Story of the Jade
Original teller of the story was an unknown secret writer in Late-Ching dynasty. He would not let people know who he was.
In the year 2018, Lee Chard re-wrote the story in a short form.
The original name of the story was "Story of the Stone" or "Dream of the Red Chamber".
It was a masterpiece in one-million words. We will try to put the most important essence here.
His name was Jade the Fake. The original secret and unknown teller of the story told us, that he was born with a piece of jade in his mouth. The story was full of parables. What does jade mean? It means, he was born with a heart.
He was not aware of it in the very beginning. It was not until he lost the jade, then he found himself stupid, and realized that the piece of jade was his heart. The jade was a symbol of his inner feelings. And the feeling may or may not be his own. It was a spirit coming from very ancient times. It was more than culture, it may be the spirit of human nature.
What is culture? The author used one million words to tell the story. The story was a complete re-construction of all aspects of life in China. We may call it culture. However, in the times of the author, the concept of culture had not been invented. He re-construct everything for us to see. Most important of all was the spirit. Now the spirit was in the heart of the jade.
He was the most cherished treasure of the big family. Everybody loved him. He can do anything he wanted and he can go to any place he liked. He liked girls and sometime he like handsome boys too.
It was by this time, the early sex desire emerged. It came amid a lengthy time period. When he was two, or three, or four, he loved the lipsticks of girls. He would suddenly take away the lipsticks or red colored cosmetics from the girls. He would eat them. Maybe he would kiss the lips to eat them. He liked red. People thought that he liked sex. But it was not. Red is not sex. He loved the color of red more than sex. Sex was not his main concern.
Jade loved red. What does it mean? Does the jade represent power and it need a red ink pad to rule the world? Does it mean let the heart rule the world? It could have been the original design of the story plot: we all need a heart, let the heart rule everything. The heart is red.
However, everyone was suddenly nervous when his behavior had become too casual and sexual. He had grown up in an unnoticed speed and there were so many beautiful girls and boys in the mansion. He was still running into girls or boys at any time, not knowing the urge of sex had come.
He had his first sex experience, according to the original secret and unnamed story teller, in a dream. However, it wasn't much different whether it was in the story or a dream.
In the dream, he was guided by a heavenly-maid. The heavenly-maid told him what sex was, and let him try it.
One interesting detail was the name of his first sex partner. Her name was Qin, Qin meant the first empire of China, or simply China. Her name was Lady Possible of Qin.
Lady Possible of Qin? What is the hidden meaning? In her inner chamber, art works of the most important ladies in Chinese history were on display. You could see historical Chinese beauties in her room. And it was in this room, Jade the Fake had a sexual encounter with Lady Possible. Does it mean he would have sex with all the women in China? Or simply, does it mean all Chinese beauties were Lady Possible? If Jade the Fake meant a piece of heart, it should have loaded with the meaning that all women needed it, too.
He had a wonderful moment with Lady Possible. But it was not important. More important was the aftermath of the affair. As soon as he left the perfumed room, he was chased by frightening ghosts. He run desperately, and found himself in a maze of rivers. He had nowhere to go and cannot find his way out. He had fallen to a deep puzzle from the height of sex pleasure only a moment ago. The heavenly-maid appeared and shouted to him, "Come back, come back!" She told him, it was a maze of no-return. The only escape was led by the Host of Despair and the Attendant of Forest in the future.
He was awakened from the sweet yet horrific nightmare.
What is the implication of the advice? Readers were all interested in the vivid sex scene, they would have forgotten the meaning of its aftermath.
What is the meaning of the Host of Despair and the Attendant of Forest?
It meant the death of his true lover, Dark Jade of the Forest. With the death of his most loved one, he will reach his final enlightenment in a situation of complete despair.
The story was about a boy with a heart and his encounter with the dominating control of the old culture and how he finally found enlightenment.
At first, he thought he was only a most cherished treasure in the family.
To be a cherished treasure was the best thing in the Universe. The Universe was inside a grand palace. It was not important whether it was a real palace or only a rich family estate with a lot of buildings. Important was that he was a real treasure.
In the grand palace, he could do anything. He could have intimate relations with any of the girls or boys he fancies. He valued their friendship. And he had secret boyfriends. He was happy and every one obeyed his order. At first, he thought it was only because he was young.
Soon he realized his happiness was fake. He can flirt with the girls no more.
