By Dave Eber
“Tell us a story, Master Wu! Tell us a story!”
“Eh?” Old Wu cocked open one eye. Beneath his grizzled eyebrow, he saw a dozen eager round faces, beaming up at him in the afternoon sun.
“Bah. Go away. Can’t you see Master Wu is taking a nap?” Old Wu closed his eyes and pulled the brim of his hat down low over his forehead.
“Please, Master Wu,” the children said, their voices a mismatched chorus of tinkling bells. Old Wu opened his eyes again, then pushed his hat back and sat up.
“You are all naughty little urchins, depriving an old man of his rest. Very well, I see you will not be satisfied until I am in my grave.” Old Wu picked himself up, and the children let out a ragged cheer. “Li, fetch me my stool. Cho, a cup of water. Song, stop hitting your sister!” Old Wu stretched out his lanky frame and brushed off his tattered robes. The children all sat down in a loose semi-circle as he sat down on his stool, took a cool sip of water, and then faced his young audience.
“Master Wu will tell you a story of long ago, a time when ghosts roamed the forests, and sorcerers walked the length of the land, seeking ancient secrets and hidden power. A time when the empire had been corrupted by evil men who threatened the world with their villainous plans. And I will tell you of the masters of old who lived in the mountains, who had kung fu the likes of which have never been seen since. And I will tell you of how heroes rose up to face the evil that darkened our skies, and how they saved us all…”