It was twilight when Drelhu came back. They avoided each other's eyes. Drelhu did not make a fire to cook, but squatted staring at the cold hearth. He knew there was no use in asking questions. There was no supper that night and the lama did not come for a visit. once, he had almost had enough courage to speak, but hesitated when Drelhu looked straight into his eyes. What he saw drove away any wish for words, any wish for clarifications about village, house or dog. If this were dream or delerium, as he half-believed, how could the figments of a hallucination or fever clarify anything? But what he saw in the eyes also drove any thoughts of this being a dream away. It was real. The eyes told him, silently. They spoke painfully, in sadness and horror. What they said was that it all was real. Very real. Too real. And they wished that it was not really the way it was at that moment. The moment when the Himalayan night was moving in on them.


"I want to leave," he said.

"Who?" asked the lama.
"I...." he began to repeat.

"Oh," said the lama, looking towards Drelhu, who was about to pour some tea. The tea was to go with their roasted tsampa, already prepared. together.

"Ha ha hahahah! " they laughed

It angered him. They noted this and stopped.

"Chamba," started the lama sympathetically, "it is too late. Before it was too soon. Now it is too late...."

"But," he insisted, "I am well...."

"Who?" started the lama again, and quickly continued. "Be that as it may be ... the weather is different-the weather He waved at the window.

"There is no rain. There is no snow."

"I mean," said the lama, making motions with his finger on his knee, "the weather of the world. Not the weather of the mountains."

"But I am only here," he protested, puzzled. "The weather elsewhere is of no concern...."

"The weather of the world is everywhere," whispered the lama. "And you must take it into account. You must...."

"I'm not interested!" he snapped.

Drelhu looked up and scowled.

"Pardon me, Geshe-la," he apologized, "but I am impatient to go home."


"Home," he repeated, with a sinking feeling somewhere that he didnotknow what he meant by the word.


"You remember who you were," asked Dharma Dorje, "before you.... ?11

It was more like a statement than a question.

"Yes," he said, looking at cloud patterns in the rug.

"Are you glad about that?" the other whispered, while he already seemed to know the answer.

"No," he answered, tracing the cutaway cloud pattern with his eyes--orange surrounding blue. "There seems to be no particular value in remembering..."

"There is, however," interjected Drelhu. "It is good to remember what you have done in the past and who you had been in previous lives..." he began to protest to the talk of other lives, but he stopped. And the "I" fell from his lips without any other words joining it. It fell into the design of a dorje on the rug.


Of course he remembered. He remembered everything. What happened yesterday. What happened the day before ... and the day before that. And before that.

For a long time, he confused it with dreams, with the images of fevers, with childhood illnesses, with stories once read, tales heard and disembodied movements in the air. He straightened them out. He rememberd this. He remembered that. Some things were tied to what seemed happiness. Some things were tied to what seemed pain. The remembering held neither of these, not this and not that. At first, he thought the remembering would be all joy. How foolish. Then, when that impossibility became evident, he thought all these mental residues would be pain. But he was wrong again.

There had been a rush of breathing, a speeding of the beating heart. At first, at first. There had been exhalations and movements of wide-open eyes in the dark of the remembering night. But it wasn't happiness and it wasn't pain. He had caught himself above those ravines of ch6ice. He had caught himself in the struggle with facing the actuality of recent events.

Drelhu and the lama were real. The village and the gompa were real as well. Drelhu hopped in and out. The lama came and went. Why shouldn't the village be there one time and gone another? That is foolish. Drelhu and the lama were real. There never had been a village. Therefore, there never had been an animal...a dog, wasn't it? And no falling timber and no solid column of ancient dust speaking to him in his own voice! And the dog did not escape! And the dust did not escape! And they were not out there now, howling and laughing.

"Look what you have done," a voice said.

He started and looked. It was Drelhu smiling and pointing.

Looking down, he smiled also. He had the right boot on the left foot and the left boot on the right foot. He listened, but heard no dog howling.

He changed his boots, still smiling and still listening.

"Drelhu," he asked directly, "what was that dog?"

Drelhu's smile vanished and he looked away, inching towards the door.

"Wait!" The other paused without looking at him. "Was there a dog?"

"No," softly came the answer.

"Was there a house?" he insisted.

"Yes," he again replied, even softer.

"What happened?" And now his voice was barely audible.

"Terrible," answered Drelhu, swinging his arms, shifting from foot to foot, "thing!"

