Seven Gangsters in a Rundown Temple

On a chilly night in December 2012, Chinese novelist Mo Yan made an acceptance speech in Stockholm when receiving a Nobel Prize in Literature. It was a big event for him, and may even be a bigger one for the politically smart Prize Committee.

Mo Yan is an excellent storyteller, and so excellent that he can create any story out of thin air.

In his acceptance speech, for instance, he recalled some past incidents and recited some quotes from his late mother. But those who claim to have a better knowledge in Chinese history and reality said many of his accounts are purely fictional.

So what? Mo Yan is a master of fiction which is why he received the prize.

8-year-old Mo Yan & his cousin. Mo Yan said he was naked & took no photo before the age of 10. 

Back to his Nobel Prize night. In the speech, Mo Yan entertained his audience with a fantastic tale of seven gangsters.

Seven gangsters are tormented by their own shadows

“Bear with me, please, for one last story, one my grandfather told me many years ago,” urged Mo Yan during his Nobel lecture.

The story goes like this (with a twist though): During a wild storm that occurred once in a century, seven gangsters took refuge in a rundown temple. But the thunder rumbled violently, sending fireballs to bombard the dilapidated building.

The gangsters were terrified. One suggested, “Somebody among us must have offended Heaven and this guy ought to leave the temple.”

All insisted they were innocent. The leader of the gang thus proposed they should determine who must leave by throwing their hats towards the entrance. The one with the hat flying out of the gate would be kicked out.

Six hats were blown back by the strong wind from outside but one flew out of the door and hit a guy running in the rain.

The hat happened to belong to the leader and, immediately, he leaped into the air and announced that he had discovered who was really guilty. “It’s not anybody among us in the temple but the guy just passing by!”

So the gang of seven issued a joint statement accusing the guy outside of bringing threats to their lives in the building, and in response, they rushed to shut the temple gate.

The guy in the rain quickly ran away.

“I’ll bet you all know how the story ends,” said Mo Yan in Stockholm eight and a half years ago. “As soon as the gang of seven bolted the door from inside, the rundown temple collapsed.”

It seems Mo Yan might not just be a fiction creator but also a prophet.

Gang of 7 get extremely excited with the red in the background

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