the soul of the great bell
2. nearly 500 years ago, china was ruled by an emperor named yung-lo. he was a good leader; he wanted everything in his kingdom to be at peace. but he was impatient. what he wants, he wants to get immediately.
3. have kouan-yu summoned. i am in need of his service. quickly! your highness, you called for me?
4. ahh, kouan-yu, i have a request for you. what can i do for you, your majesty?
5. i want you to make a bell of such size that the sound thereof might be heard for a hundred li. the voice of the bell should be strengthened with brass, deepened with gold and sweetened with silver; that the face and the lips of it should be engraved with the blessed sayings from the sacred books. it should be suspended in the center of the imperial capitol, to sound through all the many colored streets of the city of peking.
6. your majesty, i’ll see what i can do, but i can’t promise you a bell of such quality. are you denying my request, kouan-yu?
7. no, your highness. very well, i want you to finish this bell as soon as possible, or else, great consequences will follow.
8. but emperor, with due respect, making that kind of bell in a small amount of time is impossible. i don’t care! make this happen! don’t disappoint me kouan-yu!
9. of course, your highness.
10. with the emperor’s command, kouan-yu assembled the master molders, the famous bell smith of the empire and all the men who were experts in foundry work. they worked day and night in preparing the bell. when the bell was finished……
11. master! master! we have something to tell you! the gold, the silver, the brass and the iron would not blend with one another. this is impossible! try it again! maybe this time, the metals will blend. light the fire! prepare the moulds!
12. for the second time, the bell was cast, but the result was even worse. the metals refused to blend with one another. the sides were cracked and fissured; the lips of the bell were split.
13. what should i do? the emperor will be surely mad with me.
14. the emperor heard that kouan-yu had failed to do his request for the second time. so, he sent his messenger to kouan-yu.
15. i brought a letter, a letter from the emperor. kouan-yu, i am greatly disappointed for still not accomplishing the task i gave you. for this, if you failed the third time, you will be sentenced to death! your head will be cut off from your neck!
16. kouan-yu had a daughter of dazzling loveliness whose name was ko-ngai; whose heart was even more beautiful than her face. she loved her father very much. one day, she accidentally read the letter of the emperor for his father.
17. oh no! what fate my father would suffer if this bell was not made. i’ve got to help him!
18. ko-ngai sold some of her jewels secretly so that she can have the money to pay the astrologer who could tell her what to do.
19. are you the astrologer? i need your help. indeed, i am the one you are searching for. i can help you, but can you pay the price?
20. yes, here’s the money. now, please tell me, how can i help my father? how can the bell be made?
21. gold and brass will never unite, silver and iron will never mix, until the flesh of a maiden be melted with the crucible. until the blood of a virgin be mixed with the metals in their fusion. the blood of a virgin? that’s but that is the only way!
22. ko-ngai returned home sorrowful at heart, she kept what she heard a secret.
23. the day came when the third attempt in making the great bell was made. everyone was silent, only the roar of the fire was heard in the foundry, and ko-ngai was there with her waiting woman, watching her father work.
24. at your command master kouan-yu.pour out the metals into the cast!
25. a cry caused kouan-yu to turn his head. it was a sharp sweet voice like that of a bird’s song.
26. for the sake of my father!
28. let me go! my
29. kouan-yu tried to jump into the cast but the strong men stopped him.
30. no master it’s too late! let me go! i’ve got to save ko-ngai!
31. after struggling so much, kouan-yu passed out. everyone was shocked because of what happened. kouan-yu woke up after several hours and ko- ngai’s waiting woman gave something to him.
32. i did my best to stop her, but this shoe is all that i have saved. i’m very sorry. why did she have to do this? i would rather have my head cut off than see my daughter die for this worthless bell…
33. master, the emperor still needs to be obeyed. he will be mad if there is another delay. yes, i understand. pour out the metals!
34. hopeless as it may seem, they still continue. but this time, he metals’ glow seemed to be purer and whiter than before. there was no sign
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