He waited without voicing his further questions. Drelhu covered his face with his hairy hands, continuing to shift from foot to foot. "Terrible thing!"

He sat staring at the other, feeling hJaneed not prompt him to talk, that it was coming anyway, slowly, very slowly.

"It was guardian!" Drelhu's eyes peeked between his fingers. "And you freed it! You tore the imprisoning magic off the door! Oh, terrible thing got out! It..."

Drelhu's hands fell from his face, revealing a ferocious mask, gritting its teeth and beetling its brow with determination, "could have killed you! Worse! Taken you... I had to save you..." He clenched and unclenched his fists. His expression was far away. He was back at the doorway to the house.

"Chamba! Look out! I will...." and he threw out his hands, as he had done before, flat-palmed. It almost seemed as if he had struck an invisible wall in how suddenly they stopped in front of him.

"I pursued... ah ... but...I ... it ... got away...I could not find it .... " Drelhu was shaking all over, hunching his shoulders greatly, allowing his head to almost vanish into his robes. He fell silent.

"It is not gone," he started again. "And it has been joined by the .... the...ancient..." "What?" "Living dust." He ended in an almost-inaudible voice.

"You must explain further," he now pushed in the conversation. But it was too late for further words.

"The lama will be angry. I've already said too much," and he took a book from the shelf and started to unwrap it.

"I must study now. I cannot...."

Dharma Dorje entered and the two stopped speaking and stood out of respect.

"That is not necessary," the lama said. Drelhu joined his hands together palm to palm in front of his chest and then very quickly did a full-length prostration towards the monk, lying flat on the floor with his arms stretched out before him. The monk was surprised.

"What are you doing?"

"Proper prostrations!" exclaimed the other. "I have hesitated for years, and now realize that I have been delinquent in my duties."

"What are you talking about?" asked Dharma Dorje of the other, who still was face-down on the floor, from which position he spoke.

"You are a great lama! This is what should be done towards a great lama..." He spoke into the floorboards.

Dharma Dorje smiled and reached down to shake the other's shoulder. "Get up! I have never asked you to do this! It is only proper for ... to honor... a Buddha...."

"Or the embodiment of one..." mumbled Drelhu.

"Ah," the lama smiled, "that is too much to expect of me...."

"But," said Drelhu to the woodgrains beneath him, "but ... not too much to expect of me! You made me into a man .... "

Dharma Dorje stood straight and folded his arms across his chest. "Would you obey a Buddha embodied as a lama?" he asked.

"Yes," mumbled Drelhu.

"And," continued the monk, "you believe..."

"I know...." corrected Drelhu.

"You know," corrected the lama, smiling, "that such an embodied,Buddha is in the room? How?"

"Ah! Geshe-la!" peeked Drelhu. "I know, but I do not know how I know! But it is true!"

"Allright, allright!" laughed the lama. "In that case, I order you to get up! "

And Drelhu leaped to his feet, hunching forward with palms together.

"And furthermore," Dharma Dorje said, looking back and forth between them. "you are to do no more prostrations to me!"

"I beg your forgiveness, Geshe-la," Drelhu seemed to whimper, "but I cannot promise never to do it again!"

The lama squinted at him a moment. "Allright," he decided, "then you must never do it again while witnesses are present. Everyone need not know that an embodiment is present! Understand?"

Drelhu hopped from foot to foot and then scratched his ear, smiling his broad, toothful smile. A very happy mask.

"Yes. Yes. I understand. A secret Buddha-emanation!"

"Very secret," smiled the monk.



"We must talk.

"About what?"

"Serious things ....

"Such as?"

"Houses, a dog, ancient dust, Drelhu. Like that."

"Allright," he answered, surprisingly. "Like that."

He paused a long time, feeling that if he started incorrectly or asked the wrong questions, this opportunity would be lost. He was not sure if he would get such a clear chance again.

"Is there a village down below? And why are the houses vanishing?"

"Not correct," the lama wrinkled his face. And the questioner's heart sank. He was in too much of a rush. What was the monk answering? He had asked two questions.

"Not correct," the lama repeated, gently pulling on his wispy whiskers, "way to ask questions for the answers you are seeking. Try again," smiling, "slowly!"

"Is there ... a ... village down below?" he ventured.

"No. You can tell by looking out of the window."

"Ah," he paused, "WAS there a village there when I came?"

That is better, he thought. That will close in on it.

