The Legend of Rice

Everybody knows how painful it is for a smart farmer to provide these good grains of rice, which we have in every meal. Under a scorching sun, he has to plough, to harrow his field, re-sow young plants and to constantly irrigate and dig up the weeds. During months, as folklore sang tells - his pay attention to "the sky, the water, the wind, the clouds and the rain" watching closely to any atmospheric changes. He always fears for the drought - his worst enemy - as well as the flood that, within one day, can swallow up his entire crop under a reddish sheet of water.

He eagerly waits for the time where rice stems will bend under the weight of their yellow rice-ears. Only here, he may be sure he will enjoy the result of his labour. Under hot blazing ray of sunshine, he Gut the rice-ears and binds them into sheaves. As soon as he brings in the harvest, it still remains a lot of work from him: to free from ears, to husk the rice and to blanch the rice with a mortar in order to deliver it for consummation. The rice grains that we have in our plate...what a lot of work it need! What a lot of worry the farmer has!

Only, if the tale is to be believed, thousand years ago, our ancestor ought not to have such troubles. During this good time, each grain of rice was big, as a bowl and rice cultivating did not need so much care. They used to just have to throw one of those grains down the soil soaked by the rain. Then, in contact this mud, it was smashed to pieces. These crumbs germinated: the young rice stems grew themselves and the happy farmer only has to Game and see the growing progress in his rice field. No care to provide: no weeding, no irrigation, nothing, absolutely nothing.

Reaching maturity, grains detected themselves from the rice stem s and without getting on the wrong way; they rolled down into the granary by themselves. There, they piled up on the right way and they were waiting that somebody Game to husked and blanch them... But, if grains of paddy (non-husked rice) gat harvested so easily without any stress for the man, on the other hand, they required being welcome with dignity.
The day of "paddy back home", every house has to be carefully swept. The rice grains suffered any dirtiness around them and they rolled badly on rubbish or dust. On this day, a solemn ceremony was celebrated in every house for the delivery of good and nutritive grains. They decorate the elders' alter with ritual offering. They lighted on candles and incense sticks. The head of the family made bowing down on in front of the altar to express the gratitude to God who had arranged comfortably things for men's well being.

All was so comfortably arranged...and a woman and her dream Game to destroy this good arrangement of nature. Once of those years, by the tent-month, when the rice grains were back to the granary, while the husband was preparing for the altar, he required his wife to clean the house. She was an obedient and sweet housewife, but with one common trouble to all women: coquetry. Her grooming consumed most of her time and even at work, she could not keep on thinking about it.

There would be two months until the Tet, and the young woman was now dreaming about her new year-day grooming. Absent-mindedly she move the broom on the floor, time to time making a break and dreaming resting her arm on the back of broom handle. Which dress should she wear on the morning of Tet? The yellow one or the green one? No, she would wear the long and red one that should match with the neck ring of golden grains she had just bought. Would she make up with a little bit of powder blusher? Of course, yes. She had to make up prettier on this special Tet day to go out with her mates and achieve what we called t he "spring walk". She was s till dreaming when the broom handles suddenly hurt by a hard knock. Oh damn! The rice was coming in. Because of this collision, the rice grains smashed to pieces. What a jumble! The husband who" (prays) before the ancestral altar, hurrying up, crying with funny gestures; the wife cried; was praying in front of the altar, rushed inside, shouting and gesticulating, the wife cried, children Game running; cocks and hens arrived without delay from the farm yard to peck at the rice crumbs scattered on the floor.

A shrill voice, the one of the rice rose over the din: 'What a welcoming! No more respect toward me? Henceforth, I will only Game in pieces and go back to the granary if somebody Games to pick up me in the rice field, with the sickle. Do not believe that I will grow like before. I will only go in perfectly ploughed land, well harrowed and permanently irrigated. You will only be able to grow me providing a lot of cares and by the sweat of your brow.
From this date because of the coquette of one woman, the hard life of the farmers started.

Sidst opdateret : 05. december 2006
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