A LOST LEGEND OF THE SONG DYNASTY
While every friend I had was silently envious of my families’ position, I felt as if I was born into hell, and lived in utter torment.
In effect my father was a sadistic criminal who rejoiced in meting out “the hell of extreme hunger” “the hell of excruciating thirst” “the hell with boiling copper cauldrons“ “the hell of iron corselets” and “the hell where men are pecked to death by cocks”.
A strange thing began to happen; the people started enjoying the public spectacles of cruelty. As a beast that once tasted blood they became as thirsty for it as my father was. I was not an only child, but the only one who remained distraught to the point where I decided to end my life of shame. My beautiful mother Lady Seo Kang Moon felt as I did, and we decided that drowning would cleanse us from any association of my father’s debauchery.
Instead of fearing our end nearing, we both felt a mysterious calmness.
We changed into white ceremonial garments of burial, said our prayers for the souls of the tortured people and asked Kwan Yin the goddess of mercy to forgive our family. We shook our rattles and set off firecrackers to be sure to gain her attention.
Hand in hand we jumped into the water, facing death together.
Instead of drowning though, we gently sank into the calm deep waters of a coral paradise of unutterable beauty. The deity of the North Sea, Ao Shun (敖順), the Dragon King himself came to receive us. He knew our history, and without further ado instructed the youngest of his nine sons to take us to our new home, the Mansion of the Luminous Pearl. Water Monkey, the youngest son, was the most playful in his father’s kingdom and kept a stable of giant seahorses.
He gave each of us one of his favorites, and Mother and I happily ride ever after in the sea -foam green ocean among the vermilion coral.
as told by
to Valerie von Sobel