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All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #13

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #13

“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

When the Commander Hung had finished hearing these words a cold sweat broke forth on his whole body and he trembled without ceasing. In haste he put together his possessions and called those who had come with him and he went down the mountain and returned to the capital city. When the abbot and the others had returned from escorting the Commander down the mountain they went back alone to the temple and there mended the broken parts and they erected again the stone tablet and of this no more need to be told.

Let it be said again of the Commander Hung as he went upon his journey. He commanded those who came with him that they were not to tell others this affair of the escaped spirits lest the Son Of Heaven knowing of it might reprove him. There is naught else to tell of the journey. They went early and late and they came into the city and there they heard men say, “The Heavenly Teacher Chang said a mass of seven days and seven nights in the imperial palaces and he has written sacred words for many of the people rich and poor to drive out the plague and to heal the sick, and now the plague is wholly gone and the people and the armies are at peace. Then The Heavenly Teacher parted from the Son Of Heaven and seated on his crane and riding upon a cloud he went back to The Mountain Of Dragons And Tigers.”

The Commander Hung on the morning of the next day came before the Son Of Heaven and he said humbly, “The Heavenly Teacher seated on his crane and riding a cloud came first to the capital and I and the others came stage by stage along the road and we have only just arrived.”

The Emperor acknowledged this and rewarded him for merit and returned him to his former position and of this also there is no more to be told.

The Emperor Jen Chung reigned for forty and two years and then his life ended. He left no heir and so the throne was given to the son of the King Yun Jang of P’u An, who was only grandson to the first Emperor of the dynasty, and he ruled for four years. Then did he give the throne to his son Shen Chung, and Sen Chung reigned eighteen years and he gave the throne to Che Chung. During all this time there was peace under heaven and in the four parts there were no troubles.

….. But stay! If truly there was peace at those times then what would there be to tell now when this book is opened? You who read, have patience! This is but a prologue. Beyond is much, for the book itself has seventy chapters, and there are one hundred and forty sentences that sum the tale. For,

 

In the robbers’ city heroes hide,

In the sedgy waters dragons bide.

What then of the tale? Pray hear how the first chapter tells it.

 

<End of Prologue>

 

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January 28, 2011 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #12

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #12

“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

Hung the Commander seeing these four letters was filled with great joy and he said to the abbot, “You would have stayed me and yet how was it that hundreds of years ago my surname was already written there.’To be opened by one surnamed Hung!’ Clearly was it commanded that I should open these doors and what matters it if I see into there? I think these kings of devils are under this stone tablet. Call more working priests, therefore, and let them bring hoes and iron spades and dig it up.”

Then did the abbot say humbly and in haste, “Commander, you may not move it lest some fierce thing befall and men be harmed. It is too dangerous.”

Then was the Commander in a rage again and he shouted, saying, “And what do you Taoists know! Upon this tablet it was carved that I was to open these doors and how can you stay me now? Quickly send the men hither for me!”

Again and again did the abbot say, “Perhaps evil will come of it.”

But how was the Commander willing to hear him? He did gather all the men together and first stone tablet was overturned and all together put forth their strength to dig up the stone turtle, but it was half a day before they dug it up. Then they dug yet further down about three or four feet deep. There they saw a great tablet of stone blue in color and it was some ten feet square. The Commander Hung ordered that it also be lifted up and again did the abbot most bitterly plead, “It may not be moved.”

But how was the Commander willing to hear him? The men could but lift up the great stone and when they looked beneath that stone was a pit well-nigh ten times ten thousand feet deep. There in that pit was heard a great clattering sound of thunder, nor was it like common thunder either. When the sound of the thunder was passed a black cloud was seen to come rolling up out of the pit and it struck against the roof and split it in two and that cloud filled half the heavens. Then it separated into more than a hundred clouds of gold and these scattered into the four directions and into the eight parts.

Now did all the men feel deep fear come over them and a cry rose up from them and they cast aside their hoes and their iron spades and ran from the temple and many fell and were overthrown. As for the Commander Hung, he was filled with such terror that he was speechless and he doubted what he had done and his face turned the color of clay. He hastened into the veranda and there he saw the abbot crying bitterness without ceasing. The Commander asked him, saying, “What strange spirits were those who escaped?”

