Thursday, 13 October 2011

Koan: The Hermit Hyung Meets General Khan

One day, the hermit Hyung was seated in three-fifths lotus, eating lunch, when the great General Khan kicked in his door. The General was at that moment throwing a countryside ravishing on behalf of the Great Popular Rebellion, but as Hyung was a mountain monk, he knew nothing of him or it.

The crash startled Hyung, but spying only a large pirate with a bloody cutlass in his doorway, he returned to shovelling rice and beans into his mouth.

"Why!" exclaimed Khan. "Do you not realise that you are looking at a man who would run you through without a second thought?"

Hyung swallowed, and was about to answer, when the General cut him off.

"Dude!" he said, looking about. "You got, like, nuthin'
!" His mouth hung open in astonishment. "Down in the valley they said you were this big Zen guy. I thought you'd have, like, art, and old scrolls, and book royalties and stuff!"

Hyung glanced over the rim of his bowl and pointed his spoon at Khan's boots. The General looked at Hyung's brass door plate.

" 'Hyung,' " he read, slowly. " 'Hermit.' "

Khan sheathed his sword.

"I'm gonna kill the guy we tortured for that information." He turned for the doorway. "Sorry to bother you, man."

He and his gang saddled up. "I'll send some guys up to fix that door," he called back. "Good thing we came by; that thing was about to fall in by itself."

The hermit Hyung dropped a pickle into his empty bowl.

Wu Ya's commentary: "Plastics."

(Adapted from 100 Days on the Mountain, copyright RK Henderson.)

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