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An excerpt from THE CHINESE FAIRY BOOK
IN the dim ages of the past there once was an old man who went on a journey. No one remained at home save his only daughter and a white stallion. The daughter fed the horse day by day, but she was lonely and yearned for her father.
So it happened that one day she said in jest to the horse: If you will bring back my father to me then I will marry you!
No sooner had the horse heard her say this, than he broke loose and ran away. He ran until he came to the place where her father was. When her father saw the horse, he was pleasantly surprised, caught him and seated himself on his back. And the horse turned back the way he had come, neighing without a pause.
What can be the matter with the horse? thought the father. Something must have surely gone wrong at home! So he dropped the reins and rode back. And he fed the horse liberally because he had been so intelligent; but the horse ate nothing, and when he saw the girl, he struck out at her with his hoofs and tried to bite her. This surprised the father; he questioned his daughter, and she told him the truth, just as it had occurred.
You must not say a word about it to anyone, spoke her father, or else people will talk about us.
And he took down his crossbow, shot the horse, and hung up his skin in the yard to dry. Then he went on his travels again.
One day his daughter went out walking with the daughter of a neighbor. When they entered the yard, she pushed the horse-hide with her foot and said: What an unreasonable animal you werewanting to marry a human being! What happened to you served you right!
But before she had finished her speech, the horse-hide moved, rose up, wrapped itself about the girl and ran off.
Horrified, her companion ran home to her father and told him what had happened. The neighbors looked for the girl everywhere, but she could not be found.
At last, some days afterward, they saw the girl hanging from the branches of a tree, still wrapped in the horse-hide; and gradually she turned into a silkworm and wove a cocoon. And the threads which she spun were strong and thick. Her girl friend then took down the cocoon and let her slip out of it; and then she spun the silk and sold it at a large profit.
But the girls relatives longed for her greatly. So one day the girl appeared riding in the clouds on her horse, followed by a great company and said: In heaven I have been assigned to the task of watching over the growing of silkworms. You must yearn for me no longer! And thereupon they built temples to her in her native land, and every year, at the silkworm season, sacrifices are offered to her and her protection is implored. And the Silkworm Goddess is also known as the girl with the Horses Head.
Note: This tale is placed in the times of the Emperor Hau, and the legend seems to have originated in Setchuan. The stallion is the sign of the zodiac which rules the springtime, the season when the silkworms are cultivated. Hence she is called the Goddess with the Horses Head. The legend itself tells a different tale. In addition to this goddess, the spouse of Schen Nung, the Divine Husbandman, is also worshiped as the goddess of silkworm culture. The Goddess with the Horses Head is more of a totemic representation of the silkworm as such; while the wife of Schen Nung is regarded as the protecting goddess of silk culture, and is supposed to have been the first to teach women its details. The spouse of the Yellow Lord is mentioned in the same connection. The popular belief distinguishes three goddesses who protect the silkworm culture in turn. The second is the best of the three, and when it is her year the silk turns out well.
Other Images from THE CHINESE FAIRY BOOK
The fairy tales and legends of olden China have an oriental glow and glitter of precious stones and gold and multicolored silks, and an oriental wealth of fantastic and supernatural action, not too dissimilar to the tales in the Thousand and One Nights. The 73 stories herein embrace NURSERY FAIRY TALES, LEGENDS OF THE GODS, TALES OF SAINTS AND MAGICIANS, NATURE AND ANIMAL TALES, GHOST STORIES, HISTORIC FAIRY TALES, and LITERARY FAIRY TALES.
Like the Arabian Nights, they will fascinate the young listener and amply repay the attention of the older reader as well. Some are exquisitely poetic, such as THE FLOWER-ELVES, THE LADY OF THE MOON or THE HERD BOY AND THE WEAVING MAIDEN; others like HOW THREE HEROES CAME BY THEIR DEATHS BECAUSE OF TWO PEACHES, carry us back dramatically and powerfully to the Chinese age of Chivalry. The summits of fantasy are scaled in the quasi-religious dramas of THE APE SUN WU KUNG and NOTSCHA, or the weird sorceries unfolded in THE KINDLY MAGICIAN. Delightful ghost stories, with happy endings, such as A NIGHT ON THE BATTLEFIELD and THE GHOST WHO WAS FOILED, are paralleled with such idyllic love-tales as that of ROSE OF EVENING, or such Lilliputian fancies as THE KING OF THE ANTS and THE LITTLE HUNTING DOG.
