Author: Norman Hinsdale Pitman
Rewritten by Liana Chau
The great Yung-lo sat upon his throne as he fanned himself with his silken fan. He was clearly dissapointed because he had done many things for his people, but the problem is- that there’s nothing left to do. So that’s why, that day, he was at a meeting with his attendants. He was walking back and forth in despair until one of his attendants, named Ming-lin spoke up:
” Your Majesty, I know of a great bell tower that is yet empty, for it was recently constructed. They need a great bell and would thank your mahesty for the contribution.”
” Hmmm… yes, but I cannot do it myself …. Do you know of anyone who can?” Yung-lo asked his attendant.
” Well, there’s Kwan-yu. He can construct the bell.”
” Very well! Call Kwan-yu immediatly.”
When Kwan-yu and his daughter heard of this, Ko-ai,the daughter, cried in sadness:
” Father, you must not! If you don’t meet the emperor’s approval, he will kill you!”
” Be quiet Ko-ai, just stay to the subject of cooking and baby clothes, for you will soon be married.” her mother said.
” Oh , and one more thing, Kwan-yu, the emperor himself said that the bell should be made of gold, silver, copper, and other metals, and they should blend very well.” concluded the messenger.
The days passed, and Kwan-yu was called to the palace on a hot summer day to show the king the construction of the bell. The molten metals were not blending in the huge pot, while Kwan-yu covered himself with his fan, since he was scared that it might fail. The metals hardened, but it did not blend. There were chunks of different metals everywhere. Kwan-yu fell to the ground and kneeled upon his ruler.
” Take my life, your majesty, I have failed you.” Kwan- yu cried.
” No, I will give you a second chance.” Yung-lo replied kindly.
Months passed, and it was time for another chance. It was winter. But, sadly, he failed again, and it was even worse than the first. Kwan-yu fell to the floor once more, but he did not kneel. He fainted. When he awoke, he saw the face of Yung-lo.
” You have dissapointed me, Kwan-yu, but I will give you another chance. On this third chance, if you fail, Ming-lin will die as well as you, for he has suggested to me about you.”
Months passed once more, but Kwan-yu has lost the hope of success, for he knew he was going to fail again. Ko-ai tried to make him smile, but was returned with a fake, sad, and meaningless smile. Kwan-yu even prepared a grave for himself, so he was prepared to die. Ko-ai loved her father very much, but she didn’t have any idea to help him.
One day, the young maiden was sitting in front of her mirror brushing her hair, when a bird flew in.
” There is a fortune-teller that has come to town, but you must bring lots of jade and jewels, for he cannot be attracted by anything else.” said the feathered creature, and he flew away.
Ko-ai brang many jewels and stones,but kept it from her mother. She went to the fortune-teller and said:
” What can help my father? I must not let him die.”
” Different metals cannot blend, but when the blood of a young maiden is added, it shall. It cannot be any young maiden. It has to be someone who actually cares about him.” he replied.
Ko-ai knew the young maiden had to be her, but she loved the world and her father,and she was about to get married. But, she must sacrifice. On the day of the presentation, Kwan-yu was scowling of dissapointment. Ko-ai stood at the side, ready to jump in the molten metals. The king nodded his head and Ko-ai suddednly leaped in! Before that, she said:
“Father! I love you very much, but this is the only way!”
He had tried to stop her, but all he got was one of her slippers. The molten mixture accepted her, and swallowed her up. Kwan-yu hugged the slipper to his heart and wept.
The bell turned out beautiful and met the emperor’s expectations. He had carved on it many precious saying of the past, and when the bell is rung, it is heard from 3 thousand miles away. And when it sounds, it seems to be calling the young maiden’s name who gave up everything for her father.