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Not much is said of the black-robed Clan of the Wolf’s Bitter Breath, save this: no software could be sent beyond the borders of the temple unless it met with their approval first. In the days following a release the sound of their footsteps sent so many monks scurrying that the Clan was forced to go barefoot, delivering their defect tickets by stealth in the darkest hour of night.

So it was with some irritation that Java master Banzen—who prized correctness above all—was forced to account for the repeated failures of the earnest monk Djishin.

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Master Banzen sent for Djishin, who found the master watching the sunset by the cliffside.

Said Banzen: “The monks of the Wolf’s Bitter Breath wish to know if the next iteration of the system is worthy of their attention. They crave our assurance that it will not evidence critical flaws immediately after deployment, like so many of its predecessors.”

Said Djishin: “I declare the new system to be most worthy. In theory I have tested every place that the low-level components might fail, and all works as it should.”

Said Banzen: “It must be tedious to toil thus for days, clicking through user dialogs and examining log files.”

Said Djishin: “My testing is not done manually; you yourself have observed that such a method is slow and error-prone. Instead I have worked according to the Method of Luohou: all changes to DAOs and Services were verified during implementation by a comprehensive batallion of low-level automated tests. For if the stones are sound, then the wall will stand.”

Said Banzen: “Go inform the monks, then. They await you on the other side of the gorge.”

Banzen pointed across the great chasm which separated the cliff where they stood from the one opposite.

Said Djishin: “How am I to cross? The bridge was destroyed by a foolish nun and still hangs in tatters.”

Banzen indicated a slender rope stretched over the chasm between two saplings.

Said Djishin: “But master, no one except the Emperor’s own acrobats could balance on so narrow a cord.”

Banzen gestured to a coil of the same rope lying nearby on the ground, wound in a solid spiral a full yard across. The master put one foot in the center and lifted his other foot, remaining thus for a full minute.

Djishin knew better than to accuse the master of unfairness, saying instead: “But the thin braid is dry and brittle. I do not believe it can bear my weight.”

Banzen knelt down, drawing span after span of the rope between his hands, demonstrating that the entire length was still unbroken after he had trod upon it.

Again Djishin did not dare to dispute the master’s argument, saying instead: “But your bridge is held in place by two green saplings. The plants will surely be uprooted by my weight.”

Banzen produced an ocarina from his robe and blew a high chittering trill. From the forest on the other side of the chasm bounded dozens upon dozens of squirrels. One by one they leaped on the swaying cord and scurried across the divide. When each squirrel arrived Banzen tossed it a lychee nut, whereupon the squirrel bowed low and disappeared into the trees, and the next one began the crossing. Djishin watched with amazement until the last squirrel had gone.

Said Banzen: “Seeing as your foot is no larger than mine, your body no heavier than my own, and neither of us exceeds the weight of a hundred squirrels, I declare my bridge most worthy of your crossing. In theory. Now go.”