Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
First I have to tell you something. My dad is coming home from hospital today. He went in surgery last monday to take away a tumor on his back. After a few days hospital he may return home today. We don't know yet if the tumor is good or bad, but my dad is feeling ok again and will recover.
Than second, I have published a new episode of "Suikazura No Retsu", which you can find on the left side of our Haiku Kai. And I have launched a new weblog in which I will gather all the episodes of "Suikazura No Retsu".
Today our prompt is dragon and it's referring to a Mongolian Folktale titled "Hunter Boy" which I will share next. It's a bit long tale, but I hope you all do like it and that it will inspire you to write haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka or haibun.
|Credits: Altai Mountains|
One day, when Hunter-Boy was on his way to go hunting, a hawk came flying over and swooped down to catch a thin white snake curled up in the tall grass near the river shore. As the hawk flew back by, the small snake called out, "Hunter-Boy, help! Help!" Hunter-Boy feeling sorry for the snake thought to himself, "Poor thing, the little creature has run into trouble and is pleading me, how can I refuse to help!" He pulled out an arrow and shot the hawk and the thin white snake fell to the ground. "Hunter-Boy, your grace must be repaid!" said the little snake as it disappeared into the tall grass.
That evening, after strapping a roebuck to his saddle, Hunter-Boy headed back along the river shore. On the way he happened upon a multitude of snakes lying criss-cross along the path. "Are you having a gathering today?" asked Hunter-Boy out of curiosity. Then just ahead the thin white snake came out, saying to everyone, "This is Hunter-Boy, the one who graciously saved my life." All of the snakes circled around Hunter-Boy in a loud commotion, "Our master has invited you to visit him." Then the small white snake said, "I am the Dragon Master’s youngest daughter, yesterday you saved my life and my father wishes to show his appreciation by inviting you to visit his palace." "How can I ever get to the Dragon Master’s palace?” asked Hunter-Boy. "Close your eyes and I will lead you there." replied the thin white snake.
|Credits: Altai Mountains (2)|
While walking along the thin white snake whispered into Hunter-Boy’s ear, "My father is going to offer you precious objects of silver and gold, but don’t accept them. Instead, ask for the small round precious stone which my father always keeps in his mouth, once you place it in your mouth you will be able to understand the languages of all four-legged and winged creatures. However, I will warn you about one thing. After you have put the precious stone into your mouth, can understand the language of the flying creatures and know what they are saying, what ever you do, you cannot tell what you have heard to any human being. If you do, your body will immediately turn to stone. Please, don’t ever forget this." Hunter-Boy, understanding what she had said, nodded his head. After walking a ways further he opened his eyes only to find that they had already arrived at the Dragon Master’s palace.
The Dragon Master, wanting to express great thanks to Hunter-Boy, opened the doors to his one-hundred and eight treasure houses saying, "Hunter-Boy, you may choose anything from among these treasures of mine." Hunter-Boy walked up to the door of the treasure house to peer inside. Gold and silver glittered in his eyes and the pearls were piled high like mountains. Treasures to revive the dead, to bring sight to the blind, to bring sound to deaf ears and speech to the speechless. There was enough for a lifetime of grains, for garments which the sun and wind could not penetrate; the universe would never lack from these treasures.
Hunter-Boy bowed to the Dragon Master and said, "Dragon Master, I live as a hunter, a guardian of the remote spaces, I have need of the small round stone which you keep in your mouth. Please bestow that upon me."
|Credits: Mongolian Dragonmaster|
The Dragon Master, looked to the right and laughed, looked to the left and cried, took the precious stone from his mouth and gave it to Hunter-Boy. From that time on Hunter-Boy, able to understand the languages of the four-legged and winged creatures, became an even more successful hunter.
One day, as Hunter-Boy went up the mountain to go hunting, he overheard the mountain birds in discussion, "Tomorrow, they say that Sir Tiger, our mountain creature king, will be celebrating his birthday. They also say that he is going to eat the flesh of those two children who always come up the mountain to fetch firewood...the two of them don’t know that they will die tomorrow."
Hunter-Boy was very surprised to hear this and wanted to tell those two children, however, he remembered that if he were to tell them his own body would turn to stone. But then, if he didn’t tell them, when the two poor children go to gather firewood and are eaten by the tiger...the fear tore at him all night. Suddenly, at the break of dawn, an idea came to him. He took his bow and arrows and headed up the mountain, he arrived at a cliff and sat down to wait. Shortly after, the two children came up the mountain gathering firewood and were paying no attention to what was going on around them. All of the sudden the fierce tiger jumped out roaring, “MEAT! MEAT!". They say just as the tiger hurled himself toward the two children, Hunter-Boy, with a single arrow, shot the tiger through the neck killing him instantly. The two children bowed down in front of Hunter-Boy, their lifesaver, thanking him. All of the mountain animals who, time and time again, had been humiliated and taunted by the tiger also came to show their appreciation at his deed.
As the days and nights passed, Hunter-Boy became more and more skilled at hunting on horseback, and at the same time continued to answer to the needs of the neighboring families. One summer day, it is said, Hunter-Boy went to a far off mountain behind his home to go hunting. The Emperor and Empress of the bird kingdom were leading their subjects on a long journey to a faraway place. All of the four-legged animals were growling and quarreling, they say even the bunnies and gophers were grouping together fleeing in excitement. At this, Hunter-Boy, in a state of wonderment, got down from his horse and sat in the shadow of the trees to listen to the birds in conversation.
"Tomorrow this mountain is going to burst and create a large flood. All creatures must take their belongings, not leaving anything behind in the village, and head out." they exclaimed.
At that instant, Hunter-Boy, jumped up and took off toward home. As soon as he reached the village he began, "Quickly we all have to move away from here! Tomorrow the mountain behind us is going to burst and there is going to be a dangerous flood..." As he spoke, it is said, not even one person believed his words. He moved away and thought to himself, "I am an orphan and these people have cared for me since my birth they have taught me the difference between right and wrong. How can I just leave them with this threat of death?" He spoke up "Hurry, get away from here! Hurry! There is really a flood coming!" Hearing this the people badgered him asking over and over. "How do you know about this flood? Who told you?" They say not even one person was prepared to flee.
|Credits: Mongolian Vulcan|
At this, very worried and excited, he thought to himself, "How can I be afraid of turning to stone and let all of these people and animals die". Then Hunter-Boy began by telling them about saving the thin white snake, and the Dragon Master summoning him to visit his palace to show his gratitude. About the precious stone which the Dragon Master kept in his mouth and how he begged the Dragon Master to give him the stone. How, once he placed the stone in his own mouth, he could understand the languages of all creatures, therefore killed the tiger and saved the two children gathering firewood. He explained how today he overheard the mountain animals talking. He told them that the Dragon Master’s youngest daughter strictly told him not to tell any of this to any other humans otherwise his body would change into stone. As he was speaking his body slowly began to harden
and just as he stood he turned to stone. Everyone around blinked as they watched in disbelief, then their eyes grew larger and larger. Only after witnessing this did the people believe what Hunter-Boy had said. All of the sudden, as everyone began frantically running to and for to get away, there was a loud noise, "Ka boom". The mountain behind them had really burst and they could hear the sound of the rushing water crashing down toward them.
The people gazed at the stone figure of Hunter-Boy from afar as it stood firm in it’s place, not even the water caused it to budge. At a safe distance, everyone sobbed and cried saying, "Hunter-Boy turned to stone for us!". From this time on the people who were saved from the flood continue to pass the memory of Hunter-Boy on from generation to generation.
|Hunter's Boy Spring, a blue rock formation in the Altai Mountains, a natural sacred site|
There in the Altai Mountains, standing upright next to the source of a natural spring, is a blue rock formation, and they call this spring “Hunter-Boy’s Spring”.