One day, as he was exchanging some light-hearted remarks with a slave girl, it was overheard by his mother. His mother exploded into a rage and slapped the slave girl. She thought the slave girl was bad and would corrupt Jade's mind. She ordered to have the slave girl expelled. As a result, the slave girl committed suicide. She had nowhere else to go if expelled.
Jade soon found out his real situation.
The thought of a cherished treasure was not true anymore. He has unlimited power and wealth, but he had found all was under one condition.
The condition was unacceptable to him.
At first, it seemed the condition was a simple thing. He only needed to do his homework and obey. But it turned out to be much more than that. It was a complete set of conditions and culture rules he could no longer endure. It was unbearable. He would rather die in such conditions. But he cannot tell anyone about this. He could only keep it to himself.
What was the condition?
The only condition was that nothing is true in this Universe. All were false. The true thing was never shown. One needs to search for truth amid the false. It was never easy and it was sad. Even his own name was a fake name. His name was Jade the Fake. Though some of the times he would choose to ignore the Fake things. But how can he ignore himself? He was a Fake. He could endure no more. Whenever he saw anything fake and false, he felt upset. Once he was sleepy and people brought him to a nice room. But there was a drawing on the wall. The drawing was about the so-called good behaviors: that you have to observe the rules of the world and fit yourself into it. How can he accept to fit himself into a fake world? He can sleep no more. He chose another room to sleep and had his first sex encounter with The Lady Possible of Qin. Cultural dominance and sexual freedom was a sharp contrast by that time.
The fake world was upside-down. The rich were poor, and the poor rich. The high low, and the low high. The good things bad when the bad things were good and etc. It was all like that. It was no good to be rich in an upside-down world. By this point, we could compare the thought of Jesus of Nazareth and the secret writer. They were similar. Everything was in its opposite and it was so natural. He felt a deep hatred for all these.
The most unacceptable about fake was dirt.
Dirt was everywhere.
Who would remain clean in a fake Universe? It was said, only the two stone lion carvings in front of the palace, were clean.
That is why he loved only girls. He said girls were clean. And the only thing you need is to be clean in a dirty world. It was the most important parable in the story. His love of girls meant his love of another clean world. And it was not to be bargained. It should never be compromised. And the symbol of clean is his lover Dark Jade from the Forest.
And there were more.
That the fake world was an inside-out world. You need to see into the inside of things. For example, sex was a joy. But he witnessed a friend died in the evil spell of sex. An old man had given them a mirror. The mirror was like a hand-held electronic device in our time. The old man advised them only to see the reverse side of the mirror. But his friend insisted to look at the other positive side. There was joy of sex at the positive side. And his friend could never come back from the joy of it. He died with a pool of fishy smelling liquid under his pants. The reverse side of the mirror was ugly things nobody liked and it was healthy and good. The positive side was joy and sex, but an overabundance turned out to be evil. There was truth in the hidden inner side of things. He was a little delighted to know that.
And it was utterly not important for Jade the Fake.
He was pure, like a baby. He enjoyed the pure relations between individuals. He used his heart to communicate with them. There were pure joy between them. The world of heart was beautiful. He loved beautiful girls and boys. There may or may not be sexual encounters between them. However, it's a kind of situation we could hardly understand. The communication of heart was so important, other matters became trivial. Material things were not important, sex too. It was utterly not important to have or to have no sex at all. He was very good friends to at least two or three boys. The first one was The Most Loved of Qin. He was handsome and delicate, and died early. Jade the Fake had accompanied him until his final breath. The second one was a singer. His name was Box for a Jade. Their friendship had come to such extend that they exchanged undergarment as friendship token. Box for a Jade had given a piece of red undergarment for him. Red is a very important symbol in the story. Jade loved red, and now we saw his good friend had given him his underwear which was a piece of red scarf for the lower body. Yet they were pure. They were friends from the heart. He just admired his singing. He once listened to his song, and was deeply moved. He had come to realize that poems were for exchange of thoughts only, but a song can enter into your marrow, that meant your heart. Only music can enter the heart.
And it was this piece of red scarf that had brought Jade into a near death beating by his father.
His father was the worst terror. It was his father who made him study and do lots of homework. Jade was smart, yet he hated the assigned books. Those were books for a fake upside-down and inside-out world. His father was the symbol of politics. His name was Politics the Fake. No one can escape from the spell of politics. His father beat him hard many times.
