Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Story of Kao Yu, by Peter S. Beagle

Read this story
(Chinese Fantasy) Sometimes a unicorn assisted Judge Kao Yu, and because he was so just and honest, he never feared its judgment. Until now. (7,382 words; Time: 24m)

Rating: ★★★★★ Beautiful, moving, and thought-provoking
Recommended By: RHorton:4

There is no connection to any of the author's other unicorn stories.

"," by (edited by Jonathan Strahan), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Before meeting Lanying, Kao Yu had no human failings. The chi-lin is really his alter ego, for, as far as we can tell from the story, he was already the perfect embodiment of justice.

Lanying brought him down to Earth. She stole his heart, and he softened justice for her sake, even though he knew she didn't deserve it. From that point forward, he's in terrible conflict.

Her trial for murder represents the final conflict between the rigid demands of justice and the unyielding love in his heart. He chooses love, even though he knows it is not deserved.

After that, he can't be a judge anymore, even though he's far from an old man. Justice is gone from him, and he retires to his home, to mourn for the rest of his life.

At his death, the chi-lin returns, not to judge him, but to do him honor. His made the choice his heart required, and he accepted the price for doing so.

Was he mourning her? I think he mourned the death of a part of himself--the justice part--that had once meant the world to him. And if he'd chosen the other path and simply had her executed? Then a different part of him would have died, and he didn't want to be that person.

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Peter S. Beagle Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. I agree with the rating and the review. This is a very good story. Well worth reading.