Before the time of Confucius, in a mountain village in China, the residents suffered the most severe drought in memory. No one was permitted water for bathing or washing. People’s faces showed the strain and dirt, their clothing turned dusty, hands stained and greasy, feet caked with dirt.
Crops died under a cloudless sky. Mice and rats deserted the now empty granary. Dust devils whirled through deserted streets, propelled by despair.
Finally, the village elders decided to send a runner through the mountains to the sea, to fetch a professional rainmaker. The villagers voiced their doubts, but the elders summoned their best athlete and a ration of the remaining food and water was given for the journey. A sentry was posted on the trail to watch for the runner’s return.
Days stretched into weeks, when late one afternoon the sentry shouted the runner was seen. Behind him there jolted a rickety litter carried by four footmen. All the villagers gathered to welcome them, curious to see a real rainmaker.
The people were surprised to see a wizened and frail old man part the curtains of the litter and step weakly to the ground. All was hushed, as the villagers could not believe their eyes, having prejudged the rainmaker must be young, robust and handsome.
Immediately, the old man instructed the elders to prepare their best house for his use. Furthermore, he ordered a cook to deliver meals at dusk and dawn for five days, setting them just inside the door, and commanded the people to muffle their feet with rags, keep their dogs and livestock indoors, and not to disturb him for any reason.
The chastened villagers anxiously gathering to wait a respectful distance from the assigned house. The first two days there was no improvement for rain. As the third day passed sunny and cloudless some people began to speculate on the rainmaker’s abilities, but on the morning of the fourth day, dark clouds appeared on the horizon. Clouds massed directly over the village and on the morning of the fifth day, a steady rain began to fall just as the rainmaker emerged.
The villagers came close and cheered, but were too polite to ask the rainmaker what he had done to cause the rain, until one little girl broke away from the crowd and tugged on his kimono.
“Oh, most gracious rainmaker, what did you do to make this rain?” she asked.
Smiling and bending down to whisper in the girl’s ear, he said, “I am not responsible for making the rain. I come from across the mountains, where all is in order, all is balanced.”
“What you had in your village, I could feel it in myself was a loss of balance, disharmony. The weather also was unbalanced too much dry, not enough wet.”, he said.
“All I did was take time and effort to harmonize myself, become in perfect balance.”
“When I came into harmony within, all external forces also came into alignment, attuned with the Tao, so now nature will do the rest, and bring you a good balance of wet and dry.”