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The Master Mountains, mountains everywhere… and in the midst a lake.
A lonely figure stands on the summit, casting a glance over the harsh, snow-covered rocks and almost frozen water which calls the wind for a last wave.
A hastening sound makes itself noticed from all around, and the clouds in the sky are flowing like the variable stream of life.
The paths that had led him here were stony and covered with dust. Wherever he went, his stick left a trace. Now his eyes know no more longing, his heart weeps no more tears. He does not feel the coolness which surrounds him – he is warmed by his memories. He grasps the sandalwood stick left to him by his Master and that accompanied him on his way to wisdom. He recalls the love of the girl, which had once helped him to find the right path, and he hears the words that called to him a long time ago: “My child…”


The Master Spring had just returned. Even so, winter refused to let go its icy grip and still sent strong, cold winds down from the mountains. The village shop owners had secured their entrances with curtains, so dark and heavy that no one could see the goings on inside – but they kept the rooms warm.
At the tavern they did without such protection; instead using heavy beams to reinforce the door. This however, did not prevent the strong wind from blowing street’s earth inside.
A group of passing mules kicked up the dry ground with their hooves carrying further clouds of dust into the air.
When the wind dropped and the sun warmed the air, children emerged from their huts and houses to play in the village square. Stray dogs roamed around attempting to hunt chickens, and women with colourful scarves tied around their hair hurried to the market to buy rice, vegetables and dried fish. The life of the village followed its own rules and was mainly guided by the rhythm of the seasons. Its inhabitants were used to a simple life in which few events took place, besides the occasional celebration of a wedding or a funeral. Only once had there been cause for great excitement and this was when the gaslights had been lit in the market square for the first time.


The MasterThe boy left his father’s house and went to the village square to play with his friends. When he arrived at the fountain he noticed a strange tapping sound.
In trying to locate the source of the sound his eyes suddenly came across an old man, whose walking stick tapped as he descended the staircase leading down from the temple.
The wind blew his long hair and tangled his shining silver beard. The boy was captivated; he had never seen such a figure before. The tapping came closer, and the sun shone through the clouds and onto the wise and knowing face of the old man.
The boy stared at the stranger. It was seldom that an outsider came to the village. His shoes and clothes were torn; one supposed, he must have had crossed many mountains and forged many rivers to get there. At that moment the other children also noticed the new arrival.
“Who are you and where are you from?” they wanted to know.
“I don’t have a name any more,” answered the man, “and I don’t know what led me here. Last night I fell asleep where the sun set and this morning I awoke where it rose.”...
...“Who have you met on your way?’ asked one girl.
“I have met two kinds of people. Those who create something wonderful out of something worthless, and those who turn something wonderful into something worthless.”
“And to which of them do you belong?” the girl wanted to know.
“I try to create something wonderful out of something worthless. Then something worthless out of something wonderful and, then from the worthless, something wonderful again.”...
...“And where is your hostel?” asked the boy who had first discovered the old man.
“It is as far away as the end of the heavens,” answered the man, “and as near as the beginning of the earth. It is where the heart finds its peace.”

The Master The novel is now available as eBook with the original text and illustrations by Chao-Hsiu Chen

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