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A Cave in a Tree

22 October 2008
 

In China's Hunan Province there is a humble township named Old Harbour (古港镇), in the Old Harbour there is a small village called New Garden (新园村), in the New Garden there is a camphor tree that no one knows how old it is, and in the tree there is a big hollow which looks like a cave in a hill, and in the cave there are a group of people playing majiang (Mah-jong), not all the time, but frequently, especially during sweaty summer season.

Villagers at the entrance of the tree cave

Over the centuries, the locals have turned the tree and its hollow into their village hall and entertainment centre: adults set up wedding and funeral banquets under its canopy, and kids play hide-and-seek in its trunk.

It's cool to play majiang (mahjong) in a tree

About twenty years ago, a camp fire inside the tree lighted by village kids tragically developed into a big blaze. The tree was burned through the night until the next day, but it's survived the ordeal and fully recovered, continuing providing shelter and shades for the villages until this very day.

Botanists estimate the age of the tree could be around a thousand years or more, which means its annual growth rings must have recorded a history of how a technically and culturally highly developed Song Dynasty was substituted by a backward nomadic Mongol empire, and how a wolf-worship Mongol empire was replaced by a economically and militarily highly developed Ming dynasty, and how the progress of Chinese renaissance was interrupted by a primitive rule of Manchu tribe that was artificially invented 300 years ago by people originally from Tunguz in Siberia and from disbanded Tartar groups, and how this tyrannic alien dictatorship on the 98 percent of the native people brought a two thousand-year old Chinese imperial system into total collapse, and how this genocide regime was smashed up by a Republic Revolution, and then People's Republic revolution, and then Cultural Revolution, and then economic reform, and beyond ....

What a grand witness to be called to testify before grand juries on trial for historical truth.

(Source of the info and original photos: 肖石平/红网)

Pre: An Empty Town (3)
Next: Rediscovery of Chinese Classic History

 
 
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