at riches beyond his imagining.NARRATOR 2: Suddenly, three servants ran up.SERVANT 1: (announcing) A caravan from the east!SERVANT 2: No, a caravan from the west!SERVANT 3: No, caravans from both east and west!NARRATOR 3: The bewildered Wali Dad rushed outside to see two caravans halt before the palace. Coming
from the east was a queen in a jeweled litter. Coming from the west was a king on a fine horse.
NARRATOR 1: Wali Dad hurried to the queen.QUEEN: My dear Wali Dad, we meet at last. (looks at KING) But who is that magnificent king?WALI DAD: I believe it is the king of Nekabad, Your Majesty. Please excuse me for a moment.NARRATOR 4: He rushed over to the king.KING: My dear Wali Dad, I had to meet the giver of such fine gifts. (looks at QUEEN) But who is that
splendid queen?WALI DAD: (smiling) The queen of Khaistan, Your Majesty. Please come and meet her.NARRATOR 2: And so the king of Nekabad met the queen of Khaistan, and the two fell instantly in love.
NARRATOR 3: A few days later their marriage took place in the palace of Wali Dad. And the celebration went on for many days.
NARRATOR 1: At last Wali Dad had said good-bye to all his guests. The very next morning, he rose before dawn, crept quietly from the palace, and started down the road.
NARRATOR 4: But he had not gone far when he heard a voice.PERI 1: Where are you going, Wali Dad?NARRATOR 2: He turned and again saw the two peris.WALI DAD: (kneels) Did I not tell you I am a stupid old man? I should be glad for what I have received,
but—PERI 2: Say no more. You shall have your heart’s desire.NARRATOR 3: And she touched him again.
* * *NARRATOR 1: So Wali Dad became once more a grass-cutter,NARRATOR 4: living happily in his hut for the rest of his days.NARRATOR 2: And though he often thought warmly of his friends the king and queen,NARRATOR 3: he was careful never to send them another gift.
The Denmask Drum
By Saami Motokuyo
Summary: An old gardener in the palace at Asakura, Fukuoka Prefecture, happens to catch sight of the Princess, and falls desperately in love with her. The Princess, having heard of his attachment, mentions that love transcends all class distinctions. She has a drum tied on the branches of a laurel tree by the Laurel Pond, an conveys a message to the effect that if the sound of the drum can be heard in the palace, she will appear before the old ma. Believing those words to be true and honest, he beats the drum. Somehow, it does not sound. He continues beating it for days and months, thinking that he may have turned deaf owing to his old age. As it is, the drum is false, damask linen being stretched where the skin should be. The old man, not knowing this, is sorely distraught with his failure and flings himself into the pond where he drowns.
In the second part of the play, the old man comes out of the pond in the form of the Avenging Ghost, and appearing near the Princess, torments her with repeated demands to sound the drum. She grieves over her mockery of the old man, but the ghost does not hear her. Seeing her in great grief, it at last disappears into the pond still with deep grudges not the least appeased.
COURTIER: I am a courtier at the Palace of Kinomaru in the country of Chikuzen. You must know that in this place there is a famous pond called the Laurel Pond, where the royal ones often take their walks; so it happened that one day the old man who sweeps the garden here caught sight of the Princess. And from that time he has loved her with a love that gives his heart no rest.Some one told her of this, and she said, "Love's equal realm knows no divisions," and in her pity she said, "By that pond there stands a laurel-tree, and on its branches there hangs a drum. Let him beat the drum, and if the sound is heard in the Palace, he shall see my face again."
I must tell him of this.Listen, old Gardener! The worshipful lady has heard of your love and sends you this message: "Go and beat the drum that hangs on the tree by the pond, and if the sound is heard in the Palace, you shall see my face again." Go quickly now and beat the drum!
GARDENER: With trembling I receive her words. I will go and beat the drum.COURTIER: Look, here is the drum she spoke of. Make haste and beat it! (He leaves the GARDENER
standing by the tree and seats himself at the foot of the "Waki's pillar.")GARDENER: They talk of the moon-tree, the laurel that grows in the Garden of the Moon. . . . But for me
there is but one true tree, this laurel by the lake. Oh, may the drum that hangs on its branches give forth a mighty note, a music to bind up my bursting heart.Listen! the evening bell to help me chimes;But then tolls inA heavy tale of day linked on to day,
CHORUS: (speaking for the GARDENER): And hope stretched out from dusk to dusk.But now, a watchman of the hours, I beatThe longed-for stroke.
GARDENER: I was old, I shunned the daylight,I was gaunt as an aged crane;And upon all that miserySuddenly a sorrow was heaped,The new sorrow of love.The days had left their marks,Coming and coming, like waves that beat on a sandy shore . . .
CHORUS: Oh, with a thunder of white wavesThe echo of the drum shall roll.
GARDENER: The after-world draws near me,Yet even now I wake notFrom this autumn of love that closesIn sadness the sequence of my years.
CHORUS: And slow as the autumn dewTears gather in my eyes, to fallScattered like dewdrops from a shaken flowerOn my coarse-woven dress.See here the marks, imprint of tangled love,That all the world will read.
GARDENER: I said "I will forget,"CHORUS: And got worse torment so
Than by remembrance. But all in this worldIs as the horse of the aged man of the land of Sai; And as a white colt flashesPast a gap in the hedge, even so our days pass. And though the time be come,Yet can none know the road that he at last must tread,Goal of his dewdrop-life.All this I knew; yet knowing,Was blind with folly.
GARDENER: "Wake, wake," he cries--
CHORUS: The watchman of the hours--"Wake from the sleep of dawn!"And batters on the drum.For if its sound be heard, soon shall he seeHer face, the damask of her dress Aye, damask! He does not knowThat on a damask drum he beats,Beats with all the strength of his hands, his aged hands,But bears no sound."Am I grown deaf?" he cries, and listens, listens:Rain on the windows, lapping of waves on the poolBoth these he hears, and silent onlyThe drum, strange damask drum.Oh, will it never sound?I thought to beat the sorrow from my heart,Wake music in a damask drum; an echo of loveFrom the voiceless fabric of pride!
GARDENER: Longed for as the moon that hidesIn the obstinate clouds of a rainy nightIs the sound of the watchman's drum,To roll the darkness from my heart.
CHORUS: I beat the drum. The days pass and the hours.It was yesterday, and it is to-day.
GARDENER: But she for whom I waitCHORUS: Comes not even in dream. At dawn and duskGARDENER: No drum sounds.CHORUS: She has not come. Is it not sung that those
Whom love has joinedNot even the God of Thunder can divide?Of lovers, I aloneAm guideless, comfortless.Then weary of himself and calling her to witness of his woe,"Why should I endure," he cried,"Such life as this?" and in the waters of the pondHe cast himself and died.
(GARDENER leaves the stage.)Enter the PRINCESS.
COURTIER: I would speak with you, madam.The drum made no sound, and the aged Gardener in despair has flung himself into the pond by the laurel tree, and died. The soul of .such a one may cling to you and do you injury. Go out and look upon him
PRINCESS: (speaking wildly, already possessed by the GARDENER'S angry ghost, which speaks through her). Listen, people, listen!In the noise of the beating wavesI hear the rolling of a drum.
Oh, joyful sound, oh joyful!The music of a drum,
COURTIER: Strange, strange!This lady speaks as oneBy fantasy possessed.What is amiss, what ails her?
PRINCESS: Truly, by phantasy I am possessed.Can a damask drum give sound?When I bade him beat what could not ring,Then tottered first my wits.
COURTIER: She spoke, and on the face of the evening poolA wave stirred.
PRINCESS: And out of the waveCOURTIER: A voice spoke. (The voice of the GARDENER is heard; as he gradually advances along the
hashigakari it is seen that he wears a "demon mask," leans on a staff and carries the "demon mallet" at his girdle.)
GARDENER'S GHOST: I was driftwood in the pool, but the waves of bitternessCHORUS: Have washed me back to the shore.GHOST: Anger clings to my heart,
Clings even now when neither wrath nor weepingAre aught but folly.
CHORUS: One thought consumes me,The anger of lust deniedCovers me like darkness.I am become a demon dwellingIn the hell of my dark thoughts,Storm-cloud of my desires.
GHOST: "Though the waters parch in the fieldsThough the brooks run dry,Never shall the place be shownOf the spring that feeds my heart."So I had resolved. Oh, why so cruellySet they me to winVoice from a voiceless drum,Spending my heart in vain?And I spent my heart on the glimpse of a moon that slippedThrough the boughs of an autumn tree.
CHORUS: This damask drum that hangs on the laurel-treeGHOST: Will it sound, will it sound?
(He seizes the PRINCESS and drags her towards the drum.)Try! Strike it!
CHORUS: "Strike!" he cries;"The quick beat, the battle-charge!Loud, loud! Strike, strike," he rails,And brandishing his demon-stickGives her no rest."Oh woe!" the lady weeps,
"No sound, no sound. Oh misery!" she wails.And he, at the mallet stroke, "Repent, repent!"Such torments in the world of nightAbōrasetsu, chief of demons, wieldsWho on the Wheel of FireSears sinful flesh and shatters bones to dust.Not less her torture now!"Oh, agony!" she cries, "What have I done,By what dire seed this harvest sown?"
GHOST: Clear stands the cause before you.CHORUS: Clear stands the cause before my eyes; I know it now.
By the pool's white waters, upon the laurel's boughThe drum was hung.He did not know his hour, but struck and struckTill all the will had ebbed from his heart's core;Then leapt into the lake and died.And while his body rockedLike driftwood on the waves,His soul, an angry ghost,Possessed the lady's wits, haunted her heart with woe,The mallet lashed, as these waves lash the shore,Lash on the ice of the eastern shore.The wind passes; the rain fallsOn the Red Lotus, the Lesser and the Greater. The hair stands up on my head."The fish that leaps the fallsTo a fell snake is turned,"
Laarni, A Dream
By Loret Paras-Sulit
This is a story of old Philippines – the story of old Laarni and brave Maharlika. Once, this country of ours was a vast wild space ruled by men who knew no law but their wills. Your history tells you of rajas, of freemen and slaves. Among the rulers of the barangays, none was more fierce, none more powerful than Maginoo Mataas. He was known widely, not for his prowess nor for his wisdom, but for the beauty of his daughter, the Princess Laarni. She was not called by the name of princess of course, but we shall give her that name – she deserves it. Maginoo Mataas’ barangay was bordered by the sea and by the mountains, but these were naught compared to his daughter.
Ah, my dears, I am sure you would wish you had her beauty. Girls though you are, you would have fallen in love with her had you seen her coming from her bath in one of her father’s rivers. Her hair trailing down her back was the night without stars; her eyes – no deeper darkness could you find, her lashes – thick enough to capture sunbeams and keep them in her eyes; her mouth, my dears, adorable in its haughty curves, exquisite in its crimson softness. Grace and beauty incarnate was this imperious daughter of Maginoo Mataas.
You are murmuring, my dears? I am flowery? You laugh at the way I talk, products of this cold, materialistic age, but you like what I say.
Many were the young men who had thrust their spears into her father’s staircase, asking for her hand. But they asked in vain. They could not offer anything to tempt Maginoo Mataas to give up his daughter. Yearly, in the months of March and April, came trading junks from China bringing silks and jewels to give to the fair Laarni. The owner of these junks, Mandarin Li Ho Weng, came with his ships to pay court to Laarni, but even his wealth could not tempt her father. Thus Laarni lived, her heart whole and free.
One afternoon, as she was wont to do she started with her slaves for the river to take her to daily bath. She was in an irritated mood, for the heat could not be driven away by even huge fans of the slaves. Now as she reached the river, she motioned them aside and they cringed low before their angry mistress.Laarni walked down the bank to her favorite spot. A surprised awaited her. A boat with a solitary occupant sat lightly on the water. Laarni regarded the intruder haughtily. She saw a very bronzed man in the garb of a freeman. The lordly air of his still figure matched her imperious stare.
“Who are you?” she demanded.“I am Maharlika,” he answered.“A maharlika?” she inquired, frowning.“Yes, I am a freeman,” he replied smiling. “And I am known by the name of Maharlika to tell all that I
am a freeman, slave to none but myself. I am Maharlika, Princess Laarni,” he repeated.“You know me?” was Laarni’s question.“Who would not know you?” was his answer, “you most beautiful of creatures? Who has not heard
of you, most lovely of beings? I heard afar in my land across the mountains, and I came to see the Princess Laarni. I saw her and she fired my blood; naught will satisfy me till I have won her.”
“Who are you that dare speak thus to me, Laarni, daughter of Rajah Mataas? Know you not the penalty for such an offense is death?
“I know, most exquisite woman, and I dare,” he answered unafraid, the quiet smile still on his face.“You dare!” she stamped her feet angrily.Ah, my dears, the proud Laarni had never known such impudence. “You, a mere freeman, to address
me in that language, as if I were a slave! You, only a maharlika, daring to woo the daughter of Rajah Mataas! You , a nobody, to transgress our laws and customs!”
“I am a freeman – a noble one,” he answered equally proud. “I have a heart so I dare to love; I have a tongue, so I dare speak.”
Laarni could make no reply. Never in her life had she been treated that way. Her eyes glittered with wrath and her voice trembled with great anger as she said, “My father shall hear of this and his warriors will scour the rivers for you.”
Maharlika brought his boat near the bank and then he jumped ashore. A splendid man he was. Laarni, even in her anger, could not help admiring the splendid cast of his head and the easy swing of his powerful figure.
“I will go to your father, Princess Laarni. I am an emissary of Rajah Bayani.” Laarni recognized in the name her father’s greatest ally, who dwelt across the mountains.
At this moment a slave came running toward them. “Your father summons you,” he told Laarni. “The Chinese junks have arrived and with them comes Li Ho Weng.” Laarni called her slaves and walked away. When she reached her father’s house she saw that Maharlika had followed her. She climbed the bamboo staircase and paused for a moment to look back. The young man had stopped and then raised the spear he was carrying and thrust it into the staircase. Her father, lordly in his crimson silk robe, huge gold armlets, and jeweled anklets, came out.
“Who is it that comes?” he asked loudly.
