Thursday, 8 October 2009
Show shot and performance text
Tigers show went down well. Okaasan was there. HP chan crashed 15 minutes before the show but got back on with 2 minutes to spare. Had been a power cut there so was in the dark! Jael chan was ready as backup, doumo. Goodish tips as well for a change. My story was a long one, 30 mins about the tiger king's skin coat.
Here is my performance:
Konnichiwa honoured guests.
The tale I share with you today is a Mongolian Folktale
called "The Tiger King's Skin Cloak"
Long, long ago, in feudal times, there lived in the land of the Khans a poor herdsman.
His wife bore three children, but unfortunately they all died.
No further children were born to the couple and they lived a solitary and wretched life.
Then unexpectedly one winter's day the herdsman’s wife gave birth to a boy.
The couple were overjoyed, but they began to wonder
how they were going to raise their child.
Except for a cow and two mountain goats
they had nothing of any value.
What were they to do?
Though distressed they nevertheless went outside their tent
to milk the cow for the baby.
The child grew not by the day but by the hour.
Before evening the infant had grown taller and sturdier than a man.
Husband and wife were both astonished and delighted.
They named their boy Ku-nan, which means Ancient South.
On the very first day Ku-nan ate up a whole goat.
On the next day he ate up the other goat.
The old couple were filled with dismay.
One more day, they thought, and the cow will be done for!
And then what will we have to live on?
On the third day Ku-nan said to his mother,
"Ah-Mother, we are so poor and we have only one cow left.
Let me go and find some work to do.
I'm afraid that I will fall ill if I stay at home any longer."
She looked at her son's tall and robust figure and,
taking his big hand in hers, said in a tearful voice,
"My son, what work can you do?
You might perhaps go to the Khan.
He could have some work for you."
Ku-nan pondered for a while, then agreed.
After taking leave of his parents, he fared forth on an empty stomach.
Half way he met with a hungry wolf.
As soon as the wolf saw Ku-nan it jumped on him.
Luckily Ku-nan immediately tackled the wolf and killed it with his bare hands.
Ku-nan then skinned the wolf and, making himself a bonfire,
roasted the meat and ate it.
Having done so, Ku-nan continued on his way and at dusk reached the Khan's yurt.
The sly old Khan saw such a strong person before him,
he thought of testing Ku-nan's strength.
The Khan had a whole cow roasted and invited Ku-nan to eat it.
Ku-nan not only ate up all the meat, but gnawed the bones clean, too.
The Khan then kept Ku-nan in his yurt as his personal attendant and bodyguard.
Ku-nan often went with the Khan deep into the forest to hunt,
and every time they came home with a full bag.
One day, when the two of them, together with some of the Khan's servants,
went hunting in the deep reaches of the forest,
a huge tiger suddenly leaped out upon them.
The Khan was so frightened he broke into a cold sweat.
Without a thought for Ku-nan's safety the Khan whipped his horse into a gallop
and tore off down the mountain.
The Khan's servants fled helter-skelter, covering their heads with their hands.
But Ku-nan did not stir.
As the tiger sprang upon him he calmly dodged to one side,
grabbed one of its hind legs,
and swung the beast against a big tree.
There was a crash, and many tree leaves fluttered to the ground.
The tiger lay motionless on the ground with its stomach ripped open.
Ku-nan put the carcass on his back and strode off after the Khan.
When the Khan reached his yurt, he was still in such a state of fright
he could not dismount from his horse.
Luckily his servants, who had taken to their heels when the tiger appeared,
came to his aid and lifted him off his horse.
At this moment Ku-nan arrived.
When the Khan saw the tiger on Ku-nan's back he panicked.
He rushed into his yurt and barred the door.
"Hurry! All of you," he bawled.
"Defend the door! Don't let the tiger in!"
Later when the Khan heard it was a dead tiger Ku-nan had brought,
he mustered his courage and came out of his hiding place.
Foaming with rage he cursed Ku-nan,
using all the foul words he knew,
and took the tiger's skin into his yurt.
Once the Khan had the tiger's skin as a mattress,
he decided he wanted a cloak made of the Tiger King's skin.
Thus he commanded Ku-nan to catch the Tiger King within three days.
If Ku-nan were to fail in his mission the Khan would have him executed.
Ku-nan felt very dejected.
Where was he to find the Tiger King?
It was said that the Tiger King lived in a remote cave in the Northern Mountains,
and that there were lots of tigers there in the vicinity.
But no one had even been known to return from the place.
The skies grew dark, and Ku-nan returned home feeling very unhappy.