"Hard to answer that," frowned the monk. "For whom? Was there a village there for whom?"

"Everyone! You, Drelhu, the villagers ... me!"

"Not for everyone. Not for me, certainly.... " His eyes narrowed.

I don't understand....

The lama's eyes looked up. "Neither do I .... "

"Please explain...."

The lama looked away, looked back with his grey-green eyes ... and shook his head. "No. I will not, for I cannot."


"First, you must explain."


"Yes. Tell me about the village, the...ah ... dog, and so forth."

"There isn't much to tell..."
"Tell me what you think is the obvious ......


And he began, scrambling in his memory for the sequence of events, trying to leave out any puzzlements that had been dreams and dreams of dreams. He told what he knew of what he thought had happened. He had been attacked at night. The arrival of the villagers with torches chased the animal away. Then he was taken someplace where the lama acted as a doctor. Drelhu had cared for him.

"Yes, go on."

He was cautious not to get sidetracked onto Drelhu's mannerisms or his quick appearances and disappearances, his forbidding hints.

"There were many houses to be seen, below, down by the river. Then, bit by bit..."

"Bit by bit?"

"I mean, one day after another-there were fewer of them. Drelhu laughed at me for suggesting anything, but they were vanishing and the farmland was shrinking as well, not being tended or just raw landscape ....

"Um.... "

"Then one day, recently... there was only one building left. I left this house to go down to investigate. I heard a dog barking..."


"Yes, a dog. But I could not see him. The


"Not yet not then. It disappeared later. At this time" He remembered how hot it had been. "It was quite solid. It was locked and there was an inscription with snakes on a piece of paper"

"On the door?" interrupted Dharma DorJe.

"You saw it?"

"No. No. Continue please."

"I tore it off"

The monk's mouth went slack, and his eyes widened.

"You tore it off? All the words? Did you destroy all the words?"

"What's the matter? What is wrong?"

The lama quickly controlled himself. "Perhaps, perhaps, nothing," he said. "But perhaps everything...."

"I don't understand ... what was that paper?"

"Nothing of importance," the now-calm monk said. "Please continue.. . "

"But you seemed so upset .......What ?

But the calm grey green eyes told him that he had best not digress if he wished
any help.

"Drelhu called and came running down the hill. He told me to stop... 11

"And you ignored him?"

"Yes. The lock was open all along...

"You think so? Well..." the monk looked sadlv at the window of sky.

"I opened the door," the monk was softly shaking his head, "and this dog jumped out, knocking me over. It was going to attack when Drelhu drove it away. He left, pursuing it. I looked inside the dark house. It was a very large room ......

"In a small house?"

He still did not face that fact. "Dust was rising. I caused it by walking there...."

"Yes, you did...."

"And a small beam... some wood, struck me across the shoulders .... I thought I would choke in the dust .... I seemed to talk to myself.... "

"Everywhere inside me I had movements. Things seemed to change and shift. There were golden..." And he hesitated, feeling foolish.

The lama finished for him. "Lines. Golden lines. Hexagrams?" breaking into a great smile.

" .... lines, yes. But what are Hexagrams?"

The lama squinted, still smiling, quietly now. "The lines break and re-unite? They are golden light? They rise and float... ?"

"Yes, they are solid and broken. They change ... uh ... how do you know this?"

"They flood the body with hot light and cool light?"

"Sunlight and moonlight?"

"They are time, months and years? Coming and going?"

"I don't know that-I just felt ... What is it ... what are they?"

"Lines of change, the places of all circumstances, random and otherwise .... hexagrams ... made of trigrams..."

"Trigrams? What are you talking about?"

The lama fell silent and did not seem to see him. Or to hear him. Then he roused himself, eyes lighting up again. "What are they indeed! So, so ... they move..." And he became more abstracted again.

"Geshe-la," he said too loudly, "Please! What about these things, the village, the dog .... What can you tell me?"

The monk looked up and scratched his ear. "I do not know what to tell you....

"Something. Anything....

A long silence.. while the lama's finger traced lines on his knee. He looked up a few times, paused, continued the fingertracing and then finally spoke. "As I said before, there is no village. As of now, there is no village for either one of us. However, while you were getting better, there was a village for you." He looked away. "But not for me."

"But the villagers brought me..."

"No, no," the lama shook his head. "Dorie Drelhu brought you. I could not mistake that, surely."

"Then you tended me..."

