As told by his Followers, fellow Waygoers, who saw and heard.

 [1] Lu Mīn lived in the period of time after the Wise Gonakhan, when the Seven Schools were only Six, before the ivy had grown over their walls and the second Servants of the Schools had passed on. 

Lu Mīn was well known and well beloved, the youngest and only Na-Shime in a family full of Na-Shizu. 

But that didn’t stop Lu Mīn getting in lots of trouble. He was well known for racing through the town on some imaginary adventure with the Ancient Ones, seeking and destroying Giants. He would often incorporate shop keepers, old ones and even domesticates in his quests—with or without their permission. Once he became so enraptured in his fantasy that he fell onto a table set for the evening meal, scattering dishes and food everywhere. Although Lu Mīn often deserved a beating, his own Na-Shime was soft hearted, well advanced in age and wisdom, and so he often neglected to deliver the punishment.

Lu Mīn was recognized as brilliant in feats of the mind before he could enter the School of the Signs. He once won a solid gold bell from the town for spinning a riddle no person could answer. 

It happened when He sat under a Ki-mera tree on the edge of his town in the position open to Go-na. 

Wondering why such a young one should strike such a pose, passers-by would ask him what he was doing. He responded with his riddle. 

Tell me what one thing 

Everyone in this village is doing 

At the same time, 

And I will tell you 

why I sit here.

The riddle befuddled all Lu Mīn’s visitors, from young friends to the merchants and traders. Finally a member of the Council, accompanied by Lu Mīn’s Na-Shime, came to the Ki-mera tree. 

—My young one, stop this nonsense—said Lu Mīn’s Na-Shime, sternly—come to the dwelling for your meal.—  

But Lu Mīn refused to move, repeating his riddle. 

This angered Lu Mīn’s Na-Shime, who broke off a branch of the Ki-mera to deal harshly with him.

But the member of the Council who accompanied Lu Mīn’s Na-Shime stopped him.

—This one has been touched. Let us first see if we can solve the riddle to find the reason for his action.— 

The Elder sat for a long time, until it was growing very late, silently watching Lu Mīn, considering the answer to the young one’s riddle. 

Darkness descended, but still Lu Mīn stayed by the Ki-mera tree and the Elder with him, for he had begun to take the challenge seriously. 

As Se-Lim was rising, Lu Mīn’s Na-Shime and Na-Shizu came anxiously to check on him, a crowd following them.

With the arrival of the crowd, the Elder, who had also spent the period of darkness in that spot, exhaled his inner wind and spoke.

—Young one, we all are eager to know the reason you stay by this Ki-mera tree. You have set for us a puzzle, and though it is far from easy, I believe I know the answer. I will tell you what I think. If I am correct, you must tell the whole village what your secret is, and promise to honour it with some service decided by myself. If my answer is incorrect, the village will award you with a special gift to carry with you everywhere you go. Remember young one, the Authorities are watching. Do not lie.— 

Lu Mīn opened his eyes at this, looked straightly and boldly into the eyes of the Elder and agreed. 

The Elder again exhaled loudly and spoke: 

We all do different things in different times

We drink and eat

Sleep and walk 

Think and play

At different times

But only one thing do we all do at the same time:

And with that, he blew his inner wind loudly so that all could see what the answer was.

The crowd applauded this wise suggestion of the Elder’s. Surely he must be right? 

But Lu Mīn did not smile, or make any sign until the crowd had regained silence. 

Blessed Elder

You are correct that we all do different things in different times

We Drink and Eat 

Sleep and Walk

Think and Play

At different times

The inner wind comes for us in its own time too

I draw it in and you blow it out

Some in the village do not have inner wind

For they have passed, though a Part of them remains 

With us 

So I say to you solemnly and respectfully

That is not the answer.

The crowd let out a gasp of astonishment for what Lu Mīn had done. Countering an Elder’s statement was no small transgression. It upended the order which the Gokhans had helped to create. More importantly, it was considered bad fortune.

But the Elder did not let shame fill his face, nor did he become nervous. He simply replied:

—Then young one, you are bound to share with us the answer to the riddle. If it is deemed worthy of the question, you will receive your prize.— 

Lu Mīn closed his eyes again, and continued to remain very still and calm. 

Blessed Elder 

We do all manner of things in our own ways

Only one thing we do all together

At the same time—

We all age. 

Even the bones of the Ancestors, of blessed memory 

Join us in aging. 

So I am sitting here, thus 

To try and escape aging

But I cannot—for as still as I am, 

The world continues its journey

From Se-Lim on High to the lower Authorities.

—Truly this one has been touched!—responded the Elder, who turned to address the gathering

—As a member of the Council, I solemnly state that this young one shall be rewarded for his surpassing wisdom. What is more, with his Na-Shime and Na-Shizu’s permission, he will enter into my private tutelage. 

Lu Mīn’s Na-Shime and Na-Shizu readily agreed to this high honour bestowed upon their son. From that day onwards, Lu Mīn would spend his time after the School of Signs with the Elder, until the evening meal was called. 

But he continued to play and enjoy himself, and all the village knew where he was by the sound of his tinkling gold bell—the reward for his riddle, and his courage. 

Continue reading The Life of Lu-Min - Part 2

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