“Maharlika,” the freeman answered. “I come to ask for the hand of Laarni for my master, Rajah Bayani.” Laarni fled to her chamber and vented her anger on her slaves. That man there on the staircase had been entrusted to ask her for his master, and had dared address his love to her.
That evening she was requested to appear before her father. “My daughter,” he announced gently, “two proposals have come today. One is from my most esteemed friend Rajah Bayani, which I favor and hope you will accept. The other is from Li Ho Weng. He has renewed his suit this year and desires a definite answer. I cannot give my daughter to a foreigner, rich though he may be.”
“I don’t want either of them,” answered Laarni. “Rajah Bayani is old and has had many wives. I loathe Li Ho Weng.”
“You will have to become the bride of Rajah Bayani,” decided her father, and he motioned her away. Laarni retired in vexation to her chamber.
The days passed uneventfully. Maharlika was often with Maginoo Mataas, arranging the dower. He attended the councils of the barangay and endeared himself to the heart of the old man by his wisdom and courtesy. He did not speak to Laarni; but his eyes pleaded eloquently. Try as she would, Laarni could not sufficiently hate the love-traitor.
One day Laarni was approached by a slave with a message. ‘The Chinese junks leave on the morrow, and she had not been on board. Would she deign to visit them that day? They had brought their richest silks and satins this year, and they were waiting for her,’ so the slave announced. Laarni decided to go. It had been always the custom of her people to go aboard those junks and exchange their products of gold dust, wax and honey for goods brought by the Chinese traders.
Laarni took only one slave with her. The Mandarin Li Ho Weng met her as she went with this stately Chinese trader. She looked at his gold-embroidered robe of heavy silk. She would have plenty like those and jewels galore.
Laarni was lost in ecstasy at the goods brought before her. All the wealth of the East seemed to spread out before her. She cried in admiration over a silk robe on which was embroidered a pagoda and a garden. Flowers seemed to arch in life from the stems.
“Would you not like to dwell in such a palace, beautiful Princess Laarni?” asked the low voice of Li Ho Weng. She was silent. “There is such a place waiting for you most gracious of women,” he continued.
Laarni shook her head and turned to go away, but Mandarin Li Ho Weng barred her. He smiled slyly. “I have waited of you all these days, but you did not come. Now that you are here, shall I let you go?”
“Do you think that you can bear me away as if I were a piece of goods?” she questioned haughtily. “My father can raise a thousand warriors at the flick of a hand.”
The mandarin shrugged lightly, and motion caused the light to ripple over the gold embroidery of his robe.
“Can your spears and arrows avail against those?” he asked as he pointed to little cannons on the side of the junk. He came nearer to Laarni. “Across the seas where I dwell in a house of gold and recline on a couch of silk, your beauty haunts me. Year after year, I have come, seemingly to trade with your people, but it was a glimpse of the beautiful blossom of this wild land. Year by year my love grew until I decided that I would have her, cost what it might. You think all those junks are laden with goods? They are full of men and weapons.”
A commotion cut short his speech. Two Chinese came dragging a wet Maharlika before them. He looked defiantly at the master, glancing gently at Laarni.
“I heard all you said, thief of women.”The mandarin, lord of where he stood, looked contemptuously at him. “Who are you?” he asked.
Laarni could not help smiling. Everybody who saw Maharlika asked him that question.
The captive drew himself up rapidly. “I am Maharlika, son of Rajah Bayani. My father died just yesterday, so I am Rajah Maharlika.” Laarni started in surprise, “I have come to take the Princess Laarni,” he announced with easy confidence.
The mandarin laughed contemptuously. “If you had not told me that, I should have freed you.” Now, the imperious mandarin gave an order to a shrunken, shriveled Chinese. The latter disappeared and came back bearing a cage made of fine wire. Laarni shuddered. The cage contained a snake – a cobra.
The mandarin regarded the snake for some time. A cruel, little smile was on his lips. “Touch it,” he commanded and the Chinese seemed to shrivel in to a wrinkled mass. Fear, ugly fear, yellowed his seamed face.
“I cannot, I cannot, o heaven-born,” the man whined.“Touch it,” thundered the master.“I cannot, I cannot, oh Celestial-being,” he moaned in fright. The master drew a dagger significantly.
There was no alternative; the Chinese knew he would meet a more horrible death if he disobeyed. With hands that trembled mightily, he opened the door of the cage and thrust his hand. He pulled it out instantly with a terrible cry. He fell and rolled down dead.
“You shall die like that,” Li ho Weng told Maharlika grimly. Laarni made no protest; she knew it would be useless. Beside there was a savage desire in her breast to see that confident man tested.
Maharlika smiled at her, and then, without hesitation, he stepped near the cage and thrust in his hand. How he did it, I do not know. As his hand emerged from the cage, it bore a wriggling snake. It writhed fiercely and tried to reach the hand that choked it unmercifully.
Maharlika suddenly thrust it into the mandarin’s face. A terrible cry arose from the followers when they witnessed their master fall dead. But Maharlika kept them at the bay with the snake he held.
“Jump, jump, and swim to the shore,” he commanded Laarni. “My men are coming and they will rescue you.” A few minutes later he was splashing beside her. No men came, and together they reached the shore safely.
“Thrust your spear into my father’s staircase,” she whispered before she was led away by her frightened slaves. “Thrust it for yourself, and you will not thrust in vain.” Love always exists at all times and in all climes.
Treasury of Loyal Retainers, An Excerpt
Of all the feudal lords serving the shogun, one of the most senior is the governor of Kamakura, Kō no Moronau. But he is an evil and lecherous old man, and when his advances towards another man's wife are rejected, his spiteful nature demands that he take it out on someone else. That person is the mild-mannered Lord Enya Hangan, the husband of the woman Moronau tried to seduce.
Inside the shogun's castle it is forbidden to draw one's sword... it is a crime punishable by death! Knowing this well, Moronau finds the opportunity to taunt Hangan with so many insults, even insisting he is as stupid as a fish and striking his sword hilt, that Hangan is pushed over the edge. Throwing caution to the wind, he must defend his honour. Hangan finally draws his sword and slashes at Moronau, but just then, a retainer rushes out to hold Hangan back and so he is prevented from killing his enemy.
Taken into custody, Lord Hangan eventually receives his official punishment: he is to take his own life by seppuku, ritual disembowelment. Hangan agrees to this without complaint, but his one regret... the one thing that keeps him from a peaceful death... is that he could not kill the man who so dishonoured him. He needs to communicate this to his chief retainer, and delays his suicide as long as he can until the retainer
finally rushes in just before his lord breathes his last. This chief retainer is Ōboshi Yuranosuke. He has understood his lord's dying wish.
After Hangan's death, his castles and lands are all confiscated by the authorities, and all his retainers become masterless samurai called rōnin. Most of these men disperse and some even seek re-employment with the enemy Moronau. But a small group of 47 loyal retainers remain who, under Yuranosuke's leadership, are bent on revenge! For a loyal samurai, avenging a wrong done to one's lord was an honourable path. In this case, however, that path is fraught with danger and difficulty because Moronau is a powerful man who already suspects Yuranosuke's intentions. It is not easy to get near him.
Months and months pass by without any sign of progress for the 47 rōnin. Some begin to lose heart, and many are astounded at Yuranosuke's behaviour. Their leader seems to waste his time, giving himself up to debauchery in the red light district of Kyoto. Perhaps there is no longer any hope that the revenge will succeed. Or could this just be a ploy to disguise the real plan?
Yoshitune and the Thousand Cherry Trees
The play opens at the Imperial Palace, where Yoshitsune and his faithful retainer, the warrior monk Benkei meet with Fujiwara no Tomokata, a court minister. They discuss the consequences of the battle of Yashima, and the fact that the bodies of several members of the Taira clan, who were supposed to have died in the battle, have not been found.
Tomokata also presents Yoshitsune with a drum, called "Hatsune", supposedly used several hundred years earlier by the Emperor Kammu, and thus a precious, rare, and powerful object. The minister describes the symbolism of this imperial gift, explaining that the two drumheads represent Yoshitsune and his brother Yoritomo. The Emperor orders that Yoshitsune strike at his brother, as he would strike the head of the drum.
The following scene introduces Wakaba no Naishi, wife of Taira no Koremori, and her young son Rokudai. The pair are explained to be in hiding in a monastic hermitage near the town of Saga, and enter along with a nun who has been sheltering them in her home. A man comes to the house and is soon revealed to be Kokingo Takesato, a Taira retainer. He explains, to their surprise, that Koremori still lives, and that he has come to escort the pair to be reunited with him. Another man then arrives, this one an agent of the Court, seeking the wanted Naishi and Rokudai. Kokingo, in his disguise as a wandering hat seller, along with the nun, attempts to discourage him and turn him away; though the Imperial agent sees through the ruse, Kokingo strikes the man with a wooden pole and makes his escape, along with his two wards.
Scene three takes place at Yoshitsune's mansion in the capital, where his mistress, Shizuka dances for Yoshitsune's wife Kyō no Kimi and his closest retainers. She expresses her apologies on behalf of Benkei, who made some uncouth and inappropriate remarks to the Imperial agents at the presentation of the drum. Though Benkei is portrayed as cool, collected, eloquent, and quite clever in other plays, in this one he is loud, obnoxious, and violent, leaping to action without thinking. A guard enters and informs the group of an impending attack upon the mansion by forces belonging to Yoritomo, and Benkei immediately leaps to face them, but is held back by Shizuka.
Yoshitsune discusses with Kawagoe Tarō Shigeyori, advisor to his brother Yoritomo, the circumstances surrounding the falling-out which has occurred between him and the shogun. He explains that he reported to his brother that several Taira generals, actually still at large, had been killed, in order to help ensure peace and stability for the new shogunate; he also explains that though he has received the Emperor's
drum, he has not struck it, and has thus symbolically not acknowledged any intention to attack his brother. This situation resolved, Kawagoe announces that he will call off the attack on Yoshitsune's mansion, but before he is able to do so, the impetuous Benkei has already leapt into action and killed one of the shogunal commanders.
The act ends with Benkei's realization that Yoshitsune and Shizuka have fled. He presumes they have gone to Yoshino, and chases after them.
Act two opens at the Fushimi Inari Shrine, where Benkei catches up to Yoshitsune, Shizuka, and the four retainers. The group has fled the capital, seeking to escape retribution for Benkei's careless attack. The monk apologizes, and is forgiven by his lord, at the suggestion of Shizuka. However, Benkei then offers that since their journey will be long and dangerous, a lady such as her should not be subjected to such things and should be escorted back to the capital. She refuses, and in order to prevent her following them, or killing herself in grief, they tie her to a tree, along with the drum Hatsune, and leave her.
She is found by agents of the shogun, who cuts her free and tries to drag her away. Yoshitsune's retainer Tadanobu suddenly shows up and rescues her, in a flamboyant and vigorous swordfight. He is then commended by his lord, who bestows upon him his own (Yoshitsune's) suit of armor, and his name, Genkurō. The group then continue on their journey, leaving Tadanobu to escort Shizuka back to the capital.
The second scene takes place at the Tokaiya, a home near Daimotsu Bay where the commoner merchant Ginpei runs a shipping business, living with his wife Oryū and daughter Oyasu. Yoshitsune's party has made their lodgings here while they wait for good weather to continue their journey by boat. While talking to Oryū, Benkei steps over the sleeping Oyasu as he makes his way from the room; just at that moment, accompanied by dramatic drumming, he feels a pain in his leg.
Shortly after Benkei leaves, Sagami Gorō, a retainer of the shogunate, sent here to seek out and attack Yoshitsune, arrives. Not knowing that Yoshitsune is in that very home, Sagami demands of Oryū that he be provided a boat in order to pursue his quarry. She replies that their only boat is already promised to their other guests, and a small scuffle occurs between the two as the warrior accuses the woman of harboring Taira fugitives and seeks to enter the room where Yoshitsune and his retainers remain. Just then, the merchant Ginpei makes his first entrance, carrying an anchor over his shoulder, a strong symbolic reference to his true identity as the fugitive general Taira no Tomomori. He argues briefly with Sagami, and throws the warrior out of his house.
Ginpei is then introduced to his guests, who were taken in by Oryū while he was out, and immediately recognizes Yoshitsune. Introducing himself briefly, and expounding on his identity as a boatman and merchant, he then suggests that they set sail, despite the weather. As Yoshitsune and his retainers dress and prepare for the journey, Ginpei has an aside in which he dramatically reveals himself to the audience as the Taira general Tomomori.
Tomomori declares to the audience the story of faking his own death at Dan-no-ura and escaping with the young Emperor Antoku and his wet nurse Tsubone, living for the last several years as Ginpei, his daughter Oyasu and wife Oryū. He explains to Tsubone that he intends to kill Yoshitsune while out at sea, the rain and dark of night obscuring the battle. He heads out to the boat, as Tsubone and the Emperor change clothes, removing their disguises.
The battle is not seen on stage, but reflected through narration, the reactions of Tsubone, as she watches from the shore, and the report of Sagami Gorō, the shogunal officer who is revealed to have actually been in Tomomori's service. After some time, the clash is perceived to have ended with Tomomori's death. Tsubone takes the Emperor to the seashore, and prepares to have them both drown, sacrificing themselves. But they are pulled back by Yoshitsune as he returns to the shore, and assured of their safety; he has no
intentions of capturing or killing the Emperor of Japan. Tomomori, not killed, returns just a few moments after Yoshitsune, and is appalled that his schemes have fallen apart so quickly and easily.
Tsubone kills herself, seeing that she cannot serve Tomomori any longer, and the general, recognizing the futility of his schemes, his failure to slay his enemies, and the doom wrought upon his entire clan by the evil actions of his father Taira no Kiyomori, throws himself into the sea, tied to an anchor.
Act Three opens as Wakaba no Naishi, her retainer Kokingo and son Rokudai pause at a tea shop along their journey to find her husband, Taira no Koremori. They sit down to rest, and a young man in traveling clothes, by the name of Gonta, joins them soon afterwards. He talks to them briefly, helps them get nuts from the tree, and then leaves, taking Kokingo's travelling pack instead of his own. Kokingo notices a few moments later, and Gonta returns, apologizing for his mistake. The two go through the contents of the baskets, to make sure the other hasn't stolen anything, but Gonta then claims that there's twenty ryō missing from his basket.
