January 30, 2015

leopard with green eyes

Once before the world was as it is now, an old man and an old woman tended their sheep and worked at their looms to make a poor living as weavers. The couple was childless and often sighed in regret of an evening when the old man filled his pipe for a smoke and the old lady shelled peas by the fireplace. On one of these evenings they heard a mewing at the door. Opening it, they discovered a beautiful baby swaddled and nested in a basket.

‘Oh my, oh yes, oh look,’ said the old woman.

‘Oh yes, oh look, oh the eyes!’ said the old man.

The tiny baby’s eyes were green jade beautiful. The old couple gasped, took up the basket in embrace, and decided on the spot that their daughter’s name was Jade.

Jade thrived, grew and blossomed under the loving care of her old parents. Soon enough she displayed remarkable agility and cleverness at the loom, where she sent the shuttle fairly flying back and forth to produce the finest cloth, cloth so fine that its fame eventually reached the palace.

‘I would see this weaver,’ remarked the Queen, examining the complex perfection of design executed on a bolt of cloth lifted from the loom of Jade.

Jade was summoned to the palace and went reluctantly. She had no desire to leave her home, where she could sit thrilled at her loom, batting the shuttle back and forth. In the palace, gasps and murmurs greeted her on all sides. Wherever she looked, jaws dropped at the sight of her lovely green jade eyes.

‘She must marry the Prince,’ said the Queen when first she saw Jade’s eyes.

‘I must not,’ said Jade, and she changed.

All in the palace slept, and the beautiful leopard with the jade green eyes padded silently home, where she changed back to maiden, entered the cottage with a smile, took her old parents into her arms and sat down at the loom, where she thrilled to bat the shuttle back and forth.

Leave a Reply