Again the lama shook his head, sadly, it seemed. "No, I did not. It seemed hopeless...."

"But you gave me medicine ... a pill...."

"I gave you medicine?" Cocked eyebrow, wrinkled lines.

"Yes. Salty. You called it 'Drilbu'.1"

The lama laughed. "You must have dreamt it! Drilbu is the name of a little hand-bell .... a ritual hand-bell...held while praying..."

"It was a salty pill!"

"I suppose ... 11 smiling, "it could be anything."

"What is the bell the symbol for?"

"Symbol? What does that matter?"

"You gave me...."

"Perhaps Dorje Drelhu did something. Although I didn't know he knew any medicine ......

"It was you," he began to insist, but stopped at the sight of the calm puzzlement on the other's face.

The lama nodded but said nothing.

The light outside was beginning to fade and the tones of everything in the room slowly softened. Dharma Dorje started the flow of words again. "Many years ago, or so I am told, there was a village here."

His heart gave a great thump and retreated into a series of drum-rolls.

"But it is gone now."

"What happened?" he ventured.

"I don't know. Perhaps it never was there. This is a story. "


The lama continued as the twilight captured more and more light. The mountains were casting greater shadows.

"It was destroyed, either because of a magician or by a magician. Perhaps both. The gompa was built here afterwards, perhaps as a consequence-to seal away those forces..."

"Like you were supposed to do with the 'monkey demon'?"

"Yes, perhaps like that."

"Then that ancient magician was killed by some monk ... the founder of the gompa... ?"

"Perhaps. But 'killed' is inaccurate .... Some beings, especially such powerful ones, do not merely fade away...."

"....this being could come back .... ?"

It was getting harder to see in the darkening room. The lama shrugged. "Everyone comes back. Except perhaps the Jina, the Buddha himself...."

"I saw the village ... Perhaps it came back...."

He could not see the lama's smile in the shadows. "Buildings do not have rebirth, not even in Buddhism!"

"I opened the door ......

The lama stopped smiling.

"and let the dog ... the dog ... out! And the dust stood up in a pillar...."

Only his silhouette against the lighter opening of the window could be seen.

"And it called me a fool. A fool!"

It grew colder. The lama remained silent.

"In my own voice! It would have killed me! If it had not been for the lines-the molten lines..."

"Hexagrams," the lama whispered, unseen.

"Hexagrams! If it had not been for the hexagrams ...

The voice in the room sounded like Dorje Drelhu's.

"Hexagrams? What are they?"

He was puzzled by the question, so soon after the word had been supplied to him. He felt blood flowing, temperatures rising. He stretched out his arms, fingers extended towards the unseen monk. Static seemed to run along muscle tissue, tendons and nerve endings. He lifted up his palms flatly towards the monk.

"THESE!" he said.

Six solid golden lines glowed in the palm of his right hand.

Six broken lines glowed in the palm of his left hand.

"I do not see anything," said Dharma Dorje. "What are you talking about?"

The lines shimmered and changed places; once, twice, three times.


The next day, he walked about the site of the village. Not a trace remained. Not a shaped stone to suggest that it had ever been there. Drelhu said that the stones were used in the gompa. Dharma Dorje laughed at the suggestion. "Why should magician's stones be used in a monastery? It is not logical."

And he did not know whom to believe. "But Drelhu said ......

The monk laughed. "Do you listen to a monkey?"

"But you said ... that he never was a monkey!"

The lama laughed. "But what does Drelhu say about that? Are you going to be selective about his statements, or believe them all?"

That quieted him. He realized that things were more confusing than he had thought. Or that he was more confused.

"Which end is up?" he muttered. "Is the lama telling me the truth? Does Drelhu..."

"Here I am!" Drelhu appeared behind him amongst the rocks.

"Where were you? I didn't see you."

"That is allright," scratch ear. "But saying the lama lies, is not!"

"I didn't....

"Yes! Yes!" swinging his arms. "I heard you! You must not ever say that about a Buddha-emanation!"

He looked away to smile.

"Do not smile!" frowned the mask. "It would be better if you took advice from your elder brother....

"Elder brother?"

"Yes! Drelhu Dorje!" And he struck his chest with a closed hairy fist. "My advice is good! If you had listened ... the dog would be still locked up ... and the dust would not..." he looked about pop-eyed, " flying about these mountains .... "

"You saw the dog?"

"Yes, I told you ... I saved you once ... but I cannot promise...."