Gonta, attempting to swindle the samurai, accuses him of being a thief, and a battle very nearly breaks out. Though aggressive with words, he is no match for the samurai in a fight, and hides behind a bench while Kokingo only grows more angry and brandishes his sword. Naishi attempts to calm him down, but Gonta only eggs him on until, finally, the samurai pays him twenty ryō and leaves, along with Naishi and Rokudai.
Gonta is thus left alone with Kosen, the proprietess of the teahouse, who it turns out is his wife. She scolds him for being a swindler and a gambler; in his response, he explains his life story. The son of Yazaemon of the Tsurube sushi shop, he became a swindler, thief and gambler in order to support himself and his love for Kosen. Disowned and kicked out of his house, he struggled to earn money to buy Kosen out of indenture. Though he describes his intent to rob his mother that night, he is talked out of it by Kosen, and they return home.
The next scene focuses on Kokingo, Rokudai and Naishi, pursued by Imperial officers. Already wounded, Kokingo fights off one of the officers, Inokuma Dainoshin, and then sinks to the ground, exhausted. As Naishi weeps over him, he claims he cannot go on, and implores Naishi and her son to forget about him, and to continue on to see Koremori. He promises to follow them after he regains his strength. The pair leave him then, and exit, continuing on their journey. The warrior then dies, just as a group of townsmen, including the sushi shop owner Yazaemon, come upon him. After saying a prayer for the dead, Yazaemon cuts off Kokingo's head and takes it with him, returning home.
Yazaemon's sushi shop is the setting for the third scene, which opens with his daughter Osato and his wife preparing and selling sushi to visitors while they talk. A young man named Yasuke has been living with them for some time, and is due to be married to Osato as soon as Yazaemon returns. Yasuke enters with some sushi tubs, and talks briefly with the two women as they work, before they are interrupted by the arrival of Gonta, Osato's brother.
Gonta explains to his mother that he is leaving for good, to turn himself around and make something of his life, but asks for some money, claiming that he was robbed on the road on his way there. She places several silver kanme coins in a sushi tub for him and sends him off. Just then, Yazaemon returns; fearing that he should learn that his wife stole from the shop to give to Gonta, they hide the sushi tub among the others. Yazaemon then comes in, calls out for his family, and hides the head of Kokingo, wrapped in his cloak, in one of the other tubs.
Meeting up with Yasuke, Yazaemon then reveals to the audience Yasuke's identity as the general Taira no Koremori, father of Rokudai and husband of Naishi, who he came across in Kumano and took into his home. He explains to Koremori that he just came across Kajiwara no Kagetoki, an agent of the shogunate, who suspected him of harboring the general, and that for his safety he might flee the area.
As Osato and Yasuke (Koremori) lay on their wedding bed, preparing to consummate their relationship, he confesses to her not his true identity, but that he has a wife and child in another province, and asks that she release him from his pledge to marry her. By coincidence, the wandering Wakaba no Naishi then arrives at that same house, seeking lodging for the night. Koremori glances outside, realizes who they are, and welcomes them in. He attempts to explain his infidelity to his wife, his romance with Osato coming from a desire to repay Yazaemon for taking him in; Osato overhears, and bursts into sobs. She welcomes Rokudai and Naishi into her home, offering them the seats of honor, and explains her side of the story, asking for forgiveness from Naishi. She fell in love with this gentle man, she explains, whom her father brought home, not knowing that he was secretly a noble. Upset at Koremori's duplicity and at his leaving her, she weeps and is comforted by Naishi.
Word comes of the arrival of shogunal officers, and Koremori, his wife and child exit. Gonta arrives, then, declaring to Osato that he intends to turn over the three to the authorities in exchange for a reward. His sister begs him not to, and he grabs the sushi tub with the silver coins and flees after the three.
Soldiers then appear, along with Kajiwara, and surround Yazaemon. They accuse him of lying to them, and harboring Koremori; but thinking quickly, he tells them that he's already had a change of heart and killed Koremori himself. He brings the men inside, and reaches for the sushi tub with Kokingo's head in it, but is stopped by his wife, who is thinking of the money she stole from him to give to Gonta. A shout is heard from outside, as Gonta returns with a woman and child, tied up and being dragged behind him. He explains to the soldiers that he has captured Rokudai and Naishi, and shows them the tub containing Kokingo's head, claiming it to be Koremori's. Kajiwara offers to spare Yazaemon's life in exchange for this deed, but Gonta, hoping to gain from this himself, declares that he wants monetary compensation; Kajiwara therefore gives him his cloak, which previously belonged to Yoritomo, and which would be symbolic of the reward owed him by the government.
As Kajiwara leads the prisoners away, Yazaemon finds the opportunity to viciously stab his son, bitter at Gonta's betrayal. Yazaemon curses his son as he aggravates the wound, but as he dies, Gonta explains to his father that his deceptions were for good intentions all along. He claims that he intended to give the silver to Koremori for traveling expenses. Knowing that his father intended to play off Kokingo's head as Koremori's, and knowing that the head was no longer in the house, he returned in order to rescue his father's plan, and his family therefore. He then reveals that the woman and child turned over were not Naishi and Rokudai but his own wife and child, Kosen and Zenta, who willingly and voluntarily sacrificed themselves to save the nobles.
Koremori, Naishi, and Rokudai then return, alive and safe, disguised as tea merchants. Koremori finds a poem on Yoritomo's cloak which indicates that something is inside it; cutting it open, he finds a Buddhist monk's robe. Seemingly, Kajiwara intended all along to spare Koremori, and granted him in this indirect way a disguise with which to safely escape.
Koremori cuts off his topknot, becoming a lay monk, and separating from both his families for the final time. Yazaemon offers to accompany Rokudai and Naishi, and Osato stays with her mother, loyally maintaining the home and the shop in her father's absence.
The act ends with Gonta's death, one of the most famous examples in Japanese traditional drama of the interference of the affairs of nobles and samurai into the lives of common people, and the death and destruction it brings.
The fourth act begins with a michiyuki dance scene, which follows Shizuka as she seeks to catch up with Yoshitsune and his party. The journey is narrated by an offstage narrator, in the bunraku style, and there is very little dialogue.
As she travels through the countryside, Shizuka decides to play the Hatsune Drum, in order to entice birds to follow her, not knowing the magical or metaphorical significance of the drum. As soon as she does so, a white fox emerges, romps across the stage and then disappears behind a low hill, from which emerges Tadanobu.
Placing the drum atop Yoshitsune's armor, granted Tadanobu in the second act, the two dance, their gestures and motions mimicking the actions of the narration. The narration indicates their desire to follow Yoshitsune to Yoshino, and then drifts into a retelling of the events of the battle of Dan-no-ura, ending with the pair's arrival at a Buddhist temple, the Zaō Hall in Yoshino.
After a very brief scene showing the pair's arrival, attention is shifted to Kawatsura Hōgen, head of the temple, who discusses with his fellow monks what stance they should take towards Yoshitsune. Several of the monks here are known to be enemies of Yoshitsune, and a letter has just arrived from the capital asking them to hunt him down. The monks discuss, and even those normally hostile to Yoshitsune decide that as monks it is their duty to aid people in need. Hōgen, however, even after admitting that he thinks Yoshitsune blameless, fires an arrow at a distant peak, smaller than its neighboring peak, and thus representing the younger brother (Yoshitsune). Thus he declares his stance alongside the shogunate, for the safety of the temple.
Hōgen encourages his monks to do what they think is right: to welcome Yoshitsune in and grant him asylum if he should arrive and request it. But he also assures them that he intends to kill the warrior should they do so. The monks interpret their master's words to mean that he is already harboring Yoshitsune, and that he intended to throw them off and prevent their interference; they decide to find and attack the warrior that night.
Hōgen returns to his mansion, where he is indeed harboring Yoshitsune, and declares to his wife that he has turned against his guest, and intends to stand with the shogunate. Yoshitsune speaks briefly with Hōgen, thanking him for his hospitality and aid, and is then informed that his retainer, Satō Tadanobu has arrived and wishes to speak with him. Tadanobu is asked by his lord about his stewardship of Shizuka and replies, confused, that he has been in his home province with his ailing mother since the end of the war, and has not seen Shizuka. Two of Yoshitsune's other retainers appear, pointing swords at Tadanobu and demanding an explanation when the temple's gatekeeper announces that Satō Tadanobu has arrived with Lady Shizuka.
Shizuka is reunited with her lord, but the Tadanobu who had been escorting her seems to vanish. The first Tadanobu explains to Shizuka that he has not been escorting her and has not seen her in some time; the other retainers confirm that this second Tadanobu is nowhere to be found in the building. She then notices that this Tadanobu is wearing somewhat different clothing, and comes upon the idea of beating the Hatsune Drum to summon her escort. She explains that the drum always attracted her escort, and made him behave strangely. The scene ends as she bangs the drum, and Tadanobu is taken away by Yoshitsune's retainers.
The final scene thus begins with Shizuka beating the drum, and a fox rushes into the room, becoming Tadanobu, who bows before her. Shizuka then suddenly pulls a sword and slashes at Tadanobu, who dodges the attack. Mesmerized by the drum, Tadanobu still manages to avoid continued attacks as Shizuka demands that he reveal his identity.
He then tells his story, revealing in the process that he is a kitsune, a fox spirit. The drum was made hundreds of years earlier from the skins of his parents, powerful kitsune whose magic was employed to bring rain. A costume quick-change transforms Tadanobu into his kitsune form, who explains that though he has lived a very long time and gained magical powers, he has been unable to ever care for his parents. Failing to fulfill acts of filial piety prevents him from gaining respect or status among the kitsune, and so for centuries he has sought out this drum. He was unable to get at the drum when it was kept in the imperial palace, he explains, since the palace is guarded against spirits by many gods (kami), but once it was removed from the palace and given to Yoshitsune, he saw his chance.
Shizuka and Yoshitsune speak to the fox for a time, and decide to grant him the drum. Thus released, he exits in grand style. Originally this would have been done through a particular style of dance called kitsune roppo (fox six-steps) along the hanamichi (the pathway that cuts through the audience from stage to the rear of the theatre). However, more recently it has become the practice, encouraged by Ichikawa Ennosuke III who often plays the fox Genkurō to exit by flying out over the audience, in a technique known as chūnori (riding the sky).
The real Tadanobu then offers to take his lord's place in facing the doom that awaits him at the hands of the monks. The kitsune's magic hampers the monk's schemes, and Kakuhan, the one monk who most strongly opposed the samurai lord, is revealed to be Taira no Noritsune, the third surviving Taira general, in disguise. Noritsune and Yoshitsune clash swords several times before Emperor Antoku appears from the next room. Noritsune, of course, bows low to his Emperor, and both explain how they survived their supposed deaths at the battle of Yashima, and came to be at this monastery. Noritsune then begins weeping, announcing his failure to his clan and to his Emperor.
Hōgen and two of Yoshitsune's retainers come in with bloody blades and holding the severed heads of the other monks who followed Noritsune. They seek to fight, but their hearts are calmed by the fox's magic, and Noritsune announces that he shall once again become Yokawa no Kakuhan, a loyal servant to the Emperor.
As is quite standard for Japanese traditional dramas, the final act is short, swift, and serves to wrap up any major loose plot threads. Here, it opens on a mountaintop, with Tadanobu, dressed as Yoshitsune, calling out a challenge to those who side with Yoritomo and the shogunate.
A number of warriors come at him, and he cuts them down. Noritsune then appears, as the monk Kakuhan, who claims to have foregone all his old grudges, and his warrior ways. Tadanobu declares his true identity to his foe, and the two clash in a complex choreographed fight scene. Finally, Noritsune pins his opponent to the ground, but a second Tadanobu rushes in and stabs the Taira general, the body below him disappearing and leaving only a suit of armor. Yoshitsune explains that they saw through Noritsune's promises of peace, and the fox Genkurō aided them in subduing him.
Kawagoe, an agent of the shogunate, then appears, along with Fujiwara no Tomokata, who he has tied up. He reveals that the Imperial order which came with the drum, ordering Yoshitsune to oppose his brother, along with that to exterminate the Taira clan, came not from the Emperor, but from the machinations of Tomokata. Hearing this, Noritsune kills the defenseless Tomokata, and then turns to Yoshitsune, challenging his foe to kill him. Yoshitsune states that Noritsune died long ago, that he has since become Kakuhan, and that it is to Tadanobu to kill him.
The play thus ends with the last of Yoshitsune's foes slain, and a return to the peace and auspiciousness with which the play began.
Madman on the Roof
By Kikuchi Kan
The Madman on the Roof (or Okujö no kyöjin) is a Japanese play written in 1916 by Kikuchi Kan. It is a short, funny story about a father who is concerned about his 24-year-old son, who climbs on the roof to watch the sunset. The father is concerned that his son is not entirely sane, and might hurt himself and embarrass the family.
His other son tries to convince his father that as long as his brother isn't hurting anyone, there is no harm in letting him sit on the roof and enjoy the sunset.
The moral of this story is "a madman who is able to enjoy the beauty of a sunset is far better off then the fully sane man who doesn't."
The Third Quarter: Poetry
By Juan f Salazar
My life's tomorrow beckons meFrom distant mountains high and lowMy future seems a boundless seaWhen moving passions come and go
Deep in my heart Ambition dwellsHe cheers me up the highland wayAnd guides me through the hills and dellsWherein i pass the busy day
I cannot write with Shakespeare's penBut i can write with Shakespeare's heartI love his skill, his craft of menHis mastery of poet's art
I do not care for fame as heEnthroned was he, like unto a Godthe depth he reached are dark to meBut i will grope the ways he trod
I wear achievement's coronet For blest are they who see things doneand all my cares i soon forgetWhen i have wrought my work alone
If i be met by adverse fateAnd all my dreams be but in vainthen i will work harder yetwith high resolve to try again
Haikus by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Green frog,Is your body alsofreshly painted?
Sick and feverishGlimpse of cherry blossomsStill shivering.
