The scholar Wu was famous for two things, the sharpness of his mind and his
skill at the game of Go. When he was invited to participate in a Go
tournament and then give a series of lectures at the court school in a
neighboring province, he was only too glad to accept. As the land between
was famous for its scenery, he and his servant Hwa decided to make a
holiday of it, and take a walking tour between the two towns. However,
their map was not correct, and they found themselves wandering in the
woods, lost. They came to a clearing with a view of a magnificent
waterfall, and trails leading off in all directions.
"I can't find this waterfall on the map," said Hwa.
As they stood there, the swirling mists of the waterfall seemed to clear and they saw a man seated at a Go board.
"Who is that, and where did he come from?" asked Hwa.
"How should I know?" retorted his master.
They approached the seated figure, and made greeting. The man smiled and indicated that Wu should sit down at the Go board. Hwa was nonplussed when he realized that his master held the black stones. No one gave Wu the black stones! Hwa could not remember the last time his master had played the black stones in a game.
Play commenced, and Hwa followed the game at first, but the pattern soon grew beyond his ability. He looked at his master. Wu had one arm across his knee, and an intense look of concentration on his face that Hwa knew very well. Suddenly, Wu laughed as his face broke into a large smile. He bowed to the other man and thanked him for the game. The man smiled, and, raising an arm, indicated one of the many paths leading from the clearing. Wu immediately rose and headed for the path.
"Wait!" cried Hwa, hurrying after his master.
Wu paused, "What is it?" he asked.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Continuing our journey, of course."
"How do you know this is the way to go?"
"Didn't you observe the pattern on the Go board?"
Hwa looked back at the clearing. As he watched, the mists from the waterfall swirled and the man and the Go board seemed to disappear into them. "What about the pattern?" he asked.
"Oh," cried Wu, "it was a lesson in the direction of play!"