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Narrator: When the priest almost reached the peak, he found a half-naked old man, dressed only in a loin cloth, meditating beside a large box at the entrance of a cave. With a long white beard and stringy locks of hair that resembled dreadlocks, the old man looked like a sadhu, ascetic or holy man.|
What caught the priest’s attention was not the ascetic but the box. He walked towards the cave for a closer look at the box. He found that the box, including the cover, was made of glass. The box, 4 feet long by one foot wide and one foot high, was filled with ice. The priest stood silently beside the ascetic as he did not want to disturb his meditation. After waiting for a while, there was no response from the ascetic who seemed to be in deep meditation. The priest decided to leave the cave for his climb up the peak. As he turned his back, he heard a voice.
Ascetic: Welcome to my home!
Priest: Thanks for your warm welcome to this snow-capped mountain. May I know what’s inside the glass box?
Ascetic: It is a koramon’s egg.
Priest: What is a koramon?
Ascetic: It is supposed to be an extinct beast in this region but an egg, believed to have been laid by the monster, was found beside a cesspool in the valley about 24 years ago. The egg was about a foot long and shaped like a peanut. It grew about one inch in length every two months.
The amazing growth in length of the egg heightened the sense of impending disaster that would come after the monster hatched. The tribal chief ordered his men to destroy the egg at all costs. The tribe tried to destroy it by chopping, hammering, crushing, boiling, steaming and even roasting, but to no avail. It was resistant to fire and heat. Later some tribal members suggested freezing the egg with ice in a box measuring 2 feet long, one foot wide and one foot high.
Priest: Did the freezing succeed in halting the growth of the embryo?
Ascetic (shaking his head): After freezing the egg for 8 years, the chief ordered the egg to be taken out for destruction. He had bought some acid from a foreign merchant to “dissolve” the egg.
To the horror of everyone, the egg increased by about one foot in length after it was taken out from the box of ice. The chief ordered his men to repeat the processes of chopping, hammering, crushing, boiling, steaming and roasting the egg. His efforts to destroy the egg were to no avail. Then he ordered his men to immerse the egg in a tub of acid. The egg was found to be acid resistant. The chief threw up his hands and ordered his men to freeze it in a 3 cubic foot box filled with ice.
Priest: This box is over 3 feet long. I guess that the egg had been taken out second time for destruction.
Ascetic: Yes, you are right. After freezing the egg for about 6 more years, the chief tried to destroy it in his third attempt. He claimed that he had dreamed of a new way to get rid of the egg. After the egg was taken out of the box of ice, it again grew longer by one more foot. The chief ordered his men to repeat the processes of chopping, hammering, crushing, boiling, steaming, roasting and dipping the egg in acid. The egg was as indestructible as ever.
As a last resort, the chief ordered one of his men to throw the egg down from this mountain. To the amazement of everybody, the egg was not only as hard as diamond but also as elastic as rubber. It bounced multiple times like a rubber ball after falling to the ground. The egg proved to be virtually indestructible. It was a tough nut to crack indeed. Uttering a cry of despair, the chief ordered his men to freeze the egg with ice in a 4 cubic foot box. As I have been meditating in this cave since my youth, the chief decided to keep the egg here and asked for my help to guard it.
Priest: May I take a look at the egg?
Ascetic: Sorry, I can't accede to your request. Once the top layer of ice is removed, the egg will again grow longer by one more foot.
Priest: It will be my regret in life not to be able to take a little peep at such a wonder that is so near yet so far.
Narrator: The priest bid farewell to the ascetic and continued his climb up the peak of the snow-capped mountain.