(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!”