5. Lade Head and Black Bean Eeyes

One of Mr. Lyan’s sisters lived close by. She married Mr. Byan who was a descendant of a Manchurian lord. Their only son, Byan Shu Syun, was a little younger than Yu Wen.  Mrs. Byan loved Yu Wen so dearly. Very often she invited Yu Wen to visit them. This younger cousin of Yu Wen loved her as much as his beloved older sister.

The alter in Byan’s main room was decorated a little different. At the center the altar instead of a tablet with the name of the deceased ancestors, there was a ladle. Yu-Wen always wondering why don’t they do the same way as the Hans? Why uncle Byan’s ancestor was a ladle that could be used to pick up the water? Wong Ma told her that was called “Ladle Head Black, Bean Eyes”!  Why? Yu-Wen was very curious about it. Wong Ma also told her that Mrs. Lyan was a Manchurian princess all right, but she married to a westernized husband who doesn’t think it is necessary to do so.

Therefore every time when Yu Wen visit her aunt, she always looked at the alter curiously, wished that if she can somehow to get to the altar to have a good close look at the “Ladle Head Black Bean Eyes”.

One day she got a chance, Her uncle was not home, her aunt was in her room working on her needlework. Yu Wen and her cousin were lingering in the main room.  Yu-Wen was a little bit older than Shu Syun,  she always acted like a commander to Shu Syun,  Shu Syun had no other siblings. He loved this commander cousin as well as his elder sister. Whatever Yu Wen told him to do, he always did so.  Now Yu Wen grabbed this good opportunity. She told Shu Syun that she wanted to climb up to the altar and ask him to help her to move a chair closer the altar. So she could climb up to the altar.

“What? Climb up to the altar? If my dad knows it I’ll get in big trouble.” Shu Syun whispered to his commander.

“OK! I’ll do it myself.” Yu-Wen began to push the chair as she was saying.

All the furniture in this main room were made of red sandalwood.  They were very heavy. Too heavy for a little child like Yu Wen. Her poor little follower couldn’t stop her. Helplessly he joined her. When the chair was close enough for YU Wen, quickly she climbed up and stood up on the chair. The altar was too high for her. She tiptoed on her feet. But all she could see was only a part of the of the ladle. That was not enough to satisfy her curiosity.  She leaned her body onto the altar. She thought she could climb up to the altar as easily as she climbed up to the chair. To stand on the altar she could see the whole thing. But before she knew it her feet followed her body and left the chair behind. There was no spot for her to land her feet on so she can move upward.  The next thing Yu Wen notice was her legs were dangling in the air!

“Oh! My goodness! Oh! My good heavens! You’ll fall off from up there. What am I going to do?  You may be killed if you fall down to the ground. Please come down. Please, I beg you, My sweet, sweet sister! My queen! My chief commander…..”  Shu Syun cried out frighteningly.

“OK! OK! I’m trying. Don’t you see I’m trying? But…. where did the chair go?” Yu-Wen shouted back. It seemed that the alter growing higher after YU Wen leaned onto it. And the chair ran away…..! It wasn’t very easy for Yu Wen to lean onto the altar at the first place, and now, it seemed there were ten feet farther from the chair than before. The chaotic noise disturbed Mrs. Byan from her needlework. She stepped out of her room and saw this funny sight!

“Well,  well, my little monkey niece!  What’s all this big commotion?”

Her son tried to protect himself and said: “My sister wanted to see the [Ladle head Black Bean Eye], I told her not to. But she insisted.”

“En! I can see that!” She walked to Yu Wen and picked her up. She held Yu Wen up high as close as she could to the “Ladle head Black Bean Eye”. And said: “How is that? Is this close enough for you to have a good look at it?”

“Wow! It is true! It is a ladle. Hey! there are really two black beans on it too!”Yu-Wen exclaimed with excitement! “But………….. how come that uncle’s ancestor is a ladle?”

“No! That was not quite right.” Mrs. Byan laughed. She continued:  “It was told us that our ancestor Nurhachi was killed on the battlefield. People could not find his body but they found his head only. Therefore his coming generations use a ladle instead of a shrine and worship him.”

