The Musician's House

Yingzhi Hao

There once lived a musician in a village by a beautiful mountain park. Since he wasn't rich at all, he could only afford to live in a small and old cabin. The cabin was located on a low hill with an amazing mountain view, and animals visited his little garden for food. Even though he enjoyed his lifestyle, he wasn't satisfied with squeezing to fit into his cabin. One day, a close friend visited him and declared, "Living in such a beautiful place must be a joy for you!" "Not all the time," the musician said, "Those animals are lovely, but I hate when they trample my garden." He continued his complaint, "Also, I'd like to buy one of those refrigerators when they go on sale, but my cabin has no room for it. I've been playing music for those rich people in the mountain resort and see how my cabin can't compare." His friend had no clue why he was so dissatisfied!

The musician was talented with many instruments, which gave him the chance to chat with the wealthy vacationers at the resort. He was happy to entertain them, not only because he loved music, but also because he liked to walk freely around the spacious lounge and play with the room's sound-control devices. During every intermission, he would sit in a massage chair in the lounge and wish that one day, he could live in a place like this, so large and modern.

One night, during the off-season, a thunderstorm struck cutting off the cabin's power and water. The musician had to drive to a supermarket through the heavy rain to get food and water, as he was out of supplies. On the way there, the car engine broke down, leaving him stranded. The musician had no choice other than to wait and wish that someone would show up to rescue him.

Before long, a fairy driving a shiny double-decker RV passed by and stopped to pick up the musician. The fairy welcomed him to share a ride and help himself to whatever refreshments he could find. After being cold, wet, hungry, and stuck in the storm for hours, the RV felt like like a mini-café, warm, dry, and bright, with pastries and hot drinks on the table. He enjoyed this treatment so much that he quickly forgot about the terrible weather outside. After a quick rest, he struck up a conversation with the fairy, first expressing his gratitude for the kindness and hospitality, then complaining about his life in the cabin and expressed his desire for a better living space. Hearing this, the fairy smiled and said, "This here amazin' RV can take you anywheres you wants to go. Hows 'bout I drive you round a spell and show you some of my abundant abodes? If one tickles your fancy, you can have it in exchange for your cozy ol' cabin." The musician happily accepted the offer.


They soon arrived at the first house. "This place has a perty lil garden chock full'a cute creatures living nearby," the fairy said, "M'over, they so well behaved, dey won't hurt you plants in da garden." Though happy to see these lovely animals walking by so carefully, the musician felt the house was too old. He replied, "These creatures are the most wonderful I have ever seen, but this old house would require too much care."

Hearing the musician's words, the fairy drove him to the second place. "This here is a new apartment equipped with a separate music studio," said the fairy. The musician liked the idea of having a studio where he could write jingles, demos, sound-tracks and more to advance his career. But he was not happy that the living quarters were so small. He said, "Thanks for thinking of my career, but the music studio seems to take up too much space. I'd rather have a larger room for myself."

So, the fairy drove him to a third place. It was a large castle with a manicured landscape and fascinating views. Although enjoying both the spacious interior and grounds, the musician felt the classic decor was outdated and didn't seem compatible with his modern tastes.

Since the third time clearly was not a charm, the fairy drove him across a narrow bridge to a new luxury mcmansion standing alone on an island by the sea. He was amazed at first glance. Located on a small, barren island, the house met his every desire. It was newly constructed and equipped with the newest technology. It had a lobby even larger than that at the mountain resort. Utilities in the house were automated and managed by computers, which saved him a tremendous amount of time. In some rooms, robots were running around doing the cleaning. "This is it!" the musician cried, "I'll absolutely enjoy all these features and live here happily." But the fairy seemed worried and warned, "Right here in did very spot used to stand an abandoned old prison. Only the very worst of humanity were kept up in here. Developers did tear it down 'n constructed this here mansion completely from scratch. But--and I swear!--an unsavory sniff of prison stink still wafts 'bout the air." However, the fairy's warning fell on delighted but deaf ears. Satisfied with all the aspects of the mansion, the musician moved in.

The musician enjoyed all the mansion's features. He could place large furniture wherever he wanted and his room would still look spacious. Sometimes, he would intentionally make a mess just to see his cleaning robots at work. However, he soon got bored and spent more and more of his free time gazing at the sea and the bridge, hoping someone would come to talk with him or listen to his music. As time passed, the musician felt lonelier and lonelier. All that he enjoyed before, the beautiful mountains, interesting animals, his music, were so far removed from the isolation of his mansion and the island. One night, he received messages from old prisoners in his dream, "We are prisoners who have been doomed to die here and our souls stuck here forever. But we are so glad that a fresh body is once again trapped in this place just like us." The musician woke up with a shock. He started to feel that his decision to move in had sentenced himself to the same penalty as those worst human beings. Frustrated, the musician wished he could beg the fairy to let him have his old cabin again. Each morning, the musician would stand by the bridge and stare at the far skyline, hoping the fairy's bus would appear again.

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