The abbot said, “The Commander does not understand. But this our ancient ancestor, The Heavenly Teacher, Tung Hsien Chen Jen, left behind him a Taoist writing and he wrote thus, “In this temple there are imprisoned and locked thirty-six stars of heaven and seventy-two stars of earth and there are in all one hundred and eight devil kings within, and upon them stands a stone tablet and carven upon it are their names in letters of dragon and phoenix. Here are they held fast. If they be loosed upon the earth surely shall men suffer from their deeds.’ Now that the Commander has loosed these spirits what can best be done?”

<Continued – Prologue #13>

 

January 22, 2011 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #11

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #11

“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

But the Commander smiled and said, “You speak like a fool. Such as you have made magic out of nothing and you have deceived the good common people, and so with this purpose have you prepared a place like this and you have falsely said the kings of devils are locked here that you may make people see how great your power is. But I have read many books and where have I seen that the kings of devils were locked anywhere? Where spirits and devils dwell is some place very far from men. I do not believe there are kings or devils in here. Open the door for me with all speed! I would see how these kings of devils are.”

Again and again did the abbot say, “This temple must not be opened lest some fierce evil will be stirred up and men will be harmed with it.”

Then was the Commander filled with great rage and he pointed at the Taoists and said, “If you do not open it for me, I shall return to the Emperor and I will say you held me and would not let me read the imperial mandate before you and that you disobeyed the imperial command and would not let me see the face of The Heavenly Teacher and then I will tell him that you have secretly builded such a temple as this and pretend you have locked the kings of devils in it, so that you sow such superstition among the people. Then shall your priestly pledges be taken from you and you shall be branded and exiled to some far evil place and there shall you suffer.”

Now the abbot and the others feared greatly the power of the Commander and so they could but call some working priests to come, and first they tore off the paper seals and with an iron hammer they beat upon the great lock. Then they pushed open the doors and they all went into the temple. All was darkness there nor could anything be seen.

The Commander bade the working priests bring some ten-odd torches and light them and bring them thither. When they came in and lighted all the place about there was nothing anywhere except a stone tablet standing in the center, and it stood some five or six feet high.

Beneath it was a stone turtle and it was already half sunken in the earth. When the light fell on the stone tablet upon the face of it were carved ancient dragon and phoenix letters and they were heavenly words and sacred signs such as men cannot read. When the light shone on the back of the tablet there were four true letters written large, saying, “To be opened by one surnamed Hung.”


<Continued – Prologue #12>

January 16, 2011 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #10

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #10

“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

On the next day after he had eaten his early meal the abbot and all the Taoists and all the servitors and all the workmen came and invited the Commander to walk with them for pleasure. Then was the Commander much pleased and many men went with him and they went afoot out of the guest hall. In front were two acolytes who led the way and they went before The Hall Of Three Clearnesses and behind it and to many beautiful places. In the Hall itself the splendor was beyond the telling. Upon the left veranda were The Hall Of Nine Heavens and The Hall Of The Imperial Purple Star and The Hall Of The North Star. Upon the right veranda there were The Hall To The Primeval God, The Hall Of The Three Kings Of Heaven And Earth And Water, and The Hall Of The Dispelling Of Evil Spirits.

When these temple Halls were all seen they went to a place behind the right veranda and when the Commander looked about there was yet another temple separate from the others and its walls were red as peppers. At the front of it were two vermilion windows and upon the doors were great locks as long as a man’s arm and these held fast the doors. The doors were sealed with many paper strips and upon these papers were stamped many scarlet seals. Under the eaves was hung a red horizontal tablet written in letters of gold, and there were four gold letters which said, “Hall Of The Subjugated Magic Devils”. The Commander pointed to the temple, saying, “What temple is this?”

The abbot replied, saying, “There was a heavenly teacher of generations past and it is his temple.”

Again the Commander asked, “And why is it there are placed so many papers sealed across the doors?”

The abbot answered, “In the dynasty of great T’ang the chief Taoist who understands the Taoist deeps locked the kings of devils here and sealed them in, and from generation to generation each heavenly teacher comes himself and sets his seal here, so that no son or grandson of his can easily open this door and free the kings of devils, for they are fierce above all others. Now some eight or nine generations have passed and they have announced that none shall dare to open this Hall. The lock is melted together in brass and who knows what is within? This lowly one who am I have been abbot here for more than thirty years and I also have only heard it told thus.”