The most recent one was when his father discovered his affair with the singer, though the affair was actually spiritual and platonic. Jade the Fake was beaten to almost death. His blood stained the house.
He was never a cherished treasure in front of the political spell. His only escape was his grandmother. His grandmother was the mother of politics and would protect him from time to time. The name of his grandmother was Mother the Fake.
Mother the Fake stopped the beating and saved him.
Mother the Fake was the culture. She was the condition. Yet she loved Jade. She thought that Jade will grow up as expected. She never really understood the other side of the Universe. She accepted everything as natural.
A wife had been prepared for Jade long before he knew it. The kind-looking Mother the Fake had her own plan. The prepared wife was Fork the Gold. It was said they would made a good couple. Jade and Gold were a good pair, it was said. Fork the Gold was the kind of women who thrived in an upside-down place. She liked the tradition, and was attempting to be the Chief Executive of the family. Her aim was power. It was she who had advised Jade to take the bureaucrat's examination. And it meant to force him to compromise with the culture.
There was good news.
His cousin sister from the Province of Yang would come to stay. The Province of Yang was a place of massacre. The Ching Army had almost wiped out the population in the Province of Yang. The massacre lasted for ten days. It was a top secret by that time. People would never talk about it.
The name of the beautiful young cousin was Dark Jade from the Forest. Why was it dark? Because it was from the hell. She must have escaped the massacre. And why was she named Forest? Forest was one important analogy in the story. It was from a very old myth that the Early Father had chased the Sun and died after a long run. He wanted to know the truth about the sun and was sacrificed. He had a stick with him to run. He struck the stick into the land in his death and it had grown into an unlimited far reaching forest since. Forest meant hope. If you wish to reach truth, you have hope.
Jade loved Dark Jade from the Forest.
However, the massacre was a taboo and could not be mentioned in the story. It called for the reader's imagination to explore it.
The story teller will not tell you, why the name of her was Dark. Nor would he tell you the actual happenings in the massacre.
Jade had a good time with her. She must have told Jade what had happened in the massacre. When Jade found his own palace was actually a faked upside-down world and was hell, Dark Jade from the Forest must have told him, a much bigger hell was there outside.
This was one of the most important novel writing technique in literature. You can tell a story without actually telling it. The later readers would use their searching and learning to re-tell the story and find out the truth.
When we could have only a children's mouse story about the Province of Yang in the pages, the reader can still sniff out the smell of hell.
The question was why and how and what should be done.
She was the symbol of clean. Clean meant not to compromise. She was the only one in the rotten place who had never advised Jade to read the tradition books and follow the old cultural rules. He loved her so much that at one time she asked him, "What if I died?" He had the famous answer: "I will be a monk if you died." And this was parable again. It meant he will be enlightened if she was dead. He will not be a real monk, as the secret writer of the story had seriously doubted about Buddhism and Taoism.
Yet it was Dark Jade who had led him out of the puzzle of Buddhism.
He had no books to read in the feudal culture. It was not that he hated the feudal books, but all the books were destroyed or re-written by the political powers in the years. All books carried the same feudal message. He said, there was no book to read.
And this was a fact and a parable. That meant, he had no guidance in the culture. He didn't know what to do and where to go.
He hated old moral teachings, yet he loved Buddhism for a while. He was at a lost at the moment. He thought life was like a floating boat drifting to nowhere. And everyone came empty-handed, and went away naked. He had forgotten that he was not empty-handed. He had come to this world with a piece of heart in his mouth.
Dark Jade asked him: 'What is your name?"
He said: "Jade"
She asked: "What is the meaning of Jade?"
He could not answer. She told him: "Jade is the most valuable."
She asked him again: "Why was it most valuable?" He could not provide an answer either.
She told him: "The most valuable thing on earth is to insist. Never compromise. And would you tell me what are you insisting for?"
He was enlightened the first time. He had never thought of it before. It was Dark Jade who had given him the first light, bringing him to come back to the deep-rooted ancient thought. That you have to insist, even death cannot deter. You would rather die as a broken jade, than live as a cheap tile. He thought she was his only true lover. She had reached into his inner mind. All other girls were nothing to him anymore.
He had found love.
Dark Jade was the most brilliant one among the girls. Yet she was sentimental. She knew her fate and Jade didn't know his. It was the saddest of all. And it was the final blow awakened him.