It is quite safe to say that these Chinese fairy tales will give equal pleasure to the old as well as the young. They have been retold simply, with no changes in style or expression beyond such details of presentation which differences between oriental and occidental viewpoints at times compel. It is the writers hope that others may take as much pleasure in reading them as he did in their translation.
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TABLE of CONTENTS
NURSERY FAIRY TALES
I WOMENS WORDS PART FLESH AND BLOOD
II THE THREE RHYMSTERS
III HOW GREED FOR A TRIFLING THING LED A MAN TO LOSE A GREAT ONE
IV WHO WAS THE SINNER?
V THE MAGIC CASK
VI THE FAVORITE OF FORTUNE AND THE CHILD OF ILL LUCK
VII THE BIRD WITH NINE HEADS
VIII THE CAVE OF THE BEASTS
IX THE PANTHER
X THE GREAT FLOOD
XI THE FOX AND THE TIGER
XII THE TIGERS DECOY
XIII THE FOX AND THE RAVEN
XIV WHY DOG AND CAT ARE ENEMIES
LEGENDS OF THE GODS
XV HOW THE FIVE ANCIENTS BECAME MEN
XVI THE HERD BOY AND THE WEAVING MAIDEN
XVII YANG OERLANG
XIX THE LADY OF THE MOON
XX THE MORNING AND THE EVENING STAR
XXI THE GIRL WITH THE HORSES HEAD, or; THE SILKWORM GODDESS
XXII THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN
XXIII THE FIRE-GOD
XXIV THE THREE RULING GODS
XXV A LEGEND OF CONFUCIUS
XXVI THE GOD OF WAR
TALES OF SAINTS AND MAGICIANS
XXVII THE HALOS OF THE SAINTS
XXIX THE ANCIENT MAN
XXX THE EIGHT IMMORTALS (I)
XXXI THE EIGHT IMMORTALS (II)
XXXII THE TWO SCHOLARS
XXXIII THE MISERLY FARMER
XXXIV SKY ODAWN
XXXV KING MU OF DSCHOU
XXXVI THE KING OF HUAI NAN
XXXVII OLD DSCHANG
XXXVIII THE KINDLY MAGICIAN
NATURE AND ANIMAL TALES
XXXIX THE FLOWER-ELVES
XL THE SPIRIT OF THE WU-LIAN MOUNTAIN
XLI THE KING OF THE ANTS
XLII THE LITTLE HUNTING DOG
XLIII THE DRAGON AFTER HIS WINTER SLEEP
XLIV THE SPIRITS OF THE
XLV THE DRAGON-PRINCESS
XLVI HELP IN NEED
XLVII THE DISOWNED PRINCESS
XLIX THE TALKING SILVER FOXES
L THE CONSTABLE
LI THE DANGEROUS REWARD
LIII THE GHOST WHO WAS FOILED
LIV THE PUNISHMENT OF GREED
LV THE NIGHT ON THE BATTLEFIELD
LVI THE KINGDOM OF THE OGRES
LVII THE MAIDEN WHO WAS STOLEN AWAY
LVIII THE FLYING OGRE
LIX BLACK ARTS
LX THE SORCERER OF THE WHITE LOTUS LODGE
LXI THE THREE EVILS
LXII HOW THREE HEROES CAME BY THEIR DEATHS BECAUSE OF TWO PEACHES
LXIII HOW THE RIVER-GODS WEDDING WAS BROKEN OFF
LXIV DSCHANG LIANG
LXV OLD DRAGONBEARD
LXVI HOW MOLO STOLE THE LOVELY ROSE-RED
LXVII THE GOLDEN CANISTER
LXVIII YANG GUI FE
LXIX THE MONK OF THE YANGTZE-KIANG
LITERARY FAIRY TALES
LXX THE HEARTLESS HUSBAND
LXXI GIAUNA THE BEAUTIFUL
LXXII THE FROG PRINCESS
LXXIII ROSE OF EVENING
LXXIV THE APE SUN WU KUNG
Table of Contents
I. THE CELESTIAL SISTERS
II. THE BOY WHO SET A SNARE FOR THE SUN
III. STRONG DESIRE, AND THE RED SORCERER
IV. THE WONDERFUL EXPLOITS OF GRASSHOPPER
V. THE TWO JEEBI
VI. OSSEO, THE SON OF THE EVENING STAR
VII. GRAY EAGLE AND HIS FIVE BROTHERS
VIII. THE TOAD-WOMAN
IX. THE ORIGIN OF THE ROBIN
X. WHITE FEATHER AND THE SIX GIANTS
XI. SHEEM, THE FORSAKEN BOY
XII. THE MAGIC BUNDLE
XIII. THE RED SWAN
XIV. THE MAN WITH HIS LEG TIED UP
XV. THE LITTLE SPIRIT, OR BOY-MAN
XVI. THE ENCHANTED MOCCASINS
XVII. HE OF THE LITTLE SHELL
XVIII. MANABOZHO, THE MISCHIEF-MAKER
XIX. LEELINAU, THE LOST DAUGHTER
XX. THE WINTER-SPIRIT AND HIS VISITOR
XXI. THE FIRE-PLUME
XXII. WEENDIGOES AND THE BONE-DWARF
XXIII. THE BIRD LOVER
