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 The beggar Matsuki-Shei's dream


The young beggar Matsuki-shei had escaped from his uncomfortable pallet bed and was lying blissfully on a soft pink cloud floating like a young god above all earthly things. Now he was free of all worries, for his wishes were henceforward commands that fate was obliged to carry out. He wished he was the emperor of Asia, the ruler of all Mongolians. So he looked down trying to find the palace of the great Wushangis-khan, the happiest of all emperors. Once he had at last discovered it, he decided to wish himself down there on the staircase of happiness. And sure enough, the young beggar Matsuki-shei was soon sitting in his rags on the steps of the palace, his hand - by force of habit - outstretched to beg. Nobody took any notice of him. A crowd of most handsome suitors, dressed in gold-embroidered dragon robes, with the longest and silkiest pigtails of the whole Mongolian kingdom, were waiting impatiently at the entrance to the palace for the beautiful heir to the throne, Nukada, to make her choice. At long last she appeared, lovely as the branch of a temple plant, with a small silk ball which she was to throw to the man of her choice. On a soft pink cloud But proud Nukada did not want any of these overdressed vainglorious youths, and she threw the ball away. It fell as though by magic into the beggar's hand. The dragon in the imperial banner writhed in pain, a great lament arose, but the ball had fallen and the imperial promise stood. The beggarman was attired in splendid robes and he was given the emperor's daughter Nukada as his wife. Some days later, Emperor Wushangis-khan died of grief at this misfortune. The beggar Matsuki-shei now became the emperor of Asia and the ruler of all Mongolians. - "Woe betide those who have no desires!" said wise Lao-tse. But Matsuki-shei had everything; he had no further desires and became desperately unhappy. Outside over the entrance the word "Happiness" was inscribed in large gold letters. That is why it was a question of saving face, at least as far as outsiders were concerned. But his life of luxury in which every wish was instantly fulfilled became more and more untolerable to him. Matsuki-shei decided to flee. One night, as he was about to make off secretly in order to escape from this apparent happiness, he was discovered and a terrible struggle ensued. He managed with superhuman strength to tear himself free and a daring leap through the arched window brought him to freedom. Down below, in the shadow of the wall, he was seized by the arm and violently shaken. - - -.

Matsuki-shei awakens out of his dream. - "Off with you to your begging, you idler!" he heard the voice of his stepfather, an old beggar, who dragged him roughly from the hard straw mattress on which he had slept as soundly as though he had been lying on cushions of cloud. The young beggar Matsuki-shei did not grumble. He left the hut with a light heart and set off to his begging, glad that he was not the emperor of Asia and the ruler of all Mongolians.

A rude awakening