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Legends
Narrative

Traditional Story – China

“There were once two villages that bordered one another. One of the villages practiced headhunting as a tradition to their worship and it caused quite a bit of trouble for the other village. Something needed to be done in order to solve this issue between the two villages. The leader of the village that does not practice headhunting came up with a plan and so he met up with the people of the village that practiced headhunting. The leader said and promised the headhunters that he will provide an individual from his village to serve as their prey but only if they promise that this will be their last hunt, and so they agreed. A man fully dressed with a cloak that covered his entire body was sent into the village where the headhunters will hunt him. With great skill, the headhunters took the man’s life, however when they lifted the hood they realize the man whom they have killed was none other than the great leader of the other village. Tears came falling from the headhunters lamenting over the great sacrifice made by this man for his own people and from that day onward the headhunters stopped their headhunting tradition in honor of the man who gave his life for others he cared about.”

Chien-Jui said that he heard this story from his grandfather when he was younger, and that his grandfather would always tell him many different stories. Chien-Jui said that he does not recall the context in which he was first told the story, but that it was common for his grandfather to tell him such stories. In his opinion, the point of this story is to demonstrate what sorts of qualities a leader should have. Specifically, what he got from this story is the characteristic of sacrifice; a great leader must be willing to sacrifice for his or her followers. He said that sacrifices are not all about death; or rather the types of sacrifice should illustrate the leader’s devotion to the mass almost like their protector, their hero. I agree with Chien-Jui about the meaning of the story. It seems pretty straightforward, as a lesson to be a good leader. I believe that the story is trying to convey the idea that sometimes leaders do need to make sacrifices for the good of their people.  I think that the story also shows that sometimes drastic measures need to be taken to find solutions to problems, and you must be able to make tough decisions as a leader. Also I think the story serves to show that just because something is common practice doesn’t mean it should be accepted. Just because the village used to practice headhunting didn’t mean that it or right or should be accepted.

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