Haikus by J. Hakkett
Beijing rush hour…Horse and cart heading home,Driver fast asleep
Dancing Dragons…One soars off through Beijing smogTo the Western Hills
A stown-grown thistleHalfway up the Great WallResting Butterflies
Haikus by Matsuo Basho
Sleep on horseback,The far moon in a continuing dream,Steam of roasting tea.
Husking rice,a child squints up to view the moon.
Morning and eveningSomeone waits at Matsushima!One-sided love.
With dewdrops dripping,I wish somehow I could wash this perishing world
From the solitary desertUp to Baghdad came a simpleArab; there amid the routGrew bewildered of the countlessPeople, hither, thither, running,coming, going, meeting, parting,Clamor, clatter, and confusion,All about him and about.
Travel-wearied, hubbub-dizzy,would the simple Arab fainGet to sleep - "But then, on waking,How," quoth he, "amid so manyWaking, know myself again?"
So, to make the matter certain,Strung a gourd about his ankle,And, into a corner creeping,Baghdad and himself and peopleSoon were blotted from his brain.
But one that heard him and divinedHis purpose, slyly crept behind;From the sleeper's ankle clipping,Round his own the pumpkin tied,And laid him down to sleep beside.
By and by, the Arab waking,Looks directly for his signal -Sees it on another's ankle -Cries aloud, "Oh, good-for-nothingRascal to perplex me so!That by you I am bewildered,Whether i be I or no!If I - the pumpkin why on you?If you - then where am I, and who?"
By William Shakespeare
Lord of my love, to whom in vassalageThy merit hath my duty strongly knit,To thee I send this written embassage,To witness duty, not to show my wit:Duty so great, which wit so poor as mineMay make seem bare, in wanting words to show it,But that I hope some good conceit of thineIn thy soul's thought, all naked, will bestow it:Till whatsoever star that guides my moving,Points on me graciously with fair aspect,And puts apparel on my tatter'd loving,To show me worthy of thy sweet respect: Then may I dare to boast how I do love thee; Till then, not show my head where thou mayst prove me.
I, Too, Sing America
By Langston Hughes
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.They send me to eat in the kitchenWhen company comes,But I laugh,And eat well,And grow strong.
Tomorrow,I'll be at the tableWhen company comes.Nobody'll dareSay to me,"Eat in the kitchen,"Then.
Besides, They'll see how beautiful I amAnd be ashamed--
I, too, am America.
To the Sons of India
By Rabindranath Tagore
Before the glance of the West with itspride of power, its traders rolling in luxury,and its pomp and wealth, do not,O sons of Bharat, feel ashamed to wearyour plain white garb and to liveyour simple life with mein noble and calm.
Listen not to what they say,keep your priceless treasurein your heart, let it reston your brow as an invisible crown.
That which looks large and has been heaped high,let it not overwhelm you, and do notprostrate yourselves before it.
Place your free soul on the throneof poverty, filling your mindwith the leisure of want.
From the Movie ‘Mulan’
Look at meI will never pass for a perfect brideOr a perfect daughterCan it beI'm not meant to play this part?Now I seeThat if I were truly to be myselfI would break my fam'ly's heart
Who is that girl I seeStaring straightBack at me?Why is my reflection someoneI don't know?Somehow I cannot hideWho I amThough I've triedWhen will my reflection showWho I am inside?When will my reflection showWho I am inside?
Circle of Life
From the Movie ‘The Lion King’
From the day we arrive on the planetAnd blinking, step into the sunThere's more to see than can ever be seenMore to do than can ever be doneThere's far too much to take in hereMore to find than can ever be foundBut the sun rolling highThrough the sapphire skyKeeps great and small on the endless round
It's the Circle of LifeAnd it moves us all
Through despair and hopeThrough faith and loveTill we find our placeOn the path unwindingIn the CircleThe Circle of Life
It's the Circle of LifeAnd it moves us allThrough despair and hopeThrough faith and loveTill we find our placeOn the path unwindingIn the CircleThe Circle of Life
Heal Our Land
Lyrics by Jamie Rivera
If my people will humble themselves Humble themselves and pray If they seek my face and humble themselves And turn from their wicked ways
I will hear from heaven and forgive their sins I will hear from heaven and heal their land
Lord, heal our land Father, heal our land Hear our cry and turn our nation back to You Lord, heal our land Hear us oh, Lord, and heal our land Forgive our sin and heal our broken land
Lord, we vow our knee, we humble ourselves Humble ourselves and pray Lord, we seek your face and humble ourselves And turn from my wicked ways
Father in Your mercy, forgive our sins Father in Your mercy, come heal our land
(Lord, heal our land Father, heal our land) Hear our cry and heal our broken land
By Roland Tombekai Dempster
I am not you – But you will notGive me a chance,Will not let me be me.
“If I were you”but you knowI am not you,Yet you will notLet me be me.You meddle, interfereIn my affairsAs if they were yoursAnd you were me.
You are unfair, unwise,Foolish to thinkThat I can be you,Talk, actAnd think like you.
God made me me.He made you you.For God’s sakeLet me be me.
A Japanese Folk Song from Aomori
When summer comes,The paddy pools grow warmThe mud lark and the singing frogAre happy, are happyThinking they’re in bath.
When winter comes,The paddy pools are filmed with ice,The mud lark and the singing frogMust think their heaven has stretchedHas stretched and grown above.
When spring comesThere’s water in the paddy poolsThe mud lark and the singing frogAre happy, are happyThinking they’re in the sea.
When autumn comes,The hills and dales turn redThe mud lark and the singing frogCraning their necks above,Must think of the hills are on fire.
The Tame Bird was in a Cage
By Rabindranath Tagore
The tame bird was in a cage, the free bird was in the forest. They met when the time came, it was a decree of fate. The free bird cries, "O my love, let us fly to the wood." The cage bird whispers, "Come hither, let us both live in the cage." Says the free bird, "Among bars, where is there room to spread one's wings?" "Alas," cries the caged bird, "I should not know where to sit perched in the sky." The free bird cries, "My darling, sing the songs of the woodlands." The cage bird sings, "Sit by my side, I'll teach you the speech of the learned." The forest bird cries, "No, ah no! songs can never be taught." The cage bird says, "Alas for me, I know not the songs of the woodlands." There love is intense with longing, but they never can fly wing to wing. Through the bars of the cage they look, and vain is their wish to know each other. They flutter their wings in yearning, and sing, "Come closer, my love!" The free bird cries, "It cannot be, I fear the closed doors of the cage." The cage bird whispers, "Alas, my wings are powerless and dead."
Lead Me, Lord
Lyrics by Gary Valenciano
Lead me Lord, lead me by the handAnd make me face the rising sunComfort me through all the painThat life may bringThere's no other hopeThat I can lean upon
Lead me LordLead me all my lifeWalk by me, walk by me acrossThe lonely road that I may faceTake my arms and let your handShow me the wayShow the way to live inside your heartAll my days, all my life
You are my lightYou're the lamp upon my feetAll the time my LordI need You thereYou are my lightI (just) cannot live aloneLet me stay By Your guiding loveAll through my life
Lead me LordLead me LordEven though at timesI'd rather go alone my wayHelp me take the right directionTake Your roadLead me LordAnd never leave my sideAll my daysAll my life
You are my lightYou're the lamp upon my feetAll the time my LordI need You thereYou are my lightI (just) cannot live aloneLet me stay By Your guiding loveAll through my life
You are my lightYou're the lamp upon my feetAll the time my LordI need You thereYou are my lightI (just) cannot live aloneLet me stay By Your guiding loveAll through my lifeAll through my days
Lead me, Oh LordLead me Lord
Sing Me Your Song Again Daddy
Lyrics by Cherie Gil
Sing me a song again, DaddySing me a happy verse.Teach me those clever lines you sangAs you carried me on your shoulders.Sing me that hymn that you so loudly Sang in church with mom.Sing it again to me and fill me With all your words of wisdom.
Comforting words of love when I Would get home from school in tears.Somehow your songs have stayed within me Down through all the years.Once when my younger heart was brokenYour shoulder was there to cry on.Sing me those songs I know will lingerLong after you have gone.
I am standing at the thresholdOf a chapter in my lifeI am asking for your blessingAs I'm about to be the wifeOf a man I know who loves meAnd I'm proud to be his bride.Dad the time has come for me to leave your side.
So, sing me a song again, Daddy.Sing me a lullaby.Wrap me inside your arms, Daddy,'Though this is not goodbye.Your songs will live foreverIn my heart. When times get roughThe ones I'll most rememberAre your songs of love.
Your songs will live foreverIn my heart. When times get rough
The ones I'll most rememberAre your songs of love.
Lift Up Your Hands to God
Lyrics by Basil Valdez
Life is not all that bad, my friend, hmmmIf you believe in yourselfIf you believe there's SomeoneWho walks through life without youYou'll never be aloneJust learn to reach out,And open your heartLift up hands to God,And He'll show you the way.
And He said, "Cast your burdens upon MeThose who are heavily laden,Come to Me, all of you who are tiredOf carrying heavy loads,For the yoke I will give you is easyAnd My burden is light,Come to Me and I will give you rest."
When you feel the worldIs tumblin' down on you,And you have no oneThat you can hold on to,Just face the rising sunAnd you'll see hope,And there's no need to runLift up your hands to God,And He'll make you feel all right.
And He said, "Cast your burdens upon MeThose who are heavily laden,Come to Me, all of you who are tiredOf carrying heavy loads,For the yoke I will give you is easyAnd My burden is light,Come to Me and I will give you rest."
Please Be Careful with my Heart
By Sarah Geronimo
If you love me like you tell me Please be careful with my heart You can take it just don't break it Or my world will fall apart
You are my first romance And I'm willing to take a chance That 'till life is through I'll still be loving you
I will be true to you Just a promise from you will do From the very start Please be careful with my heart
I love you and you know I do There'll be no one else for me Promise I'll be always true For the world and all to see
Love has heard some lies softly spoken And I have had my heart badly broken I've been burned and I've been hurt before So I know just how you feel Trust my love is real for you I'll be gentle with your heart I'll caress it like the morning dew
I'll be right beside you forever I won't let our world fall apart From the very start I'll be careful with your heart
You are my first (and you are my last) romance And I'm willing to take a chance (I've learned from the past) That 'till life is through I'll still be loving you
I will be true (I will be true) to you Just a promise from you will do (only to you) From the very start (from the very start) From the very start (from the very start) From the very start Please be careful with (I'll be careful with) my heart (your heart)
By Rabindranath Tagore
Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life.
This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new.
At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.
Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.
Translated by Peter H. Lee
By Hwang Chini
I will break the back of this long winter night,folding it double, cold beneath my spring quilt,that I may draw out the night, should my love return.
By Prince Inp'yong
Don't mock a pine twisted and bent by the winds.Flowers in the spring wind, can they keep their brilliance?When wind blows and snow whirls, you will call for me.
By Yi Chongbo
May my love become an alder tree of Kumsong in Hoeyang, and I an arrowroot vine in the third month or fourth:Like a spider's web around a butterfly, the vine goes round the tree, tightly this way, tightly that, wrongly loosened, properly wound, bound, then loosened from down below all the way to the top, tighty winding round and round
without a single gap, and unchanging, day and night, it's coiled around, twisting.Though, in the heart of winter, we bear wind, rain, snow, and frost, could we ever be apart?
By Carlos Angeles
Sun in the knifed horizon bleeds the sky,Spilling a peacock stain upon the sand,Across some murdered rocks refuse to die.It is your absence touches my sad handsBlinded like flags in the wreck of air.
And catacombs of cloud enshroud the coolAnd calm involvement of the darkened plains,The stunted mourners here: and her, a fullAnd universal tenderness which drainsThe sucked and golden breath of sky comes bare,
Now, while the dark basins the void of space,Some sudden crickets, ambushing me near,Discover vowels of your whispered faceAnd subtly cry. I touch your absence here Remembering the speeches of your hair.
By Kahlil Gibran
In the still of the night As man slumbers behind the folds, the forest proclaims:
"I am the power Brought by the sun from The heart of the earth."
The sea remains quiet, saying to itself,
"I am the power."
The rock says,
"The ages erected me as a monument Until the Judgment Day."
The sea remains silent saying to itself,
"I am the monument."
The wind howls
"I am strong, I separate the heavens from the earth."
The sea remains quiet, saying to itself,
"The wind is mine."
The river says
"I am the pure water That quenches the thirst of the earth."
The sea remains silent saying to itself,
"The river is mine."
The summit says,
"I stand high like a star In the center of the sky."
The sea remains quiet saying to itself,
"The summit is mine."
The brain says,
"I am a ruler; The world is in those who rule."'
The sea remains slumbering saying, in its sleep,
"All is mine."
By Rivai Apin
What we can feel, but need not mention,What we can think, but need not say…Don’t grieve—we shall go on,We shall bring this truth to its star and its earth,And we are sure, having preserved one of your words,One sight of a barren land, before sorrow choked our hearts.Oh, your memory will always pursue us,Frightening as a shadow in the swaying hut, when the lamp is litBut as full of love as the Father’s outstretched hands;And you come back, as in the days when you and this world still rang with life.We shall not forget you, hunting or running,Since what we pursue and what we run fromIs what you’ll die forAnd how we’ll reflect on youAnd we know, too, as you know, that there is no idol and no other God worth living forLet the storm blow in this barren desert:Our buried feet in this arid land, where you are lying,Continue to flare, and we that stand here are flames.
We maintain Life for tonight, the night which will become oon.We are sons of one Father,We are sons of one Mother,And though our death is only a matter of timeWe shall all uphold the One God.Brothers yet to come, brothers already gone,We shall lift this cracked earth, this dry earth,A heavy burden for aching shoulders—and our hearts, bitter with defeatWill fill with love for the belief we follow
Marriages are Made
By Eunice de Souza
My cousin Elenais to be marriedThe formalitieshave been completed:her family history examinedfor T.B. and madnessher father declared solventher eyes examined for squintsher teeth for cavitiesher stools for the possiblenon-Brahmin worm.She's not quite tall enoughand not quite full enough(children will take care of that)Her complexion it was decidedwould compensate, being just aboutthe right shadeof rightnessto do justice toFrancisco X. Noronha Prabhugood son of Mother Church.
