TGJ: The Scales of Justice by Marty Callahan
Tiger’s Great Journey Continued…
An Adventure Story for Youth Who Want to Make the World a Better Place
Tiger heard Blake calling in the distance, “Tiger, where are you?” The swirling snow made it hard for Tiger to see. He raised his hands in front of his face, and the stinging of the snow abated somewhat. He began to walk toward Blake’s voice and called out to him. It was hard to tell if he was getting nearer or farther away from Blake. Then he heard Blake call from nearby. Tiger turned and saw him come into view through the swirling snow. They were both happy to see each other and hugged with pure joy. Blake asked Tiger where they were. Tiger wasn’t sure, but he had a feeling they would soon find out.
Tiger said, “Let’s get moving!” and the two boys headed off into the snowstorm. After they had been hiking for an hour or so, the storm settled to a light snowfall, and the two boys
could finally see where they were headed. There was a canyon in the distance that appeared to be a good place to find shelter. As they neared the pass and began moving into the canyon, the light grew dim, and the mountains closed in around them.
Tiger and Blake both needed a rest. They had been traveling for a long while so they
decided to stop to rest and eat. They found a sheltered area and made themselves as comfortable as possible. Blake took hard tack from his pack and passed a large piece to Tiger. After eating, they drank from the clear stream that ran through the canyon.
The boys resumed their journey. As they turned a corner, they saw a huge scale. It looked
like one that Tiger had seen in an antique store he had visited with his mom not long ago, but it was enormous. Upon each of the plates that hung from the beam were twenty life-sized figures.
Along the top of the scale, the word JUSTICE was carved into the stone. The boys walked
towards it, amazed by its sheer size. As they drew closer, they could see staircases, which wound up the rock wall near each plate.
Tiger felt nervous.
Blake asked, “What do you think this is?” Tiger was not sure.
Blake started to climb the staircase. Something told Tiger this was a bad idea. He asked
Blake to stop, but Blake kept climbing. When he had reached the top, Tiger begged him again to stop, but Blake said, “They’re nothing but a bunch of old statues of knights and Kings.”
Blake stepped onto the closest metal plate. At first nothing happened, and then ever so
slowly the scales began to tip with Blake’s plate moving downward. And with the tipping came a cracking sound, as the figures began to glow red, and then to move.
Tiger yelled to Blake to jump, but as Blake turned to head back to the staircase, a knight
thrust his lance out to block him. A voice bellowed, “Who dares to disturb the scales of justice? You have stepped into a fight that is eternal, the fight for justice, and you have upset the balance. Now there will be war!”
Suddenly a loud boom echoed through the canyon. The knights had raised their lances
and were driving them down hard onto the platform. Simultaneously, the foot soldiers crashed their swords against their shields.
When Tiger thought it couldn’t get any louder, the noise doubled. To his dismay he saw
that the army on the other scale was also very much alive and brandishing weapons. These figures were glowing blue and glaring down at the Red Army that Blake had inadvertently joined. The clashing of metal against metal grew deafening. The Red King cried “silence!” and suddenly all was quiet but the running water.
Then the Blue King spoke, “Red Army, why have you disturbed the balance? You know
the consequences when Justice is not kept in balance. There will be war.”
Tiger could see that the situation was quickly getting out of hand. He didn’t know what to
do but thought that maybe he could try to calm the situation. In his most powerful voice, Tiger said, “Excuse me your highnesses.” It was suddenly silent again as all eyes turned to look at Tiger. A bolt of uncertainty shot through him.
“Who are you?” Red and Blue Kings said as one.
“I am Tiger. I’m on a journey to become a Black Belt Shoka Leader, and my friend Blake is accompanying me.”
“Leave us,” the Red King said. “We have a battle to wage so that the scales of justice may be balanced. One or more of us must be sacrificed for the sake of Justice”.
At that moment, a staircase appeared, connecting the two sides of the scale. The red knights raised their lances and the red soldiers held their swords, as they turned to face the inevitable onslaught from the Blue Army.
Tiger sensed that the situation had gone from bad to worse, so he took matters into his own hands. As fast as he could move, Tiger ran up the staircase to the side of the Blue Army. Because the scales had tipped, he had to make a mighty leap to reach the platform and as he landed, Tiger kiaed as loud as he could. Once again all eyes turned to Tiger, and very slowly the scales started to move back into balance.
A look of confusion passed across the faces of the two Armies.
The Blue King spoke first, “What have you done? You have denied us our honor. The
scales have been tipped. Justice must be served. But now we don’t know what to do, because although the scales are back in balance, we cannot return to our restful state. There are too many people on the scales. We must eliminate one from each side.”
At that, the nearest knight grabbed Tiger.
The Red King spoke, “I agree justice has not been served. Tradition says that we must fight until we are at our original number. I demand battle.”
With that, all of the soldiers beat their shields.
Tiger sensed that he must act or all would be lost. He cleared his throat and began to speak, “A fight without reason does not serve justice. My sensei says that a peaceful warrior is one who has great skill but does not need to fight, because he has learned that there is no winner in a fight where even one person gets hurt.”
The Kings looked at Tiger and seemed to be getting even angrier. He pressed on. “I don’t know why you have battled in the past, but perhaps you can solve the problem before you
without a battle today.”
The two Kings looked at each other with great distaste, but Tiger could see that they were
thinking hard. Neither King seemed to want to speak first, but finally the Blue King said, “The sands of time have hidden from us the reason that we choose to fight. I just know that it has always been so.”
“I too have searched my thoughts,” said the Red King, “and cannot recall why we have
such great animosity for each other. It has always been this way.”
Tiger saw a glimmer of hope and slowly eased out of the grasp of the knight who held
him. “Sensei has taught me that there is no justice in a fight which has no purpose. If you will allow me and my friend to leave in peace, it would serve justice better than to have us come to harm.”
The Red King looked at Tiger and said, “You have shown much bravery today. You leapt
into a battle that you had no part of to save a friend. You brought the scales back into balance. You have shared wisdom with all of us. But how do you propose to return us to our slumber? There are still too many to keep us in balance.”
Tiger looked at the King and said, “If you will allow my friend and I to step off the scales
together, your numbers will be restored, and you will return to your slumber.”
The two kings looked at each other. Then the Blue King tipped his scepter to show his
agreement. He then turned to Tiger and told him: “Take your leave of us as we are weary from the ages and the battles we have fought to keep the Scales of Justice in balance. We will try this new approach.”
Tiger looked at Blake. The knight raised his lance to clear Blake’s path to the stairs. Tiger
nodded to Blake to signal that they should step off the scales at the same time. For a moment the two armies stood looking at the boys. They looked very tired. Suddenly there was a flash of purple light as the two armies merged together, then disappeared.
Tiger and Blake stood looking at the empty scales. They didn’t know what had happened, but they had the sense that the two armies had found peace.
Later they consulted their map and found the word JUSTICE and a dove with the Scales
of Justice in its beak. When he saw this, Tiger realized a truth that had escaped him until now.
Peace is the result of justice being served.
Marty Callahan has spent his life understanding and improving the lives of students both young and old. His passion led to the founding of Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA in 1981 with a dream to awaken the extraordinary leader in his students. Having inspired, taught, coached, supported, and trained over 15, 000 students in 40,000 classes in Santa Rosa, Marty has become Sonoma County’s preeminent martial arts leadership instructor. His students, hundreds of whom have gone on to become leaders in their chosen fields, appreciate his engaging, student centered approach to teaching and they believe you will, too.