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September 23, 2017

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How the silkworm came into being

Serikos is the Greek word, which means silken in English. The adjective means "pertaining to the Seres," the Asian people from whom the Greeks first obtained the soft texture. The people lived in Serica or the land of Seres, the name by which the ancient Greco-Romans referred to a country in East Asia. Ptolemy describes it as "India beyond the Himalaya. Most modern geographers assert the position of Serica would nowadays be situated in the province of Xinjiang in the northwestern section of China.

As there is little doubt that silk originated in China, a legend was told that a Chinese girl was turned into a silkworm in time immemorial.

Once upon a time, there lived a single-parent family somewhere in China. The father was conscripted and sent to a remote border town to do guard duties. He had only one daughter, who was in her low teens.

The father was away from home for years serving in the border garrison, separate from his beloved daughter who could only cry all alone for her misfortune of not being able to seeing her parent again. Her only comfort was a horse her father kept at home. So her daily routine was to talk to the horse. She knew the horse did not understand what she said, but she talked to the equine anyway to make herself feel better. The horse was her best and only friend.

Years passed but the girl heard nothing of her father at the faraway frontier. She got so lonely one day that she went to a small stable to tell the horse she would marry him, if he could bring her father back to her. "I surely couldn't bear to live my lonely and sad life any more," she said. "I'll marry you if you can bring my father back to me," she begged.

Thereupon, the horse made a long neigh, as if he understood what was told. He jumped out of the stable and disappeared in no time. Of course, the shocked girl did not know where her horse had gone.

A week later, the horse found his master in the garrison. The father of the girl told himself that something must be wrong with his daughter. Otherwise, he reasoned, the horse wouldn't come all the way from their home. "I've got to go home to see what happened to my little girl," the father said to himself.

So the father mounted the horse that started galloping back to where he had come.

It was a great surprise to the lonely girl when she saw her father on horseback at the door of their house. As a matter of fact, she was so happy to see her father as to have forgotten what she had begged of the horse. The father jumped down from the horseback. While he and his daughter were oblivious of the presence of the horse, talking animatedly and blithely to each other, the animal trotted back to his old familiar stable.

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