S: Tea Time Tumult by Vienna Kim
1: Written and Illustrated by Vienna Kim for the children in China
3: Many years ago, an exiled warrior fled to the deep mountains of China. There, he built a dojo with his bare hands and has remained hidden for years. He is old now. He has no name. He has no occupation.
5: He merely sits upon his little square cushion, sipping green tea and awaiting any wandering, bold adventurer that may challenge him to claim his dojo’s banner. It is a great feat, to obtain the banner of a dojo built by a notorious lost warrior. Many challengers have confronted the exile, in hopes of defeating him and bringing back home honour and glory, but all have failed.
7: “RAWRRRR! Sir, I have travelled far and have searched many days for your dojo. It has long been a goal of mine to defeat you, claim your banner, and take home with me honour and glory!” A beastly red dragon burst through the wooden double doors of the dojo, bellowing his request for a fight at the old warrior, through the smoke streaming from his nostrils and mouth.
8: And so, the warrior and the dragon fought. The old warrior leapt into the air throwing a kick and a punch at the dragon. The beast dodged one attack and blocked the other with swift, fluid movements. The dragon lunged at the warrior, but the old man jumped on the dragon’s head and struck one of the dragon’s large teeth. The dragon’s tooth broke, and he was in so much pain that he could no longer continue fighting! He cried and ran home.
10: The old man had won. He sat back down, and returned to his tea.
13: “OOH OOH EE EE!” Suddenly, a screech came from the double doors as a large ninja monkey swung open the wooden double doors of the dojo. “Sir,” said he, “I have travelled far and have searched many days for your dojo. I have dreamt of claiming your banner ever since I was a little monkey. I challenge you, sir, to a duel, and I shall bring back home with me honour and glory!”
15: And with that, the monkey ran forwards, fist balled up and ready to strike. Just as he was about to hit the old warrior, the old man blocked the move with the saucer of his cup. He then threw a punch at the monkey, which hit the animal squarely on the nose. The warrior then ran behind the monkey with lightning-fast speed and with one swooping motion, stepped on the animal’s tail. The monkey let loose a wail of pain and cried all the way home.
16: The old man had won, and he sat back down, returning to his tea.
18: S u d d e n l y
19: A gentle knocking came at the door.
21: The door opened a crack and in walked a wise-looking old mouse, with large ears. “What can I do for you?” asked the old man. Replied the mouse, “I have come to challenge you and claim your banner.” At this, the exiled warrior burst into a roar of laughter. He said, between huffs and guffaws, “You?! You, a mouse, challenge me, sir? Impossible!” And he continued to laugh and chuckle away. The mouse, meanwhile, remained still and silent, his expression emotionless. “You do not yet know,” he said after a while, “what I have challenged you to.” At this, the old man stopped laughing, “I challenge you, not to a battle of strength, sir, but to a battle of wits.” “Wits, you say?” replied the old man, “Very well. I am the most powerful man in the country. There is no way I will lose to a small creature like you.” And with this, the battle of wits began.
22: “What is black and white and read all over?” inquired the little, wise mouse. “Why, the answer is simple!” cried the old man, “It is a newspaper!” “Very well,” said the mouse, “Then what can one catch but not throw?” “A cold!” replied the exiled warrior immediately. “Very good. Then what is the key to happiness?” “My,” said the old man, “This is the easiest question you have asked me yet. It is strength and power, of course.” “Is it?” challenged the little mouse. “Indeed, it is.” “Then, sir, are you happy?” At this, the old man was hesitant to answer. What a strange question to be asked! “No, sir,” he responded eventually, “No, I am not.” “Then I believe the challenge you have lost, and your banner I have won,” said the mouse, as he climbed the walls of the dojo and dismounted the banner from the wall with his little paws. He then turned to leave the dojo. “Wait!” called out the old man, “What is it? The key to happiness--what is it? Why am I not satisfied with being the strongest man in the country, wise old mouse?”
25: “Just because one is talented in one field, does not make him the best, sir. Nor does being the best make you happy.” And with this, the mouse returned to where the old man was sitting and set the banner at the warrior’s feet, “Happiness is found in the most simplest, modest of things.” Then, without another word, he left into the sunset.
26: The old warrior sat awhile on his cushion, staring at the banner before him and contemplating over what the mouse had just said. After sitting an hour or two in meditation, he poured himself another cup of tea. Yes, he thought, tea made him very happy indeed.