Story 1 - Lianhua.
As it was, they did not starve to death, and why should they have? The people who had taken these courageous steps had been the most intelligent of the population. After all, they had managed to survive the war. They soon realized that the wilderness in its primitive way, had still enough resources to support them, meager as they were, and that these could be utilized if they used all that they had learned, and went beyond that.
So it was that they build themselves shelters with the straw of wild grasses, interwoven with the reeds that grew in abundance at the river banks. They also build nets with them to catch fish, and baskets to carry fruits and berries. In this way their lives became richer and freer than they had ever been.
Eventually, the two groups of refugees met up with each other. They met not as enemies, but as fellow human beings, eager to learn from each other and to support one another for their common good. Thus life was good to them all.
But this was summer time. No one knew what the winter would bring upon them in this vast water bound wilderness, from which, it was said, no one ever returned.
Before the winter set in, a traveling monk came upon their summer village as he followed the trails that they had created. He followed the trails to explore the phenomenon. As a
traveler, he was familiar with this wilderness. He was also aware of how this wilderness would change during the rainy season, how the rivers would overflow and flood the land. He told them that their village and their food would all be washed away.
In order to help the people, since he came from an ancient and honorable order, he invited the people to his valley where
a monastery was located, a hidden valley, nestled between snow bound mountain ranges where monks had made a living for as long as anyone could remember. He told them that there was plenty of room in the valley. There was even a lake at the far end of the valley, some distance away from the monastery.
The people were sensitive enough to understand that the monk's offer was genuine. So they went with him on his trek across several mountain ranges. They traveled in their new clothing made of fur from the animals they had hunted. They carried also the food they had gathered, dried fish and dried berries, which they shared with the
Upon their arrival, they found a good land, indeed. They also found a number of food plants growing in the wild that could be cultivated. They found fish in the lake, wood in the forest. They used stones from the mountain slopes to build houses and irrigation dams, and terraces to create gardens on the steeper slopes that would retain the rainwater. They utilized all the knowledge they had gained in their previous world, and so, they prospered. Within a year they had turned the poorest part of the valley, which the monks had found useless, into a rich and welcoming place with a design that enhanced the beauty of the land.
It was at this time that the people learned from a
caravan that the rulers of the monastery had a design of their own, for the people, which they warned the people about. They told the people that the ancient order had a history of enslaving people into their service, not by force, but by their cunning in creating a front of mystic authority that overpowers a people's spirit, that weakens their resistance to them, by which they would tend to become willing slaves.
That warning brought on a depressing kind of feeling that now hung in the air like a dark cloud. This dark foreboding struck them just as they were about to celebrate
the achievements wrought with their tireless labor.
What they were told by the man from the caravan created a paradox. Their lives had become spared by the kindness of the monks, but only to live like a bunch of cattle that have a place in the world only for as long as they remain useful to their masters. They knew they couldn't allow this to happen to themselves.