Mountain, River, and Unfinished Flowers


Wind blows heavily from northwest of the river

Big Brother and his wife are drinking water


A skinny girl stands knocking

by the door, red as radish, her hands are shaking


“Come in, girl, have a cup of green tea.

Come in, girl, continue your journey tomorrow.”


The pretty girl sleeps overnight in the house

The three have a wonderful dream


When the sun shines the next morning

the couple chats about where to build their cemetery


The land with the river view should be good.

But not as good as by the mountain.


Looking over the river or leaning by the mountain

both are good but not good enough


A strong smell is dancing in the air

as if spring returns


Big Brother searches

and finds the girl is gone


In the room where she stayed

there are flowers growing


Yellow flowers, pink flowers, flowers with tiny buds

skinny branches and without leaves


Spring comes,

Big Brother returns to the mountain for herbs and



He digs everywhere with baby green leaves

drinks every drop of twinkling dew


One hole in the ground, too deep to see

he pulls the grass hard out of the earth


a strong light shines straight at his head

his gray hair turns black


a soft pearl appears in his hand

a pearl as big as Big Brother's fist


Big Brother hurries home, his mind full of questions

His wife shakes her head, “I've never seen such a



Big Brother turns one hundred years old

His wife one hundred and two


His flowers never wither

His pearl continues to grow


Every morning, the flowers blow wind into the house

Every night, the pearl sings songs, boats stop to



People come to buy Big Brother's flowers

to look at his pearl and cure diseases


The Devil is jealous of Big Brother's treasures

The Devil comes to rob the pearl to destroy the



The flowers are crushed under the Devil's feet

They grow with fresher and quieter smiles


Big Brother hides the pearl in his mouth

and the pearl falls into his stomach


When Big Brother becomes thirsty, he drinks all the

water in the house

He comes to drink by the river, one mouthful another



Suddenly, a big wave comes and sweeps Big Brother into

the river

“Come back, my old man, come back,” his wife cries.


Big Brother struggles in the water

He turns his head back ninety times


A dragon jumps out of the water where he disappears

The dragon wears a beard like Big Brother's


The mountain mother is crying, the river mother is


Big Brother is gone, everything is changed


Flowers bloom and grow huge

Big Brother's wife turns one hundred and twenty


Every day, she sends flowers to the river

until there comes a huge flood


Half of the mountain is in water

the river becomes an ocean of tears


flowers are scattered everywhere

they become a floating net where Big Brother's wife

is caught

After the floods retreat, Big Brother's wife

finds two coffins under an orange tree


A dragon's body stays fresh inside one coffin

in the other one, there is the pearl


Big Brother's wife follows its shining

She lies down and puts the pearl in her mouth


At night, the two coffins are carried together

across two mountains, looking over the river


Big Brother's wife closes her eyes

sees Big Brother on top of the water


They smile to each other

Two mountains come together.

Shao Wei