The Small Hill to the West of Lake G

Leou, Tzong-Yeun (773 A.D.-819 A.D.)

    Eight days after I had discovered Mountain West, I also discovered Lake G about 200 feet away from the entrance of the mountain on the north-west mountain path. Twenty-five feet to the west of Lake G was a stone bridge which bore the brunt of whirling torrents. To the north of the bridge was a hill on which bamboo trees were growing. Some rocks on the hill protruded menacingly, others laid on the ground, still others sat askew. These rocks that came out bearing earth and competed to show their strange shapes were almost uncountable. Some layers of rocks pointed down toward the lake like cattle and horses stretching their necks to drink. Other layers of rocks pointed toward the top like bears climbing a mountain. The size of the hill was less than one acre. It looked small enough to capture in a cage.

    I asked a real estate agent about the land owner. The agent said, "The hill was abandoned by T'ang's family. They put it up for sale, but no one would buy it." I asked him about the price. He replied, "Only $400." I sympathized with the wonderful, yet lonely land, so I bought it. Later Mr. L, Mr. Y and I visited the hill together. We were excited because we had acquired the land unexpectedly. Taking out tools right away, we cut weeds, felled ugly trees and burned them in a great fire. Then nice trees appeared; beautiful bamboo trees were exposed; spectacular rocks were revealed. When I looked out from the top of the hill, the flowing creek, tall mountains, floating clouds, foraging birds and animals were like entertainers performing skillfully around me. When I lay on the ground with a stone as my pillow, the sight of freshness and coolness appealed my eyes. The babbling sound of water pleased my ears. The distant scenery inspired my imagination. The stillness of deep water gave my mind peace. Even the travelers in the olden times might not have had such luck.

    If, instead, this wonderful hill were located near any of the great cities such as cities D, F, Ha, or Hu, then the people who loved landscapes would compete to purchase it. They might cause its price to soar by raising their offers constantly. Since it was abandoned in this city, even farmers and fishermen passing by neglected it. The owner only asked $400 for it, but it did not sell for years. However, Mr. L , Mr. Y, and I would have loved to own it. Did this hill have the luck to meet the people who could appreciate its beauty? I wrote this story on a stone to congratulate the hill for its good luck.