She had written a poem. It was this poem that brought Jade into the sentimental side of her world. We will see how a soul was under tremendous pressure and cried out her heart to remain clean, that meant not to compromise with the dirt. And the dirt meant cultural ugliness.
We shall see from the following translation of her poem. A poem to poem translation is almost impossible due to the different design of languages, however, we will see how the images she had created unfold before us.
x x x x x x
Broken petals floated around the pavilion,
Curtains were tainted with their perfumed bodies.
Flowers were flying everywhere when they had just died.
Who would pity them?
A lady from the inner-chamber felt sad about the swift-passing Spring,
She had nowhere to settle her mind.
She went outside with a garden hoe,
She walked carefully not to step on the dead flowers.
The green willows and elms were laughing.
How could they know the sadness of the peach flowers and plum flowers?
There will be new flowers again next year,
But who will be here next year?
The swallows were merciless.
They had just gone, leaving behind their emptied nests.
They would come back next year to peck on the new flowers,
Yet they will never know, the house will be empty like their nest.
There were harsh suppressions 365 times a year.
With winds and frosts like swords and knives.
How long can your freshness remain?
You are nowhere to be found when you floated away.
I can see the flowers now only because they are still on the branch.
Where will they go shortly afterwards?
It was unbearable painful to bury the flowers.
I have nothing but the flower hoe and my tears.
I can see on the branches my own tear and blood.
The cuckoo fell silent as the day is coming to end.
I went home with my hoe and closed doors behind.
I tried to sleep with a small lamp shining on the wall.
It was a cold bed with the cold rains knocking on my windows.
Was I too sentimental?
I was annoyed with the Spring yet I loved it.
It came too silently,
And will be gone too fast.
It was so sad.
There was a sad song outside the pavilion last night.
Were they the souls of the flowers or birds?
It was not easy to keep their souls.
The flowers will shy away and the birds speechless.
I hope I could have wings,
Then I can follow them to the end of heavens.
Oh, the end of heavens.
Where is my perfumed tomb?
I preferred to have a brightly embroidered bag,
to carry my remains.
The yellow soils on my tomb will keep my soul fresh.
I am clean in my inner self.
I have been clean from the beginning and I shall be gone clean.
I shall never fall on the dirty ditches.
The flowers were dead as I buried them.
But I did not know when shall I be dying.
People would say I am silly to bury the flowers.
Yet I will never know who will bury me.
If you ever saw the Spring was leaving and the flowers fading,
It would be time for the death of the beauty.
Whenever the Spring was at its end and the beauty was old,
You will never know the flowers were gone and I was dead.
Jade was shocked when he listened to the poem.
And he knew the hidden meaning on it. She will never compromise with the old culture, though she is suffering all year long. She will keep the flowers clean. She will keep them buried in the clean, yellow soils. The soil was clean, yet the culture and fake people were not. It was such an obvious parable, yet few of the wise people could understand.
That they were living in an upside-down world which were fake. The flowers were being oppressed everyday. It is important that you stand very firm. That you are not going to compromise. That you will remain a broken jade. You are broken, but you are forever a piece of jade. You will never be a piece of dirty cheap tile.
The story goes far beyond that. The threat of life is real. Dark Jade will be gone very soon. And it is a sorrow that Jade had never foresee it.
The poem will be a never-ending torment. There will always be flowers dying. There will be always someone to bury them. There will be always another round of burying.
That was the thought of Dark Jade. Not necessary the thought of the secret writer, nor Jade. The unbearable death of Dark Jade shall strike Jade like thunder. It would be healing. It would be his final awakening.
The question is, for such a clever girl like Dark Jade, why couldn't she overcome the thought of death? Death is meaningless; the meaning is on living. She had asked Jade, what are you insisting for? And what are the best value on earth? That could be the answer of the meaning of death. It is a riddle for all. If the meaning of death was so easy to forget, then the quest for truth would be trivial.
The love between Dark Jade and Jade is based on their understanding of the sad situation they were sitting on. They knew it very clear, yet the secret writer was reluctant to tell. It would have political repercussions, the book will be banned
and all its readers will be persecuted. The secret writer could only write the story with obscure symbolism, hoping it will be understood in the future.
As first, Jade thought that was a simple matter. He was determined.
Dark Jade asked him: "There were so many girls, what is your choice?"
