Rock Paper Scissors


Let me tell you an origin tale  of the well-known hand game, rock paper scissors.

During the Han dynasty in China, two young boys, Lee and Wen, were playing outside together. They came across a small river that can be easily jump across from one side to the other side. Since Lee and Wen were children, jumping across the river was a bit difficult for them. Wen looked at the river wondering to himself if he can jump across this river. He turned to Lee and said, “How about you go first since you’re older than me.” Lee balked at him, “I’m only older than you by two days, there is no way I am going first! You go first!” Soon thereafter, the two boys were arguing between themselves about who is going first because both of them were cowardly boys deep inside. For fifteen minutes, they stood by the riverbank yelling at each other and their voices got louder with every passing seconds.

Suddenly, a little girl appeared at the other side of the river. “Hey! What are you two yelling about?” the little girl asked the two boys. Both Lee and Wen immediately stopped arguing with each other and stared at the little girl. They were now sheepishly embarrassed. “If you want to jump over the river, you should play some kind of games to figure out who is going to jump first,” said the little girl. “Like what kind of games?” Lee asked from across the river. “I don’t know, maybe some sort of hand game,” said the girl.

Wen instantly liked the hand game idea, but he doesn’t know any hand games. Lee also liked the idea and started thinking on how to play a hand game that he can win. They looked aimlessly at the area around them to get any ideas for a hand game. The little girl was getting impatient because instead of yelling at each other for fifteen minutes, the boys were now silently standing around deep in thought. She couldn’t stand it anymore and yelled, “Aiya! Just do a fist game!”

That was when Lee got an idea. He noticed the pebbles around the river and the leaves from the trees. The leaves looked similar to paper and paper can be use to wrap a rock. A scissor can cut a piece of paper, but a rock can damage it. “I got it!”, Lee exclaimed  to Wen, “let’s play rock paper scissor with our fists!” Wen was confused, he gave Lee his bemused expression. “We use our hand to shape it to rock, paper, or scissor, ” explained Lee, “rock is a closed fist, paper is open and flat hand, and scissor is closed fist with two fingers extended.” After the short explanation from Lee, Wen understood this hand game of rock paper scissors. “Hurry up!” the little girl impatiently yelled at the boys.

After spending almost half hour standing by the riverbank, Lee and Wen played their first game of rock paper scissors. Wen threw down a paper and Lee did a rock. Lee was very shocked by this outcome because paper beats rock. “Let’s do two out of three rounds”, said Lee, which Wen agreed to because Lee is older than him by two days. Turned out that Wen is naturally good at rock paper scissors. Lee, in the end, was the first one to jump across the river. This time he did it without any argument and it also help that there was a cute girl waiting at the other side of the river. He mustered up his courage, did a running start before jumping across the small river. Lee narrowly missed the river. Wen quickly followed suit and safely landed at the other side of river. He was also naturally gifted in jumping across a river.

The little girl was jumping up and down in excitement. “What’s your name?” the two boys asked the girl.

Jia,” yelled the little girl as she ran off, “see if you can try to catch me!”

“Let’s play rock paper scissors again”, said Lee to Wen, “and see who should chase after her.”

The end.


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