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Friday, March 26, 2004

Chinese Folk/Fairy Tales

The Swan Fairies

Long Long Ago, There was a very beautiful lake and a small village was near to it. Many swans lived on and near the lake. Every January 15th, some fairies came to the lake and changed into swans to play in the lake. They sand, danced, and laughed, and their voices were very nice and beautiful. In the Village, there was a man named ArNiu. As he was very, very ugly, no man liked him and no girls loved him. Once ArNiu came to the border of the lake to look for his lost cow. On the say that he went searching for the cow, it just happened to be January 15th. Suddenly, he heard a nice voice. He began to look around but found no man. There were only some swans swimming in the lake. He felt much surprised and trying to get a closer look, he slipped and fell into the lake. ArNiu cried for help as he could not swim, but no one was near to hear him. He became very frightened and thought that he would die. But then, out of no where, he heard the very nice voice again. Not seeing anyone, he struggled to swim and as he grew tired he slipped into the water and became unconscious. Hours later, he came to and found himself lying on the
sandy shore of the lake. Looking around, ArNiu saw no one, and he was confused as to who had rescued him. Seeing only the swans, he thought that they might have been his saviors, but as soon as he went to look for them, they had disappeared. He had heard that some fairies come to Earth and swim as Swans, and he thought that he must have been saved by the Swan Fairies. Excited by the thought, ArNiu rushed back to the village to tell the others. However, when he told the people his story, none of them believed him. They thought that he was crazy and laughed at him. ArNiu insisted that the swam fairies had saved his life, but it was no use. There was no proof to make them believe. Everyday, ArNiu went to the lake searching for the fairies. He shouted at Swans everytime he saw some swimming in the lake. Unfortunately, none of these Swans were fairies. A year passed, and before he knew it, it was once again January 15th. ArNiu went to the border of the lake like he had always done. This time, as he approaches, he hears the nice voice again, and he sees the beautiful swan swimming in the lake. He was so excited that he ran towards the lake crying Swan Fairies, Swan Fairies. Startled by his actions, the fairies refused to move and stood as still as possible. Another towns person who had been near the lake saw ArNiu running and shouting and thought that he had truly gone mad, so he rushed to town. ArNiu stayed at the lake and watched the swans play. At sundown, the swans changed back into fairies. One of them being so moved by ArNiu's persistence and dedication came to him and smiled. She told ArNiu not to be frightened. She said that she was one of the maids of the king of the Fairies, and they came every January 15th to take in the waters of the lake for rejuivination and relaxation. After she told him these words, she flew away and joined her sisters in flight. Excited by the news, ArNiu went back to his villages and told three of the leading male villagers of his discovery. Once again, they all thought that he was mad and insane. ArNiu told them that if they did not believe him then they could join him the next time that they came. A year came and passed, and ArNiu went to the lake like he had done many times before. Only this time, he was being followed by the three men whom he had told to join him. The men followed behind in secret as they planned to end ArNiu's foolishness. Carrying with them their bow and arrows, the men had planned to kill all the swans in order to stop his Madness. The fairies had arrived earlier in the morning, and when ArNiu got there, they were already swimming on the lake. As he began to speak, he noticed that the three men had decided to join him. As he called to the fairies, the men pulled out their bows, and shot all of the swans in the lake killing them instantly. ArNiu was horrified by what the men had done, and he jumped into the lake to help the fairies, but they had already died. Seeing this sight, the men began to make fun of ArNiu and laughed look at the mad man. He thinks he's a toad. He thinks that he can swim. Not being able to swim and in shock by the atrocity, ArNiu screamed into the air then slowly slipped into the water. As his life passed, the water in the lake disappeared and from the center of the lake bed, a huge rock in the shape of a toad appeared. And from that day forth, the lake has been dry, and the stone toad has marked the spot of the great tragedy.