By Li Po
I take my wine jug out among the flowersto drink alone, without friends.
I raise my cup to entice the moon.That, and my shadow, makes us three.
But the moon doesn't drink,and my shadow silently follows.
I will travel with moon and shadow,happy to the end of spring.
When I sing, the moon dances.When I dance, my shadow dances, too.
We share life's joys when sober.Drunk, each goes a separate way.
Constant friends, although we wander,we'll meet again in the Milky Way.
Amidst the Flower a Jug of Wine
By Li Po
Amidst the flowers a jug of wine, I pour alone lacking companionship. So raising the cup I invite the Moon, Then turn to my shadow which makes three of us. Because the Moon does not know how to drink, My shadow merely follows the movement of my body. The moon has brought the shadow to keep me company a while, The practice of mirth should keep pace with spring. I start a song and the moon begins to reel, I rise and dance and the shadow moves grotesquely. While I'm still conscious let's rejoice with one another, After I'm drunk let each one go his way. Let us bind ourselves for ever for passionless journeyings. Let us swear to meet again far in the Milky Way.
Climbing the West of Lotus Flower Peak
By Li Po
Amongst the grandeur of Hua ShanI climb to the Flower Peak,and fancy I see fairies and immortalscarrying lotus in their
sacred white hands, robes flowingthey fly filling the sky with colouras they rise to the palace of heaven,inviting me to go to the cloud stageand see Wei Shu-ching, guardian angelof Hua Shan; so dreamily I go with themriding to the sky on the backof wild geese which call as they fly,but when we look below at Loyang,not so clear because of the mist,everywhere could be seen lootingarmies, which took Loyang, creatingchaos and madness with bloodflowing everywhere; like animals of preyrebel army men made into officialswith caps and robes to match.
What Hurts the Most
By the Rascal Flatts
I can take the rain on the roof of this empty houseThat don’t bother meI can take a few tears now and then and just let them outI’m not afraid to cry every once in a whileEven though going on with you gone still upsets meThere are days every now and again I pretend I’m okBut that’s not what gets me
What hurts the mostWas being so closeAnd having so much to sayAnd watching you walk awayAnd never knowingWhat could have beenAnd not seeing that loving youIs what I was tryin’ to do
It’s hard to deal with the pain of losing you everywhere I goBut I’m doin’ ItIt’s hard to force that smile when I see our old friends and I’m aloneStill HarderGetting up, getting dressed, livin’ with this regretBut I know if I could do it overI would trade give away all the words that I saved in my heartThat I left unspoken
What hurts the mostIs being so closeAnd having so much to sayAnd watching you walk awayAnd never knowingWhat could have beenAnd not seeing that loving youIs what I was trying to do
What hurts the mostIs being so closeAnd having so much to sayAnd watching you walk awayAnd never knowingWhat could have beenAnd not seeing that loving youIs what I was trying to do
Not seeing that loving youThat’s what I was trying to do
By Martin Nievera
To dream the impossible dreamTo fight the unbeatable foeTo bear with unbearable sorrowAnd to run where the brave dare not goTo right the unrightable wrongAnd to love pure and chaste from afarTo try when you arms are too wearyTo reach the unreachable starThis is my questTo follow that starNo matter how hopelessNo matter how farTo fight for the rightWithout question or pauseTo be willing to march,March into hellFor that heavenly causeAnd I knowIf I’ll only be trueTo this glorious questThat my heartWill lie peaceful and calmWhen I’m laid to my restAnd the world will be
Better for thisThat one man, scornedAnd covered with scars,Still strove with his lastOunce of courageTo reach the unreachable,The unreachableThe unreachable starAnd I’ll always dreamThe impossible dreamYes, and I’ll reachThe unreachable star
Wishing and Hoping
By Winston Harding
As long as we are hereWe will changeFrom different stages We growWishing and hopingFor betterHoping for a Brighter daySo, we wish and hopeSooner than laterWe shall arriveAt the conclusion; Our wishing and hopingIs eternal
Say that You Love Me
By Jay-R and Kyla
My morning starts to shine with teardrops in my eyesAnd here I am alone starting to realizeThat my days would be brighter, if I could learn to hideThe feelings that I have for you keep hurtin me inside
Then my day begins with simple thoughts of youHoping that tomorrow would be me and youSharing dreams with each otherAnd making them come trueHolding one another, saying all I need is you
But will you say that you love meAnd show me that you careSay when I need you, you will always be thereBut if you go and leave meThis I swear is true, my love will always be with youNow my nights would end that just one wish that's youTo hold me in the dark, help me make it throughCause the pain that's inside me, would simply melt awayIf I had you here with me and promise me you'll stay
But will you say that you love meAnd show me that you careSay when I need you, you will always be thereBut if you go and leave meThis I swear is true, my love will always be with you
But will you say that you love meAnd show me that you careSay when I need you, you will always be thereBut if you go and leave meThis I swear is trueMy love will alwaysMy love will always ooh, oohMy love will always be with you
The Fourth Quarter: Essay
Mother Teresa, The Saint of Gutters
Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, Yugoslavia (which is now Macedonia) in 1910 and died on September 5, 1997. Her parents were Nikola and Dronda Bojaxhiu. They named her Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, but she changed her name to Teresa on May 24, 1931. Her father was murdered when she was seven.
Mother Teresa taught geography at St. Mary's School in Calcutta, India from 1929 to 1948. When she was riding a train to Darjeeling though, she heard God call. Soon she wanted to help the sick, the poor, and the dying. She took her final vows and became a Roman Catholic nun in 1937. She started to work in the Missionaries of Charity. Her first day on the job, Mother Teresa picked up a dying woman who was half-eaten by ants. Mother Teresa took the woman to Dhardnshala. She tried to clean the woman, but her skin came off and the woman died.
In 1952 Mother Teresa started the Kalighat Home for the Dying. She and other nuns searched for people who were sick or dying on the streets in Calcutta, India. They helped and cared for them at the home. Once Mother Teresa said, "I see God in every human being." She became known as "The Saint Of the Gutters." Also, in the later 1950's, she began a leper colony called the "Town of Peace."
Later, every one of her centers were placed under an organization called the Missionaries of Charity. The centers helped to treat blind people, lepers, the dying, the disabled, and the old. Mother Teresa also started orphanages and schools for the poor. By 1990, there were centers in 25 countries.
Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1972, the Magsaysay Award in 1962, the Leo Tolstoy International Award, the First Pope John XXIII Peace Prize in 1971, the Padma Shri in 1963, and the Bharat Ratna in 1980. All of the money Mother Teresa got from her awards, she gave to the centers she set up.
Even though Mother Teresa is not with us on earth here today, she is still with us, in our hearts.
Story of a Saint
By A.M. Rosenthal
Pochempelli lay baking in the sun South of India on April 18, 1951. Like other villages in the Telengana district, it was sick with hunger, angry with landlessness, and ready for Communists.
But that day in Pochempelli, a saint was born – at the age of 56 – and the strangest economic movement of modern times began.
The movement was based on the simple idea that the peasant must have land, his own land, to live. And that those who had more than enough should, just because it was right, give to those who had none. Its essential ingredient was something unashamedly called ‘love.’
Since that day, thousands of Indians have sat on the ground listening to a frail little man with a pale goatee, slipping spectacles and a faraway look. When he finishes his message, they sign over part of their precious land for him to give to others. What’s more, thousands who have never ever seen this man have sent him slips of paper, legal in the courts, stating: ‘I give to Vinoba this much of my land.’
The man who started all this was Vinoba Bhave. Until he came to Pochempelli, Vinoba Bhave led the fight against communism in India. He received prestigious awards. He was not much more than another religious intellectual – part hermit, part sage.
He believed in goodness and non-violence, but he lived remote from men. Though he had other disciplines, his name meant little to others.
Today, Vinoba Bhave is known in every corner of India. In the villages, and India is a country of five hundred thousand villages, they call him Saint Vinoba. He has walked a thousand miles preaching a simple message.
The the landed, he says, ‘You who have land give to the Landless. If you have five sons, make me your sixth, and give me my share and I will give it to those who have no land.’
To those who will receive it, he says: ‘The receiver of the land will have to work it, improve it, wet it with his sweat before he can get his bread from it.’
The sixth son of India has collected almost four million acres of land from the rich. He has distributed about seventy thousand acres of it to the poor. The rest is being parcelled out by dedicated followers who work for 30 rupees a month (about $6) or for nothing.
This is his solution to one of India’s biggest problems, finding land for the landless farmer and millions believe it will work.
It all began in April 1951 when Vinoba was walking through Telengana to attend a conference of the followers of Gandhi, now three years dead. At the time, Telengana, which is in the state of Hyderabad, was the center for communist activity.
Everywhere Vinoba went, the villagers, who saw him a disciple of the great Gandhi, came to him. They told him they were afraid of the Communists, true, but were beginning to think, why not communism?
Vinoba talked peace and work to them, non-violence to the Communists. But he had no real answers; he and the peasants and the Communists knew it.
On the 18th, he entered the village of Pochempelli, a place like many of the villages of India. He held a prayer meeting under the trees. In the group squatting before him were many Harijans.
‘We have no land,’ said one of their leaders. ‘The government is not helping us. The Communists say they will give us land’
More in despair than out of any other motive, Vinoba said to the other villagers: ‘What will you do for the families of the Harijans?’
In the group was a wealthy man, by the standards of Telengana. His name was Ram Chandra and he belonged to the caste of the Reddis, not high born but hardworking and powerful. Like everybody else, he was worried about the Communists, and the fact that some landlords had thought it the best part of bravery to fall in with them.
That day, when Vinoba asked what was to be done for the landless Harijans, the answer came quite simply to Chandra. Suddenly, he was on his feet, offering his own land.
Vinoba looked at Ram, shook his head slightly and said he did not believe him. Ram Chandra asked for a scrap of paper. On it he wrote a sentence signing away one hundred acres.
Vinoba, a man who almost never displayed emotion, clapped his hands with joy. For in that moment of elation he had decided that what Ram Chandra would do, others would do, and that this would be the mission of his life.
‘A man does not find it difficult to part with money,’ he said later, ‘but to give away in charity is felt like sharing one’s body with others.’
That was the beginning of Bhoodan – land gift-movement. For fifty days, Vinoba walked through the rest of Hyderabad, talking out the idea. And during that time twelve thousand acres were given to him. The Communist threat to Hyderabad was now dead. Vinoba did not kill it himself. Indian troops, new legislation, abolition of some of the rent-collecting middlemen who had been riding on the back of the peasants, all helped make Hyderabad a place where men could walk without fear.
After Hyderabad, the big men of government in New Delhi acclaimed Bhoodan. Gifts came from all over the country, from places were Vinoba had never set foot.
There were attempts to tie up Bhoodan with a political party, with other organizations. But Vinoba turned away from them and started walking again, through Bihar, into Bengal, into Orissa and Andhra. Everywhere people waited for him and cried ‘Victory to Saint Vinoba!’ And everywhere Vinoba prayed and talked.
The man who India calls the new Gandhi was born on September 11, 1895, the son of a Brahmin family is Maharashtra in Western India. He was of the highest caste.
From his earliest years, Vinoba knew his way was the way of asceticism. At twelve, he took the vow of chastity. Like most Hindus, he was a vegetarian. A friend said of him, ‘He ate books.’
When he was sixteen, Vinoba left his family to seek a life of study, self-denial and understanding. While at the university in the Holy City of Benares, he met Mahatma Gandhi.
For about twenty years, Vinoba studied and prayed and followed Gandhi. Once he asked for a year’s leave of absence and spent it studying to train his mind and scavenging in the villages to train his soul.
In 1940, he was chosen by Gandhi to offer himself for arrest as a protest against British laws barring public speeches and assemblies. He spent most of the next five years in jail.
After independence from India, Vinoba took no part in the political life of the country. When Gandhi died by an assassin’s bullet, many looked to Vinoba for a renewal of the spiritual light they felt had gone out of their lives. ‘
Speaking of the meaning of Bhoodan, Vinoba told his listeners: ‘The life of India must be built on the villages. For centuries her people have let other think and rule for them. Now, since the independence, the power is theirs, but they must feel it and experience it themselves. Bhoodan is a step forward toward the realization of the independence of the village.
The Moorish Banquet
How grateful I was, last week, to be spending a short vacation in Marrakech and Essaouira in Southern Morocco, enjoying the sunshine and the sounds, smells and colors of the souks, riyads and lush gardens.
How welcome all this light and beauty was, after the last difficult, grey winter months filled with the loss of a loved one.
Immersing myself in the arts and crafts of the Maghribi marketplaces, admiring the splendor of medieval Marrakech and Essaouira - town walls over a thousand years old, white- washed walls, blue and turquoise lattices, tiles and mosaic floors radiating an infinity of patterned color, tinkling fountains in quiet courtyards - I found so much to enjoy, so much to explore,so much to look forward to each morning.
With all these sights and all the history surrounding me, it was a small oil painting in the corner of a restaurant near the old city ramparts of Essaouira that fired my imagination most. The painting depicted a banquet scene of the 1930s, at night, a banquet which was, in fact, held alongside the main gates of old Essaouira back then with all the important notables and persons of standing attending in splendid attire, with burnus and long flowing gowns. The notables - sheiks, merchants, guests - were still feasting, their figures lit by candles, framed by palm trees, behind them, the ramparts, dimly visible; and, turned to us, is the slim figure of a young black servant, wearing a turban and carrying what looks like a tray with refreshments. He seems to be looking our way, as if about to invite us, too, to join the festivity - why are we hesitating? The young servant seems to be moving toward us, as if to say " There is enough for everyone, come join us, stranger!" I frequented that restaurant often in order to sit at a table near this painting and continue imagining who the notables in their fine gowns had been, what they were celebrating, and what had become
of them. Did their grandchildren still live in Essaouira? And what about that elegantly dressed young servant - what treats would he be carrying on that silver tray? Dates, sweet pastries, oranges, or rahter, tea, coffee or sherbet? I invented dialogues with the servant, how we would have been greeted; and imagined what adventurous lives these finely dressed men must have led in the years following the banquet. Even after leaving Essaouira and flying back to Germany, I find that this old painting, which I have fondly dubbed "The Moorish Banquet", still speaks to me. It is the mystery of a great feast which we are allowed to observe, from a distance, as it were; then, upon closer scrutiny, we are intrigued - and delighted? Amazed? - to realize we are being included, that a slim young servant is turning to us to allow us to partake of refreshments. It is up to us to accept, to take the next step, to enter the circle of guests and join in. "The Moorish Banquet" speaks to me as metaphor, urging me to accept Life's many invitations, invitations to participate and enjoy and belong, invitations I may not have noticing, opportunities I may not yet be fully aware of. The Moorish banquet urges me to accept, to step forward, to seize the moment and to have faith that I am welcome, that I belong.
