The Emperor of China spends his summers by the sea; in the morning, he tends his garden, and at twilight paints from his window, the shore, the cliffs and especially the gulls. Courtiers admire his works, the subtle interplay of grey on grey - the gulls, the cliffs, the hint of mist that fades into they grey brush sweep of sea. The Emperor hears their praise, and, knowing what it is worth, he is unmoved. In winter, the Emperor lives by the Wall. In the evening he hears advisors, and in the morning he walks alone along the definite edge of his kingdom - watching barbarian herdsmen govern goats among the scrub. He hears their armies rattling the spearpointed mountains and, because the Wall is there, he is not moved. So it was, one morning in the Spring, the Emperor stood on his ramparts and saw a single kite, grey against the Western sky that did not skip and buck as other kites, but caught the draught like an eagle, and dove with the pride of a hawk - no, he thought, more like a gull that drops a shell and whirls before it has fallen to meet the feast on the rocks below. After a little time, he also saw, beneath the kite a man. Before the sun was fully aware, before even the desert herds had seen, the Emperor saw a man in the sky, from the too thin path on his makeshift wall, and he beckoned the man, then went for a soldier. They burned the kite. The rude rice paper melted from the wood, the ashes caught the draught and soared to the top of the Wall, falling again, into the Emperor's garden. The frame buckled in the flames and dropped. The farmer, who had risen so early, did not live to see the sun - even the soldier died, when other soldiers were called. Still, in the summer, the Emperor paints from his window, pictures of cliffs, and gulls, and evening hawks. His courtiers flatter unstintingly the smallest sketch from his pen. The Emperor hears their praise, and, knowing what it is worth, cannot fail to he moved. Inspired, as so often, by Ray Bradbury,the greatest poet in American English.