What so ever her aunt said sounded reasonable to her when she was a little girl. But at school Yu Wen learned in history class that Nurgaci’s death was because of the illness. Which one is the truth, which one is false? It’s hard to tell.  Anyway, her uncle was a descendant of Nurgaci Ai-Xin-Jue-Luo. Nurgaci was the first emperor of Qing.  Ai-Xin-Jue-Luo was the emperor’s surname. But why did they use black beans for eyes? Yu-Wen had never done any further research.

— To be continued.

 6. Strict Mother is on the way is in the way

 

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4. Fireworks and others

Tyan-Chyau was a very popular place in Pei-King even nowadays. It was named Tyan-Chyau (Bridge to Heaven) was in the old days, at Chinese new year, the emperor would pass this bridge to Tyan Tan( God’s Temple) to worship God.

Ever since the new government in power, they filled up this area with rocks and dirt. Many small businesses moved in. As well as variety shows and all kinds of Chinese folk arts! People love to visit Tyan-Chyau especially during Chinese New Year season. People would not miss the fireworks at Dung An-Men( The Gate of  Peace at East) as well.

That kind of Bridge to Heaven was very different from nowadays. After the fireworks shoot into the air, not only exploded into thousands of sparkles. Those sparkles may suddenly be turned into an ax, a cup, or even a war chariot, etc….

 

Yu Wen told her children the best firework she had ever watched was when she was about 6 years old. That was at Dung An Men( The Gate of  Peace at the East) during one Chinese New Year Season.

That evening. one of Lyan’s long-term worker carried her on his shoulder because she was too short to see anything in the middle of the crowd.

Yu-wen remembered that:

After she heard a loud:「Bang!」 There was a big fireball floating up into the sky. Suddenly the fireball popped into a knight sating on the horseback. It floated in the air for a little while and starting to fade away. Those fading sparklers in the sky changed into a summer-house. When the summer-house starting to fade away, there was a big cluster of grapes shown in the air. One by one, the grape burst.  Then sky returned it’s darkness again!

This kind of old technique and skill of making those kinds of fireworks were failed to handed down from past generations.  Yu Wen had never seen anything similar to that kind of fireworks the rest of her life. Every time when she was telling this story to her children and grandchildren, they thought that was a magical cartoon story.

*       *        *       *        *

At tyan-chyau, there were varieties of booths for snacks, pastries.etc. [Chwei Tang Ren] was one of Yu Wen’s favorite.

“Chwei-Tang-Ren” is one of a rear Chinese folk art. You may see it at Tyan-Chyau if you have a chance to visit Pei-Jing. The owner of “Chwei Tang Ren” put some brown sugar unto a small clay pot which was placed on a small charcoal stove. He stirred the sugar with a small bamboo stick until the sugar melted into thick liquid.  He will pick up some of the melted sugar, poked a tiny copper pipe into the middle of that small chunk of sugar and blow. At the same time with his two magical hands, he shaped the soft sugar into a different kind as he desired, mostly would be some figurines well known to every Chinese. Such as “Ju Ba Jye(The big fat pig),  Swen Wu Kung (The Rocky Monkey), Mi Le Fu (The Buddha Maitreya) etc…. You name it, he’ll make it.  Mi Le Fu was always Yu Wen’s first choice. Because, each time when she pushed its belly button on its big fat belly, some honey will drop out from the bottom of the belly. After all the honey were gone, then Yu Wen would finish up the Buddha! Sometimes the big fat Buddha was not enough for her, Yu Wen would ask for a Big Fat Pig.

*        *        *        *        *

Once at Tyan Chyau, there was some happening shocked You Wen that she could not forget her whole life:

Yu Wen saw so many people at the foot of the tall city wall. She squeezed herself through the people. There she saw a tall young man standing in the middle. His upper body was naked. He was ready to perform some very special Chinese Kung Fu, Gecko Kung Fu. After he saluted the people with cupping one hand in the other in front of his chest, he turned around facing the city wall and his back toward the crowd. Beginning with a few steps of quick running, that tall young man started trotting on the city wall as if he was trotting on the ground until he almost reached the to top of the wall. Suddenly a armed soldier showed up and aimed him with his rifle.  The young man turned his body over and jumped down to the ground quickly as a flash. People applaud loudly and shouted with “GOOD!” It tells the performance was really out of the running sth. Coins throwing on to the ground like popcorns.

