Genres: Science Fiction
Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge our batteries, plan the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes. As part of joining the Escape Artists family, this year we’re pulling out all the stops. We’re running 10 staff pick episodes over the month, each one hosted by a different member of the Cast of Wonders crew.
We hope you enjoy editor and host Marguerite Kenner’s favorite story from 2015, The Tale of the White Tiger by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt and narrated by Tracey Yuen. The story originally aired July 5, 2015 as Cast of Wonders 168.
Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.
The Tale of the White Tiger
by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt
Blind Li Xiao surveyed the marketplace. The sensor net embedded in his storyteller’s robes fed signals directly to his brain. The citizenship transponders exactly matched the number of heat signatures. A world firmly loyal to the Empire, then. Or one too afraid to act otherwise.
A passive scan showed at least two peacekeepers in the market. Probably more secret police. He would have to be careful in his story selection. Something from one of the official chronicles. Something he could use for his own purposes.
He beat his staff on the ground three times. The bells at the head chimed out their message. Be still and hearken. Blind Li Xiao is about to begin his tale. He chanted the introductory poem in his clear, high voice:
“When wicked ministers subvert the good,
“The Systems lose the beautiful and true.
“On Heaven’s River vast, White Tiger sails,
“Her course set by the pirate Madam Hu.”
An audience gathered in front of Blind Li Xiao. Children pressed close, their grandparents behind them. The young women and men stood at the edge, feigning disinterest or fearing entrapment. Blind Li Xiao swept the head of his staff in a broad arc as he spoke.