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Chapter 1

The King of Eastern Wu Province in the former nation of China stood in respect as his sixteen-year-old daughter Little Sun entered a room of the Palace and presented herself with her head lowered.

Welcome Little Sun. You have my respect and devotion, and now that you have reached the age of sixteen I wish to present you with not just a teacher famous throughout this world, but a sage who has gained the respect of his people and has deemed it worthy to come to my Kingdom and to instruct you for the next four years.

‘You will learn some of the new art of philosophy as is practiced in his land and you will also learn the language of that noble and free people, the Greeks, on the other side of this mysterious place we call our home. This is better to be a little humble, to be a little proud, and to be my most precious daughter.’

So Little Sun continued under her mother’s care, learning the Chinese language and its history for the next six weeks. After the six weeks had passed she was formally introduced to a strangely dressed man of about thirty-five. He wore only a sheet that was tied at the waist, and he wore sandals. His name was Solon, the wise sage from Greece, who had travelled by land, on camels and horses to be her teacher.

‘My name is Solon, Little Sun, I have been a leader in that far away place called Greece which I shall tell you all about, and instruct you in our Art called Philosophy. After four years you will become a Lady of this land, you will be known as Lady Sun, and you will have powers that no other woman in the history of China has ever had.’

Thence Solon told her of his life and his role in raising the City of Athens from a relatively backward place to the great Polis and City State that it had become. It would grow in importance and unite the nation of Greece under its leadership. It would do this by allowing all citizens to participate in debate and in all decision-making. The Arts would flourish and become available to everyone not just the privileged few, the aristocrats as he called that class. There would be equality amongst all Greek people, it would be a nation like no other for no one could hold back the power of reason that Philosophy held out to every citizen so that they could determine the truth and decide their fate as one people. The world, he said, would look to Greece and be improved by the example of such a free people. And all this would happen in the lifetime of Lady Sun, so, she would be better able to serve her country and unite it as it once was united in the time of the powerful Han Dynasty.

Little Sun had received an education, that of Chinese history and the Chinese language. She had learnt that the Han Dynasty still existed but it was not the power it had been several hundred years previously. Now there were the Three Kingdoms- Wei, Shu, and Wu, and there were mighty War Lords who controlled their territories and they were often fighting against each other with armies of hundreds of thousands of soldiers. There was constant warfare, battles, and intrigues. And women in her country had no rights, they were traded to gain power for their male relatives and Little Sun hoped that it was different in that City-State called Athens in far away Greece, and that there would be an influence on China that could change the status and rights of women.

‘I have five brothers and I mostly respect and admire my older brothers, Sun Ce and Sun Quan. They are not only great fighters but also War Lords famous throughout the Three Kingdoms. Sun Quan is the greatest soldier of all and he has much influence over my life.

‘There are many religions in China including Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. We and especially the Emperor still pay respect to the ancient God, Shang Di who was the creator of all things and lives in the sky or Heaven.’

This God, Shang Di,’ replied Solon, ‘has no equivalent in the Greek Parthenon of Gods but is actually similar to the Jewish God, Yahweh. I can speak and read a little Hebrew which is the language of the Jewish people from ancient times.’

Chapter 2

After six months with Solon, Little Sun could speak a little Greek and knew much about Greek culture. She was very impressed by that most high Goddess, Athena, worshiped throughout Greece, and promised that she would emulate in her own life-time the example of Athena, who presided over her servants, the fates, as well as such things as the climate, storms and floods, and also the hearth.

One day Little Sun took Solon on a guided tour of the new Temple that was meant to represent all the great religions of China and especially Shang Di. The Emperor or King, Little Sun’s father would come here once a year and sacrifice a bull or sheep to Shang Di and eventually all would be well in a united and strong China.

As they walked in the grounds of the Temple, that was still being constructed Little Sun and Solon were introduced to the master builder Jiang Wong. Then they observed the building of the Temple that was to be the greatest in all of China. Little Sun saw the ox-drawn carts as they brought building materials, mainly blocks of stone, into the vicinity of the Temple. She also saw the workmen and women as each one carried a large wooden box on their shoulders filled with sand, or stone or wood.

‘Jiang,’ exclaimed Little Sun excitedly, ‘I have an idea to improve the functioning of construction.’

‘Yes, Little Sun, what is it,’ replied Jiang, as Solon gazed on the scene.

‘Well,’ said Little Sun, ‘I see the work people each carrying heavy loads of building materials in large boxes. It is slow work and the people become easily tired. I also see the oxen carts with their wheels that save a lot of carrying. My idea is to take one of those wooden boxes and attach a wheel to the front. At the back of the box we could form two handles to allow people to lever up the box and wheel it in front of them. This would lighten the work-load and make things quicker.’

‘That sounds wonderful,’ said Jiang, ‘and what would we call this contraption?’

‘We should call it a wheelbarrow,’ proclaimed Little Sun.

‘Well, as yet it’s only an idea, and we must first get the King’s permission to construct such a thing – a wheelbarrow, how brilliant,’ exclaimed Jiang.

So the next day Little Sun was summoned with Jiang to the King’s chamber where the King smiling said.

‘Although ideas are wonderful they are worth nothing until they are put into action. I refer you all to the most famous poet of China, Ling Po and his important poem that has inspired us all. I will recite it,’ and he did.

‘As you see Ling Po likens an idea to a, bird with one wing, who constantly flies in circles. Ling Po points out that it is only with the consent of the most high God, Shang Di that an idea can be put to practical use. Therefore, although you, Little Sun first thought of the ‘wheelbarrow’, it is Jiang who will translate by constructing the actual contraption. So the credit for this invention will go to him, firstly because he has the power to make your idea into a reality, and secondly because he is a man, and men in China take precedence.

Later Little Sun tried to write the poem in Greek for Solon to read, but, Solon as he read could not understand until he decided to write it in Hebrew. Then it made sense.

Poem of Ling Po -

Yeh! Thou of the wing

though ye fly in circles

One travels far.

Little Sun knew better than to question her father about his decision for in China no woman could dispute the ideas or reasoning of any man. If a woman did oppose an idea of a man it was the same as opposing that man and he would take offence and perhaps behead the woman. Life was cheap in China then, and millions died in futile wars in a struggle for the ultimate power of the War Lords. Women especially were considered as lesser creatures to men and they could never oppose the decision of a man, be he King, Emperor, or commoner. Therefore Little Sun bore her time and held her toung for later she would be stronger and better able to defend herself.

* * *

Sun Quan, Little Sun’s most respected older brother requested that Little Sun attend his quarters in the Palace.

‘Little Sun, when you are twenty you will be the most powerful woman in China, therefore you must prepare yourself. From this day you will have twenty servants and twenty bodyguards to protect you but you must train in martial arts with your guards. You must learn how to do physical combat, and above all you must learn how to fight with a sword.’

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