By Peter Abrahams
It was a hot, humid, oppressive August day in Accra, capital of the Gold Coast that was to become Ghana. The air had the stillness of death. I walked down toward the sea front. Perhaps there would be the hint of a breeze there. As I neared the sea front I was assailed by a potent stench of the sea with strong overtones of rotting fish.
The houses were drab, run-down wooden structures or made of corrugated iron, put together any way you please. The streets were wide and tarred, and each street had an open drainage system into which young boys and old men piddled when they needed to relieve themselves. I have seen women empty chamber pots into these drains in the early morning. The fierce sun takes care of the germs, but God help you if smells make you sick.
In about eight minutes of walking, some fifteen "taxis" pulled up beside me: "Hi, massa! Taxi, massa! Me go anywhere you go cheap!" They are all private taxis with no meters and driven by strapping young men with flashing teeth. The place is full of taxi drivers willing to go anywhere and do anything cheap.
The street traders here are women. "Mammy traders," they are called. They trade in everything. They sell cigarettes, one at a time; round loaves of bread and hunks of cooked meat on which the big West African flies make sport. They love bargaining and haggling. They are a powerful economic factor in the life of the country. The more prosperous ones own their own trucks, some own fleets of trucks. These "mammy trucks" are the principal carriers of the country. They carry passengers as well as produce and go hurtling across the countryside with little regard for life or limb. Each truck has its own distinctive slogan, such as: Repent for Death is Round the Corner, or Enter Without Hope, or The Last Ride or // it Must it Will. My own favorite and I travelled in this particular truck pleaded Not Today O Lord Not Today.
I passed many mammy traders, many mammy trucks, before I reached the sea front. I crossed a street, jumped over an open drain, and there was the sea. But there was no breeze, and no shade from the terrible sun. In the end I gave in to the idea of "taxi, massa, taxi" and looked about for one. But now there was no taxi in sight. Instead, I saw suddenly a long procession of many women and a few men. The procession swung round a corner and came into full view, twenty or thirty yards long. The women wore white flowing robes and white kerchiefs on their heads. Their faces were painted into grotesque masks made with thick streaks of black, red, white and yellow paints. The heavy thud of bare feet rose above the hum of the sea.
Then, all at once, the drums burst forth and there was no other sound about me. The marching women began to jig, then dance. As the tail of the procession passed me the drums reached a frenzy. A thin, pure note from a reed rose above the drums. The whole procession became a shivering, shaking mass. The reed note held longer than seemed human. And then, dramatically, there was silence. The thudding feet faded away out of sight and sound. There was silence and a slight racing of my heartbeat and the hum of the sea, and, of course, the overpowering fishy stench.
I thought of Richard Wright, with whom I had had breakfast that morning. This was his first visit to any part of Africa and he seemed to find it bewildering. Countee Cullen, the late American Negro poet, had speculated:
One three centuries removed From the scenes his fathers loved, Spicy grove, cinnamon tree, What is Africa to me? Wright was finding the answers and finding them disconcerting. He had been astounded by the
casual attitude to sex. There was, he had said, too much sex, too casually given and taken; so that it worked out as no sex, with none of the emotional involvement associated with sex in the western mind. He shook his head with a slight disgust. The open drains into which young boys and old men piddled had led him to conclude that Africans piddled rather more than other people. The sight of young men dancing together, holding hands, disturbed the puritan in him. He expressed to me that morning what he later summed up in his book on the Gold Coast: "I was black and they were black but it did not help me."
What Wright did not understand, what his whole background and training had made difficult for him to understand, was that being black did not of itself qualify one for acceptance in tribal Africa. But how could he, when there are thousands of urban-bred Africans up and down the vast continent who do not themselves understand this? The more perceptive of the urban Africans are only now beginning to comprehend, but slowly.
Being black is a small matter in tribal Africa because the attitude toward color is healthy and normal. Color does not matter. Color is an act of God that neither confers privileges nor imposes handicaps on a man. A man's skin is like the day: the day is either clear or dark. There is nothing more to it until external agencies come in and invest it with special meaning and importance.
What does matter to the tribal African, what is important, is the complex pattern of his position within his own group and his relations with the other members of the group. He is no Pan-African dreaming of a greater African glory when the white man is driven into the sea. The acute race consciousness of the American Negro, or of the black South African at the receiving end of apartheid, is alien to him. The important things in his life are anything but race and color until they are forced on him. And "Mother Africa" is much too vast to inspire big continental dreams in him. She is a land of huge mountains, dark jungles and vast deserts. In her rivers and in her jungles and in her grasslands lurk creatures that are the enemies of man: the leopard and the lion, the snake and crocodile. All this makes travel, by the old African methods, extremely difficult and makes for isolation between one group of people and another. The African who is in Britain is likely to be a deal better informed on what is happening all over the continent than would be his fellow African in any of the main centers of both tribal and nontribal Africa. In terms of communications the man in the tribe lives in the Dark Ages.
Richard Wright was surprised that even educated Africans, racially conscious literate people, had not heard of him and were skeptical of a grown man earning his living by writing. They could not understand what kind of writing brought a man enough money to support a family. Wright really wanted to understand the African, but "I found the African an oblique, a hard-to-know man."
My sympathies were all with Wright.
The heat and salty rancid fish smell had made me desperately thirsty. Across the way a mammy trader squatted beside her pile of merchandise: cooked meats, sweet potatoes a whole host of edibles and some bottles of opaque white liquid that could be either coconut milk or palm juice as well as the inevitable little pile of cigarettes priced at a penny apiece. I had been warned of the risks involved in eating anything sold by the street traders. But to hell with it, I was thirsty and not exactly a stranger to African germs. I crossed the street, felt the bottles and chose the one that seemed coolest and looked the least opaque.
"How much?" "One shilling." The carved ebony face looked at me with dead eyes. I pulled the screwed-up newspaper stopper from the bottle, wiped its mouth and took a swig. I could
not decide whether it was coconut milk or palm juice. It had been heavily watered down and sweetened. But it was wet and thirst-quenching. I drank half the bottle, firmly ignoring the little foreign bodies that floated in the liquid. Then I paid her and drank the rest. I put down the empty and began to move away.
"You African?" she asked in her harsh, cold, masculine voice. I stopped, turned and looked at her face. It was as deadly cold and impersonal as before: not a flicker
of feeling in her eyes. Like an African mask, I thought. But unlike Wright, I did not try to penetrate it; I knew the futility of trying. She would show feeling if and when she decided, not before.
"Yes," I said, and added, "from the south. Far, far south." She paused for so long that I began to move again. "You like here?" Nationalism had obviously touched her. I turned back to her. "No," I said. "Why you don't like?" "I don't say I don't like." "But you don't like?" I showed her my teeth, African-wise, which is neither smile nor grimace but a blending of the two.
"You like Africa?" I asked. Now it was her turn to show me her teeth. There was a flicker of feeling in her eyes, then they went
dead again. She nodded. I had established my claim. Only outsiders white people or the Richard Wrights liked or disliked Africa.
I left the mammy trader and carried on up the smelly and hot street. Much and little had passed between us. Out to sea some fishing boats appeared on the sky line. About me were the citizens of Accra. Some wore the cloth of the country the men looking like pint-sized citizens of ancient Rome painted black and the women looking extraordinarily masculine and others wore western dress.
My thoughts shifted to my forthcoming meeting with Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first prime minister. It was well over seven years since I had last seen him, in London. Then he was a poor struggling student; now he was the head of a state and the spokesman for the great Pan-African dream of freedom and independence.
I remembered our past friendship and wondered what changes I would find in him. Anyway, it was now 9 a.m. and my date with him was for 9:30. I would soon know.
A few minutes later I flagged a taxi and simply said, "Kwame's office." A pale-brown West Indian miss was the prime minister's secretary. She welcomed me as though I
was a V.I.P. The prime minister had not come back from a conference yet. This tribal business was taking up a lot of his attention. She told me with indignation how members of the Ashanti tribe had to crawl on their bellies for some twenty yards into the presence of their king, the Asantehene, and how tribalism had to give way or there would be no progress. If she was any indication, then Nkrumah was very worried about the opposition the tribesmen were offering his western-style Convention People's Party.
A number of officials came in. The lady stopped assailing the tribes. Then there was some bustle and the prime minister arrived. In something just over five minutes he had seen and dealt with these officials and I was ushered into his office. It was a big, pleasant, cool room.
Nkrumah came round his big official desk, took my hand and led me to a settee near the window. The now famous smile lit up his face. As we exchanged greetings, felt each other out with small talk in an attempt to bridge the gap of years, my mind went back to our London days. This poised, relaxed man, with the hint of guarded reserve about him, was a far cry from the friend I had last seen nearly eight years earlier.
For me, the most striking change of all was in his eyes. They reflected an inner tranquillity which was the one thing the Nkrumah in Europe never had.
Even his name had been subtly different then. He had been our friend Francis Nkrumah, an African student recently arrived from the United States, and he had not seen Africa for a decade and more. He had quickly become a part of our African colony in London and had joined our little group, the Pan- African Federation, in our protests against colonialism.
He was much less relaxed than most of us. His eyes mirrored a burning inner conflict and tension. He seemed consumed by a restlessness that led him to evolve some of the most fantastic schemes.
The president of our federation was an East African named Johnstone Kenyatta, the most relaxed, sophisticated and "westernized" of the lot of us. Kenyatta enjoyed the personal friendship of some of the most distinguished people in English political and intellectual society. He was subtle, subtle enough to attack one's principles bitterly and retain one's friendship. He fought the British as imperialists but was affectionate toward them as friends.
It was to this balanced and extremely cultured man that Francis Nkrumah proposed that we form a secret society called The Circle, and that each of us spill a few drops of our blood into a bowl and so take a blood oath of secrecy and dedication to the emancipation of Africa.
Johnstone Kenyatta laughed at the idea; he scoffed at it as childish juju. He conceived our struggle in modern, twentieth-century terms with no ritualistic blood nonsense. In the end Francis Nkrumah drifted away from us and started his own little West African group in London. We were too tame and slow for him. He was an angry man in a hurry.
Then he went back to his part of Africa, and Francis Nkrumah became Kwame Nkrumah. He set himself at the head of the largely tribal populace and dabbled in blood ritual. There was some violence, a spell in prison, and finally Nkrumah emerged as the first African prime minister in a self-governing British African territory.
Tribal myths grew up around him. He could make himself invisible at will. He could go without food and sleep and drink longer than ordinary mortals. He was, in fact, the reincarnation of some of the most powerful ancestral spirits. He allowed his feet to be bathed in blood.
By the time I visited the Gold Coast the uneasy alliance between Nkrumah and the tribal chiefs had begun to crack. A week or so before my arrival he had threatened that, unless they co-operated with his government in turning the Gold Coast into an efficient twentieth-century state, he would make them run so hard that they would leave their sandals behind them. This was a calculated insult to the tribal concept that a chief's bare feet must never touch the earth.
That was the beginning of the secret war. Nkrumah thought he would win it easily. He was wrong.And the chiefs have, negatively, scored their victories too. They have pushed him to a point where
his regime is, today, intolerant of opposition. The tribal society brooks no opposition. Nkrumah's government banishes its most active opponents. As a modern socialist leading a western-style government, he justifies this as a temporary expedient. But his less sophisticated ministers frankly talk the tribal language of strength, frankly express the tribal impulse to destroy those who are out of step.
There was an air of delicacy about our conversation and we were both aware of this. We touched on local politics. He let off at full blast against the tribalist. I told him I had heard that the Accra Club was still
exclusively European. His eyes lit up. "You wait and see," he said. Then, in relation to nothing either of us had said, he leaned toward me and exclaimed, "This place is rich! God, man, there's so much riches here!" -as though the revelation had just been made to him.
But always, throughout our talk, I sensed a new reserve, a new caution that had not been there in the young student I had known in Europe.
As we talked in Nkrumah's cool office that hot August day in Accra, my mind kept slipping back to our mutual friend Jomo or Johnstone Kenyatta, now imprisoned in his native Kenya for leading the Mau-Mau movement. Significantly, though we mentioned many friends, both Nkrumah and I avoided mentioning Kenyatta. I had decided not to mention him first. I had hoped Nkrumah would. He did not.
A year earlier, I had flown up to Kenya from South Africa and visited Kenyatta. I felt terribly depressed as I got off the plane. Things had grown so much uglier in the Union. The barricades were up in the ugly war of color. When I had left South Africa in the dim-and-distant past, there were isolated islands where black and white could meet in neutral territory. When I went back in 1952, the islands were submerged under the rising tide of color hatreds, and I was glad to suit that dark, unhappy land which yet compelled my love.
It was in this mood that I got off the plane. I had not seen my friend Jomo for years. Now there he was, just outside the airport terminal building, leaning on a heavy cane, bigger than I remembered him in Europe, paunchy, his face looking puffy. And behind him was a huge crowd of Africans.
I began to move toward him when a lean-faced, lean-hipped white colonial-administrator type suddenly appeared beside me and said: "Mr. Abrahams."
I stopped and thought, "Oh, Lord." Kenyatta also came forward. The two men ignored each other. Lean-face introduced himself and said
the Colonial Office had alerted them that I was coming to do some writing for the London Observer and they had drawn up a provisional schedule for me. Had I done anything about accommodations?
Before I could answer, Kenyatta said, "You are staying with me, of course." The old detachment was back in his eyes. They seemed to say, "You've got to choose, pal. Let's see how you choose."