"You saw the dog?" he insisted.

Drelhu frowned. "As well as could be expected, since he was a spirit! Bad spirit!"

"Spirit? Ghost?"

Drelhu puckered his lips and made a funny noise. "No, not ghost! Spirit. It is immortal ... It belongs to stones and rocks ......

"I thought it was a dog.."

He would have smiled except that he remembered too well its impact when it had struck him and knocked him down.

"Only temporary ... temporary ... form.... it


"Perhaps for a thousand years ... Ancient dust ... made th dog from a stone..."

"Just as Geshe-la made you from a monkey?"

Drelhu glanced up towards the white gompa. "Not exactly, but close enough. One is good. The other is not!"

He smiled at Drelhu's lack of modesty. "This is all real?" he suddenly asked Drelhu. The other stared at him, looked upwards, then looked north and south. He pursed hi lips and nodded his broad face, reaching up to scratch an ear but stopping short of it.

"At the moment. As real as we can expect..."

He pushed the question. "Don't the Buddhists say that everything is an illusion...?"

"Like an illusion," Drelhu corrected.

"Like a magician's illusion?" he pressed.

The other nodded, shifting his weight from foot to foot, smiling and frowning in rapid turns.

Dust went blowing up the path.

But there was no wind.


"Cho Tabla," he remembered. "That was what Drelhu called this place. But it wasn't the name of the village ...

He looked towards the river. "Chu Po. The river is called Chu Po..."

He walked towards it. Each day he walked near it, exercising and getting stronger. Drelhu was somewhere above, near the gompa watching him. Sometimes he would hear him call out, "Chamba! Be careful..." It was far off, but could be heard clearly. It was always obeyed. Since the day of the dog, he listened to his "elder brother". Most of the time he did not know what Drelhu was warning him about. Sometimes it was obvious and sometimes it was not.

Once the path had ended abruptly without warning and if he had not watched himself he would have fallen over a cliffside. Drelhu's call had warned him. At other warnings, he became cautious but found no reason for the cries. Whatever was dangerous was not visible to him.

The water of the river poured strongly past the rocky embankments. It was clear and cold, coming from some unseen source far to the north, a glacier or melting snows. Not a blade of grass grew next to it, on the immediate shore. Further downstream, it was the same. He tried to pick up a handful of soil. It wouldn't move. Hard. Very hard. A layer of dust covered it. He took some to his nostrils.

"That's what I have been smelling," he said aloud.

"The soil. The dust. It is burnt dirt!" He looked at the sky, hot and shimmering.

"Chamba!" came the cry from above him ... unseen Drelhu. "Be careful!"

He smiled. Perhaps Drelhu just warned him every few minutes for the principle of the thing. He clapped his hands and wiped off the burnt soil. The cold water splashed and tumbled by. He started back.

"I wonder how far this river goes?" He stepped around some boulders. "Does it connect with any rivers that I know?" He walked past the prayer wall, keeping it to his right as the lama had suggested, " get its benefits.. stumbling on some pebbles when he looked up at the gompa.

"I've got to look at that place before I go..." he thought. Being out of sight of the watching Drelhu, he heard his call more frequently. "Watch while you can," he muttered. "For I'm going to give you the slip and get out of here." He looked back at the flat area between the mountains. "And then, goodby to Cho Tabla.... He smiled a tight smile as he came to the wooden steps.

"Hello Chamba!" called Drelhu. "How are you!"

"How are you?" he answered in mock conversation.

The other squatted on the porch swinging his arms over the edge.

"Are you glad you are a man?" he ventured.

Drelhu laughed, squinting. "Of course! Better than being a monkey! Ha ha hahahah!"

His lips went back, revealing his large teeth, his hairy hands pushed against the planks to propel him into a standing position. "Are you glad you are no longer dead?" he asked. That gave the "younger brother" a chill on his neck, despite the hot sunshine. He did not reply, but slapped dust off his knees before entering the house.


He had made up his mind. He was going to leave the next day. He would get up before dawn and be on the way before they knew he was gone. He was sure they would stop him if he told them he was going. "You cannot go," the lama had said. "It is too late.

"Too late! No it was not! Permitted or not permitted. He was going! Illusions. Dreams. Double-talk did not matter. If he was confused, held be less confused if he got out of that place. He had to get going and get back. Back to what? Sadness thrust itself upon him. He shook it off. Back! That was all! Getting back was enough! He would be himself again ... He had to get out ... Out! And start to live again.

