Based on the general description, there must have been a very fierce chase or fight afterwards, but Little Brother was only describing one thing, so he didn’t write the middle process at all. I don’t know the specific details, so if I make it up, it won’t conform with the facts at all. Since I chose to look at these accounts rationally from the beginning, I must also use a rational method to connect them all here.
After perusing the records, I could probably guess the situation at that time, because I’m all too familiar with what Little Brother would do.
Laba was initially alive when he was rescued, but his mind became slightly abnormal afterwards, so I can no longer describe the process of events from his perspective.
What I knew for certain was that first, Little Brother didn’t see the thing under the snow at that time. Laba was the only one who saw it, but he was delirious after being rescued. The thing under the snow must have greatly frightened him.
Second, Little Brother must have saved Laba in three minutes. Although being buried in snow was better than drowning, three minutes was still the limit. If Little Brother had failed at this time, Laba would have certainly died.
So, I was almost certain that this was probably the case.
Although Little Brother didn’t catch Laba when the thing suddenly pulled him into the snow, he must have plunged his hand into the snow several times during the next few minutes.
I’ve seen his speed. He can use his fingers to catch extremely fast aquatic insects in the water, so the process must have been very fast.
His fingers snagged something on Laba’s body in the snow—maybe a belt or a collar—and since Little Brother was really strong, he could lift people out of the snow even if it was just with two fingers.
At the same time, I believed that they must have been by a rock, and Little Brother’s other hand must have caught the rock’s edge; otherwise, he would have probably been dragged into the snow as well.
But then the question became: how did Laba see what was in the snow?
I wasn’t at the scene—and Little Brother didn’t record it—so I could only make one guess; that is, when Laba was dragged out of the snow, that thing was pulled along with him. But Little Brother didn’t see this thing for some reason, and only Laba saw it.
When I got to this paragraph, I had a discussion with Chen Xuehan and Old Lama which was very interesting.
Little Brother came out of the snowy mountain, met Old Lama, found the body of Deren Lama, and began to slowly recall what had happened during the past ten years. Since it was a gradual recollection and the process was difficult, things weren’t described in complete detail, and so Little Brother told Old Lama that in addition to recording these things, he needed to ask him some questions.
After hearing the questions, Old lama found that he couldn’t answer them with his wisdom, so he led Little Brother to see a teacher (1) who had a high level of cultivation in the temple. At that time, the teacher arranged for another lama from the temple to go to the other temples at the foot of the mountain to invite various teachers, hoping that their wisdom could answer these questions.
These questions, including those strange stories Little Brother mentioned, as well as some strange experiences, were all recorded.
I’ll talk about this information later, but for now, let’s talk about their discussions. Only then will we talk about what might have been in the snow.
Based on my experience at that time, I asked Old Lama if he knew of any Tibetan folklore that mentioned such a thing that could move under the snow. According to the information we found on the internet, such things usually led to legends of the Himalayan snowman. If you were more professional, however, you could call it a “snow ape”, which was more in line with a common fantasy novel. But often, what you really hear from the local people is very unexpected.
Almost instantly, Old Lama said that that kind of thing was a brown bear, which sometimes hunted in snow nests.
I wanted to object immediately because it was absolutely impossible. Altitude wasn’t a problem since brown bears could live at an altitude of five or six thousand kilometers, but the place where Little Brother and the others were in distress was almost completely covered in snow and showed no signs of life. How could a brown bear survive in this area? Maybe hunting Little Brother was its once-in-a-lifetime chance to get food.
Then again, if it was really a brown bear, who was hunting whom?
The biggest problem was that I was sure Little Brother wasn’t likely to make mistakes. The Tibetan had been waving, but why would he wave to a brown bear?
Did it mean “Hey, watch your paws” or something? Was this man an idiot?
Chen Xuehan said that maybe the Tibetan wanted to warn Little Brother not to stay in that place since it was dangerous?
It’s possible, I thought. At that time, Old Lama told me not to doubt. It must have been a big brown bear because he knew that people used to feed bears to guard Tibetan temples. Brown bears were very clever animals and could recognize who to protect and who was a stranger. He also heard that a lama once used food scraps to feed a brown bear living near the temple in a year when food was scarce. Later, when the British invaded Tibet, several troops were attacked by the brown bear when they raided the temple.
Brown bears were fierce and terrible. The largest brown bear seen in Hoh Xil was like a sumo wrestler. With a height of 2.5 meters, it even stood taller than Yao Ming.(2) As you can imagine, those British people must have been beaten to death and then dragged into the woods in an instant.
Later accounts also proved that Old Lama’s statement was very likely. This brown bear may have been raised by those Tibetans by the lake for protection.
And maybe waving at the brown bear was a habit of the breeders. But the brown bear found the intruders, so instead of going to the Tibetans, it chose to attack the intruders instead.
In this case, it wasn’t easy for Little Brother to save Laba from a brown bear.
These were only our initial speculations, and we didn’t really know what it was until the later part of the story, but without any shadow of a doubt, we kept thinking that it was a brown bear the entire time.
<Chapter 15><Table of Contents><Chapter 17>
(1) Character is 师 , pinyin is “shi” which means teacher/master/expert. Some translation sites use “guru” but that’s from Sanskrit (Indian?) and since we’re in Tibet, and they’re Buddhists who teach the Dharma, I thought “teacher” was more appropriate
(2) Yao Ming (1980-), retired Chinese basketball player, played for CBA Shanghai Sharks 1997-2002 and for NBA Houston Rockets 2002-2011. His height is 2.29 meters (or 7 feet 6 inches)