Tale of Dao

The Prince of China told Po Lo: “Many years weigh on your shoulders. Is there anyone else in your family who can replace you to choose my horses from now on?”

Po replied, “The good horse is seen by its face and posture. But the magic horse – the mystical horse – the nameless horse – the one who does not touch the ground and leaves no traces because he is subtle, mysterious and almost intangible like morning air, and this horse – every one has forever seeked but haven’t yet found. My sons are not so gifted; they know the good horse when they see it, but the magic horse – they cannot see it. However, I have a friend named Chu, a simple merchant of wood and vegetables, who understands horses no less than me. Call him to yourself.”

And so, the Prince did. Not long after, he sent Chu to seek him a horse. Three months went by and finally Chu came back, saying that he had found a horse who is now in the stables. “And what is this horse?” asked the Prince. “It is a grey mare,” Chu replied.

But when they brought the horse from the stables, it turned out to be a black stallion. Endlessly dissatisfied, the Prince called for Po, “Your friend, whom I sent to seek my horse, was completely useless! He could not even distinguish a stallion from a mare and not even black from grey. What a disappointment!”

Po laughed with relief, “Has he achieved such perfection? Then Chu is worth ten thousand times more than I am. Even I cannot compare to him anymore. He penetrates the construction of the spirit. Only interested in the essential, forgetting the insignificant, penetrating into the internal dignities, he’s lost all his sense of the external traits. He sees what he needs and does not pay attention to what is unnecessary. He is so wise that he no longer sees neither color nor shape.

And indeed. Not only did the horse proved to be the fastest and most powerful in the entire kingdom – no other ever compared to him – but he was actually the mystical great horse.

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Cover art by Jessica Cardelucci.

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