Amber Croft A Cat of Nine Tales
Tale 2 Part 5
“But, I’m not ready, Sifu. Next week maybe.”
“Next week like mirage on desert, certain to fade as one draws closer. You are ready now. Have mastered Poking Feet to some degree. Have also had White Eyebrow training, also Gouquan Dog Fist, which may help you. I am hoping you remember classes that you did not sleep though on this day.”
“Wait, Sifu. It’s too soon. Let me explain why.”
“Talk will not cook rice, Grasshopper. Dog is waiting. Do not fear. I’m sure you will survive.” Is certain, but I cannot tell him this. Dog is good friend named Morris, lives in cave near temple gate. Not dangerous . . . a vegetarian. We have discussed the matter. Dog will make aggressive threatening barks, then run away, as if in fear.
“Must not be friend of hesitation, Grasshopper. Use what you have learned to defeat demon of fear.”
“But Sifu . . . .”
“Never mind. Must go.”
I push reluctant student into practice yard where dog is waiting. Then close door and watch to see what happens. Nothing can go wrong . . . I think.
Have seen few amazing things this lifetime, but today is one. Fear has awakened memory of Gouquan Dog Fist. Am so sorry for poor Morris who was not expectant of aggression.
Can only hope peaceful dog will not become angry canine. Now only silence. Time to open gate. Am feeling sympathy for Morris. What to say? So unexpected this.
Buckminster lies quite still. Is dead perhaps.
“What have you done?” I say to Morris.
“Sorry Sifu. Didn’t mean to do it. It was just a reflex. Have you never taught him how to duck? He hit me first! Look here, I’ve got a swollen jowl.”
“So sorry, Morris. Will bring double portions of fried rice for you this week, in hopes you might forgive.” As we are speaking Grasshopper returns to consciousness.
“What happened Sifu?”
“You forget to duck, but are okay now, I believe. Am proud of you for having fought good fight. Defeat is unimportant. You may leave Golden Amber Temple with new face of honor.”
“Thank you for being patient with me Sifu. I will not forget what you have taught me.”
So it was Buckminster then returned to honored parents. Great relief to humble teacher who made mistake of accepting lazy student.
Trouble is like first love, teach many lessons.