*          *          *          *          *

There was one particular toy that Yu Wen always wanted to play but never dare to try. It was called “Poo-Dern,  Poo-Dern”. It was made of very, very thin glass, shapped as a calabash. At the bottom of the calabash was especially thin. When you blow and inheal from it’s other end slightly, quick and short, the air will moves the bottom in and out, which makes a very cheerful sound as “Poo-Dern, Poo-Dern”. Once Yu Wen saw a little boy was play with “Poo-Dern”. He was blowing a little too hard. The bottom part of the calabash blew off into small pieces and flying all the directions. Some of the broken pieces flew onto the boy’s face who stood next to him. That poor injured boy screamed out loudly and blooded all over his face.

Wang Ma told Yu Wen: “Fortunately, he was blowing. if he was inhaling, the tiny broken glass pieces could get into his throat. It could be too late to send him to the hospital.” That is why there is a nursery rhyme, which says:[Poo-Dern, Poo-Dern. Two pennies could cost your life.] ” My lady should never play with it.”

—To be continued.

  1. Ladle head and Black Bean Eyes is on the way.

3.Valuables from the Imperial family  

(From now on, I will post one new chapter every Monday. Hope you’ll enjoy it! Your comments will be highly appreciated!

All the stories in this book have truly happened. They are not make-believe! stories!)

One day, Lord Jin Sz came to visit the Lyan’s . He dressed up with the traditional garments, long gown and a mandarin jacket over it, a rather formal dress. The end of the sleeves was wide like a funnel. While the adults were chatting and drinking tea, Yu Wen noticed that one of the ends of the sleeve of her uncle’s garment was moving up and down.

“The sleeve could not move by itself. There must be something in there, some kind of living creature in it.” Yu Wen thought.

She was so curious and opened her eye big and wide staring at it. She wished that it would come out so she can see it. But it just didn’t want to show its face. Yu Wen couldn’t hold any longer. She sneaked behind her uncle’s back. Before anyone noticed, Yu Wen jumped out from the back of her uncle and shouted at the sleeve in her loudest  Suddenly, out it jumped a tiny little dog barking with a tiny but rather thrill sound. The dog was really very small, as small as your palm. The sudden appearance of the tiny dog startled Yu Wen.

“Wow!” She jumped up on her two feet and shouted:「My heavens! It’s a dog!」

After she put herself back into one piece, she gently touched the tiny dog. It was real, not a toy! It even sniffed on her fingers. Yu Wen found there was a tiny silver chain chained the dog to her uncle’s wrist.

The more Yu Wen looked at that tiny dog, the deeper she fell in love with it. She asked her uncle, “Can I have it?”

Before any more requests, her uncle gave himself an excuse and put his beloved pet into his sleeve. Left quickly.

Yu Wen couldn’t get what she wanted, she started to cry out loud. Nobody can stop her from crying but Mr. Lyan.

“My child, Let me tell you something. This kind of dog is called Sleeve dog -Tibetan Spaniel. People put it inside their sleeves or the undershirt pocket when they go out. This kind of dog was a tribute to the Emperor, Very unusual and precious. It is extremely difficult to take care of. If it was in your hands, surely it will die within two days. We’d better get you something else to play with.”

“Do you remember that once I had a small Aye-aye, the cute little creature? ” Mr. Lyan went on: “It slept in my brush pen pot, looked so cute! When I needed to make some ink, I knock on the holder with my brush pen, it would jump out, picked up the ink stick and started to ground on the ink tray until I say “Stop”. Then it stood aside next to the ink tray, looking around with his big sparkling eyes. If it saw an ant creep nearby, it would catch it and eat it. After I left the desk, it would lick the left over ink in the tray until the ink was all gone.”

“Yes! Yes! But how come I don’t see it anymore?” Yu Wen asked anxiously.

“It got sick one day. I took it to a veterinarian. But they couldn’t help much and it dead. I say, my child, tomorrow I’ll find something else that you’ll have more fun to play with it.”

By now, Yu Wen smiled through tears, She knew for sure that whatever her father’s promise will always be accomplished.

Early next morning, Wong Ma wake up Yu Wen excitedly, “Hurry up, My lady, Master Lyan was asking for you. It seemed that he has something for you.”

