A HUNDRED THOUSAND ARROWS
This tale is about a peasant, who saved his country from the invaders. The enemies arrived at the biggest river around the country and stopped at the shore, where they were preparing for the attack.
The emperor exceedingly distressed and called all of his soldiers to send them nearby the river. Then in the evening, he sent two of his skillful soldiers to the enemy’s camp to discover how many soldiers were there. They came back and told him that they hadn’t enough time to count all of them because they were too many. Above all, each soldier had a big bag full of arrows. The emperor asked them again:
- Tell me, what did you see and hear?
The enemies said to each-other that four days later they would overpass the river, would murder all the people and they would drown the emperor in the river.
The emperor became even more quailed and gathered all his counselors, that said:
- God doesn’t want the best for us! We’d better back off from all those arrows.
A peasant heard those words and went immediately to the emperor’s palace. The guards didn’t leave him enter and were laughing at him. The emperor heard voices and went outside the palace, and the counselors came after him. The peasant asked him if it was true that his soldiers would back off, the emperor confirmed and the reason was that they didn’t have that many arrows.
Then the peasant said:
- Why, you son of the sky, did all the masters of our nation disappear right at this moment?
The emperor got mad and told him no one could make so many arrows in just three days. Then the peasant said that they had to defeat the enemy with courage and artfully.
The emperor turned his back to the counselors and said to the peasant:
- My wise and canny counselors didn’t think of a solution.
Then the peasant saw the sky, the river, and the branches swinging lightly in the wind and said:
- Three days later I will bring a hundred thousand arrows.
The emperor got mad again, but said that if he wouldn’t bring the arrows, he would bury the peasant alive. The peasant agreed without batting an eye and said:
- Your Majesty, now I need you to order twenty boats, fifty soldiers and all the straw we have around us for me.
The court counselors nickered and told the peasant:
- Would you make us happy with arrows of straw?
- My arrows won’t be better nor worse than those of opponents, - answered the peasant.
The emperor reflected and in the end agreed because they had nothing to lose. The first day passed and the emperor was impatient to know how many arrows were done, so he sent his spies to watch over the farmer.
They came back told him:
- The farmer drank, regaled himself and danced all day long. None of his soldiers had prepared a single arrow at all.
The emperor got angry because he thought the farmer was fooling around. But the counselors soothed him saying that he had maybe thought about something none of them did. When the second day passed, the spies went to watch over the farmer again and turned back saying:
- The old peasant fishes all day long and the soldiers stay by the shore.
The emperor wore down and went to the peasant, then told him to show the arrows he had made. But the peasant said:
- I promised to prepare the arrows within three days, but only two ones have passed. Come and see the day after tomorrow and you will take what you have been promised.
The emperor didn’t believe the peasant, so he went to bore a hole and he would bury that man alive when the third day would come. But the truth was that the soldiers didn’t sat vain at the shore. They had covered all their boats with straw and approached the enemy. When the drew near, the soldiers stood quietly so that the enemy couldn’t hear them, but the peasant burst out laughing and ordered them to shout out loud and play the brass platters and the drums. The boats approached the enemy with such a noise that it seemed they were camions sailing. That night there was a very dense fog and the enemies couldn’t see anything. They just heard multiple noises and the voices. So, the fear of being surrounded made them take their bows and shot thousands of arrows towards the boats. But the boats were covered in a thick layer of straw and nothing could touch the soldiers in the boats. When the enemy’s arrows were finished, the peasant turned to them and made a thank you gesture. So the soldiers began to sail and turned back. When they reached the shore, they saw that the coffers were full of arrows. Just as the sun rose, the emperor and his counselors came to the shore and were seeing how the soldiers and the peasants took removed the arrows from the chaff, counted them and made heaps of thousand arrows. They had taken a hundred thousand arrows and more. The emperor understood everything and asked:
- How did you know that the third day would be foggy?
And the peasant answered:
- If the soldier doesn’t know the laws of the sky and the earth and doesn’t feel the language of the nature of the land where he lives, then he’d better stay home and raise his children. At that time, the emperor’s soldiers took all the arrows. The campaigners crossed the river and attacked the enemies. Their hostiles didn’t have even a thousand arrows so they backed away terrified, but only a few of them survived.