5. The Weak Are Strong

"Kung," Griffin asked over coffee next afternoon, "how well up are you on Chinese mythology?"

"Oh, fair, I guess. It isn't my field but I remember some of the stories my grandfather used to tell me."

"What is your legend of creation?" Griffin persisted.

"It's pretty well garbled but I remember something about the Son of Heaven bringing the early settlers from a land of two moons on the back of his fire-breathing dragon. The dragon got sick and died so they couldn't ever get back to heaven again. There's a lot of stuff about devils, too."

"What about devils?"

"I don't remember too well, but they were supposed to do terrible things to you and even to your unborn children if they ever caught you. They must have been pretty stupid though; they couldn't turn corners. My grandfather's store had devil screens at all the doors so you had to turn a corner to get in. The first time I saw the lead baffles at the pile chamber doors on this ship it reminded me of home sweet home. By the way, some young men from the village were around today. They want to work passage to the next planet. What do you think?"

Griffin was silent for a long time.

"Well, what do you say? We can use some hand labor for the delicate digging. Want to put them on?"

"Might as well." Griffin answered. "There's a streetcar every millennium anyway."

"What do you mean by that?"

"You wouldn't understand. You sold your birthright to the barbarians." (End)