Lean-face said, "We've got something set up for you for tomorrow and-" "I live in the bush," Kenyatta added. It dawned on me that I had become, for the moment, the battlefield of that horrible animal, the
racial struggle. I made up my mind, resenting both sides and yet conscious of the crowd of Africans in the background. A question of face was involved.
"I've promised to spend this week end with Mr. Kenyatta," I said. Lean-face was graceful about it. I promised to call the Secretariat first thing on Monday morning. He
gave me a copy of the schedule that had been prepared for me and wondered, sotto voce, whether I knew what I was letting myself in for. Kenyatta assured me that I would be perfectly safe, that nobody was going to cut my throat. I was aware that they were talking to each other through me. I was aware that they knew I was aware, and that made me bad-tempered.
"Then I'll say good night, Mr. Abrahams," Lean-face said pointedly. As soon as he was out of hearing Kenyatta began to curse. "It's good to see you again, Johnstone." I gripped his hand. "Jomo," he replied. The hint of ironic speculation was back in his eyes. A slightly sardonic, slightly
bitter smile played on his lips. "Welcome to Kenya, Peter," he said. Then, abruptly: "Come meet the leaders of my people. They've
been waiting long."
We moved forward and the crowd gathered about us. Jomo made a little speech in Kikuyu, then translated it for my benefit. A little old man, ancient as the hills, with huge holes in his ears, then welcomed me on behalf of the land and its people. Again Jomo translated.
After this we all bundled into the fleet of rattling old cars and set off for the Kikuyu reserve in the heart of the African bush. Kenyatta became silent and strangely remote during the journey.
We stopped at the old chief's compound, where other members of the tribe waited to welcome me. By this time the reception committee had grown to a few hundred. About me, pervading the air, was the stench of burning flesh; a young cow was being roasted in my honor. Before I entered the house a drink was handed to me. Another was handed to the old chief and a third to Kenyatta. The old man muttered a brief incantation and spilled half his drink on the earth as a libation. Jomo and I followed suit. Then the three of us downed our drinks and entered the house.
A general feasting and drinking then commenced, both inside and outside the house. I was getting a full ceremonial tribal welcome. The important dignitaries of the tribe slipped into the room in twos and threes, spoke to me through Kenyatta for a few moments, and then went away, making room for others.
"Africa doesn't seem to change," Kenyatta murmured between dignitaries. There was a terrible undercurrent of bitterness behind the softly murmured words. I was startled by it and looked at his face. For a fleeting moment he looked like a trapped, caged animal.
He saw me looking at him and quickly composed his face into a slightly sardonic, humorous mask. "Don't look too closely," he said.
And still the dignitaries filed in, had a drink, spoke their welcome and went out. The ceremonial welcome reached its high point about midnight. Huge chunks of the roasted cow
were brought in to us, and we gnawed at the almost raw meat between swigs of liquor. Outside, there was muted drumming. Voices were growing louder and louder.
Suddenly, in the midst of a long-winded speech by an immensely dignified Masai chief from a neighboring and friendly tribe, Kenyatta jumped up, grabbed his heavy cane and half staggered through the door.
"Come, Peter," he called. Everybody was startled. I hesitated. He raised his cane and beckoned to me with it. I knew that this
would be a dreadful breach of tribal etiquette. "Come, man!" he snapped. I got up, aware of the sudden silence that had descended on the huge gathering. By some strange
magic everybody seemed to know that something had gone wrong. "Jomo," I said. "I can't stand any more," he snapped. "Come!" I followed him to the door. I knew the discourtesy we were inflicting on the tribe. I also knew that my
friend was at the breaking point. We walked through the crowd of people, got into Kenyatta's car and drove off into the night. The African moon was big and yellow, bathing the land in a soft light that almost achieved the clarity of daylight.
He took me to his home. It was a big, sprawling, empty place on the brow of a hill. Inside, it had nothing to make for comfort. There were hard wooden chairs, a few tables and only the bed in the bedroom. There were no books, none of the normal amenities of western civilization. When we arrived two women emerged from somewhere in the back and hovered about in the shadows. They brought in liquor, but I never got a clear glimpse of either of them. My friend's anguish of spirit was such that I did not want to ask questions. We sat on the veranda and drank steadily and in silence until we were both miserably, depressingly drunk.
And then Kenyatta began to speak in a low, bitter voice of his frustration and of the isolated position in which he found himself. He had no friends. There was no one in the tribe who could give him the intellectual companionship that had become so important to him in his years in Europe. The things that were important to him consequential conversation, the drink that represented a social activity rather than the intention to get drunk, the concept of individualism, the inviolability of privacy all these were alien to the tribesmen in whose midst he lived. So Kenyatta, the western man, was driven in on himself and was forced to assert himself in tribal terms. Only thus would the tribesmen follow him and so give him his position of power and importance as a leader.
To live without roots is to live in hell, and no man chooses voluntarily to live in hell. The people who could answer his needs as a western man had erected a barrier of color against him in spite of the fact that the taproots of their culture had become the taproots of his culture too. By denying him access to those things which complete the life of western man, they had forced him back into the tribalism from which he had so painfully freed himself over the years.
None of this was stated explicitly by either Kenyatta or myself. But it was there in his brooding bitter commentary on both the tribes and the white settlers of the land. For me, Kenyatta became that night a man who in his own life personified the terrible tragedy of Africa and the terrible secret war that rages in it. He was the victim both of tribalism and of westernism gone sick. His heart and mind and body were the battlefield of the ugly violence known as the Mau Mau revolt long before it broke out in that beautiful land. The tragedy is that he was so rarely gifted, that he could have made such a magnificent contribution in other circumstances.
What then is tribal man? Perhaps his most important single characteristic is that he is not an individual in the western sense. Psychologically and emotionally he is the present living personification of a number of forces, among the most important of which are the ancestral dead. The dead have a powerful hold on the living. They control and regulate the lives and activities of the living from the grave. They hand out the rules and codes by which the living conduct their daily affairs. If there is a drought, if there is a famine, it is a sign that the ancestors are angry because someone has broken a rule of the tribe, a law laid down by the dead. There will be no peace, no order, no prosperity in the tribe until the ancestors are appeased.
So the chief calls the whole tribe to a meeting in which the guilty ones will be "smelled out." The procedure begins with the drums a key factor in African life. Their insistent throbs call the people to the gathering on a placid, almost momentous key at first, but working on the emotions. Everyone in the village will be present; no man, woman or child would think of not obeying the summons. They form a circle, with the witch doctor or medicine man and the drummers to the fore. When all the people are assembled the throbbing of the drums increases. They beat in tune to the heartbeats of the human circle.
The witch doctor is dressed in lion or leopard skin, sometimes in monkey skin. His face is painted in bold streaks of color: white, black, red. There are crisscrossing lines on his body too. He wanders about the center of the circle, almost idly at first. Every now and then he pauses and looks straight into someone's eyes and keeps on looking. For the person looked at, this is an encounter with fate. Few stare back. Their eyes slide past his face or go glazed. They fear but are not supposed to fear. They know the ancestors are just, that the innocent are never punished. To experience fear, therefore, is an acknowledgment of guilt. It is not necessary to know the nature of your guilt; if you were not guilty, there would be no fear in your mind.
The tempo of the drums increases. The witch doctor begins to dance, slowly at first. He begins to talk in a high-pitched nasal voice; spirits always talk through their noses. The drums and the incantations go on and on, getting faster and wilder, dominating the hearts and minds of all the circle. People begin to tremble and shiver. Some drop down in a trance and lie moaning on the ground. Everyone is possessed by the frenzy of the drums. The spirits of the ancestors are abroad.
Suddenly the drums stop. The witch doctor stands fixed for a dreadful moment that seems without end. Then he pounces. He grabs his victim and drags him or her into the center of the circle. The victim does not resist, does not protest. The ancestors are always just.
There may be one, there may be many victims. But once the victim or victims are "smelled out," the hypnotic spell of the drums is broken. People relax. Their hearts beat normally once more. Now the ancestors will be propitiated and the living freed of the evil which beset them. Now the famine or the drought or the plague or whatever had beset the land will depart from it. And so, while the victim or victims are put to death, the rest of the tribe celebrates the passing of the great evil.
Another key characteristic of tribal man is that his society is exclusive and not, like western society, inclusive. The lines are drawn very clearly, very sharply. Anybody not an "insider" is an enemy, actually or potentially someone to distrust, someone to fear, someone to keep at bay. There is no choice, no volition about this. It is something ordained by the ancestral dead. The tribal society is therefore possibly the most exclusive society in the twentieth-century world. If you are not in the tribe, there is no way into it. If you are in it, there is no way out of it except death. Dissent is not recognized. To break the rules of the tribe is to court death.
Even the family, the foundation of the tribal in-group, is no simple affair. It is often a cluster of four generations. A man's family can be made up of his father, his father's first, second and third wives there may be more and the children of these. A man inherits the wives and children of his brothers who die before him. The wives then become his wives, the children of his brother become brothers and sisters to his own children by his own wife. Then there are the children's children. These and the old people, the grandparents, make up the immediate family, the heart of the in-group. Then there are the families related to one's family by blood ties the families of uncles and cousins. These have the same complex structure of many wives and brothers and sisters, many of whom are inherited. A group of such blood-related families makes the clan. Clans have been known to be big enough to fill whole villages.
Another and most vital factor in the life of tribal man is his attitude to life and death. Neither life nor death is ever wholly accidental. Disease is never natural. These are brought about by the good and evil spirits all around us. The evil spirits are preoccupied with bringing disaster on the tribe, the good with protecting the tribe. To achieve their malign ends, evil spirits enter the bodies of ordinary human beings. To fight the evil spirits, good spirits enter the bodies of witch doctors. Life and death are thus out of the hands of mortal men.
The world of tribal man is so dominated by the spirits that some tribes will not eat birds because of the spirits that dwell in them, some will not eat fish, some are vegetarians and some eat meat only.
Tribal man is hemmed in, imprisoned by his ancestors. His horizons are only as wide as they permit. He is also protected by them. The rules are such that there are no orphans in the tribe, no misfits, no neurotics. And of course, the ancestral dead are hostile to change.
This, then, is the "oblique, the hard-to-know man" whom Richard Wright encountered on his first visit to Africa. He is the man who raised Nkrumah to power. He is the man whose pressures led Jomo Kenyatta to the Mau Mau and then to his lonely prison-exile in a barren and isolated spot. He, tribal man, will have a crucial say in the future of Africa.
The ancestral dead notwithstanding, change is being imposed on him. How he reacts to the change will have a powerful bearing on tomorrow's Africa.
If the men inaugurating the new ways have the sense and the patience to preserve the finer qualities of the old ways and fuse these with the new, then we can expect something magnificently new out of Africa.
The World in a Train
By Francisco V. Icasiano
One Sunday I entrained for Baliwag, a town in Bulacan which can well afford to hold two fiestas a year without a qualm.
I took the train partly because I am prejudiced in favor of the government-ownedrailroad, partly because I am allowed comparative comfort in a coach, and finally because trains sometimes leave and arrive according to schedule.
In the coach I found a little world, a section of the abstraction called humanity whom we are supposed to love and live for. I had previously arranged to divide the idle hour or so between cultivating my neglected Christianity and smoothing out the rough edges of my nature with the aid of grateful sights without – the rolling wheels, the flying huts and trees and light-green palay seedlings and carabaos along the way.
Inertia, I suppose, and the sort of reality we moderns know make falling in love with my immediate neighbors often a matter of severe strain and effort to me.
Let me give a sketchy picture of the little world whose company Mang Kiko shared in moments which soon passed away affecting most of us.
First, there came to my notice three husky individuals who dusted their seats furiously with their handkerchiefs without regard to hygiene or the brotherhood of men. It gave me no little annoyance that on such a quiet morning the unpleasant aspects in other people's ways should claim my attention.
Then there was a harmless-looking middle-aged man in green camisa de chino with rolled sleeves who must have entered asleep. When I noticed him he was alreadysnuggly entrenched in a corner seat, with his slippered feet comfortably planted on theopposite seat, all the while his head danced and dangled with the motion of the train. Icould not, for the love of me, imagine how he would look if he were awake.
A child of six in the next seat must have shared with me in speculating about the dreams of this sleeping man in green. Was he dreaming of the Second World War or theprice of eggs? Had he any worries about the permanent dominion status or the finaloutcome of the struggles of the masses, or was it merely the arrangement of the scaleson a fighting roaster's legs that brought that frown on his face?
But the party that most engaged my attention was a family of eight composed of a short but efficient father, four very young children, mother, grandmother, and another woman who must have been the efficient father's sister. They distributed themselves on four benches – you know the kind of seats facing each other so that half the passengers travel backward. The more I looked at the short but young and efficient father the shorter his parts looked to me. His movements were fast and short, too. He removed his coat, folded it carefully and slung it on the back of his seat. Then he pulled out his wallet from the hip pocket and counted his money while his wife and the rest of his group watched the ritual without a word.
Then the short, young, and efficient father stood up and pulled out two banana leaf bundles from a bamboo basket and spread out both bundles on one bench and log luncheon was ready at ten o'clock. With the efficient father leading the charge, the children (except the baby in his grandmother's arms) began to dig away with little encouragement and aid from the elders. In a short while the skirmish was over, the enemy – shrimps, omelet, rice and tomato sauce – were routed out, save for a few shrimps and some rice left for the grandmother to handle in her own style later.
Then came the water-fetching ritual. The father, with a glass in hand, led the march to the train faucet, followed by three children whose faces still showed the marks of a hard-fought-battle. In passing between me and a person, then engaged in a casual conversation with me, the short but efficient father made a courteous gesture which is still good to see in these democratic days; he bent from the hips and, dropping both hands, made an opening in the air between my collocutor and me – a gesture which in unspoiled places means "Excuse Me."
In one of the stations where the train stopped, a bent old woman in black boarded the train. As it moved away, the old woman went about the coach, begging holding every prospective Samaritan by the arm, and stretching forth her gnarled hand in the familiar fashion so distasteful to me at that time. There is
something in begging which destroys some fiber in most men. "Every time you drop a penny into a beggar's palm you help degrade a man and make it more difficult for him to rise with dignity. . ."