Yu Wen remembered that her father had promised her yesterday that he will look for something that will be more interested than that tiny dog. Now that must be it! She jumped out of her bed. Quickly dressed up with Wong Ma’s help. To brush her teeth? No ! That takes too much time! Gargle and rinse would be faster. Without any response to Wong Ma’s words, she wiped her face with the wet towel handed to her by Wong Ma.

“My lady, My lady! You have to sit down and let me comb your hair. You can’t go to the master’s room like a lunatic! Madam  Lyan will fire me out!” For Wong Ma, Yu Wen would do anything!

Yu Wen dashed out of the door. She wanted to go straight across the court yard to her parents’ room! Oh! Those red handrails at the pathways! Why should there be any? They used to be beautiful and suggestive poetry or painting to her. But not now! Who cares about the muddy grassland. So she skipped the pathways and ran around the pond. Like a flash! There she stopped at the corridor where her parents’ room was. Usually, if she walkㄎ as a lady should, it took at least 2-3 minutes walking from her room to where she stood now. Today she ran like a rabbit, jumped like a monkey, it only took her less than 30 seconds!

She stamped her feet on the ground trying to get rid of some dirt from her beautiful embroidered shoes.  With a deep breath to put herself together again. Then, she knocked on the door and said out loud: “Mom, Dad, your daughter is here to greet you Good morning .”

Mr. Lyan opened the door looking at the huffing and puffing young lady. He looked down and saw her muddy embroidered shoes. He smiled and said kindly:”My! Oh, My! That’s how you came here so soon. Where is your manner, en? my young lady? Look at your muddy shoes! Shame on you!” Mr. Lyan handed Yu Wen a cloth bag and said: “ Give this to Wong Ma, She’ll tell you what to do.”

Behind Mr. Lyan, Yu Wen saw her mother was staring at her with a frowning face. She quickly said thanks to her father and went back her room. But this time she dareㄎ not to take the short cut anymore. She walked like a well-educated lady.  She knew her mother must be watching behind her.

Yu Wen was the only girl in the family, her father’s only pearl. Mr. Lyan spoiled her. But her mother, Jin Shr want to shape her with good manners as well as a real princess. Hopelessly Yu Wen inherited the Mongolian’s free and easy as well as her father.

Wong Ma opened the bag exclaimed with surprise:”My goodness gracious! What a Rarity!” Yu Wen couldn’t figure out why was it a rarity? They were but only 4 small paper figurines made with very thin bamboo sticks. One small copper plate and a small wooden stick.

“No! My lady, You know originally this one was one of the treasures in the treasure pavilion in the royal families. I believe it was a special gift from some Lord. ”

“What is a pavilion?” Yu Wen asked. “Where is this pavilion? Could you take me there someday?”

“No. My lady, the pavilion is not a place. It was a cabinet where the royal families kept their most valuable treasures. They could be some very special agate or jade sculptures, rings, necklace or pines or bracelet. Or the very original painting and calligraphy, or mini Imperial Collection of The Four Books, or some valuable rare toys. Such as this one Lord Lyan gave you.” Wong Ma kept on:”Usually this kind of pavilion has a secret door. It can be opened only if you can find the secret switch. After it was opened, the cabinet can be circled around. Therefore you won’t miss anything in it. it’s an unrivaled sight!” Yu Wen opened her eyes wide. She was enchanted by what she was listening. Speechlessly.

Wong Ma pointed at the articles that Mr. Lyan gave to Yu Wen and said:”These are called 8 Hummers. Because these 4 people each one holding two balls shaped hummers, They were weapons. These weapons all looked different from each other. These people were ancient heroes long times ago. Look at this one with golden hammers, his name is Li Yuan Ba. This one with silver hammers his name is Pei Yuan Ching. This one with copper hummers is Chin Chung. This one with steel hummers is Lyang Shr Tai. Now watch! I am going to put them up standing in this copper plate and….” As Wong Ma was talking, she picked up the small wooden stick and slightly knocking on the edge of the copper plate. Magically the four paper made figurines started to move around in the plate, waving their hummers. When two of them getting very close to another one, they knock on each other, one of them would be knocked down and fall down in the plate.Then she put it back standing up at the plate again.