He told his parents of what had happened.
The old couple were in a quandary.
If they were to prevent him from going,
they were afraid the Khan would really put their son to death.
But if they were to let him go, who could guarantee his safety?
Husband and wife sat facing each other and wept.
They made such a to-do that Ku-nan found it hard to come to any decision.
Suddenly an old herdsman came into their shabby little cottage.
"My lad," he addressed Ku-nan, "don't be downcast.
The Tiger King is afraid of a brave man.
As long as you keep your native land and your dear ones in mind,
you'll be able to overcome any hardship.
Go, my lad. I'll give you a dappled pony to ride on.
Good luck to you!"
The old herdsman lightly kissed Ku-nan on his forehead and disappeared.
When Ku-nan went outside he saw a dappled pony neighing in his direction.
The skies gradually grew light, and Ku-nan bade his parents goodbye.
Taking his bow, arrow-bag, and dagger,
Ku-nan mounted his charge and set off on his mission.
At first the pony trotted along at a normal pace,
but later it broke into a canter, and then a gallop.
Faster and faster the pony went,
so fast that Ku-nan could only see the yurts along the road as a blur.
After a while the pony slackened its speed.
Just then Ku-nan saw near a yurt a wolf just about to attack a little girl.
In the nick of time Ku-nan slipped an arrow into his bow, and let fly.
The wolf instantly fell dead on the ground with an arrow in its head.
An old woman ran out from the yurt.
When she realized that Ku-nan had saved her granddaughter's life,
she invited him in for a bowl of milk-tea.
Before Ku-nan’s departure she gave him a sheep-bone and said,
"Take it, lad, it'll be of some use to you in the future."
With her gift in hand, Ku-nan vaulted upon his pony
and continued his way northwards.
As he trotted along the road he found his way blocked by a broad river.
Suddenly the water rose and formed great billows.
A huge turtle emerged and swam to the riverbank.
"My lad," it croaked, "you had better turn back.
You'll never get across this river."
"Oh, surely," replied Ku-nan.
"All difficulties can be overcome."
"Oh, well then, brave lad," the turtle said, "please help me.
My left eye aches so badly,
I want to have it taken out and replaced with a new one.
Please, help me, take it out for me."
"All right, I'll help you." Replied Ku-nan.
Ku-nan removed the painful eye and looked in his hands.
The eye had turned into a glowing, flawless, precious pearl.
After looking at the pearl Ku-nan's eyesight became very sharp,
he could even see a group of yurts in the far distance.
Ku-nan remounted his pony and as though understanding its master's intention
plunged into the water.
What a miracle!
No sooner had the water touched the precious pearl
the river divided to form a transparent wall on either side,
leaving a dry path through the center.
Ku-nan rode across to the opposite bank of the river without further difficulty.
Once out the water then flowed its usual course as if nothing had ever happened.
Ku-nan soon reached the yurts he had seen in the distance.
An old shepherd was softly weeping there.
He was a pitiful sight.
Having dismounted from his pony, Ku-nan addressed him.
"Grandpa, what makes you so sad?" he asked.
"Please tell me, perhaps I can be of some help to you."
The old shepherd wiped his eyes and sighed.
"Young man, even if I tell you, I'm afraid you won't be able to help me.
Yesterday the Tiger King carried off my one and only daughter.
I don't know whether she's alive or dead now...."
The old man again broke into heart-rending sobs.
"Grandpa, don't lose heart," Ku-nan consoled him.
"I'm sure your daughter isn't dead.
I'm looking for that Tiger King.
I'll go there and rescue her."
The old shepherd cheered up.
He invited Ku-nan into his tent to have some tea.
After his tea, Ku-nan thanked the old man and left.
Before dark Ku-nan arrived at the place where the Tiger King lived.
From afar he could see a stone cave up on the mountain.
At the entrance were more than ten tigers on guard.
As Ku-nan neared the cave,
he fished the sheep bone out of his pocket and threw it to the tigers.
He then entered the stone cave and found the shepherd's daughter.
She told him that the Tiger King had been out since early morning,
and that he had not yet returned, but probably would soon.
She thought of hiding Ku-nan, but he refused,
suggesting that he first rescues her and take her home.
She agreed, and the two of them rode the dappled pony out of the cave.
The tigers outside were still fighting over the sheep bone.
Ku-nan flourished his whip, and the pony dashed down the mountain like a whirlwind.
Suddenly a gust of wild wind blew from the north.
Riding on a yellow cloud, an ogre with the head of a tiger and the body of a man,
all covered with golden hair, came chasing down.
