Winter winds blew down from the
mountains, its icy fingers crawling across the valley below. The pond was
beginning to ice over. The edges were already frozen and a thin glaze
nearly reached the middle of the pond. The orange and gray marbled fish
living in the pond usually weathered the cold, but this year, an already
weakened Pei-Pei, was having a difficult time.
When Master Po-Sin came out each
morning to feed them, the stronger fish crowded to the unfrozen center to
get their share first. The weaker fish usually didn~ez_rsquo~t get anything. Yik-Ki
was worried about his son. It seemed his strength was failing quickly. He
fought his way to the unfrozen center to get a portion of the food and
tried to bring some to the side, where Pei-Pei stayed, deep under the
thick ice. Usually one of the larger koi took it from him before he
One morning, as Yik-Ki went to check
on Pei-Pei, the ice on the pond began to break. Master Po-Sin was breaking
it with a hammer. Light burst through, sending warmth to the koi deep
below. Suddenly a net scooped Yik-Ki, Pei-Pei, and two other koi, out of
the water. Before any of them knew what was happening, they were dropped
into another pond. This pond was empty except for the four of them. There
was no ice on top of it and lotus floated across it. Rocks and small
plants lay on the bottom. Master Po-Sin threw some food into the pond.
There was enough for all of them. Soon Pei-Pei was strong again.
When winter passed and spring came,
the lotus pads flowered and filled the air with their sweet scent.
Branches of cherry blossoms hung over the pond. Pei-Pei enjoyed it when
the blossoms fell into the water and floated across the pond. He could
hear the songbird~ez_rsquo~s melodies as they sat on the branches and tried to
whistle along. Pei-Pei was at last happy, swimming around in his new