Pre-Qin Tale (Qi Xi Festival)
Rewritten by Laijon Liu (2007.08.22)
Part 1: Two Lovers met
Long ago, there was a cowherd.
He had an old cow and a broken furrow.
He went out to farm everyday, just after dawn,
and came back home every night, after dusk.
After his work, he must cook and do laundry.
He lived a very hard life.
But he was a hardworking young man,
and never lost his courage.
But one day, he came home,
entered the door and found out
his room was cleaned and his clothes were washed,
and there, on his table, a delicious meal was ready and still warm!
The Cowherd opened wide his eyes
and questioned himself: “What happened?!
An Angel visited my home?!”
Anyway, he was very hungry, so he ate the meal.
After that day, same thing
happened to him everyday.
And he was very confused
and deeply bothered by this.
So he decided to find out
the answer behind as
picking a stone out of stream.
One day, he got up early as always,
walked out the door on to his work.
But after a few steps, he turned back,
quickly went back to his house,
and hid outside his house where
no one could see him, there he was
peeking into his room.
Yeah, just after a while,
there came a beautiful lady!
Small white-grass fingers,
Milky and creamy scented skin,
Gorgeous swan-liked neck,
Long and stunning legs,
Silky dark cloud of her hair
Could not block her ocean eyes,
Rose lips covered
Her white corn teeth,
Her white designer's cloth was not earthly
(Inspired by Shi Jing/Book of Odes)
What a beautiful angel!
A true Miss Universe!
She walked into his house and
started cooking and cleaning!
The Cowherd could not wait,
stepped into his house and asked:
“Lady, would you please tell me why
you help me do such work?”
The lady was started, felt embarrassing,
replied him in a tiny voice with flushing:
“My name is Vega.
I saw you doing all these works,
and without a helper.
So I came and helped you a little.”
The Cowherd heard, and felt so happy,
fell in a exceedingly blossoming joy.
And he hurried asked Vega:
“Then please stay with me,
we be together in bitterness and sweetness,
and use our hands to build our happy life!”
And Vega nod her head with flushing.
So they were married as husband and wife,
“The man furrows and the woman sews”,
together they started their happy life.
Part 2: Love cannot be separated
Seven years later, they had two children,
One girl and one boy, what a happy family!
One afternoon, the cowherd was in the field,
Ploughing the earth,
suddenly the sky changed his face,
Into darkling color.
Gloomy clouds, gushing wind storms,
Thunders, bolts, beating rain drops,
Earth lost her calmness,
Covered in dancing dusts,
Trees were shaking violently…
The cowherd was so scared,
and trembling in fear.
And he ran back to his house.
There was no sight of Vega,
Only his two children were crying on the floor.
He held his two children in his arms,
And did not know what to do.
Suddenly, sunlight shined upon earth again,
Clouds were swept away, rain stopped,
Wind found his usual course,
And the sky was in his blue face again.
Vega opened the door, stepped in
With sorrowful look on her face.
She held cowherd’s hand,
And hugging her children, said:
“I am not from common family,
I lived in heavens, not on earth.
The empress of celestial palace is my grandma,
And now she sent her servants here
to bring me back to where I came from.
I must go with them, otherwise
She will not give peace to earth.
So goodbye, take care each other,
I will look upon you from heaven,
And one day we will be together.”
Then she cried a desperate cry,
Her bitter tears rained upon her children’s face.
After, she walked out alone,
ascended into a tiny cloud, was gone.
The cowherd watched and listened
All these, a sudden blow to his heart,
Fell in blank, still could not believe,
And was sitting on the ground,
Held his children, yet could not hear
Their crying, and knew not what to do.
After a long while, he stood up,
And yelled out:
“I cannot let my wife leave me!
I cannot let my children lose their mom!
I must leave home to find her!
I must find my wife Vega!”
But he was much troubled,
That his two children were too young,
And how could people live on earth
Find a way to ascend to heaven?
He was deeply troubled and frustrated.
Suddenly he heard a low voice:
“Don’t be troubled, my friend.
You can make two baskets
To carry your children on your way;
I am a holy cow, put on my skin,
Drink my blood, and eat my body,
and I will lift you up, you may fly
To where you want to go,
from Earth to Heaven.
I was born for this time and purpose.”