The Rabbit and the Snowman

There was once a young rabbit and her mother who lived happily in the forest. One day, when the young
rabbit opened the door, she grew excited as the earth wore new clothes made of snow. The rabbit enjoyed the beautiful view and enjoyed the fresh air. That day, the mother would go out, but she did not want her daughter to be left home and alone. At that moment, a good idea flashed over her mother's mind. She would make a snowman to be her daughters companion.With this thought, she rushed outside and began to build a snowman. They used two buttons as its eyes, and a carrot as its nose. At last the young rabbit gave the snowman a soft scarf which the rabbit liked best. After finished the snowman, the mother went on her journey setting her mind at ease. To the young girls surprise, the snowman came alive. She could not speak, but she was very friendly.The two girls became very good friends, and they went skating together and played together often. Both were very happy and loved one another. One day after a hard days worth of playing the rabbit decided to take a nap. While sleeping, firewood rolled out of the stove and caught the house on fire. Unfortunately, the rabbit was sleeping deeply and did not know this. When the snowman saw smoke rising from the house, she became terribly frightened. She knew that the rabbit was in danger and worried about her greatly. However, she also knew that if she got close to the fire that she would melt. As the smoke thickened, the snowman decided to save her good friend. She ran into the house taking the rabbit into her arms then ran outside very difficultly. She put the rabbit aside, and she began to melt away. After the rabbit woke up, she saw the house on fire and the puddle of water beside her. She knew that the snowman had rescued her and had died in the process. The mother returned home soon that day and discovered the mess. She was very sad but was thankful that her daughter was alive. They evetually found another place to live, but the young rabbit was very sad about the loss of her friend. Seeing her daughter in so much pain, the mother told her that it would be alright. She told her that the snowman was magically and came alive every winter. And, if she could wait until next years snow, the friend would return, and they could play once again.

Why We Live Eighty Years

This is a joke but somehow it all seems to make sense.
On the first day, God created the cow. God said, you must go to the field with the farmer all day long and
suffer under the sun, have calves, and give milk to support the farm. Therefore, I will give you a life span of sixty years. The cow told god that that was kid of a tuff life. You want me to live for sixty years? Cleverly, the cow said, let me do it for twenty years, and I will give you back forty. Hearing this God agreed. On the second day, God created the dog. God told him, that he would sit all day long by the door of his house and bark at anyone who comes in his path. God told him that he would give him a lifespan of twenty years. Hearing this, the dog said that's a long time to be barking. Give me ten years, and I will give you back the other ten. God Agreed. On the third day, God created the Monkey. God told him to entertain people. Do monkey tricks and make them laugh. I'll give you a twenty year life span as well. The monkey said, how boring, Monkey tricks for twenty years! I don't think so. Since the dog gave you back ten, that is what I will give you back too. Once again, God Agreed. On the fourth day, God created man. God said. Eat, Sleep, Play, Have Sex, and Enjoy. Do nothing, just enjoy life, and I will give you twenty years. Man said what. Only Twenty years. No way, I'll tell you what. I'll take my twenty, plus the forty that the cow gave you, the ten of the dog, and the other ten of the monkey. That makes eighty O.K. Upset over man's
greed, God reluctantly agreed. Being very clever, God gave man his eight years. He told man that he would
spend the first twenty years of his life eating, sleeping, playing, having sex, and doing nothing. For the next forty years, man would slave in the sun and support his family. For the next ten years, man would do monkey tricks to help entertain his grandchildren. Finally, he would spend the final ten years of his
life, sitting on the front of his house and barking at everyone that came by.

Why the Bat Sleeps in the Day and Flies in the Night

One day God called upon the bat to help him. He gave him a basket to carry to the moon. The basket was
filled with darkness, but God did not tell him what it was. Instead, he said, take this to the moon. I'll
explain everything when you return. So the bat set off for the moon with the basket on his back. He flew
towards the sky, but the moon saw him and hid behind the clouds. The bat grew tired and stopped for a rest. He sat aside the basket and went to look for something to eat. While he was gone, other animals came along. Dogs and wolves mostly. These animals thought that there might be food in the basket and pried the cover open. But inside there was only darkness which they had never seen before. The dogs and wolves tried to pull it out and play with it, but it slipped between their teeth and slithered off. Just then, the bat returned. He opened the basket and found it empty. The other animals disappeared into the night. The bat flew off to try and recapture the darkness. He could see it everywhere, but he could not fit it into his basket no matter how he tried. Eventually the sun came up, and the darkness disappeared, but it came back every evening when the sun went away. The bat would continuously try to capture the darkness. For this reason, the bat sleeps all day and flies all night. He is trying to put the night back into his basket.