The Commander Hung listened to this and his heart was filled with fearful wonder and he thought to himself, “I would see these kings of devils for once and know how they look.” And so he said aloud to the abbot, “Do you open the door, I pray, for I would see what these kings of devils are.”

Then did the abbot humbly reply, “Commander, this temple indeed I do not dare to open. Our heavenly teachers of generations past have forbidden it many times, and they have said that none of any generation shall dare to open this door at his pleasure.”

<Continued – Prologue #11>

 

January 8, 2011 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #9

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #9

“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

Again the Commander said, “Truly had I no strength to walk, and even as I thought to climb higher up the ridge I saw come out from among the pines an acolyte riding upon an ox and he blew upon a metal flute. Even as he came around the ridge I asked him whence he came and if he knew who I was and he knew all and he said The Heavenly Teacher had already mounted a crane and riding the clouds had gone that morning to the capital city. For this reason did I return.”

The abbot said, “Pity is it that the Commander has lost such an opportunity! This acolyte was The Heavenly Teacher himself.”

The Commander asked, “If he was The Heavenly Teacher then how did he look so common and so small?”

The abbot answered, saying, “This generation of heavenly teachers is not usual. Although his years are few, yet is he high in the true way. He is one outside the ranks of men and he is everywhere in every sort of guise and truly is he miraculous. Men on earth call him He Whose Wisdom Fills The Heavens.”

The Commander replied, “Is this what manner of man I am, that although I have eyes yet could I not discern the true Heavenly Teacher! I have seen his face and missed the knowing I did!”

The abbot said, “Pray let the Commander’s heart be at rest. If The Heavenly Teacher announced that he had gone already, then wait until the day you return to the capital and by then the great mass will already have been said.”

The Commander listened to this, and only then did he let his heart rest. Then did the abbot bid a feast be prepared to entertain the Commander and the Emperor’s mandate was preserved in the imperial casket and it was placed there in the temple and the dragon incense was burned in The Hall Of Three Clearnesses.

On that day in the guest hall there was prepared a great vegetable feast and wine was poured forth. When the night was come and the feast over, the Commander slept there until the morning.

<Continued – Prologue #10>

 

December 28, 2010 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #8

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #8

“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

Then was the Commander afraid and he said, “You are but a cowherd, and how do you know?”

The acolyte laughed and said, “In the morning I serve The Heavenly Teacher in his temple and I heard him say, ‘Today the Son Of Heaven has sent a Commander Hung to me and he comes bearing the imperial mandate and the jade censer and he comes here on the mountain and he would have me got to the capital to make a mass of three thousand six hundred chants and so drive away the plague. Therefore will I mount a crane and ride the clouds and go thither.’ By now I do think he is gone, for he is not in the temple. Do not go up then for on the mountain there are fierce tigers and wild beasts and even your life may be lost.”

The Commander said, “Do not lie to me.”

Then the acolyte laughed and answered nothing but again he blew upon his flute, and so he turned to the other side of the ridge. The Commander thought to himself, saying, “But how is it this little lad knows everything? I believe The Heavenly Teacher must have commanded him to come and speak to me thus. Truly must this be so. When I think of climbing further and of how frightened I have been just now, better would it be if I returned.”

So the Commander took up the censer and sought again his old path and he hastened down the mountain. All the Taoists met him and he sat down in the guest hall and then the abbot asked him, “Did you see The Heavenly Teacher?”

Then the Commander said, “I am an honored official in the imperial court and how was it you bade me climb that mountain road and suffer thus? Truly might I all unknowing have lost my life. When I head gone half up the mountain there leaped out upon me a slant-eyed white-browed tiger and he frightened my souls and spirits clean away from me. Again I had not passed through more than on valley up the mountain when out of the viny bamboos there sprang a great snowy-spotted serpent and he heaped himself into circles and cut off the road I must go. If my destiny had not been greatly good how could I have come back with my life? – But it was all because of you Taoists who thought to make a joke of a high lord!”

Then the abbot replied, saying, “And how would such poor Taoists as we dare to treat so mighty a lord thus lightly? Nay, this tiger and this serpent were trials sent by our Heavenly Teacher to try your heart, for although there be tigers and serpents on this mountain of ours they are not such as harm men.”

