The exposition of the story of "The Soul of the Great Bell" is the wonderful music created when the bell was hit during the festival.
"The water-clock marks the hour in the _Ta-chung sz'_,--in
the Tower of the Great Bell: now the mallet is lifted to smite
the lips of the metal monster,--the vast lips inscribed with
Buddhist texts from the sacred _Fa-hwa-King_, from the
chapters of the holy _Ling-yen-King_! Hear the great bell
responding!--how mighty her voice, though tongueless!--
_KO-NGAI!_ All the little dragons on the high-tilted eaves
of the green roofs shiver to the tips of their gilded tails
under that deep wave of sound; all the porcelain gargoyles
tremble on their carven perches; all the hundred little bells
of the pagodas quiver with desire to speak. _KO-NGAI!_--
all the green-and-gold tiles of the temple are vibrating; the
wooden goldfish above them are writhing against the sky;
the uplifted finger of Fo shakes high over the heads of the
worshippers through the blue fog of incense! _KONGAI!"
The conflict of the story is when Kouan-Yu failed to create a very great bell for the second time as instructed by the Celestially August. He was told that if he failed to create the quality of the bell he is supposed to create, he will be beheaded for he was an embarrassment of the kingdom.