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The Soul of the Great Bell

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Lyka Chapter

on 5 March 2014

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Transcript of The Soul of the Great Bell

The Soul of the Great Bell
Lafcadio Hearn
Peking City
- Son of Heaven of the "Illustrious" or Ming Dynasty
- Worthy Mandarin official
- Father of Ko-Ngai
- Whose heart was even more beautiful than her face.
- Daughter of Kouan-Yu
The son of Heaven, Yung- Lo, of the "Illustrious" or Ming Dynasty, commanded the worthy official Louan-Yu that he should have a bell.
- Made of such size that the sound thereof might be heard for one hundred li.

- the voice of the bell should be strengthened with brass and deepened with gold and sweetened with silver and that the face and the great lips of it should be graven with blessed sayings from the sacred books.

Kouan-Yu assembled the master moulders, and the renowned bellsmiths of the empire, and all men of great respute and cunning in foundry.
Metals had rebelled one against the other; the gold scorned alliance with the brass, the silver would not mingle with the molten iron.
The bell was cast a second time, and the result was even worse.
Kouan-Yu received a letter written upon colored silk and sealed with the seal of the dragon
From the mighty Yung-Lo, the Sublime Tait Sung, the celestial and August, whose reign is called Ming, To Kouan-Yu: Twice thou hath betrayed the trust we have deigned graciously to place in thee; if thou fail a third time in fulfilling our command, thy head shall be served from thy neck.
Ko-Ngai saw the awful yellow missive, sealed with the dragon seal.
She fainted away with fear for her father's sake.
Ko-Ngai secretly sold some of her jewels, and with the money she went to an astrologer to advise her by what her father might be saved.
"Gold and brass will never meet in wedlock, silver and iron never embrace, until the flesh of a maiden be melted with the crucible, until the blood of a virgin be mixed with the metals in their fusion."
Ko-Ngai, together with her waiting woman, accompanied her father to the foundry.
When Kouan-Yu lifted his finger, Ko-Ngai leaped into the white flood of metal.
Yet the glow of the metal seemed purer and whiter than before; and there was no sign of the beautiful body that had been entombed therein.
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