A leaf in the Storm - English Edition - By Lin yu-tang

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Miss Li banged the table with what seemed to be a drum stick used by themonks.
"What is the matter?" she shouted.
Now there was a complete stop. The men looked from Malin to theirteacher, who pounded the table again and again.
"Now begin again. Get the words right. If we have no food"
"The enemy willsupply us," roared the men.
"If we have no guns"
"Tbe enemy will make tbem for us."
"Now begin again."
This time they sang more lustily than ever. When the song was finished,Miss Li said in her coarse and rather masculine voice, "Before I dismiss you, Iwill ask you a few questions of what you learned today and yesterday. What arewe fighting for?"
"Defending our country," the men shouted.
"How old is our country?"
"Four thousand years."
"What are we fighting against?"
There were shouts of "Japan" and "East-Ocean Devils."
Miss Li seemed dissatisfied. One man squatting in front cried out, "Japaneseimperialism!" and received a nod from the teacher.
"Yes, Japanese imperialism," she repeated. But there were murmurs amongthe class which showed that they had not quite understood.
"What must we do when the enemy attack?"
What must we do when the enemy retreat?"

One morning in 19o5, or the 3tth year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu ofQing Dynasty, two brothers set out by boat from their hometown Boa-ah, amountain hamlet in Fujian Province on the southern coast of China, for theport city of Xiamen, some sixty miles away. The boys were full of excitementand chatter, especially the younger one. Yutang was ten years old, and today, hewas taking leave of his hometown and going with his brother to study in Xiamen.They were sons of Pastor Lin Zhicheng, who was born in the poor village ofWulisha. Pastor Lin was sending his sons to free missionary schools in Xiamen.
The Pastor was not a follower of convention, so the boys did not wearqueues. Yutang was a little guy, deeply tanned, with a prominent forehead, apair of sparkling eyes, and a narrow chin. Six miles later, when the skiff cameto Xiaoxi, the boys changed to a five-sail junk, and sailed toward Zhangzhouon West River. There were paddy fields and farmhouses on either side ofthe river, and tall mountains stood behind them, clad in grey-purplishhues. Yutang thought it inexpressibly beautiful. After a day's journey, the junkwas tied up against the bank under some bamboo trees. Yutang was told to liedown, cover himself with a blanket and go to sleep.
But sleep was the last thing on the boy's mind. The boatman sitting at the junk's stern was sucking at his pipe, and between gulps of bitter tea, telling stories about the Empress Dowager Cixi, who ruled the court today, having put the Emperor Guangxu under house arrest for supporting the reformers at the palace. Another junk was tied up on the opposite bank, brightly lit by lanterns. A soft breeze wafted sounds of merrymaking and music from a lute across the water. Oh, what a beautiful scene!
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A leaf in the Storm - English Edition - By Lin yu-tang