Pao-Lien and the Cave Dragon, Wu

afternoon 4 :: April 14, 1000 CE

Pao-Lien does not walk far before she sees the cave of the Wu Dragon on the mountainside.  But it is so different than she had imagined!  Instead of an old cave, dark among the trees and brush, and littered with the bones of the Dragon's meals, she sees a beautiful monastery, its steps and walkways rising almost to the foot of the cave.

As she stuggles up the long, long flight of steps, she sees a large crowd of farmers and villagers, shouting, waving pitchforks and swords.  Although she is more afraid than ever before in her life, she knows that she must complete her stepmother's errand, and this challenge is just another part of the task.  The angry men do not notice her as she continues to climb toward the cave opening. 

When she reaches the cave, she sees that the men have the Wu Dragon bound up in ropes and are about to strike off his head.  It must be time for the shoes, she thinks, so she puts them on.  Despite the fiery breath issuing from the Dragon's mouth, Pao-Lien finds herself standing between the Dragon and the swords. 

"My fathers," she says quietly, following the instructions of the stallkeeper, "please hold up your bright weapons. There is a way to settle this without violence.  Wu, the Dragon, cannot speak for himself, so I will speak for him.  He is not your enemy; he would like to be your friend.  If you will make him your mascot, he will protect this beautiful monastery and all the people in the valley below.  The Dragon Wu would like to be your guardian of good fortune."

The farmers and villagers stand amazed.  After a few minutes of whipsering among themselves, one of them speaks:  "We will accept."

The day is getting late, so Pao-Lien bows to the elders and begins her journey back to the village.  She has not gone far, though, before the shoes begin to feel very tight. She sits down at the crossroads to take them off, only to find that they are bound to her feet.  And now her feet are so small!

Weary and discouraged, she looks around for the hut of the wise old woman of Wu Mountain.  Just then, she sees a shadow across the late afternoon sun.  It is the Wu Dragon, flying to her rescue.   He picks her up, gently, in his huge claws and carries her to the village where his mother waits




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morning 1 :: April 14, 2000 BCE

morning 2 :: April 14, 1000 BCE

highnoon 3 :: April 14, 0 CE

afternoon 4 :: April 14, 1000 CE

twilight 5 :: April 14, 2000 CE

night 6 :: April 14, 3000 CE

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