Springtime came, and one day, as Nabl Bo was sitting cross-legged in the little room opening on the veranda off his court, he heard a familiar bird-song. Dropping his long pipe, he threw open the paper windows, and there, sure enough, sat a crooked-legged bird on the clothes line, bearing a seed in its mouth. Nahl Bo would let no one touch it, but as the bird dropped the seed and flew away, he jumped out so eagerly that he forgot to Blip his shoes on, and got his clean white stockings all befouled. He secured the seed, however, and felt that his fortune was made. He planted it carefully, as directed, and gave it his personal attention.
The vines were most luxurious. They grew with great rapidity, till they had well nigh covered the whole of his large house and outbuildings. Instead of one gourd, or even four, as in the brother's case, the new vines bore twelve gourds, which grew and grew till the great beams of his house fairly groaned under their weight, and he had to block them in place to keep them from rolling off the roofs. He had to hire men to guard them carefully, for now that the source of Hyung Bo's riches was understood, every one was anxious for a gourd. They did not know the secret, however, which Nahl Bo concealed through selfishness, and Hyung through fear that every one would take to killing and maiming birds as his wicked brother bad done.
Maintaining a guard was expensive, and the plant so loosened the roof tiles, by the tendrils searching for earth and moisture in the great layer of clay under the tiles, that the rainy season made great havoc with his house. Large portions of plaster from the inside fell upon the paper ceilings, which in turn gave way, letting the dirty water drip into the rooms, and making the house almost uninhabitable. At last, however, the plants could do no more harm; the frost had corne, the vines had shrivelled away, and the enormous ripe gourds were carefully lowered, amid the yelling of a score of coolies, as each seemed to get in the others' way trying to manipulate the ropes and poles with which the gourds were let down to the ground. Once inside the court, and the great doors locked, Nahl Bo felt relieved, and shutting out everyone but a carpenter and his assistant, he prepared for the great surprise which he knew must await him, in spite of his most vivid dreams.
The carpenter insisted upon the enormous sum of 1,000 cash for opening each gourd, and as he was too impatient to await the arrival of another, and as he expected to be of princely wealth in a few moments, Nahl Bo agreed to the exorbitant price. Whereupon, carefully bracing a gourd, the men began sawing it through. It seemed a long time before the gourd fell in halves. When it did, out came a party of rope-dancers, such as perform at fairs and public places. Nahl Bo was unprepared for any such surprise as this, and fancied it must be some great mistake. They sang and danced about as well as the crowded condition of the court would allow, and the family looked on complacently, supposing that the band had been Bent to celebrate their coming good fortune. But Nahl Bo soon had enough of this. He wanted to get at his riches, and seeing that the actors were about to stretch their ropes for a more extensive performance, he ordered them to cease and take their departure. To his amazement, however, they refused to do this, until he had paid them 5,000 cash for their trouble. "You sent for us and we came," said the leader. "Now pay us, or we will live with you till you do." There was no help for it, and with great reluctance and some foreboding, he gave them the money and dismissed them. Then Nahl Bo turned to the carpenter, who chanced to be a man with an ugly visage, made uglier by a great hare-lip. "You," he said, "are the cause of all this. Before you entered this court these gourds were filled with gold, and your ugly face has changed it to beggars,"
Number two was opened with no better results, for out came a body of Buddhist priests, begging for their temple, and promising many sons in return for offerings of suitable merit. Although disgusted beyond measure, Nahl Bo still bad faith in the gourds, and to get rid of the priests, lest they should see his riches, he gave them also 5,000 cash.
As Boon as the priests were gone, gourd number three was opened, with still poorer results, for out came a procession of paid mourners followed by a corpse borne by bearers. The mourners wept as loudly as possible, and all was in a perfect uproar. When ordered to go, the mourners declared they must have money for mourning, and to pay for burying the body. Seeing no possible help for it, 5,000 cash was finally given them, and they went out with the bier. Then Nahl Bo's wife came into the court, and began to abuse the hare-lipped man for bringing upon them all this trouble. Whereupon the latter became angry and demanded hie money that he might leave. They had no intention of giving up the search as yet, however, and, as it was too late to change carpenters, the ugly fellow was paid for the work already done, and given an advance on that yet remaining. He therefore set to work upon the fourth gourd, which Nahl Bo watched with feverish anxiety.
From this one there came a band of gee sang, or dancing girls. There was one woman from each province, and each had her song and dance. One sang of the yang wang, or wind god; another of the wang jay, or pan deity; one sang of the sung jee, or money that is placed as a christening on the roof tree of every house. There was the cuckoo song. The song of the ancient tree that has lived so long that its heart is dead and gone, leaving but a hollow space, yet the leaves spring forth every spring-tide. The song of laughter and mourning, with an injunction to Bee to it that the rice offering be made to the departed spirits. To the king of the sun and stars a song was sung. And last of all, one votary sang of the twelve months that make the year, the twelve hours that make the day, the thirty days that make the mouth, and of the new year's birth, as the old year dies, taking with it their ills to be buried in the past, and reminding all people to celebrate the New Year holidays by donning clean clothes and feasting on good food, that the following year may be to them one of plenty and prosperity. Having finished their songs and their graceful posturing and waving of their gay silk banners, the gee sany demanded their pay, which had to be given them, reducing the family wealth 5,000 cash more.