The cowherd turned his head,
Looked at his old cow, and was surprised,
That his old cow just talked to him!
How could he raise his dagger
Against his friend, companion?
He loved his old friend.
The cowherd refused.
But his old cow insisted,
And stopped eating and drinking,
Or even speaking!
After three days, the old cow grew weaker.
The cowherd was out of solution.
So he took his dagger,
walked to his old pal,
and held the dagger in shaking hand,
his eyes were drowning in tears,
his heart was beating in pain,
yet he did not say a word,
kissed his old pal in the head.
And his old pal stood in peace,
was also in tears,
looked at the cowherd for the last time,
and shut her eyes.
She did not speak a word,
for she was afraid
that her voice would change the cowherd's mind.
And there the cowherd held up his dagger,
put the blade under her neck,
pulled his dagger,
cut off his old pal's throat.
There the old cow fell in silence.
So, the cowherd did what his old cow told him.
Thereafter, all cows cry and shed tears
when they get butchered.
After the cowherd completed his old cow's will,
and there he and his children flied,
From their yard to the sky,
Carried by cloud they flowed into heavens.
They entered into the celestial palace,
Stood in front the empress of celestial palace.
The empress was an unreasonable ageless angel,
Very proud queen with stereotype.
She disliked the cowherd, judged him
By his look, skin and his cover,
And ignored his truthful heart and mind.
Because since Heaven and earth were created,
Waters were made in between them to cleanse,
And to also separate common and holy.
Angels in heavens do not marry down
To the mortal people live on earth,
Just like beautiful swans flying in skies
Never listen to the song of frogs in the pond.
The Empress must keep the order,
So she figured out a way to refuse the cowherd,
Her son in Law on earth.
And she said to the cowherd:
“I have seven beautiful daughters,
I do not know which of my daughters
Were in love and marriage with you.
But I will order them
To stand in front of you.
If you can tell who is your Vega,
Then I will let you bring her home.”
The cowherd knelt down
In tears and bowed his head,
Thanked the empress, said: “yes!”
After a while, all seven daughters
Came and stood in front of the cowherd,
With all their faces covered by veil.
What a trick!
The cowherd was confused.
At the same moment, his two children
In a same voice called out,
jumped out of their baskets,
and ran toward their mom.
“Oh my, nothing separates children and their mom!”
the empress just realized.
And she quickly gave an order
Had her guards dragged Vega away
To the far heavens.
She abandoned her word.
The cowherd saw that, in rush he
put his children into his baskets,
and started chasing Vega,
without tiredness, hunger, nor thirst.
Because man is filled
only by pursuing his love.
The empress watched.
The cowherd ran closer and closer.
And Vega could almost see her children’s faces.
The empress was in deep anger,
Drew out her silver magic hairpin,
Stroke a long line in between
The cowherd and Vega.
The long line became a stream,
The stream became a silver river,
Filled by billions stars in heavens,
Named “The Milky Way”.
From that time to today,
the couple were separated by this,
they could only stand on each side
and look at each other.
But soon after, their love story
Was heard everywhere on earth,
and moved the spirits of magpie.
So every year, on seventh day of July
of the traditional calendar,
all the magpies on earth join together,
fly into the Milky Way,
and build a long love bridge.
And the cowherd and Vega and their family
Meet, reunite, and remind people on earth
With their love story and vow.
People walk in world do ask one question:
Why Love is above all things worth?
That pursuers risk their life and in death search;
Immortal angels descend, and common rise;
Heaven and earth are the same in one place;
Even birds and beasts are in one speech?
Loyal friends serve each other with swords;
Flesh and spirits unite for a single purpose;
Even worlds apart but couple still bridges;
Old gossip becomes some yearly rituals?
For youngster to mature and be please,
Even all generations treasure such unseen faith.
We do not know, but we can only believe,
That all fairy tales may help us to achieve.
Fairy On The Magpie Bridge
Song Dynasty. Qin Guan
Crossing stars messaging griefs,
Through the dark vast Milky Way
we came across from far away.
But it surpassed all common reunions on earth.
Tenderly our feelings streaming flow,
And a good date in our dreams glow,
How can I turn away from the magpie bridge
to the returning road?
If the love of two forever lasts,
Then does it matter
that we can't abide days and nights?