Saturday, 3 January 2009

The Bamboo with 100 Joints

Once upon a time, there was a very poor peasant, who was employed as a servant for a rich man. The rich man was very stingy. He had many tricks to squeeze more work out of his servants without paying any more money. He had a single daughter. Knowing that the poor peasant was single although he was no longer young, the rich man pretended saying: - Try and work hard, my son. I will marry off my daughter to you. The poor peasant was truthful so he believed those sweet words from his boss. He hoped to be his boss's son-in-law. From then, he worked hard without feeling tired. He waded through the field to unhusk rice, pound rice, pull the stone cylinder, plait cord v.v. from dawn till late at night. How much work his boss gave, though it was hard or not, he never refused. The rich man was very happy to see his tricks were working. How could he marry his daughter to that kind of man? He decided to give his daughter in marriage to a son of another rich man in neighbourhood. They just brought areca nuts and betels for a plighting visit. However, in order to hide that poor peasant, he forced people to keep it secret. As for that poor peasant, he had no doubts at all, and still worked hard and pinned his hopes on his boss. Then the wedding day came. People laid the tables, killed pigs and chicken and the rich man's house was in a bustle. In order to avoid any problems from the poor man on that day, his boss called him and said: - You work well, I am satisfied with that. Today I prepare for your feast already. But you have to have wedding present. I don't demand money or a garden or field. Go into the forest and choose a bamboo with 100 joints, then cut it and bring it here. I will celebrate your wedding. If not, I will marry her to another man. The peasant stood stunned for a while then he took a cleaver and went to the forest. He tried to search for high bamboo groves then wormed into there to chop. But every time a bamboo fell down, he felt disappointed because it had only forty joints. But he wasn't discouraged. He wormed through rugged and inaccessible places to search for the bamboo with 100 joints. He chopped many high bamboos but he couldn't find one. He was so sad that he threw the cleaver and cried a lot. The forest resounded with his cry. Hearing his cry, a Buddha appeared and asked: - Who are you? Why do you cry? He wiped his tears and told Buddha about his problem. Buddha said: - Don't cry anymore. Cut one hundred bamboo’s sections and bring them to me. The peasant followed what the Buddha said. But he cried again when he brought enough bamboo sections. - Why do you cry? The Buddha asked again. He answered: - The rich man told me to cut a bamboo with 100 joints not cut one hundred bamboo sections. The Buddha comforted him and told him to lay 100 bamboo's sections into a line and called: "Join now", "Join now". He followed what the Buddha said. What a marvel! He saw all of sections joined together like the bamboo with 100 joints. He was very happy and hurried to carry the bamboo to home but he couldn't manage to put it on his shoulders. He slumped down on the ground and cried after failing to carry it to home. The Buddha asked: - Why do you cry again? - It's too long to carry home, the peasant answered. The Buddha told him to call "Separate now", "Separate now". Those bamboo sections separated right away. He was happy and thanked the Buddha very much then piling bamboo's sections into 2 bundles carried them with a shoulder pole through the forest. He went home when both families were feasting at the lavish wedding and the bride and bridegroom were going to officiate their wedding ceremony. He put the bamboo's load in the centre of the yard and called the rich man to receive his wedding present. Seeing those bamboo sections, the rich man shouted: - I told you to cut a bamboo with 100 joints, not 100 bamboo sections. Stupid! Without saying another word, he called continuously: "Join now", "Join now". The Bamboo's sections ran out from the bundles in turn and joined into the highest bamboo. The rich man was so upset. He shook the bamboo to make it separate. But he was stuck on the bamboo like another section. He shouted loudly. Both families ran toward him. The bridegroom was the first one to pull his father in law out of the bamboo, but the peasant's call "Join now", "Join now" made him stick to the bamboo and he put the rich man on his head. The bridegroom's father tried to pull his son out of the bamboo but he was stuck to the bamboo, too. Then both families were stuck to the bamboo. The peasant stood calmly in the corner of the yard, waiting for the answer from his boss. At last, his boss had to beg him to release the people from the bamboo and promised to marry his daughter to the peasant. He dared not to fail to keep his promise any more. The peasant called: " Separate now", "Separate now". All of people were released from the bamboo right away. Then the bridegroom and his family went home. The peasant had a nice wife from then.

Translated by Mai Anh Tuyet