(Continuing from the previous article)
After the establishment of the Motian Kingdom, Mo Tan summoned wise and capable individuals to assign them official positions, plan regulations, and establish systems to ensure that everything was orderly.
At the time the Motian Kingdom was founded, Mo Tan was already forty-eight years old. Once everything had settled down, the king’s marriage became a major concern for the citizens.
At this time, two women caught the king’s attention. One was the daughter of Left Prime Minister Zhi Kai, named Miao Ge; the other was the daughter of Right Prime Minister Xuan Fan, named Xiu Han.
Miao Ge’s skin was a slightly tan color, with a wide forehead, wide space between her eyebrows, straight eyebrows, and thick lips. Xiu Han had fair skin, a beautiful appearance, red lips and white teeth, arched eyebrows, and captivating eyes.
Initially, Mo Tan had a favorable impression of Xiu Han, thinking that her lively and witty personality was impressive. Miao Ge had a dignified bearing and did not speak much, but had unexpected insights into things that surprised Mo Tan. Miao Ge never smiled when she spoke, but when she did smile, it started from the corners of her mouth and spread to her entire face, giving off a warm and radiant feeling. Being with Miao Ge made Mo Tan feel peaceful and content. Mo Tan found himself liking both of these women and was unable to choose between them. He prayed for divine guidance, but the divine did not provide guidance and Mo Tan had to make the choice himself.
Mo Tan prepared several national affairs to discuss with Xiu Han. Xiu Han’s expression was lively, and before listening to everything, she began to give her opinions, adding her own imagination to some things and sometimes even jumping up happily. When Mo Tan expressed an opposing opinion, Xiu Han pouted and clung to Mo Tan’s clothes like a spoiled child, wanting him to listen to her. This momentarily made Mo Tan forget why he was there.
After leaving Xiu Han, Mo Tan felt dizzy and confused. Xiu Han’s way of dressing, and not being bound by rules caused Mo Tan to unwittingly have bad thoughts. Xiu Han distracted him and took up his energy, making him uneasy about how he, as the ruler of a country, could educate the people if he cannot even control himself.
When discussing matters with Miao Ge, she listens first, then asks for Mo Tan’s opinion and offers her own insights, while also supplementing Mo Tan’s deficiencies. Even if they have different opinions, she is able to calmly express herself. Being with Miao Ge feels like being with a longtime friend – comfortable and pleasant. Mo Tan also realized that Miao Ge has both wisdom and virtue, is polite, and offers better suggestions. The balance in Mo Tan’s heart gradually tilted toward Miao Ge.
Mo Tan also paid attention to the two women in public. He noticed that Xiu Han attends every event, flaunting her beauty and becoming the center of attention for many people, and she takes pride in it. On the other hand, Miao Ge rarely appears, and even when she does, she does not make a big deal out of it. She greets people politely and takes care of the elderly and children. Miao Ge’s calmness and generosity contrast sharply with Xiu Han’s flamboyance and self-centeredness.
There was another factor that help Mo Tan to make the final decision. At different times, when the two women accompanied the king through the long corridors, Xiu Han fluttered like a butterfly, causing the king to be dazzled and sometimes bump into her; while Miao Ge quietly accompanied him, exuding a sense of tranquility and relaxation that made the king feel like he wanted to keep walking like this forever.
Mo Tan finally decided to choose Miao Ge as his wife. He thought to himself, “I can’t only focus on beauty and ignore virtue, losing my own soul. Let Miao Ge assist me in governing the country and comfort my slightly tired soul! How can I have time to play with Xiu Han?”
After Mo Tan made his decision, he dreamed that night of four pairs of shoes on the ground: two large ones and two small ones. Mo Tan was happy when he woke up, believing that this dream was a sign that Miao Ge would bring him a pair of children.
Mo Tan’s choice made Xiu Han feel disappointed, jealous, and painful, and her face turned iron blue for a while. She even once stubbornly refused to marry others.
The great general in the country, Zi Ran, was kind-hearted, generous, and had excellent character and appearance. He cared for Xiu Han greatly and later married her. Xiu Han also found a good home.
Even after Mo Tan chose Miao Ge, she remained calm and composed, which made Mo Tan admire her even more.
At the age of sixty, Mo Tan’s wife Miao Ge became pregnant and gave birth to a son. Mo Tan was overjoyed to have a child in his old age. When his son was born, he saw a colorful auspicious cloud appear in the sky and heard celestial music. He believed that his son was a gift from heaven, so he was especially happy.
Three days before the birth of his son, Miao Ge had a dream. She dreamed of a purple qi that came closer and closer, gradually dissipating to reveal a majestic and solemn god with a purple face, holding a pair of double-edged swords. Suddenly, the god smiled at her brightly, and Miao Ge woke up feeling puzzled. She wondered how a god with such a serious expression could smile so brilliantly. Although she was very curious, the smile made her feel warm, so she and Mo Tan named their son Mo Le.
