Minstro mintu was a thinly old man with a shrill voice and crazy looking beard. He had traveled from far south to reach the shrine of Bilael, a demi god of their tribe. During his journey he would stop at any place after 8 at night and begin again the next day before the sunrise. At times he had to stay in a small village at others he stayed at big towns but it was all the same for him. Because where ever he goes he would find a lonely place to pass his night into much needed relaxing sleep. On about December’s end minstro arrived at Kejuyan town which was famous for it’s sculptors all over Japan. It was getting dark, so he decided to stay on for the night.
In search of a calm place he stumbled upon a secluded dumping ground. He found a clean and composed place and lit fire with ancient stone friction technique. As the fire illuminated the dark lonely place, he saw there were old broken sculptures lying scattered all around him.Then he spread open his belongings which he carried along with him in a bag, hung on the top end of a long hardwood stick. It had all the necessary accessories to comfort him during his travel. He was carrying a mouthorgan, a tiny bottle of Rum, few clean clothes, and some bread. He drank some Rum and played a heart touching tune on his instrument and within few minutes, the alien land turned into quite a warm homely place.
As Minstro’s night was passing in confortable warmth in the middle of the wilderness, a stray puppy came sniffing from the rags. Minstro called him close and petted it’s back. Finding comfort recieving warmth and affection in Minstro’s company. Minstro too liked the love of his unexpected guest and started narrating his life’s story to the pup. He told how he was a rich silk merchant and how after having lost the love of his life, Mia Shin, he left all his materialistic possessions back home and started on foot for a pilgrimage to the other corner of the world. The listener closed his eyes and felt soon asleep but Minstro continued his tale.
He recounted how Mia Shin faked love and got engaged to an even wealthier person. But owing to his pure feelings he couldn’t bear to see her with another man. He was unable to find a cure for his unhappiness from the best doctors in his town. He drank for so many days and was in sheer pain from betrayal of his sweetheart that he only wanted to waste his remaining life. His mother called for him one day and ordered him to leave for a pilgrimage and find real happiness in the devine grace of sacred Bilael.
With a weeping heart he began to journey towards the north, hoping never to see any joy again in his dull and depressed life. Then where ever he went, he only noticed the all pervading dullness and sufferings of the human life. Moving across the 7 nations he saw humans in their pride, anger and greed and still never made an assumption for them. He passed through the dark alleys of big cities filled with cries of prostitutes and illegitimate children and felt sorry for them. He met criminals and thiefs on his way to the shrine and yet prayed for their reformation. He shed tears for those young soldiers who were bloodbathed while protecting their mother land. And walked by the luxurious houses of ministers who gave empty hopes and false promises to their country men.
He saw young girls falling in love with the wrong men and many men wasted in love of their cunning mistress’. Which made him remind of his own past. Wishing them the company of honest spouses he passed them too silently. He saw how people use to treat him with great respect while he wore silk robes and how lowly people view him while wearing ragged clothes. In a world full of hypocrites he continued walking with a poker face.
Amidst this loss and pain, Minstro looked around himself that day. He finally realised the beauty of the broken statues and the warmth of unconditional love of the dog. For a minute he went into deep thinking and then he said, ” I have traveled a long distance for so many days and seen so much loss everywhere on this planet that I would have shun the idea of continuing my journey as soon as I started, yet there is one thing which still kept me going.” It was, he said, ” the soothing joys of being alone”.
At about midnight a noise was heard in the dead cold silence, a cracking sound was heard from a near by rock statue, it seemed as if something had broken. It was nothing but the heavy heart which snapped into pieces that moment when mistro finished narrating his life’s story. Perhaps the winters were really too harsh that year. Or another possibility could be, that the statue too had a story of his own to share with a lonely traveler.
Minstro turned towards the statue of the curly haired youg boy sitting on a rock with his head resting on his palms, it shed tears on to the ground beneath it. Minto asked the boy,” what’s ailing you”. The boy replied,” many years ago, their lived a master craftsman in the town. His name was Diago. He made many beautiful statues. Then one day, he carved a very beautiful princess out of a brilliant white marble. Her beauty was mesmarising. Diago fell deeply in love with the statue but as he couldn’t have loved a lifeless stone figure for the rest of his life. So brokenheart he went far away from us leaving us all alone.” Sculpture responded,” for a long time I felt lonlyness was a curse untill today when you found your happiness in a lonely life.”
Statue demanded minstro to suggest a fitting solution to find his happiness to, being a wise traveler of the South. Then Minstro exclaimed, life is so full of misery and pain that the only wise man is the one who accepts the pains as inevitable and sees good in the most sad moments of his life. Minstro said, “never admired the beauty in broken stone sculptures as long as my eyes were rested at expensive silk fabrics. I never knew real love, untill one day a little pup really made me feel that”.
He found his cure in lonelyness, and found happiness in himself. The sculpture found his answer so did Minstro. He streched himself and soon felt the heaviness around his eyelids. He fell deep asleep in the cozy place.
The next morning Minstro wished goodmorning to the statue but it did not reply back. He checked the statue by knocking over it’s shoulder but it didn’t respond at all. Believing the previous night’s incident as part of a lucid dream, Minstro prepared himself to accomplish his remaining journey. As he gave one last glance towards the forgotten statue, he was surprised to find a crack right on it’s heart. Minstro smiled and bid his final goodbye.