The Story of Three Genjias ,Architecture
You are here: Home China Guide Chinese Culture The Story of Three Genjias

The Story of Three Genjias

There once lived three men who all had the same name -- Genjia. One of them was the tribal chief, the second was a carpenter, and the last one was the chief's steward.

Genjia the carpenter had an exceptionally beautiful wife. Genjia the steward also admired her and dreamt day and night of having her for himself. But she was a very upright woman and hate him get anywhere near her. As a consequence,  he was driven to find some way of killing the carpenter in order to own this beautiful women.

Not long after, the father of Genjia the chief died. The steward thought it is a golden opportunity for eliminating the carpenter. Every day he secretly studied the calligraphy of the Buddhist scripture. Finally, he was succeeded in reproducing the old-fashioned and esoteric style in which they were written. He wrote a paper in this style and handed it to the chief, saying, and "Master, here is a document I came across the other day. I cannot understand it so I have brought it here especially for you to decipher."

Genjia the chief was puzzled by the writing. He decided to pass it to his secretary in charge of file. After reading it, the secretary explained, "This document claims to be from the old chief. In it he says that he has ascended to heaven and is now serving as an official there, but he doesn't have an official mansion. He asks you, Master, to send him a carpenter -- the most skilled you have -- to direct the construction of such a mansion."

Genjia the chief considered constantly of his father. He was most concerned to hear that he had nowhere to lay his head in heaven. He made a decision to sent for Genjia the carpenter, showed him the document and commanded him to go to heaven at once to meet his father's need.

Genjia the carpenter dared not refuse althouth he was greatly startled. He could only plead for time, "How could I disobey your order, Master! But I need some time to prepare. Please allow me seven days. After that, please hold a Twig Burning Ceremony in the hemp field behind my house to send me off. Then I'll be able to ascend to heaven to build the mansion for the old chief."

Genjia the chief thought this request reasonable and agreed it. Then Genjia the carpenter left, he went round making a few investigations. What he wanted to find is where the chief had got this idea. He eventually discovered that it was Genjia the steward who found the classical document. He put all the things together and concluded that it must be a sinister plot against him hatched by the steward. Thus, he knew the truth of this thing.

After went home, he consulted with his wife. "The most absurd thing has happened. The chief wants me to go and build a mansion in heaven. He must have been tricked into it by Genjia the steward. I did not dare refuse, but asked him to hold a Twig Burning Ceremony behind our house before I go. It would be no point to try to disobey him now. Now, there is only one way for me to get out of this alive. The two of us must dig a tunnel under cover of night leading from the field to our bedroom, and then you can hide me there later. After a year's time, I will find some way to get even."

His wife was shocked by this tale. Hatred for the steward filled the very marrow of her bones. She was willing to do anything if it can save her husband. So every day when night fell, the two of them dug the tunnel secretly. On the last day, fortunately, it was completed. In order to hide the entrance, they sealed it with a slab of stone and scattered soil on it, so that people wouldn't notice it. In a word, they tried their best to save his life.

However, the eighth day came no matter whether they want, the day for the carpenter to ascend to heaven. The chief walded at the head of a retinue of elders and stewards and with a great din of bugles and drums. He came to send him off. A pile of faggots were made in the hemp field. People asked Genjia the carpenter to sling his tool-kit over his shoulder and carry his bag in one hand. They ordered him stand in the middle, lit the faggots and watched the smoke rise, "carrying him up to heaven". Around People shouted.

When the faggots were lit, Genjia the steward was afraid, the carpenter would spoil everything by crying out in terror. "Come on! Blow your bugles and beat your drums! Laugh and cheer! Genjia the carpenter is on his way to heaven to build a mansion for our old chief. Isn't that a wonderful thing?" he shouted to the crowd.

Genjia the steward pointed gleefully to the rising smoke and said, "Master, you see, there goes his horse. Genjia the carpenter is on his way to heaven." The chief was delighted after seen this phenomenon.

In fact, Genjia the carpenter raised the slab and escaped through the tunnel back to his own bedroom when the moment the faggots were lit and the smoke began rising into the sky. But nobody knew.

After this, he confined himself to his house for the whole year. His wife was so great that she went to great lengths to find milk, butter and other nutritious food for him. Because he did not work, by the end of that year he was plumper and fairer-skinned than ever. At the same time, Genjia the steward tried a thousand and one ways of seducing the carpenter's wife, and she tried a thousand and one ways to escape him. He failed completely to attain his goal. He was really a bad egg.

On the other hand, when Genjia the carpenter was hiding at home, he diligently practiced the calligraphy of the Buddhist scriptures. As same with Genjia the steward, he prepared a file written in the authentic style and kept it on his person. On the first anniversary of his "ascent to heaven" he went and stood on the very spot where he was supposed to have been burned, the same tool-kit on his shoulder and the same bag in his hand. He called out, "How is everybody? I've just got back from heaven."

His wife pretended to be extremely surprised and hurried over to report this magical news to the chief. The chief was so happy when he heard that Genjia the carpenter was back that he gave him a hero's welcome with bugles and drums, and invited him to stay in his mansion. He wondered wether his father was well in heaven.

Genjia the carpenter said in a very serious tone of voice when he relied his answers "When I was constructing the official mansion in heaven, the old chief treated me with exceptional kindness, just as you always do, Master. It is the reason why I'm in such good shape! The mansion is finished, and what a magnificent building it is -- ten times the size of an earthly mansion! Only one thing is lacking: a steward. The old chief misses his old steward dearly. He very much wants the steward to go up to heaven and manage things for him. After a period of time he can come back." He promptly produced the document and showed it to the chief, proving that it was the old chief who had asked him to bring it down. The chief read the document and was totally convinced by the whole story. Accroding to the document, his father ordered sent for Genjia the steward and asked him to go and work for the old chief in his newly-built mansion in heaven. Obviously, it was a idea to punish Ganjia the steward.

You can image the phenomenon that Genjia the steward saw Genjia the carpenter standing there and looking so well after his "ascent to heaven." He can't believe his eyes. When he heard the vivid description of heaven given by the carpenter, he just didn't know whether it is ture or not. "Perhaps I really possess some sort of magic power", he thought to himself. "It was my idea for him to go to heaven, and he actually seems to have done so! Perhaps it is possible to fly to heaven, and the old chief really does have a new mansion there!"

Taking these into consideration, he followed the carpenter's example and asked for seven days to get ready, and a Twig Burning Ceremony will be held in the hemp field behind his house to send him to heaven. In his thinking pattern, since Genjia the carpenter could come back, he could too. The eighth day came quickly, as with the previous enviroment, Genjia the steward stood in the middle of the faggots with a box on his shoulder and a bag in his hand. Even, there was a great din of bugles and drums, and the chief gave the order to light the faggots and send him off to heaven. All of these made the steward full of confidence to fly to the heaven.

Of course, the outcome this time was somewhat different. One difference was that people found that a pile of charred bones left in the ground. Another difference was that the steward never came back. He was believed to stay on in heaven forever to help the old chief run his mansion. What can we learn from this story is that 'As a man sows, so he shall reap'.