The Chest of Broken Glass

An old man had lived alone ever since his wife died. He had worked hard as a tailor all of his life. But
unfortunately, misfortune had left him penniless. Now, he was so old, he could no longer work for himself.
His hands trembled to much to thread the needle and his vision had blurred too much for him to make a
strait stitch. He had three sons, but they were all grown up and married now. They were so busy with their
own lives, they had not the time for their father. They only had enough time to stop buy and eat dinner
with their father once a week. Gradually, the old man grew more and more feeble, and his sons came to see him less and less. He told himself, "they don't want to be around me now because they are afraid that I will become a burden. The old man stayed up all evening worried what would become of him. Until at last, he thought of a plan. The next morning, the man went to see his friend the carpenter. He asked the man to make a large chest for him. Then, he went to see his friend the locksmith, and asked him to give him an old lock. Finally, he went to see his friend, the glass maker and asked him for all the broken pieces of glass that he had. The old man took the chest home, and filled it to the top with broken glass. He then locked it up tight and put it beneath his kitchen table. The next time that his son's came for dinner. They bumped their feet against the chest. "What is this they asked, and the father replied, Oh Nothing. The son's nudged it and were surprised at how heavy it was. They kicked it and heard a rattling inside. The brothers talked in secret, and they thought that it must be full of gold which the old man had saved over the years. They talked amongst themselves and decided that they needed to guard their fathers treasure. They decided to take turns living with the old man. That way they could look after the gold and help their father too. The first week, the youngest soon moved in with his father and took care of him and cooked for him. The second week, the middle son took his place, and the week afterwards the eldest soon took his turn. This went on for some time. At last the father grew sick and died. The sons gave him a very nice funeral then went back to the house to look for the fortune beneath the table. The three brothers pried open the chest and found only a box full of glass. They looked at each other and understood how foolish they had been to the old man. They closed the box and returned to their own families.

The Casket and the Pearl

A man of the state of Chu went to the state of Zheng to sell his pearls. He had a casket made of wood from the Magnolia tree. He had it scented with cinnamon and pepper, set with jewels, carved in a rose pattern, and in-laid with jade. A man from the state of Zheng bought the casket, but gave back the pearls inside. Thus, we can say that the man from Chu knew how to sell his casket but not how to sell his pearls.

The Wooden Bowl

An old man moved in with his son and daughter-in-law after his wife had died. The couple had a young child the age of four, and they all lived in the house together. In his old age, the old man had developed a
terrible shake. When he ate, he would spill his milk and food on the table cloth, and he would always drop
a dish and break it. After living with his children for over a year, his on lost his temper one night as his farther soiled the table cloth and broke his glass. He screamed and yelled at his father. He told the man that if he could not eat like an adult then he would have to sit in the corner and eat out of a wooden bowl and spoon. From then on, when the family ate, the parents and the baby ate at the table, and the grandfather ate in the corner by himself out of his wooden bowl. This was very humiliating for the grandfather, and he would shed a tear every night while he ate. One afternoon the father came home early from the field. When he came in the door, he saw his young boy playing with some wood in the floor. He looked at his son and asked what are you doing. The little boy smiled and said, I am making something. By this time, the mother had come into the kitchen. When the father asked his son what he was making, the son smiled and said, I am making yours and mom's bowls for when you get older. When the parents heard these words, they looked at each other and began to cry. They knew how horribly they had
treated their father. From then on, the grandfather rejoined them at the dinner table. No matter whether
he spilled or broke any dished, he was always treated kindly and lovingly.

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