Everybody laughs at Boisterous Immortal.
It’s 539 BCE, on a little island out near P’eng-Lai. There are only six immortals there. It’s not a very prestigious island.
Boisterous Immortal is always doing things like stabbing people and breaking buildings. It’s funny because it never hurts anything.
“Ha ha!” laughs Boisterous Immortal, stacking herbs on Placid Immortal’s feet and then lighting them on fire. This is actually a traditional medical technique but because Boisterous Immortal is not licensed to practice medicine it is morally incorrect.
Placid Immortal chuckles softly. “Hot foot,” he says.
Boisterous Immortal runs off.
“Ha ha!” cries Boisterous Immortal, flinging a gibbon into the air. It flies very high. It hangs there. Then it falls to the earth.
The gibbon shrieks its irritation at Boisterous Immortal. Then it dashes off into the island’s gardens.
Animal-Cousin Immortal shakes her head sadly at Boisterous Immortal.
“That’s cruel,” she says. “If you were a gibbon, would you like immortals to fling you?”
“Yes,” says Boisterous Immortal.
Animal-Cousin Immortal hesitates at this.
“Point to you,” she concedes primly. She goes off to tend to her jade meditation.
Boisterous Immortal laughs and shouts.
The sun watches Boisterous Immortal. It loves him. It follows him wherever he goes, always casting its light on him, except when it’s night or cloudy.
The clouds love Boisterous Immortal too. Sometimes, they rain on him!
“Ha ha!” laughs Boisterous Immortal. He swings his sword. He cuts down all the trees on the island. Whoosh! Slowly, they pull themselves back onto their trunks, rustling gentle mirth.
There is a problem.
It is hard for Boisterous Immortal to understand the problem but he can feel it coming. It is like a falling weight.
Something has changed.
“Ha ha?” he says.
He pokes Placid Immortal with his sword.
Placid Immortal, looking startled, bleeds out his life.
“Um,” says Boisterous Immortal.
He pokes Placid Immortal with his finger.
“That was not the consequence I intended,” he says. “Come back to life!”
But Placid Immortal is apparently a misnomer.
And Boisterous Immortal weeps, there on a little island near P’eng-Lai.