The Wheel of Life
 
 
The Wheel of Life, the story. 
In his youth the warlord received from his best friend, a small dog. The Dog was not much to look at, a mongrel of dubious origin.  The warlord had many other dogs, all handsome, all highly skilled. The Dog was intimidated by his own kind and was very shy. The Dog soon became inseparable from his master, for the only place he felt safe and comfortable was by the master’s side. Day and night, no matter where, no matter what the circumstance, the Dog stayed with his master.
     One day a war broke out. The warlord mounted his horse and headed for the battlefield. The Dog followed. In the heat of battle, a fearsome enemy brandishing a sword attacked the warlord. The Dog, fearing for his master's life, bit the enemy's leg, and the master was saved. That evening the Dog was much celebrated, but the Dog knew he acted only from selfishness -- what would become of him if his master died?  The next day, and the days after, the Dog accompanied his master to the battle field. And on the seventh day, the Dog was killed by a stray arrow.  
     The Wheel of Life turned a notch. The Dog's death was noted; his loyalty, his bravery. It was determined that his reward would be the highest possible, and he was reincarnated as a man.
The Man was born into a wealthy, powerful family as its only son. The father was a captain of industry who owned a gold mine and a fleet of trading ships. The Man grew up with the best of everything, a fine house, expensive horses and carriages, a private tutor. But the Man was shy, and he was often afraid of his father's stature and power. As he matured, the Man's bashfulness grew until he was an indecisive, reticent man.
     One day his father died leaving the Man in charge of the gold mine and the fleet of ships. To gain some semblance of courage, he began to drink. But he was no captain of industry. He lost a ship to a competitor. He drank more. Then he lost another ship. One by one he lost all his ships, his gold mine, his home, everything. He became a bum, begging for money for his next drink. As he became desperate for a drink, he became bold enough to commit petty thefts, then robberies. One day, craving a drink, the Man tried to rob a tavern and was killed.
    The Wheel of Life turned a notch. The Man's death was noted; his ingratitude, his cowardice, his sloth. It was determined that his punishment would be the severest possible, and he was reincarnated as a woman.
The Woman was born into a poor, but genteel family. She was the loveliest of women with an oval face, white skin, and shiny black hair. Although her sisters were gregarious and sociable, the Woman was very shy. When her sisters went out,  she stayed home and helped her mother, practiced her piano, read books. When the family had company, the Woman was praised for her modesty and industry.
    One day a wealthy, handsome young man accompanied family friends to the Woman's house. The sisters vied with each other for the young man's attention. The man noticed among the crowd a lovely young woman helping the mother. He spoke to her, but she blushed and looked down at her hands in silence. The young man mistook her shyness for coyness. His initial curiosity turned to interest, then to ardor. Eventually the Woman married the young man. In the wealthy family the Woman was beloved by her servants for her intelligence and quiet thoughtfulness, and by the husband for her diffidence and obedience. As she grew older, the Woman gained confidence, becoming an elegant and sophisticated lady. She died in old age and was mourned by the whole family.
    The Wheel of Life turned a notch.  The Woman's death was noted; her grace, her charity, her accomplishment.  It was determined that she would be elevated from her lowly status as a woman, and she was reincarnated as a dog.

July 16, 1999
© Penny Nii
Size:  8.5” diameter, 3/4” thick inside a 9.5” movie reel canister.  
Contents:    A short fictional story and writings on Asian ideas of reincarnation.
Structure:    Circular structure made with foam core and book boards.  
Technique: Scanned images manipulated in Photoshop and printed on inkjet printer.
Edition of 5.
Year:     2002  
 
The Wheel of Life is a very short fiction I wrote about reincarnation. The story called for a circular book in which each of the reincarnation was revealed as the story progressed.  A small accordion book contains information about the Buddhist view of reincarnation and the wheel of life. It is attached to the inside of the canister cover.