XXIV. BOKWEWA, THE HUMPBACK
XXV. THE CRANE THAT CROSSED THE RIVER
XXVI. WUNZH. THE FATHER OF INDIAN CORN
Illustrated by John McLenan
A Dakota had married an Arikara woman, and by her had one child. By and by he took another wife. The first wife was jealous and pouted. When time came for the village to break camp she refused to move from her place on the tent floor. The tent was taken down but she sat on the ground with her babe on her back The rest of the camp with her husband went on.
At noon her husband halted the line. “Go back to your sister-in-law,” he said to his two brothers. “Tell her to come on and we will await you here. But hasten, for I fear she may grow desperate and kill herself.”
The two rode off and arrived at their former camping place in the evening. The woman still sat on the ground. The elder spoke:
“Sister-in-law, get up. We have come for you. The camp awaits you.”
She did not answer, and he put out his hand and touched her head. She had turned to stone!
The two brothers lashed their ponies and came back to camp. They told their story, but were not believed. “The woman has killed herself and my brothers will not tell me,” said the husband. However, the whole village broke camp and came back to the place where they had left the woman. Sure enough, she sat there still, a block of stone.
The Indians were greatly excited. They chose out a handsome pony, made a new travois and placed the stone in the carrying net. Pony and travois were both beautifully painted and decorated with streamers and colors. The stone was thought “wakan” (holy), and was given a place of honor in the center of the camp. Whenever the camp moved the stone and travois were taken along. Thus the stone woman was carried for years, and finally brought to Standing Rock Agency, and now rests upon a brick pedestal in front of the Agency office. From this stone Standing Rock Agency derives its name.
Mokete was a chief’s daughter, but she was also beautiful beyond all the daughters of her father’s house, and Morongoe the brave and Tau the lion both desired to possess her, but Tau found not favour in the eyes of her parents, neither desired she to be his wife, whereas Morongoe was rich and the son of a great chief, and upon him was Mokete bestowed in marriage.
But Tau swore by all the evil spirits that their happiness should not long continue, and he called to his aid the old witch doctor, whose power was greater than the tongue of man could tell; and one day Morongoe walked down to the water and was seen no more. Mokete wept and mourned for her brave young husband, to whom she had been wedded but ten short moons, but Tau rejoiced greatly.
When two more moons had waned, a son was born to Mokete, to whom she gave the name of Tsietse (sadness). The child grew and throve, and the years passed by, but brought no news of Morongoe.
One day, when Tsietse was nearly seven years old, he cried unto his mother, saying, “Mother, how is it that I have never seen my father? My companions see and know their fathers, and love them, but I alone know not the face of my father, I alone have not a father’s protecting love.”
“My son,” replied his mother, “a father you have never known, for the evil spirits carried him from amongst us before ever you were born.” She then related to him all that had happened.
