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The Gazebo of Blessing Rain

Su, Dong-po (1036-1101 CE)

   My gazebo was named Blessing Rain because it signified happiness. When a person is happy, he would like to celebrate happiness by naming things. When Duke Zhou got a good brand of grain seeds, he used it to name his book. When Emperor Wu-di during the Han dynasty received a precious caldron with legs, he used it to name that year. After capturing King Qiao-ru of the State of Di, General De-chen Shu-sun named his son Qiao-ru. Although the size of happiness was different, their purpose of not wanting to forget their happiness was the same.

   The next year, after I arrived in Fu-feng City, I started to remodel the mayor’s mansion: I built a gazebo on its north side and dug a pool on its south side. After I linked the creek water to the pool and planted some trees around, the yard became my resting place. In that spring there was a big wheat harvest on the south of Qi-shan Mountain. According to the farmer’s almanac, it predicted a bumper crop. Then it did not rain for a month. People began to worry. After three months it started to rain. A few days later, it rained again, but people thought that the rain was not enough. After a week or so, it started to pour and lasted for three days. Officials were celebrating in the lobby of the mansion. Merchants and peddlers were singing in the market. Farmers were happy in their fields. People who had been worried became optimistic. People who had been sick were cured. Just then my gazebo was finished.

   Therefore, I prepared some wine in the gazebo, gathered my guests, and asked them, “Can we have five days without rain?” They said, “There would be no wheat if it did not rain for five days.” I asked again, “Can we have ten days without rain?” They replied, “There would be no rice if it did not rain for ten days.” If we have no wheat or rice, we would go hungry. Burglaries and robberies would occur everywhere. Lawsuits would pile up and jails would be full. Could we still have time to enjoy ourselves in this gazebo?

   Now the Creator has not abandoned us. Although we had a drought at first, He provided us plenty of rain later so that you and I could enjoy ourselves here. Thus we all benefited from the blessing rain. How could we forget it? So I named my gazebo Blessing Rain and sang, “If the sky rains pearls, the cold cannot make clothes out of it. If the sky rains emeralds, the hungry cannot eat them as rice. The blessing rain has lasted for three days. Who has such a power to do this? People said, “It must be the mayor.” The mayor denied, “It must be the emperor.” The emperor denied also, “It must be the Creator.” Instead of taking the credit for it, the Creator attributed it to the universe. However, the universe is remote and endless. Therefore, I named my gazebo Blessing Rain to show our thankfulness.