Jade said: "Of all the three thousand miles of heavenly river, one cup is enough for me."
Dark Jade asked again: "What if your wooden cup is lost on the river?"
Jade said: "There is no loss. Only that the water is going away."
That is the perfect answer philosophically. However, when matters of life and death become reality, it needed real wisdom to show its magic.
And he did lose the cup. His most loved girl had left him and died.
His marriage was secretly arranged. He was assigned a wife, Fork the Gold.
Fork the Gold was another beauty around him. She was sexy and voluptuous. She was the traditional type of woman. She was in tune with the fake world. She liked everything in the upside-down world.
They told Jade that he was to get married. They lied to him that his wife will be Dark Jade, which was not true. By the night of their marriage, he will see Fork the Gold on his marriage bed waiting. Jade didn't know that was a plot. He was happy to wait for the day to marry with Dark Jade.
He was separated with Dark Jade, and he was told it was only a "temporary" arrangement before the marriage.
Meanwhile, Dark Jade overheard the plot by accident. She knew what was going to happen, as she had known her fate long ago. It was such a sad thing to know your own fate before it actually happened.
She was already sick by the time. And she had intentionally refused to eat. She had a serious cough. A large piece of phlegm fell on the spittoon. A servant girl saw it and was scared to death, as the phlegm was so large that it was like jumping in the spittoon like a living thing, with blood on it. A bloody phlegm meant death, it was medical common sense back then.
Dark Jade was all alone. How sad will Jade be if he had seen all this. It could have been all envisaged before him to waken him up after the tragedy.
Before Dark Jade had died, she burned all her poems. And the poems were her testimonial for the heavens.
The day for the fake marriage was closer and closer. Jade only waited patiently. He did not know his fate had been arranged until that day.
Dark Jade died at the same time, unnoticed.
When Jade opened the silk head-covering of the bride, he saw only Fork the Gold, the representative of the fake world will be his companion for life.
The marriage was going on as usual, no one could tell how did he think. He didn't get mad. He didn't shout. He was silent.
Time went on peacefully. They were married couple now.
One day, Fork the Gold told Jade: "As we have been married and you are a man now. It is time for you to settle you mind and prepare for the Examinations."
She meant the Government Examination held each Autumn.
Jade simply said: "Alright."
The Examination was the ultimate symbol of the old culture. How can he promise to enter the Examination? Yet he had not refused.
To him, the Examination was easy. He locked himself up to study for a month to study his most hated subjects.
On the day of the Examination, he went with one of his cousin brothers. Family servants sent them in and waited outside. The Examination was a two or three-day event. Each candidate was guided into a small cubicle. He had to finish all his Examination papers inside the cubicle alone. Candidates who could not endure the pressure die of exhaustion and was brought out dead afterwards.
Finally, the Examination was over. People came out from the cubicles. However, the servants did not see Jade. He disappeared, although he did have pasted the Examination with high scores. His paper ranked number 7 in that year. He was entitled to be a high-ranking bureaucrat for the fake world.
Mother the Fake, who was the symbol of culture and everything on the fake world died almost at the same time.
However, Jade's father, the symbol of politics was alive and well. He was busy. He sent people to find Jade, and buried his mother, and sent the coffin back home thousands of miles away.
As he was returning home on a boat, it was late at night. He bid the servants to park the boat at a small pier in a riverside town.
It was snowing and the night was white.
Something made him wake and he came out the boat.
The self-exiled Jade had appeared. He was wearing a large, bright red cloak, and was kneeling down to salute his father.
Politics the Fake exclaimed. He did see his own son kneeling before him at a distance. He was about to say something and Jade was gone laughing. Two guys were with Jade. One a monk, the other a Taoist.
The three of them soon disappeared into the white snows. All was white and the night was empty.
That was the end of the one-million words story.
We will soon forget everything that was told in this story. But a very special color may remain in our vision. The color of red had grown from the facial makeup to an undergarment, and now it was a large snow cloak on the back of Jade. It was red. And it was fluttering in the white snow. Let the heart rule everything. There was a meaning in it.
The original name of the story was "A Story of the Stone." Other name of the story was "Dream of the Red Chamber". And we can always remember the meaning of red, in such a title.
The original writer of the story remained anonymous. He would not reveal his own name in a fake world. He would be happy to see that his mind was read and appreciated for many, now and in the future.