Step Four – Throw of a Dice – The Absurd Adventures Of Li Bai And His Magic Bottle

Step Four - Throw of a Dice – The Absurd Adventures Of Li Bai And His Magic Bottle

After leaving the giant and villagers, Li Bai carried on with his journey, after a few days he found himself on a hill top, looking down at a large city. Dusk was setting in, and he knew the city gates would be closed before he reached them. For there was yet a couple of hours to travel, but he was in no hurry. Had he not survived the crossing of a hostile land, underneath a blazing sun. Where if it was not for his magic bottle he wouldn’t have made it to where he now was. Three times the dragon came to his aid by breathing into the sky and making it rain. The only three times in his life that he was thankful for water.

Looking back, there were moments along his travels when things were easy, as he could walk in the pathways left by the trackers as they hauled sampans and junks up river. Many times he had seen the rope marks cut into the rock by this soul-destroying job. At times, he had to climb craggy hills and mountains. Still other times he had to leave the river and move inland to bypass deep gorges. His journey up to now had not been too harsh, and he was in high spirits, but as he gazed at the sprawling city, he realised that he had no provisions, nor had he any cash with which to replenish them.

Pulling out a copper wu zhu from his leather nangbao, he flipped it into the air, then catching it, he returned to its place of rest, murmuring ‘Not enough for a nights bed.’ So sitting down he thought ‘I will rest and think of a plan.’ He soon nodded of to sleep, where he dreamt of a summer garden, which held a sumptuous feast and where the wine flowed freely. His dream was disturbed by the sound of voices.

Waking up he saw a caravan of merchants meandering along the road. The caravan halted and started to pitch camp. For they also knew the gates would be locked before they reached the city.

Amid the hustle and bustle of the merchants and their entourage Li Bai mingled. At first, he was challenged by the watchmen, but when they saw he was a lone wayfarer they let him enter the camp. Li Bai ambled aimlessly, until he came upon a group of people playing sic bo, a dice game. Of which Li Bai was very familiar. ‘Sic bo means “dice pair” yet is played with three dice, thrown by the banker,’ mumbled Li Bai to no one in particular.

Sic bo is a game of chance where each player bets on the outcome of one, two or three of the dice. Li Bai knew that the payouts could be very large if betting on three dice. So taking a place at the table, he took out his copper wu zhu then he placed a bet. No one at the table could see the red bat sitting on his shoulder and so the game commenced. After a while Li Bai had amassed a great pile of cash. So calling it a night, he strung the wu zhu together and putting them over his shoulder he bade the other gamblers good night, and he sauntered off to find somewhere to sleep. As he turned to leave he noticed the banker whispering to a weasel looking fellow.

Li Bai thought he would be safer near the town, even though it meant sleeping outside the city walls. So quietly he left the camp and headed down the hill. Taking a swig from his magic bottle of V.I.P Jiu 8 as he did, He thought. ‘What have I learned today? Cleverness is sometimes not enough, then luck is required.’ and as he walked he composed a poem in his head.

The thrills of chance do surge

Like fire through your veins

But the heady touch of lady luck

In the light of reason wanes