“Oh! Oh! My goodness! This is really fun.”Yu Wen was thrilled. She jumped up and down, clapping her hands and laughing! She grabbed the little wooden stick from Wong Ma’s hand and did as Wong Ma was doing until there was only one left standing on the plate. She raised her hands up high and shouted; “Hurrah! Here is the winner!” Then she put the 4 of them back again standing on the plate and started the game over and over and over again. If it wasn’t Wong Ma calling her for lunch, Yu Wen could play with it until midnight! These 8 hummers kept her company through many lonely childhood days. Yu Wen was going to take them with her when she was getting married. But her mother took them away along with many other precious things her father gave her, the night before her marriage.

At Yu Wen’s old age, when she was telling the story about the “8 hummers” to her grand children, one of them, a grandson was so enchanted as much as she was so long ago. This little one couldn’t help but asked her: “Granny! Granny! I want one too! Where Can we buy it? Can we get one here in Taiwan? Please! Granny!”

Seven Sorrows of Mary Rosary

I did not know there was a prayer(Seven Sorrows of Mary Rosary) for sinners.  Until two months ago. I found it in a prayer book that my niece sent me from Taiwan. When I was reading it, surprised to see it says “Pray with “Seven Sorrows of Mary Rosary”. I’ve never known that there was such a kind of Rosary in my life. The prayer book did not carry any pictures. How would it look like? I was more interested in the Rosary then the prayer!!    I went to the gift store at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, Ca. Right away after lunch that day, There I found one. But very expensive. It costs $32! That was the only one they have.

That was the end of the month. Like others! There barely any money left in my bank!

The Rosary was so beautiful! Especially thse Sorrowful Mothe and Seven Sorrows of Mary medals. They looked awesome! How I wished to go home with it! But ……….. I handed back reluctantly to the kind lady and said: “I’ll be back for it!”

On my way home, I said to myself: “‘the difference between Rosary and the seven sorrows of Mary was the number of beads and seven sections instead of five decades. The Sorrowful Mary model instead of a Crucifix. I have some beads left over from the Rosary I made before.  Only if I can find those models, I could save some money!

From the internet, I ordered three sets of Seven Sorrows of Mary Rosary. I found some cute beads. But only enough for two. I had spent enough money for models already. Instead of buying some beads.   I picked up the same sides but different colored bead.  I made a colorful one for myself. Who cares the color! As long as I don’t have to count my fingers while praying. God will listen the same!

Those nice ones, One for my 2nd son in Taiwan. One for a friend in Taxes. Because I know they really pray!

I asked them to pray with me for sinners include me every Friday!.

 

http://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/seven_sorrows_prayer.htmlhttp://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/seven_sorrows_prayer.html

 

 

What are these?

Yesterday, Peter and I went to a farmer market where we never visited before. There I saw something that I had never seen before!

Aren’t they look like the watermelon?  Yes! They did to me!But they aren’t! And they are awfully small! Did you see it?  They are just as big as your thumb! Have you ever seen them before?

 

 

2. The Royle Pride

Yu Wen was born in Pei-Jing, China,1914. The beginning years of a new democratic government, The Republic of China. The glory of Ching Dynasty faded. There were many cultural or historical relics, rare treasures from Ching’s palace or homes of officials of Ching government flowed away to the market.

All the relatives of Mrs. Lyan’s were born with blue blood. One of them, Lord Jin Sz told Yu Wen a true story which she could never get over with. It was a downgrade lord who was so sensitive about his reputation.

One morning, Lord Jin Sz Yewas strolling with his bird’s cage along with a famous temple, Hu-Gwo-Sz in Pai-jing. There were all kinds of small business around the temple. stories, tea huts, and small restraints. People loved to hang around there, shopping, eating and chatting with people, acquaintances or strangers. To make a day fly-by with pleasure.

Jin Szn Ye walked into a tea hut for some breakfast. Sitting behind him, there was a poor tattered old jobless lord. It was very noisy at that tea hut; some were calling for the waiters to take orders, some were asking for the prices. Friends talking to each other across several tables. Birds twittering in their cages restlessly……. All of a sudden, he heard a loud slam coming from the table behind him. Someone shouted: “It’s too loud, Be silent!” Everybody stopped talking and turn around to look at the table behind him. Jin-Sz-Ye saw a jobless lord, standing at the table with his dignity. Even he was a jobless lord; he still is yesterdays majesty. The hut was as silent as the night. The people at the tea hut started eating or drinking quietly.