He would leave in the darkness and escape in the sunshine! He had enough of this dusty place. It was too long a time to spend as not master of himself. How long had it been? He shook his head, trying to compute. He could not. He would be free ... He was free! He just had to leave this place.

He had to get away from the lama and his man-monkey!

He smiled. They could not stop him.

Far away he heard a dog howl. His jaw muscles clenched and unclenched. "And you," he said, pointing towards the direction of the sound, "You, whatever you are, won't stop me either!"

He felt an invisible light move in his arm.

The dog stopped howling instantly. That surprised him and he looked at his hand curiously.

He did not see the dust spinning up the path, with the mani prayer wall to its left.


"The lama's a nice enough fellow," he thought as he lay down to sleep," but he can't keep me to have company." He turned over. "He'll have to be content with Drelhu. I'm leaving. I'll go south, along the river..." He began to

"I'll follow those trails ... I can see them in the mountainside..."

He could see them on the mountainside, slight scratches from the distance but a foot or more wide when one was walking upon them. He dreamt. He was well on his way and even when looking back he could no longer see Cho Tabla. Ahead, the desolate landscape was promising life. Pieces of green in the distance may have been trees. They were. A pine forest welcomed him and he heard sounds of a village, people and dogs.

People and dogs appeared but quickly they changed, and it was a village of dogs, growling and snappina at him. They were all sizes, but they were merely dogs. He looked about for the other .... he could hear it, beneath the sounds of the others. He could smell it. Dusty, burnt dirt, moving in his nostrils. The eyes appeared, large and red-edged. Dusty, dried blood, moving in the landscape. Growling, it was here! A large, overwhelmingly large ... heavy ... attacking force! He threw up his hands and called for light. He called for golden colors! Blue! Yellow! But nothing changed, nothing moved. The heavy weight of old blood tore at his throat!

"Ah!" He awoke in a cold sweat, looking about for his enemies. But the room was empty.

The sight of the room itself gave him a shock. It was daylight!

"I've slept too long! It is almost noon!"

He knelt at the window, looking down towards the river. He saw Drelhu hopping up the trail, carrying a bucket of water. The water swung left and right, sometimes leaping over the rim to splash onto the ground, settling the dust.

"I'll have to wait another day. I'll have to be patient. Who knows what the monkey-brother would do if he knew I was trying to leave?"

"Yes, you must wait."

It was Dharma Dorje's voice. But he was not in the room.


The lama entered a moment later.

"Geshe-la?" he said, and stood up politely.

The lama waved his right hand. "That is not necessary. Please sit down."

Dharme Dorje sat next to him on the rug-covered platform. "When are you leaving?" He was startled by the question. But he liked the old man, and answered directly.

"As soon as I can. I've been here long enough..."

"...long enough..." echoed the other.

"Tomorrow morning, if I may."

He suddenly felt no concern about his plans being known.

"If you may?" Grey-green eyes shone. "Of course, as you wish. We shall not try to prevent you."

He held back a sigh of relief. The lama's eyes searched him sadly. "Are you strong enough?" he asked.

"Oh yes!" all smiles now. "I have been walking to and from the river, up and down..."

"I meant..." the lama looked away. "Are you strong enough to return?"

He missed it. He was still thinking of his body. "I am fine. Fine. Thanks to you and Drelhu...."

The lama traced designs with his finger. "You will need some supplies..."

Drelhu came into the room with the water. The lama Brzostoski - 81

turned to him. "Drelhu! Get ready..."

"Yes, Geshe-la," smiling.

"Chamba is leaving Cho Tabla ... Get..."

"What!" the elder brother was aghast. "It is too soon!

"No. No," said the lama. "It is too late."


"Just do as I say ... Get him supplies and whatever is necessary."

"Geshe-la," started Drelhu, his hands clasped in front of him.

"Nevermind! Do as I say..." He turned away from the monkeyman. "When do you want to go?"

"Tomorrow?" he asked and answered at the same time. Drelhu waited.

"Tomorrow!" the lama told him. "Move about it now!" And Drelhu left, with a puzzled expression on his face, hands still clasping together at his chest.

"Now," said the lama, "we must tie things together. Yes?"

He frowned, suspecting a trick. A trick, after all. "What do you mean?"

The lama pointed towards the gompa. He pointed through the wall towards the gompa. "We must go see the Buddha."