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Hassun was one of the greatest Chinese poets and scholars of the day, sophisticated and much in demand, so much so that he often retired to his cabin on Cold Mountain in order to work unimpeded. Shide was an illiterate peasant boy, a foundling associated with the same monastery. He was considered a bit dim, so he was given the task of sweeping the courtyard and hallways. He grew up knowing only the monastery, and seldom spoke.

One day, he was given the task of porting some supplies and looking in on Hassun. Being a gentle soul, Hassun invited the man in for a hot beverage. While having a chat, Shide demonstrated so much a wealth of wisdom and keen observation as to completely change Hassun’s impression of him. They became fast friends, and are now always painted together, with Hassun often holding an empty scroll, and Shide holding his broom.

My life partner attended Special Education. My IQ is between 118–147. I read a lot. He’s a perceptive and devoted film buff. He also has a sense of smell many people might envy, and can also keep house a lot better than I can.'

We are like these two.


If only life could be that simple. The pair are also considered to have a mystical meaning in Zen, and Jungians can consider them to be an example of a fourth stage Hero, that has split into two contrasting opposites. Hassun could be considered a left-brain and Shide to be a right-brain. This is given some legitimacy, in that there's no other account of their lives but this story, and the poems ascribed to both are 7th century inscriptions on rocks on a hill near Shanghai, thus rendering authorship problematical. 'Twas ever thus...

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