Ku-nan turned round and let fly an arrow, which pierced the ogre's left eye.
The Tiger King roared furiously.
The Tiger King reached out a huge paw and yanked Ku-nan off his charge.
Then with a single blow he drove Ku-nan waist-deep into the ground.
Ku-nan wriggled out.
With one stroke Ku-nan smote the ogre neck-deep into the ground,
and, without waiting for him to free himself,
swiftly unsheathed his dagger and thrust the blade deep into the ogre's skull.
Ku-nan thus ended the Tiger King's life.
Ku-nan pulled the carcass out of the ground and,
dragging it by one leg, caught up with his pony.
Ku-nan and the girl then returned to her home.
When the old shepherd saw that Ku-nan had rescued his daughter,
he was very happy, and gave him her hand in marriage.
Ku-nan stayed the night in their yurt and, when day grew light,
got ready to set off with his wife on their pony.
Just as they were preparing to leave
they heard a howling wind approaching from the north.
Ku-nan turned to look and saw ten or so tigers coming in hot pursuit.
They were those Ku-nan had left fighting over the sheep bone the day before.
Ku-nan hurriedly sent his wife into the yurt.
Ku-nan shot an arrow and killed one tiger in the lead.
Then Ku-nan unsheathed his dagger and strode forward to meet the rest.
A furious combat ensued.
In one breath Ku-nan slayed seven or eight of the tigers,
but the remaining three attacked him with redoubled fierceness.
Ku-nan felt himself become utterly exhausted.
Just as he was on the point of collapse, the old shepherd,
at the head of about ten young lads, rushed to the rescue.
They brought with them poles for breaking in horses.
They helped Ku-nan scare off the three remaining tigers
and thus relieved him from danger.
Ku-nan thanked them for their help and gave them all the tigers he had slain.
Taking his wife Ku-nan remounted their pony and proceeded home.
When the Khan saw that Ku-nan had slain the Tiger King
and had brought home a beautiful wife besides,
he felt very happy and at the same time envious.
He ordered Ku-nan's wife to make him a cloak out of the Tiger King's skin,
and not to miss a single hair of the pelt.
Ku-nan's wife did as the Khan bade her and let her husband take the cloak to him.
When the Khan saw the cloak he was extremely pleased.
He thought of showing himself off in his domain in all his majesty.
He wanted everybody to know that he, the Khan,
possessed a precious cloak made of the Tiger King's skin.
A platform was erected in front of the Khan's yurt.
The Khan invited the officials from all over the land to eat and drink and carouse.
The time arrived and there stood a great multitude of people
who had come from every corner of the land to see the Khan's Tiger King cloak.
After a while, amidst the blare of music,
the Khan ambled across the platform with a self-satisfied air.
The Khan made a sweeping gesture with his hand
and a well-dressed servant climbed up, bearing a yellow bundle.
The servant opened up the bundle
and took out the glistening golden coloured cloak made of the Tiger King's skin.
The servant paraded the cloak for everyone to see,
and then helped the Khan to put it on.
No sooner had the Khan put on the cloak
than he turned into a fierce motley-coloured tiger.
The tiger made a deafening roar and bounded off the platform
and attacked the throng, biting and wounding many people.
The officials were so scared they leaped onto their horses
and made off for all they were worth.
At that moment Ku-nan fortunately arrived on the scene.
When Ku-nan saw a tiger chasing people and mauling them, he was horrified.
Ku-nan thought of shooting the beast with his arrow,
but unluckily he had left his arrow-bag at home,
even his dagger was not at his girdle.
As Ku-nan was fumbling helplessly, the tiger suddenly charged in his direction.
Ku-nan stood his ground and waited until the beast had come within reach.
Then with the swiftness of an eagle Ku-nan grabbed the tiger’s tail,
jerked it into the air and in a single breath smote it ten times upon the ground.
The tiger lay on the ground bruised, maimed, bleeding, and soon died.
Because the beast was formerly the Khan, the people went to bury it.
From then on Ku-nan went out hunting every day,
riding his dapple pony, and on his return he would share his kill
with the poor herdsmen from around the neighbourhood.
Besides hunting Ku-nan often cured the poor of their eye diseases
with his precious pearl.
As soon as old people looked at the pearl, their dim sight would become clear.
And as soon as the blind rolled the precious pearl round the orbit of their eyes,
they would be able to see.
Thanks to Ku-nan’s help the poor herdsmen began to sing their joyful songs again
and their lives became much more pleasant.
And here ends my tale for today…