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The Origin Of Silk

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" Unos upon a time, said Aunt .Maggie, " there were no silk drenes or ribbons in the whole world. Now, if you lonk at this Chinese fan wliioh I h.-ld in my hand you will see lliat all the liuun - :nv 'irc-s.Mi 'n real sük diesses. 11 More tlian three thousand years ago, t lie Emperor of Cbina, whoee queer name as lio ai ti. teroived a visit trom an oíd wonian, who laid at his f'eet a great maiiy Mnall bundies, bctging him to reivivo Ihetn tioni lnr grandd lughter, wbo also had a queer name - Su-ling sbj, "Ordering his (írand Chamberlain to open the bundies, there ippeaied (o bis astonished gM the most i eautiful Cabrios ever st-en. Ho sent fol the ladies of his hou-ehuld, for there was a dress for ra h. ainl you mu imigine llieir de ight. Deuiai,ding ui the oíd wniían the secret o)' ber rize. she gave thi.s reply (first reverently raming severa! nf the Erupcror's uiany ti t 'es, as was the outom) : Alo.-t Gracious Sin of Ileaven Lord of' the Ka tli, ],ht ol the Empire and KlOft of tbc Gulden Dragon, .'ur (rat Prophet F.', snys ; ' What told in the e is uften lieaid A hnndivd milt s (()'; ' ai d also ' (Jive not aw.iy that wLieb not thin-'own.' The storei liet mine. Tl. e secret belotiüeih to my lianghier and gruijd Juli;; liter. ' And hirc ihe L'ianduiothcr (who a not suot) u veiy old WMiirin, as wivneu niarry mtv yuung in China) bowed her head nine timen to tl, e earth. "Th liiuiienr ordt red alargo suiu of uioney to be iirc-senud to ilu woinaii, and wit h bis i'Wn augiiHt hand.s g ive ber magniHccnt strings of pearls for her dáuguter and grandcianl.t' r. A'so for the granddanghtèr he :ae a golden badge of honor, I iddiog the grandinoiber bring the muiden ■ ilie iiext iiew aiuun, lor he must kn nv her secret, and should her woidi be straight wonis, he would honor htrasnever lowly inai.J - bonored lef'ore. heartof Su-liog ,-hiwas filkd with deligbt wh.'ii she heard the words of her iM.i'niiii..ther. Jiu.s K was her loom set to worfc Ae mighJ have a dreggso mafïnif iivnt lor the occasion that the 'Kingoftbe Golden Dragon' might find pleasurc in beholding her. 'The gnat day at length dawned, the heart of Su line-Mii fluttered with fear and delight as - arraycd in dress of rosepink ■Uk aint Lyhln,. t.iinif einliroidnrcd with Kold, the ])Carls in her hair aud goldon badge upon her bosom - she approached with tremblirg footsttpa his ' Fragrant Majesly,' whose sulijects bend their foreluads to the ground, not daring to gaze ujin hini. "Look on tho fan," said Aunt Maggie , " you will see the Great King of the Dragon ,-eáted upon a cbair whicb bears the sign of the dragon, the symbol of the Chinese Empire. U is robe, sent him by Su-ling-shi, ia of royal yellow silk, wiih a golden sun upon hi.-. Lreast and a royal peacook's featht in his cap. " Ncxt to him is the ' Grand Mandarín of the Houschuld,' e.lothcd in carlet. 'l'he grtat Mandarín of War, Gvi.ccu] llae-liugah, in i-earlet robes nd blue .-a-h, stanus with drjwii sw jrd lOWftro tli'm that deaih is alwuys the penalty of an untruth before the great Empero, " the granduiother, in diessof green sülk with ycllow eollar, stau Jing behindjthe (Jen ural, kdvanoed first, aod bowing nine tiuies to the groand, said : ' Know, Most Mightj Kinir, thut in my arden giows a mulberry Wee, upon whieh I ofttimes noticed a worm that ,-pun a ball for a house in which to live. These baila L oflen took wilhin my dweil ing, and I f'ound that in a little time a motil crept out from each and flew away. 1 amused LaSee, my daushter. with the silken baila This is all that I have done. ' Sioa-te-kin,' lt h very little. Let my daughter LaSee speak. " Then the inother, whom you see next with the royal pearls in ber hair and pink silk dress, bowed nice times, saying : 'Most Gracious Ten 'J'housand Years' while amusing mysi'lf watching the eaterpillar, I f'ound thal its house orcoeoon would unwind, and 1 usrd it as thread with wlreli to embrui der the fine mu-tlia, ' Woven Wind.' Alterward, I taught my daughttr to do the same. This, my Gracieus King, i.s all that 1 have done. Let my daughter ppealc. ' " Tlun came Su-ling-shi, and, after uitje bow-, she proudly raised her head and said : ' [f Ilis Most Gracions Majety and Light of the Empire will deigp to cast his eyes upon these inseets, hu will see they are but uommoD moths, which I here let fly from my hand. I followed the example of my ivi.-e pannts (may they live h thousand pars!), and saw that it was this insect which laid the eirgs upon the mnlberrytree, and which afn rward bccame the Bomlie morí, or Caterpillar. This fed i jn the luulberry leaves thirty-two days, ind, casting its skin four time?, began to ' ■ pin itn cocoon, winding always the same .vay. My nioiher (may Vo bless her!) had earned to unwind the cocoon, and had plantod many trees. Thus it was, Most ' ÜL'lity King, that I was enabled to gather ' iiany OOCOOns, and, reeling the threads to[ether, I hit upon the idea of weaving hem. This, my Sovereun, U the coooon, i ind in this roll you will find the result - a .ice of silk, which I hope may prove vori h y of the acceptanee of'your Gracious I lioltiiit ss, to whom I surrendiT my i idge.' And again she bowed htr foreliead ! q the irround. ( " 'Bebold a maiden poisened of all the rirjfues,' said the Emperor. And then i uming toher, heMid : 'Hise, fair maiden, lUCh wisdom, ra li in dustry and such i y are worthy of an empire. Half my hrone sha.ll be thinc.' And, taking the i hand of the blusbingSu-ling-ski, ba scated her be.ide hini. " 'My lord,' he continuad, 'prepare for the bridal oeremony. Suiumon the ladies of' the court, and henceforth lenow our uiother as the Princess La See, and our grandniother .-is tbe Princesa Sang. Honor (hem asMich, and let tho whole land know our Dragon will ! ' "You will neè on the fan," continued Aiint MsL'pie, "(hat the court ladies were not f ar off, and that tlicir curio.sity was great, for they were peeping. Of courso grandma congratulated herxelf on her .slirowdness in presenting the ilk to the Kniieror instead of selling it to a nier cliant. 'Tho ingenius Kmpress not only taught the ladies of her court how to tbe silk-wuiiu, but hmught v:iNt 8uuiriof money into her huaband's treisury by selling the secret lo the weavers, and für muny hundreds of years these Chinese weavers carefuliy guarded the secret which only they possessed. At lant a nly old European oionk went to China, obtained the secret, and, stealing souie cocoons, bid them in li is hollow reed cane, and walked away, reioicinir all Eurono bv showintr neonla hnw silk was made.'


Old News
Ann Arbor Courier