ii. The lie of the iron plum

There was once a king named UN-Payam who sat at the right hand of YISUN’s throne and ruled a palace of burnished gold and fire and dispensed justice in all things. It was let known once that Payam had grown an extraordinary plum – enormous in size, with adamant skin that was burnished as a breastplate and fifty times as hardy. Payam was desirous of a pillow friend of fiery heart and excellent skill with their mouth and let know that whosoever could break the skin of that plum with their teeth he would swear to share his bed with for three nights in whatever disposition they may desire.

Many gods were in attendance at Payam’s hall on the first day, and even more on the second day, but by the third day of this strange contest few remained who had not tested their mettle, for the plum remained implacable and immaculate and turned many away with sore teeth and roiling frustration in their brains. A great cry rose up and YISUN was called forth from the twenty third clockwise palace of carbon where YISUN had been meditating on the point of a thirty acre long spear of crystallized time. In companionship with YISUN was Hansa, who followed along.

“See this Payam!” cried the gods, “He deceives us! He cruelly abuses our lustful hearts!”

YISUN was very fond of plums and immediately grasped the iron plum and took a long, succulent bite, praising its merits to the amazement of all.

“How!” wailed the attended.

“Why, it is a plum of flesh, and quite ripe as well,” said YISUN plainly, and indeed, it was apparent to those gathered that it was the case. The plum was passed around and touched and indeed it was sensual and soft and pliant. Hansa was not so convinced. “It is still a plum of iron,” said he, “there is some trickery here, oh master of masters.”

“Indeed, it is so,” said YISUN, and it was again apparent to those gathered that the flesh of that plum was as hard and impermeable as a fortress. “How can it be so?” said Hansa, “How comes this fickle nature? Plums and the fifty winds are not so alike I think.”

YISUN said, “I told you of this and, believing it, it was so. We are all secret kings of our own tower. In truth, it is whichever you prefer. In truth, there is no plum at all, just as there is no YISUN.  A plum has no shape, form, or color at all, in truth, but these are all things I find pleasing about it. A plum has no taste at all for it has no flesh or substance, but I find its sweetness intoxicating. A plum is a thing that does not exist. But it is my favorite fruit.”

“A pipe is a thing that does exist, and it is my favorite past time,” said Hansa, lacking understanding, and growing in cynicism.

“What a paradox!” said YISUN, smiling, “I shall share my love tenderly with Payam.”