There was something in his beggar's eye which seemed to demand. "Now do your duty." And I did. Willy-nilly I dropped a coin and thereby filled my life with repulsion. Is this Christianity? "Blessed are the poor . . ." But with what speed did that bent old woman cross the platform into the next coach!
While thus engaged in unwholesome thought, I felt myself jerked as the train made a curve to the right. The toddler of the family of eight lost his balance and caught the short but efficient father off-guard. In an instant all his efficiency was employed in collecting the shrieking toddler from under his seat. The child had, in no time, developed two elongated bumps on the head, upon which was applied a moist piece of cloth. There were no reproaches, no words spoken. The discipline in the family was remarkable, or was it because they considered the head as a minor anatomical appendage and was therefore nor worth the fuss?
Occasionally, when the child's crying rose above the din of the locomotive and the clinkety-clank of the wheels on the rails, the father would jog about a bit without blushing, look at the bumps on his child's head, shake his own, and move his lips saying, "Tsk, Tsk." And nothing more.
Fairly tired of assuming the minor responsibilities of my neighbors in this little world in motion, I looked into the distant horizon where the blue Cordilleras merged into the blue of the sky. There I rested my thoughts upon the billowing silver and grey of the clouds, lightly remarking upon their being a trial to us, although they may not know it. We each would mind our own business and suffer in silence for the littlest mistakes of others; laughing at their ways if we happened to be in a position to suspend our emotion and view the whole scene as a god would; or, we could weep for other men if we are the mood to shed copious tears over the whole tragic aspect of a world thrown out of joint.
It is strange how human sympathy operates. We assume an attitude of complete indifference to utter strangers whom we have seen but not met. We claim that they are the hardest to fall in love with in the normal exercise of Christian charity. Then a little child falls from a seat, or a beggar stretches forth a gnarled hand, or three husky men dust their seats; and we are, despite our pretensions, affected. Why not? If even a sleeping man who does nothing touches our life!
Simple Past Tense
How do you make a verb in the past tense?
Past tense is used to express actions that already happened.Regular verbs are made in the past tense by adding ‘–d’ or ‘–ed’
If the word ends in a ‘y,’ sometimes you must change the ‘y’ to an ‘i’ before adding ‘-ed’
Activity 2 Create a story using at least 5 of the past tense verbs from Activity 1.
Time Transition Words
What are time transition words?
Time transition words are words that help move from one subject to another by limiting, restricting, and defining time .
Here are some commonly used time transition words…whilefirst
tomorrowafterwardas soon as
Time transitions can be used in different places in a sentence.
You can use a time transition at the beginning of the sentence! First, I will take a bath.
You can use a time transition in the middle of the sentence! Brushing my teeth is the second thing I will do.
You can use a time transition at the end of the sentence! I will eat breakfast last.
You can use a time transition to combine two sentences!I wait for my ride outside my house. A tricycle comes by to pick me up
I wait for my ride outside my house until a tricycle comes to pick me up.
Activity 1 Improve the following paragraph by adding transition words and phrases. Rewrite the improved paragraph with your chosen transitions. You can choose to combine sentences using transitions.
It’s Friday! Friday is the best day of the week. School is over. I rush home from school and change out of my uniform. Friday means the end of school for two glorious days. I get to do all the things I cannot do during the week. I will stay up really late. I will watch movies
into the wee hours of the morning. On Saturday morning, I can sleep in as long as I want to. I can play with my friends all day. On Fridays my brother makes my favorite food: his
famous estofado. Friday is terrific!
Using Connectors for Comparison and Contrast
How do we use connectors to compare
and contrast ideas?
Connectors are used to show comparisons and contrast in several ways.
They can connect two dependent or independent clauses togetherto show the differences between the two ideas
Some popular connectors are…
on the other handunlike
in spite of and despite are special because they need to be followed by a noun phrase or gerundWe played outside despite the hot weather.
even though and although are special because they need to be followed by an independent clauseI need to fix my bicycle even though it is new.
Activity 1 Fill in an appropriate connector in the blanks to show comparison or contrast.
1. Lorena seems to be quite clever. ________, she often gets low marks.2. I’ve never been to Aklan, ________ having relatives there.3. Jordi is a careful driver. ________ he has had several accidents.4. Cristina loves playing sports. ________, she’s not very good at it. 5. Joanne is very good at basketball, ________ Angeline is very good at volleyball.6. Larry is kind of short, ________ me who is pretty tall.
Activity 2 Rewrite the following sentences using the connector in parentheses.
1. Isabel apologized several times. Nevertheless, Paul wouldn’t speak to her. (but)2. We decided to walk even though it was raining. (in spite of)3. On the one hand, I’d love to come. On the other hand, I haven’t really got the time.
(however)4. Iloilo is a great place to visit, but it has terrible traffic problems. (despite)5. Even though it is very far away I would like to travel to Palawan. (although)6. He was very tired from a long day at school, but he still had to do his studies.
What is anadverb?
An adverb is a word that describes an action, telling how, when, where, how often or how much an action took place
Many adverbs end in -ly, -est, or -er
Some adverbs describe the manner of an action,addressing how something happens
Activity 1 Pick which word from the sentences below is the adverb.
1. The candidate almost won.2. Cheetahs can run rapidly.3. The movie started late.4. Robert juggles often.5. Jake slowly wrote an essay.6. The dog ate quickly.7. She usually studies at home.8. They easily finished the rice.9. He waited impatiently for his turn.10. She arrived today.
Activity 2 Adjectives describe nouns, while adverbs describe verbs. Choose the correct option from
the parentheses to complete the sentence properly.
1. The fat duck ate a fish.
The word fat describes (the duck / the fish).Duck is a (noun / verb).Fat is an (adjective / adverb).
2. The boy yells louder than anyone else.
The word louder describes (how the boy yells / the boy)The word yells is a (noun / verb). Louder is an (adjective / adverb).
3. We ate the hot soup.
The word hot describes (the soup / how we ate the soup)The word soup is a (noun / verb). Hot is an (adjective / adverb).
4. Grandpa walked slowly to the garage.
The word slowly describes (grandpa / how grandpa walked).The word walked is a (noun / verb). Slowly is an (adjective / adverb).
5. Marla patiently waited her turn.
The word patiently describes (how Marla waited / Marla)The word waited is a (noun / verb). Patiently is an (adjective / adverb).
Activity 3 Pick which word from the sentences below is the adverb.
1. Sarah skipped ________ down the street to see her friend.2. The team ran ________ towards the finish line to win the race.3. The librarian told the kids to read their books ________.4. The cat chased the ball around ________.5. Dan waited ________ for his turn to shoot the ball.6. The turtle walked ________ and couldn’t keep up with the rabbit7. Sharon chose the answers for her test ________ so she would pass.8. Mike saw there were no cars coming so he could cross the street ________.9. The kids shouted ________ as they played in PE.10. We sing “Bayang Magiliw” ________ because we love our country.
Verbals are verb forms that can also function as parts of speech based on how they are used
Verbals come in three forms…
A gerund is a verb ending in –ing that acts as a noun
Reading is my favourite activity Rainy days are good days for reading.
’read’ is the verb and becomes ‘reading’ as a gerundUse a gerund when the sentence structure is to be + complement + preposition
An infinitive is a verb form preceded by ‘to’ can function as a noun, adjective or adverb
To choose the right answer on the test is important.Use an infinitive when the sentence form is to be + complement, with no preposition
A participle is a verb form used as an adjective
I heard about your interesting plan. An interested committee wants to hear your plan.If the verb ends in –ing, it is the present participle
If the verb ends in –ed, it is the past participle
Activity 1 Identify the gerund in each sentence.
1. Helen enjoys sketching children.2. Swimming is good exercise.3. Elaine and Rita are singing in the chorus tonight.4. Of all my interests, I care most about swimming.5. Traveling gives one a chance to see many wonderful sights.6. A good hobby for boys can be fishing or painting.7. Few things are better for relaxing than a satisfying hobby.
(CAREFUL - there is only one gerund in this sentence!)8. Many people find that they can beat stress by walking.9. A good hobby and exercise can be skating.10. Visiting our relatives in a pleasant activity.
Activity 2 Read the sentences below. Fill in the blanks with the correct verbal, either the gerund or the infinitive.
Example: They go on ________ (read) the book. They go on reading the book.
1. I can’t imagine Peter ________ (ride) a bike.2. He agreed ________ (buy) a new notebook for class.3. The question is easy ________ (answer).4. The man asked me how ________ (get) to the airport.5. I look forward to ________ (see) you at the weekend.6. Are you thinking of ________ (visit) London?7. We decided ________ (run) through the forest.8. The teacher expected Sarah ________ (study) hard.
Activity 3 Choose the correct participle from each pair in the parentheses.
Example: It can be (satisfied, satisfying) satisfying experience to learn about the lives of artists.
1. The artist Frida Kahlo led an (interested, interesting) ________ life.2. When Kahlo was eighteen, (horrified, horrifying) ________ observers saw her (injured,
injuring) ________ in a streetcar accident.3. A (disappointed, disappointing) ________ Kahlo had to abandon her plan to study medicine.4. Instead, she began to create paintings filled with (disturbed, disturbing) ________ images. 5. Some art critics consider Kahlo’s paintings to be (fascinated, fascinating) ________ works of
art, though many people find them (overwhelmed, overwhelming) ________.
Activity 4 The following sentences are famous quotes. For each of the following sentences, decide if the word or phrase in bold is a participle, a gerund, or an infinitive.
1. I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying. (Woody Allen)
2. I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying. (Woody Allen)
3. There are many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream--whatever that dream might be. (Pearl Buck)
4. There are many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream--whatever that dream might be. (Pearl Buck)
5. Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city. (George Burns)6. Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city. (George Burns)7. It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail. (Gore Vidal)
What are imperatives?
An imperative is a tense used to give a directive, strong suggestion or orderAn imperative can come off as very strong and sometimes rude, so be aware of how you use it
There is no subject in an imperative sentence because the pronoun you is the understood subjectGet out your books to read the story.
To make a sentence negative, simply at do not before the verbDo not have your snack too close to dinner.
The only exception is when talking about something in the first person or to do togetherLet me help you carry your bag.Let’s (Let us) go to the beach!
Imperatives are used for four purposes
For giving instructions…Sign in when you arrive.
For giving orders…Dry off before coming in the house!
For giving advice or suggestions…Study for your exam if you want to do well.
For offering something…Have some snacks.
Activity 1 Mix and match the beginnings of the sentences with their ends to make an imperative.
1. Stand behind the2. Tell me all3. Come4. Turn to5. Put that
a. downb. page 4.c. line, please.d. about it.e. in.
Activity 2 Read the situation, then give an appropriate imperative.
1. The test will be in ten minutes.2. It looks like it will rain soon.3. I have not been able to sleep so well recently.4. It’s very hot today!5. I think I might fail my class!
Adjectives in a Series
How do you determine the order of adjectives in a series?
In English, it is common to use several nouns to describe an adjective.
We can use this chart to determine which one goes first
number opinion size age shape color origin material purpose nounfour pretty small new round red Filipino plastic bouncing balls
Here are a few examples of each type of adjective
Number twenty five
Opinion lovely useful
Size big tiny
Age mature ancient
Color green bright
Origin Filipino Ilonggo
Material wooden cotton
Purpose typing sun
Activity 1 Put the adjectives following the sentence in the correct order.
1. The woman is wearing a ________ dress. (long, yellow)2. He is a ________ man. (tall, thin)3. The company makes ________ products (excellent, farming)4. I love eating ________ mangoes (yellow, sweet)5. James recently went on a ________ trip. (camping, long)6. She packed her things in a ________ box. (cardboard, green, flimsy)7. Please recycles those ________ bottles. (water, empty, three)8. I am drinking from at ________ cup. (tea, small, English)
Activity 1 Put the adjectives following the sentence in the correct order. If you do not know what they are, use a dictionary to determine their order.
How can we use spatial orderto add depth to our descriptions?
Spatial order is important for helping to give a description of the placement of things in space.
It can help the reader visualize the scene that is being describedand can often guide the reader’s ‘eye’ from one object to the next.
Some examples of using spatial order…
just to the righta little further onsouth of Manila
a few feet behinddirectly on the bridge of his nose and a centimeter above his gaping, hairy nostrils
turning left on the pathwaynext to the cup of water
Activity 1 Read the following paragraph. Identify at least four descriptions that give spatial order.
Billy Ray's Pawn Shop and Lawn Mower Repair looked like a burial ground for country auction rejects. The blazing, red, diesel fuel tanks beamed in front of the station, looking like cheap lipstick against the pallid, wrinkled texture of the parking lot sand. The yard, not much larger than the end zone at General G. Patton High School on the north end of town, was framed with a rusted metallic hedge of lawn mowers, banana seat bicycles, and corroded oil drums. It wasn't a calico frame of rusted parts, but rather an orchestra of unwanted machinery that Billy Ray had arranged into sections. The yellow-tanked mowers rested silently at the right of the diesel fuel. Once red, now faded orange, mowers stood at attention to the left. The bikes rested sporadically throughout the lot. In the middle of it all was the office, a faded, steel roof supported by cheap two-by-fours and zebra panelling. Billy Ray was at home, usually, five blocks east of town on Kennel Road.
Activity 2 Below there will be a description of someone’s desk. To the best of your ability, draw what the desk would look like based on the descriptions of spatial order.
1. The red pen is on the left.2. Leftover snacks are in the top right drawer.3. The English textbook is sitting just to the right of the red pen.4. On the far right sits a blue stapler.5. A shiny red apple sits right in the middle of the desk.
Objective and Subjective Details in Description
How do objective and subjectivedetails affect a description?
To be objective means to take an impartial stance toward the topic,while to be subjective means to include feelings or opinions toward the topic
Activity 1 Part I: Write a news article about a fire at a house
Part II: Write a journal entry where you pretend your own house burned out.
What are the differences in the two perspectives?How does the style of the writing change?
Activity 2 Describe your neighbor objectively and subjectively. What kinds of things can you say when describing him or her objectively that you cannot when describing him or her subjectively? And vice versa?