The Braver Man
(A Mongolian legend retold
by Dagonell Collingwood

Village and temple lay abandoned, for word for the horde's coming had preceded them. Abandoned save for a single monk who sat quietly meditating in his cell. When the horde arrived, the buildings were quickly searched and the presence of the monk made known to their leader. Moments later, he entered the monk's cell.

"Why have you not fled in terror like all the rest?", he shouted at the monk.

"Because I have not finished my meditations.", the monk quietly replied without looking up from his meditation.

"Do you know who I am?", the Mongol asked angrily.

"No, I do not.", the monk calmly replied. He continued to sit on the floor and stare off into space.

"I am Genghis Khan! Ruler of the fiercest band of warriors who ever lived! I am so brave a man, that without so much as blinking an eye, I could draw my sword and cut off your head. What say you to that, monk?"

"I am Bodidharma, a simple temple monk. And I am so brave a man, that without so much as blinking an eye, I could sit here and let you cut off my head.", he replied, looking up at the Khan for the first time.

For long moments they stayed there, staring into each others eyes. Finally, Genghis turned and left. He gave orders to his men to mount and ride. The village and temple were to remain un-ransacked, un-touched, in tribute to the only man the Great Khan had ever met who was braver than himself.