<Continued – Prologue #9>

 

December 18, 2010 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #7

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #7

“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

Again he went on some thirty to fifty paces and he drew several deep sighs and he said resentfully, “The Emperor set me a certain day to come here and he has made me suffer such fear as this —“

Before he finished speaking he perceived again a great wind rising there and it blew a poisonous breath toward him. When the Commander stared into it there was a sound of hissing among the vines in the bamboos and there came forth a white-spotted serpent as large around as a bucket.

 

The Commander saw it and again he leaped in terror. He case aside his censer and shouted out, “This time am I dead indeed!” And tumbling backward he fell beside a ledged rock. Then he saw the serpent writhe quickly toward to rock and facing him it heaped itself into a pile of circles and out of its two eyes gleamed yellow light and opening its great mouth it thrust out its tongue and blew its poisonous breath into the man’s face.

The Commander was in such terror his three souls floated from his body and his seven earthly spirits left him. That serpent stared awhile at the Commander and at last winding down the mountain was seen no more. Only then did the Commander crawl to his feet again and he said, “Fortunate! But I am killed with fright.”

When he looked at himself there were spots on him as big as dumplings and he began to curse the Taoists, saying, “These hateful, cursed, virtueless ones – they make these tricks on me and make me suffer such fears as these! If I cannot find The Heavenly Teacher on the mountain top then shall I have more to say to them when I go down.”

Again he lifted up the censer and set straight the mandate and ordered his clothing and was about to go on again. Even as he lifted his foot to step he heard in the pines the faint sound of a flute coming near and nearer. When he fixed his gaze to see, he saw an acolyte sitting backward on an ox and blowing on a metal flute and smiling as he came. The Commander watched him come and he called, “From whence have you come? Do you know who I am?”

But the acolyte paid no heed to him and he did but blow his flute. The Commander asked him yet several times more and at last the acolyte laughed a great ho-ho and taking the metal flute from his lips he pointed with it at the Commander and he said, “Do you come hither to see The Heavenly Teacher?”

 <Continued – Prologue #8>

December 10, 2010 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #6

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #6
“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

Then the Commander parted from them and repeating the name of the Taoist god he left his feet free and strode up the mountain. He went on thus alone awhile and he rounded the cliffs and followed the narrow path and pushed aside the vines and grasses.

When he had gone over several ridges and more than a mile or so he felt his feet give way and his legs were suddenly strengthless, and truly could he go no further. He was silent now and he pondered, and in his heart he said, “I am an honored minister of the imperial court and when I am in the capital I cannot rest unless I have to mattresses under me and when I eat it must be from many dishes and even then am I wearied much. How then can I suddenly put straw sandals on my feet and walk up such a mountain as this? And how do I know where this Heavenly Teacher is that one like me should suffer so?”

He had gone but thirty or fifty paces more and his shoulders were heaving with his panting when suddenly between two mountains he saw a great wind rise. When this wind had passed there came after it a great noise like the clap of mighty thunder from behind the pine trees and there leaped out suddenly a white-browed, slant-eyed, many-hued tiger.

The Commander gave a start of terror and he shouted out, “Ah Yah!” and he fell backward. The great tiger stared at him and begin to circle first to the left and then to the right and it roared awhile and then went leaping down the crags to the back of the mountain.

Now the Commander had fallen at the foot of a tree and all his thirty-six teeth clattered together and his heart beat as though it were a well with fifteen buckets going up and down together in it. His whole body lost its sense as though he were paralyzed and his two legs were weak as vanquished cocks. Without ceasing he cried out bitterness.

After the tiger had left him he lay for about the space of the drinking of a cup of tea and only then could he clamber to his feet and he mended the incense in his censer and lit the incense and again he went up the mountain determined to find The Heavenly Teacher.

<Continued – Prologue #7>

December 3, 2010 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #5

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #5

“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

So was mandate placed for the time in the midst of the temple and all those who had come went into the guest hall and the Commander sat himself in the center. Then was tea brought thither and immediately vegetarian food was brought in and among these not one sort of vegetable food was lacking whether from water or from land. When the meal had been eaten the Commander again asked the abbot, saying, “If The Heavenly Teacher is in the little temple on the crest of the mountain why may one not go thither and invite him to come down that he may open the mandate of the Emperor and read it?”