Jin Sz Ye stood up trying to calm the old man down. But he found out that the old jobless lord was wetting his pointer with his saliva from his mouth trying to pick up some sesames seeds which jumped out of the cracks in the table, due to the force of his slam.

That was a sad story. But to a little innocent girl, Yu Wen, around five or six years old, she could never understand the ways of the world. She thought the old jobless lord was so funny. She was even imitating his action, banging on the table and made lots of loud noise until Wang Ma stopped her.

But the royal pride deeply planted in Yu Wen blood. No matter in what kind of circumstances or situation, she was a princess.  As well as the old teachings:”The Three Obeys ” and “The Four Virtues”.

1. The Humble Beginning

Yu Wen’s father, Mr. Lyan was a descendant of a Mongolian prince. Inherited Mongolians’ special personality, bold and generous, easy and out-going. Her Mother, Jin Shr, was a lineal descendant related to Qing’s.  If the Qing was in power she should be a princess, a very traditional Manchurian. She married Mr. Lyan, they had two sons and one girl, Jen Dung, Jen Sing and Yu Wen. Yu Wen was the only girl, the pearl of the family.

 

Mr. Lyan was educated in Japan, the University of Tokyo. Because of his education back ground, he operated an arsenal in Pei-king. That was during the beginning of The new republican government was newly established. Political affairs were very unstable. The current brought out warlords, those did not agree with the policy of the new government. In older someday they could take over the whole country and build a better one. First of all, They have to enlarge their own territories by taking lands from the other Warlords. Wars happened here and there in China. Munitions were needed between new government and the warlords. Mr. Lyan’s arsenal was mutually benefited.

 

Due to the business, Mr. Lyan was operating, the Lyan family was courteously treated by both government and the warlords. The Lyans were able to keep their splendid house with courtyards which were located at Bei-Wu Alley in Pei-king. It was not as big and beautiful as a prince’s house, but certainly, it was very unusual.

A pair of stone lions stood on each side of the main entrance. The two doors at the main entrance were tall and wide. Painted with red. A  copper lion head with a copper ring in its mouth on each door for visitors to knock.  When the loud knocking noise sound, the doorman would know someone is coming.

The Lyan’s residence was two-hall building. The rooms around the first courtyard were for menials and long-term workers.

The houses around the second courtyard were the masters and guests. The second court yard was a beautiful garden.  A man-made pond with rockeries in it.  The pond was surrounded by beautiful flowers. Eaves are long and wide. If you place a manh-jong table under the eaves with 4 people playing at the table, they would not get wet by the heavy rain. Pathways with red railings winding in the garden to connect each side of the house. Some of the Ancient Bricks inlaid on the pathway were carved with moral stories. You may see these special bricks in the gardens of the old residences or rich families in China. But after the downfallen of Qing, most of the decedents of the royal families could not adjust the new age and they had never worked in their whole life. All they do was; when food was ready, they open their mouths. When clothes handed over to them, they stick out their hands. And spending. Gradually they used up all the money.  To hold out their lives, first, they sold the furniture, valuable Paintings, curious, Clothes. Until there was nothing else to sell. They dug out those Ancient Bricks to exchange for some food. They never know the true value of those Ancient Bricks.   The Lyan residence was taken over by the Japanese one year after they took over Pei-King.

When Yu Wen was a little girl, she often asked Wong -Ma, her nursing mother to tell her those stories carved on those Ancient Bricks. The loyalty, filially, benevolence and righteousness were deeply planted in her thought.

In the second yard, there was a man-made little hill with a secret door, a cave behind it. In the cave, there was a stone table. The cave was built for storing ice for the hot summer. In winter, The river was frozen.  People cut the ice into big chunks and sell them. The Lyans always store them in that cave.  Used them in summer to bring the room temperature down, cold drinks and cooling fruits.  and As a naughty child, Yu Wen loved to ask Wong Ma to be with her to explore the cave. She believed there must be some kind of secret path that could lead to somewhere. Such as to someone’s country side, or another mansion, or even could get out the city. She often knocked the rock on the wall to see if she could be lucky enough to open up a door to lead the way to somewhere. But the dimness, wet and coldness in the air for poor Wong Ma’s arthritis knees, they could never be able to accomplish the adventure.

