Dec. 20th, 2011

pseudogeek: The face of a peach-faced lovebird.  (Default)
Because I'm studying empathy for tomorrow's exam, somehow I remembered a story where the protagonist was a huge dick with no empathy whatsoever (except maybe for his own family, but that was his family so it was the strict minimum) and was super egocentric on top of being a backstabber.

[I can't remember his name, so let's just call him the man or hunter] is poor and his wife had to gather weeds (not marijuana, weeds as in grass-like plants that are not planted by humans and grow in yards and farms, as in dandelion) to eat in order to not starve to death. Their toddler child is crying from the hunger. He wants to change their situation so he sets on a journey (I thought he was a hunter? why doesn't he try to do his job?). He sees a giant serpent trapped under an ant nest blocking his way. The serpent tells him that it cannot move because of the ants and begged the hunter to remove the nest of the ants for it (you know, snakes have no hands to do that, the hunter have and if he did that they both win and it's not like the ants are going to die, they just relocate). The hunter tells the serpent that he's busy so can it just let him pass and he'll get back to it later? The serpent nods and let him pass (wow, and it didn't even ask why is he busy). Then the hunter sees two mountains fighting, butting their head so the road was blocked. They notice the hunter and ask him to be the judge to who should stand there and who should leave (in a more violent version, to kill its enemy mountain). Again the hunter tells them that he's busy and will get back to them later. Finally the hunter found an old man who told him that gold and silver are hidden under the serpent and the mountains. So the hunter went back, killed them all (really, he killed the serpent, the ants, the two mountains) and told his wife to come dig with him (I don't remember the mention of the child here, did the child starve to death? I think in some versions the child worked with them after he grew up, but in another there was no mention of the child anymore). They couldn't find anything after extended digging, so they make the places farmlands instead, seeing the soil was loose from all the digging and fit for farms. They cultivate cotton and maize (where did they get the seeds? in some versions it was not mentioned, in others the hunter threw the bones of the serpent or the fangs of the serpents or other things like that and they just grew into plants for magical reasons) and at the end of the year there was a harvest. The old man came to visit and the hunter reproaches the old man for lying to him (it's an old man, shouldn't you serve him tea first? maize make excellent tea), but the old man smiles and point at the heaps of maize and cotton: aren't these your gold and silver?

And thus the nation of [I can't remember which one, but I think it's an Asian one, not a very big one though?] was born. The hunter and his wife was the ancestors of [whatever that nation was].

I can't help but wanting to yell at the hero. The giant serpent and the mountains were really kind to him. They were all stronger than the hunter and could've abused their power to make hunter help them or at least refuse to let him pass until he helps, but were really nice and let hunter pass first and trusted him to come back and help. Then the hunter came back and sneak attacked them (it's not just my personal interpretation, on the illustrations the serpent and the mountains had the surprised face, they really didn't expect him to kill them).

Seriously. If he only killed the mountains and it was in the violent version, he could've said that brothers who try to kill each other do not deserve mercy or something like that and it'll be somewhat justified. But the serpent? It wanted to move away. If he just helped it it'll move away anyway, and by itself so he wouldn't need to move it himself (no, he didn't eat it, I don't know why). It was justified somewhat in the version where its bones were the seeds of cotton and maize, but he didn't even know that, he only knew that there was treasure under it. Mostly importantly, the serpent and the mountains were kind to him and trusted him, why was he so cruel to them? Why did he have to betray their kindness and trust? He did not only hurt them, he killed them. Knowing that many Asian foundation legends (not creation legends), the serpent and the mountains represented other nations/tribes. Those nations let a stranger cross their lands, completely trusting, only to have the nation they gave free pass destroy them after agreeing to help them. It happens just too often in History, but seriously. The moral of the story was to backstab your friends for power and land, and never trust a stranger. Useful, maybe, but it makes me lose hope on humanity.

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pseudogeek: The face of a peach-faced lovebird.  (Default)
pseudogeek

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