The abbot answered humbly,  “This generation of Taoists who is upon the crest of the mountain has reached a very high stage and he can bridle the mists and ride upon them and where no clouds are he can make them rise and he leaves no footsteps behind him. Such Taoists as we are cannot easily see him. How then can we send one and invite him to come down?”

The Commander said, “If it be so, then how shall we see him? The plague in the capital is fierce passing belief and so did the Son Of Heaven bid me to come hither bearing this mandate which was written even by the imperial hand itself. And I come myself bearing the dragon incense! And I come to invite The Heavenly Teacher that he will lead a great mass of three thousand six hundred chants and so spread a net for Heaven and thus drive away the plague and save the lives of all the people. But if it be thus with him, then how shall we do it?”

Then the abbot said respectfully, “If the Son Of Heaven would save the lives of the people, the Commander must use a pure heart. You must eat only vegetable food and bathe your body and change to cotton garments and take no man with you and yourself you must bear the imperial mandate and with the imperial incense lighted go up the mountain on foot and worship The Heavenly King and bow before him and invite him. Thus only may The Heavenly King be seen. But if your heart be not pure then will it be but vain that you go and hard will it be to see him.”

The Commander heard this and he said, “From the day I left the capital I have eaten no meat and is my heart not pure? If it be thus then I will do as you say. Tomorrow at dawn will I go up the mountain.”

That night did each go therefore to his rest. On the next day at the fifth watch all the Taoists rose and they prepared a fragrant hot water and asked the Commander to rise and wash his body. All his garments were changed to ones of cotton thread, new and such as had never been worn before by man. Upon his feet were hempen shoes and straw sandals. When he had eaten a vegetarian meal he fetched the imperial mandate and he wrapped it in a yellow silk kerchief and bound it on his back. In his hand he bore a silver censer and in it smoked the imperial incense. Many of the Taoists and priests escorted him to the mountain’s foot and then they pointed out the path that he must take. Again did the abbot humbly say, “If the Commander would save the people let not your heart repent itself or think to turn back. With all your heart then go upward!”

<Continued – Prologue #6>

November 29, 2010 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #4

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #4

“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

Then was the imperial incense burned in the palace and the Emperor himself gave the mandate he had written on red paper to the minister, who was the Commander Hung. Straightway he went forth with the imperial mandate and he bade farewell to the Emperor and he bore the mandate on his shoulder and put the imperial incense in a box and he led with him some tens of men. They all mounted each his horse and they all followed him and so they left the capital.

They followed the road then and they went straight toward the city of Hsin Chou to a little town called Kuei Ch’i. In less than a day they came to the city of Hsin Chou in Kiangsi. The officials of the city great and small came forth to meet them and straightway they sent men to announce the matter to the abbot of the temple in The Mountain Of Dragons And Tigers to prepare to receive the imperial mandate.

On the next day all the officials escorted the Commander Hung to the foot of The Mountain Of Dragons and Tigers and there from The temple Of Upper Clearness they saw many Taoists coming down, their bells chiming and drums beating, and they carried incense and flowers and lanterns and candles and banners and canopies and many instruments of music, and they all came down the mountain to meet the imperial messenger. He came straight to the temple before he came down from his horse. Then did they all, from the abbot to the least acolyte, circle about to greet him and they escorted him into The Hall Of Three Clearnesses and they besought him to set up the imperial mandate in their midst.

And the Commander asked the abbot, saying, “Where is The Heavenly Teacher now?”

The abbot came forward and said humbly, “Thus will I tell the Commander. The one of this generation of these many generations has a notable name, The Heavenly Teacher Of Empty Peace, and his temper is very lofty and remote from men. Hard is it for him to do such work as to meet guests or speed them. He has built a thatched temple for himself upon the crest of the mountain and there he lives alone, purifying his spirit. Because of this he does not live here in our temple.”

The Commander said, “But now there comes a mandate from the throne commanding him thither and how may we see him therefore?”

The abbot answered, saying, “Pray let me speak. For the time let this mandate be placed here in the temple, for none of us common priests dare to open it. Let the Commander then go into our guest hall and there drink tea and then may we take counsel together.”

<Continued – Prologue #5>

November 25, 2010 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment