Agape: In Search of Universal Love
from the novel, The Lodging for the Rose
Rolf. A. F. Witzsche

Story 1 - Lianhua.
page 1

Story 1 - Lianhua.

      Seven days later, we were back on the ship, those of us who had gone with Jacky to Beijing. We returned with the official stamp of approval for a sixteen months tour of some of China's major universities, all accessible with our ship, located in China's major cities: Beijing, Tianjin, Shenyang, Jiang, Shanghai, Manjing, Wuhan, Chonquing, Chendu, Hong Kong, Guangzhou. Jacky's department even promised to contribute the full portion of the scholarships that would be required to carry out the program.
      In the spirit of celebrating our success, Wai-yi launched a ceremony in which she placed the present that we had received in honor of our contribution to the musical festival. She found a spot for it on the front wall of the main lounge where the morning sun would illumine it every day according to the way our ship lay in dock at our home base.

      It was on the voyage home across Poyang Hu, and it was once again in the middle of the lake, that Steve shut the engines down and let the ship coast to a stop. He announced that it was lunch time, but he added that it was also story telling time. Mei-seong had a story to tell. She told us that the story reflected the kind of journey we have had.
      Lunch was quickly set up on the upper deck. Everyone hurried in anticipation of what we felt would be a great treat, knowing Mei-seong sensitivity to the human dimension of the world. There was some speculation while we ate as to what kind of story it would be, and what specifically it would relate to.
      All that Mei-seong would reveal, however, was that her story was not only related to our cultural visit to the city across the lake, but that it was more related to our past and to our future projects, especially those that Steve had outlined earlier. She even offered in the same breath that she would manage these projects for us in case that Steve would decide to return to America to get his country out of the rut. She revealed that she was presenting the story in Steve's honor to serve as a light on his path to help his people back home to resolve a crisis, and to help the people of the world in the same way. She said that her story reflected on that.
      "It also reflects on what we all must do, to prevent the hands of power from paralyzing Steve's country and every country in the world," she added.

      Since she wouldn't say any more than that, the preparations for lunch went faster that day, at least so it seemed, and the time required to eat it seemed shorter, too. There was an anticipation in the air that reflected to a large degree Mei-seong gentle nature, but also her love of her county's history, and her understanding of its modern challenge.
      Mei-seong began to tell her story while some of us were still eating. She said that this was important to the story, because the story was about living.
      The story begins in an age long forgotten. It begins at a time when two kingdoms had been at war with each other, which had so destroyed their resources and ravished the land and the people, that no victor emerged. Eventually, the war stopped. Only the blindness of the rulers remained the same as before, which made life evermore intolerable for the surviving population.
      In order to save themselves, many of the wisest of the people of both kingdoms simply fled into the wilderness. It seemed easier to suffer the hardships and uncertainties of such a primitive existence than to continue to live under the yoke of increasing cruelty and ever greater demands. They felt that they would sooner starve to death than to live a life of constant agony.

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 (c) Copyright 1998 - Rolf Witzsche
Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, Canada