Five years later, Miao Ge became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. The child smiled at her parents two days after birth, and they were overjoyed. Mo Tan felt like his heart was blooming like a flower due to the happiness he felt. Before the child was born, Miao Ge had a vision of a large, colorful lotus flower descending from the sky and heard celestial music. The lotus flower grew smaller and smaller and entered her womb. They named their daughter Mo Cai.
Mo Le loved his younger sister very much and would often stare at her sleeping figure for a long time, patiently waiting for her to wake up. When Mo Cai woke up, she would see her brother and become happy, waving her small hands and touching his face, babbling in a language no one could understand. Mo Le was very happy and often showed his sister pretty things to make her laugh. When Mo Cai learned to walk, she followed her brother around everywhere. Mo Le also took care of his sister very well and formed a habit of putting her to sleep before he went to bed at night. Miao Ge secretly told Mo Tan, “Our son takes such good care of his sister, so we don’t have to worry about her being bullied in the future.”
Xiu Han’s youngest son Zi Xing, three years old, was the same age as Mo Cai. When the children played together, they did not hold back. Sometimes Zi Xing pushed Mo Cai and made her cry. Mo Cai covered her face and cried, but peeked through her fingers to see his older brother scold Zi Xing. This made her very happy, and she soon stopped crying and started to laugh.
When Mo Le was fifteen and Mo Cai was ten, Mo Ttan and Miao Ge passed away one after the other. The siblings were very sad, and whenever Mo Cai thought of their mother’s warm embrace and their father’s loving smile, she couldn’t stop crying. Mo Le held back his sadness, buried their parents, and comforted his sister. However, the blow was too great, and Mo Le was also sometimes depressed and shed tears with his sister. However, the responsibility of the country reminded him that he could not continue like this. Three months after their father’s death, Mo Le succeeded to the throne and worked diligently to govern the country.
Sometimes Mo Cai woke up in the middle of the night and could not sleep. She would walk barefoot with her shoes in hand and quietly go to her brother’s room to see if he was sleeping. When she heard his brother speak, Mo Cai’s heart would ache, her mouth would pout, and tears would fall from her eyes, but she would not enter the room. Mo Le gently pushed the door open, wiped away Mo Cai’s tears, took her hand, and walked her to the window. The two were silent, and it was quiet all around. After a while, Mo Cai calmed down. Mo Le said, “Sister, go back to sleep!” Mo Cai nodded. Mo Le embraced her shoulders, walked her back to her room, and played a soft and beautiful tune on the vertical flute until she fell asleep before leaving.
After dealing with state affairs during the day, Mo Le would take his sister to faraway places to play and divert her from her grief of missing their parents. After two days, Mo Le noticed that Mo Cai had stopped crying. Mo Cai told her brother, “I dreamt of our parents over the past two days. They are in heaven, and their bodies are radiating light. Mother said to me, ‘Child, don’t cry, I hope you are happy.’ Then I saw the words ‘be happy’ flying in front of me, and I remembered it. I have to be happy.” Mo Le was very happy to hear this and composed a song called “Hymn to Mercy.”
Parents, so kind and loving, forever in heaven; parents, so joyful, above me they dwell.
Parents, so blessed, forever in peace; happy and smiling, comforting their child.
Endless love and kindness, never to be forgotten!
At the age of 18, Mo Le married the virtuous and talented woman, Wen Mei, who was recognized as such by the public. When Mo Le, Wen Mei, and Mo Cai were together, they formed a beautiful picture: Mo Le had blond hair and was handsome and tall; Wen Mei was elegant and gentle, with a calm personality; Mo Cai was fair-skinned and lovely, with long golden wavy hair, a beautiful decoration on her forehead, and silver bracelets on her arms.
Queen Wen Mei loved peace and was devoted to Buddhism, while Mo Cai enjoyed lively activities and was willing to participate in everything Mo Le did. The siblings still spent a lot of time together as before.
One day, when Mo Le was 20 years old, he said to Mo Cai, “Sister, I dreamed that the gods were pointing to me in the direction of building a tall Buddhist pagoda to worship Buddha. I saw a golden spire emerging from the white clouds.”
Mo Cai widened her eyes and looked at her brother. “This is extraordinary. We must take it seriously and satisfy the gods,” she said. Mo Le nodded and described the pagoda he had seen in his dream to Mo Cai. The pagoda had a square base and equilateral triangles on all four sides. As Mo Le described it, the shape of the pagoda emerged in Mo Cai’s mind. She exclaimed, “Brother, the pagoda in my mind is thick and majestic, shining with golden light. Let’s call it the Golden Pagoda!”
Mo Le was stunned and thoughtful for a moment. He looked at his sister and said, “Why does the shape of the pagoda seem so familiar to me? Why did I feel so shocked and warm when I heard the words ‘Golden Pagoda’? There must be something we do not know about this. Why do I suddenly feel that building the Golden Pagoda is of great significance and that I have a great responsibility?”
Therefore, the two siblings decided to follow the guidance of the gods and build the pagoda.
(To be continued)
Chinese version: https://www.zhengjian.org/node/116340