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The Tempest of Unknowing

Newar Folktale

The Tempest of Unknowing

Newar Folktale

Long, long ago there lived four great mystics in a Newari kingdom. It was an era of intellect, brilliance, and a thirst for knowledge. Society flourished, transforming the kingdom into a beacon of enlightenment, tranquility, and prosperity. Among the citizens of the realm, these four mystics stood out as epitomes of wisdom and intellect, unrivaled in their mastery of various subjects. They could understand the past and present, and make predictions of the future. Their predictions were always unfailingly accurate, earning them profound respect even from the King.

Periodically, the wise men convened to discuss on a range of topics, including their calculations to forecast future events. Almost invariably, their discussions concluded in a consensus, upon which they promptly alerted both the citizens and the King to undertake necessary measures. Through this method, the wise men consistently succeeded in averting floods and famines within the kingdom.

On a particular summer day, the four intelligent mystics jointly forecasted an imminent peril: a giant storm approaching the kingdom. However, this tempest was unlike any other, originating from the forbidden depths of the mountain caverns, where wicked spirits resided. Its fierce winds threatened to engulf the entire realm, driving its inhabitants to madness. After the tempest’s fury waned, the madness would give way to a pervasive state of stupidity and ignorance.

They proceeded to inform the populace, instilling terror in their hearts. Recognizing that only the King held the key to resolving this calamity, they sought an audience with him.

“This is a serious dilemma,” remarked the King. “What course of action do you propose?”

“We could initiate city evacuations,” suggested one wise man.

“That’s impossible,” countered the King. “Undertaking such a massive task is beyond our means. We lack the necessary resources.”

“Your Majesty, if evacuation is not possible, then our only recourse is to excavate tunnels and shelter all citizens underground until the storm abates,” implored the wise men.

“Even if it were feasible to conceal a few individuals, we cannot possibly shelter the entire population underground,” the King reasoned.

Despite the persistent pleas of the wise men, the King remained dismissive. “Perhaps the wind will not cause significant damage,” he reassured them.

Undeterred, the wise men embarked on a campaign throughout the city and villages, urging residents to excavate shelters in the earth. However, their appeals fell on deaf ears.

In the end, the four mystics resolved to excavate shelters solely for themselves and retreat underground until the passing of the storm.

As foretold, the stirring sounds of powerful winds descended from the mountain slopes, swiftly shrouding the once-blue sky in a veil of darkness. Closer and closer approached the tempest, while the citizens stood out in the open, anticipating the storm’s passage. Meanwhile, only the four wise men remained entrenched deep within the earth’s depths.

After the wind abated in a matter of days, the four men emerged from their subterranean refuge. To their dismay, they beheld a kingdom plunged into madness. Citizens had abandoned their duties and dwellings, filling the streets with frenzied dancing. As the men traversed through streets, markets, temples, and palaces, they encountered only madness-stricken individuals lost in ecstatic dances. Amidst this chaos, only the four men remained sane and normal.

Upon arriving at the city’s central square, they were met with jeers from the populace: “Lunatics! Lunatics!”

Everywhere they journeyed, they were approached with taunts of “Crazy people! Lunatics! Mad men!” Unable to endure the relentless contempt, the four wise men made the difficult decision to depart the kingdom forever.