The Importance of Legends
It was a badly-kept secret among intellectuals that the vaults under the British Museum held a portal to another world. It was a jade gate that had been stolen from China in 1840. When its secret was discovered in 1848, a stream of explorers and archaeologists had entered it, never to reappear. Eventually, the gate was locked up.
Until 2012 . . .
Cameras clicked and flashed as Dr. Forbes stood in front of the jade gate.
“I discovered the map in our archives,” he said. “The corner was torn off, but I managed to decipher the ancient Chinese to see that it is a map of the land beyond. It shows where the dangers are, as well as a magnificent treasure, across this plain and beyond these mountains.” He pointed to a reproduction of the three-foot square map. “I will now enter the gate with my team. We plan to be gone a week.”
The next day, a janitor was cleaning up the archive room and found a scrap of paper under a desk. It said 一寸是一万里*, not even English. He threw it away.
*(1 inch = 3600 miles)