There was various kind of flowers in front of the artificial hill. Yu Wen loved the nature since she was a little girl. She appreciated the beauty of nature. Often being attracted by a small flower or insects. She loved the beauty of butterflies or a bug. Whenever she found something special, she would ask Wong Ma to help her to bring it home to study it. SometimeSs even use it as a model pattern for her embroidery. That was why her needle works were so different from others.

The Humble Beginning

Yu Wen’s father, Mr. Lyan was a descendant of a Mongolian prince. Inherited Mongolians’ special personality, bold and generous, easy and out-going. Her Mother, Jin Shr, was a lineal descendant related to Qing’s.  If the Qing was in power she should be princesses, a very traditional Manchurian. She married Mr. Lyan, they had two sons and one girl, Jen Dung, Fu Sing and Yu Wen. Yu Wen was the only girl, the pearl of the family.

Mr. Lyan was educated in Japan, the University of Tokyo. Because of his education back ground, he operated an arsenal in Pei-king. That was during the beginning of The new republican government was newly established. Political affairs were very unstable. The current brought out warlords, those did not agree with the policy of the new government. In older someday they could take over the whole country and build a better one. First of all, They have to enlarge their own territories by taking lands from the other . Wars happened here and there in China. Munitions were needed between new government and the warlords. Mr. Lyan’s arsenal was mutually benefited.

Due to the business, Mr. Lyan was operating, the Lyan family was courteously treated by both government and the warlords. The Lyans were able to keep their splendid house with courtyards which were located at Bei-Wu Alley in Pei-king. It was not as big and beautiful as a prince’s house, but certainly, it was very unusual.

A pair of stone lions stood on each side of the main entrance. The two doors at the main entrance were tall and wide. Painted with red. A  copper lion head with a copper ring in its mouth on each door for visitors to knock.  When the loud knocking noise sound, the doorman would know someone is coming.

The Lyan’s residence was two-hall building. The rooms around the first courtyard were for menials and long-term workers.

The houses around the second courtyard were the masters and guests. The second court yard was a beautiful garden.  A man-made pond with rockeries in it.  The pond was surrounded by beautiful flowers. Eaves are long and wide. If you place a manh-jong table under the eaves with 4 people playing at the table, they would not get wet by the heavy rain. Pathways with red railings winding in the garden to connect each side of the house. Some of the Ancient Bricks inlaid on the pathway were carved with moral stories. You may see these special bricks in the gardens of the old residences or rich families in China. But after the downfallen of Qing, most of the decedents of the royal families could not adjust the new age and they had never worked in their whole life. All they do was; when food was ready, they open their mouths. When clothes handed over to them, they stick out their hands. And spending. Gradually they used up all the money.  To hold out their lives, first, they sold the furniture, valuable Paintings, curious, Clothes. Until there was nothing else to sell. They dug out those Ancient Bricks to exchange for some food. They never know the true value of those Ancient Bricks.   The Lyan residence was taken over by the Japanese one year after they took over Pei-King.

When Yu Wen was a little girl, she often asked Wong -Ma, her nursing mother to tell her those stories carved on those Ancient Bricks. The loyalty, filially, benevolence and righteousness were deeply planted in her thought.

In the second yard, there was a man-made little hill with a secret door, a cave behind it. In the cave, there was a stone table. The cave was built for storing ice for the hot summer. In winter, The river was frozen.  People cut the ice into big chunks and sell them. The Lyans always store them in that cave.  Used them in summer to bring the room temperature down, cold drinks and cooling fruits.  As a naughty child, Yu Wen loved to ask Wong Ma to be with her to explore the cave. She believed there must be some kind of secret path that could lead to somewhere. Such as to someone’s country side, or another mansion, or even could get out the city. She often knocked the rock on the wall to see if she could be lucky enough to open up a door to lead the way to somewhere. But the dimness, wet and coldness in the air for poor Wong Ma’s arthritis knees, they could never be able to accomplish the adventure.

There was various kind of flowers in front of the artificial hill. Yu Wen loved the nature since she was a little girl. She appreciated the beauty of nature. Often being attracted by a small flower or insects. She loved the beauty of butterflies or a bug. Whenever she found something special, she would ask Wong Ma to help her to bring it home to study it. Sometimes even use it as a model pattern for her embroidery. That was why her needle works were so different from others.