THE BELL

It is worthless to search in the old books and in the codices the name of the master who shed the giant bell. However, you can’t learn from the books why the bell sounds are so strong and dulcet like the gurgling mountain fountain and why they become suddenly so terrifying and magnificent. You find nothing about these written in the books, but the old people know who was the man who shed the wonderful bell and why its sound was sometimes quiet and dulcet, and sometimes it became deep and strong.

 Many centuries ago, the Chinese emperor ordered the construction of a new city.

- I will call it Beijing, - the emperor claimed, - and that will become the greatest and the most wonderful city in the world. Unfortunately, not all the things were done like the emperor ordered. The people built the city twice, and it was destroyed the both times by the enemies. The foreigners jumped like terrible grasshoppers and flew over the Chinese land.

They captivated the men and burned out the city. Then, the emperor went far away in the mountains, where a man lived alone and lonely for long. The emperor went inside the cave and said humbly:

- You are a wise old man. Tell me what to do to build the capital of China, Beijing? How can we protect it from the wild enemies’ attacks?

The wise man heard everything carefully, then he said:

- The greatest Chinese master must shed the biggest bell in the world. Its sound should reach the borders of your country everywhere, from the south to the north, from east to west.

The emperor turned back at once at his palace and just as he got inside, he clapped three times his palms, everyone gathered and ordered and said:

- Find the best master in the country and bring him to me.

The servants went all over the country to find the master and at the end of the month they brought to the emperor the most talented master in China. His name was Chen, and when he bowed in front of the throne, the emperor said:

- It is your duty to shed the greatest bell in my empire. And do not forget that its sound must reach the borders of our endless nation.

Chen began to work immediately and ceaselessly without feeling fatigue. He had a beautiful fifteen-year-old girl, which was called Shao Lin. She helped him find the yellowest gold, the whitest silver and the blackest iron he needed for the bell. The precious metal boiled for so many nights in the flaming furnace. After Chen shed the bell, everyone noticed a deep rift on the surface. Chen did the work from the beginning. And his hardworking daughter helped him again in what he was doing. However, the evils followed the house of the old master. When Chen shed the bell for the second time, two rifts were noticed on its surface. So the emperor lost his patience and said:

Unless you don’t succeed in the third attempt, you will be beheaded.

The old Chen could do nothing but begin the work again from the beginning. In his eyes there was no joy, and his hands couldn’t work like before. As we all know, when the master doesn’t feel the pleasure of the work he’s doing, then his work never turns up to be a success. The beautiful Shao Lin was very sad from what was happening, so when everybody slept at night, she secretly went to the mountains alone to the lonely man. She told the wise old man in tears about her father’s misfortune and begged him for help. The wise man reflected for a while and said:

- The bell’s sound must release the triumph. So, a bell like that shouldn’t be shed only in gold, silver and iron. There must be even human blood mixed with the metal, the blood of the man who is ready to give his life for his country.

In the morning, Shao Lin was helping her father. She was staying near the furnace, looked at the melted metal and sad thoughts hurt her heart. She knew what her father didn’t: the bell would have those rifts again if no one would be sacrificed. That meant to her that the enemies of China would captivate the young boys and girls, would kill the old people and the children, and would burn all the cities and villages. So she was thinking by herself:

- No! This will never happen!

The old master didn’t understand what happened, but his daughter disappeared in the metal that was melting. The holy blood mixed with the melted silver, iron and gold. The unfortunate Chen cried on and on, Shao Lin was his only daughter and the only consolation he had… The bell was shed and it was the greatest bell in the world. On its shiny surface there was no rift neither a hole. The whole nation was marveled by the wonderful job Chen had done, and everyone praised his mastery. According to the old custom, the gifted mater rang the bell first and the dulcet sound filled all the hearts with joy and happiness. In those sonorous sounds, Chen could hear the voice of his lovely daughter which gave her life for the homeland, for the country where she was born and the place she loved more than herself. Days passed and Beijing was already built. But once, suddenly, everyone heard the powerful sounds of the bell ringing. No one was ringing the bell, but the sound reached the borders of China, from the north to the south, from the east to the west. People’s hearts heard the voice and they became stronger and braver. When the enemies usurped China, the whole nation mutinied. The Chinese didn’t know what tiredness and fear was because they could hear the sounds of the bell. In the sounds they could hear the voice of the girl, Shao Lin. The foreigners were beat and their names were lost forever.