From that day Tsietse played no more with the other boys, but wandered about from one pool of water to another, asking the frogs to tell him of his father.
Now the custom of the Basuto, when any one falls into the water and is not found, is to drive cattle into the place where the person is supposed to have fallen, as they will bring him out. Many cattle had been driven into the different pools of water near Morongoe’s village, but as they had failed to bring his father, Tsietse knew it was not much use looking near home. Accordingly, one day he went to a large pond a long distance off, and there he asked the frogs to help him in his search. One old frog hopped close to the child, and said, “You will find your father, my son, when you have walked to the edge of the world and taken a leap into the waters beneath; but he is no longer as you are, nor does he know of your existence.”
This, at last, was the information Tsietse had longed for, now he could begin his search in real earnest. For many days he walked on, and ever on. At length, one day, just as the sun was setting, he saw before him a large sea of water of many beautiful colours. Stepping into it, he began to ask the same question; but at every word he uttered, the sea rose up, until at length it covered his head, and he began falling, falling through the deep sea.
Suddenly he found himself upon dry ground, and upon looking round he saw flocks and herds, flowers and fruit, on every side. At first he was too much astonished to speak, but after a little while he went up to one of the herd boys and asked him if he had ever seen his (Tsietse’s) father. The herd boy told him many strangers visited that place, and he had better see the chief, who would be able to answer his question.
When Tsietse had told his story to the chief, the old man knew at once that the great snake which dwelt in their midst must be the child’s father; so, bidding the boy remain and rest, he went off to consult with the snake as to how they should tell Tsietse the truth without frightening him; but as they talked, Tsietse ran up to them, and, seeing the snake, at once embraced it, for he knew it was his father.
Then there was great joy in the heart of Morongoe, for he knew that by his son’s aid he should be able to overcome his enemy, and return at length to his wife and home. So he told Tsietse how Tau had persuaded the old witch doctor to turn him into a snake, and banish him to this world below the earth. Soon afterwards Tsietse returned to his home, but he was no longer a child, but a noble youth, with a brave, straight look that made the wicked afraid. Very gently he told his mother all that had happened to him, and how eager his father was to return to his home. Mokete consulted an old doctor who lived in the mountain alone, and who told her she must get Tsietse to bring his father to the village in the brightness of the day-time, but that he must be so surrounded by his followers from the land beyond that none of his own people would be able to see him.
Quickly the news spread through the village that Morongoe had been found by his son and was returning to his people.
At length Tsietse was seen approaching with a great crowd of followers, while behind them came all the cattle which had been driven into the pools to seek Morongoe. As they approached Mokete’s house the door opened and the old doctor stood upon the threshold.
Making a sign to command silence, he said:”My children, many years ago your chief received a grievous wrong at the hand of his enemy, and was turned into a snake, but by the love and faithfulness of his son he is restored to you this day, and the wiles of his enemy are made of no account. Cover, then, your eyes, my children, lest the Evil Eye afflict you.”
He then bade the snake, which was in the centre of the crowd, enter the hut, upon which he shut the door, and set fire to the hut. The people, when they saw the flames, cried out in horror, but the old doctor bade them be still, for that no harm would come to their chief, but rather a great good. When everything was completely burnt, the doctor took from the middle of the ruins a large burnt ball; this he threw into the pool near by, and lo! from the water up rose Morongoe, clad in a kaross, the beauty of which was beyond all words, and carrying in his hand a stick of shining black, like none seen on this earth before, in beauty, or colour, or shape. Thus was the spell broken through the devotion of a true son, and peace and happiness restored, not only to Mokete’s heart, but to the whole village.
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An excerpt from Andrew Lang’s RED FAIRY BOOK
THERE was once upon a time a fisherman, who lived hard by a palace and fished for the King’s table. One day he was out fishing, but caught nothing at all. Let him do what he might with rod and line, there was never even so much as a sprat on his hook; but when the day was well nigh over, a head rose up out of the water, and said: `If you will give me what your wife shows you when you go home, you shall catch fish enough.’
So the man said `Yes’ in a moment, and then he caught fish in plenty; but when he got home at night, and his wife showed him a baby which had just been born, and fell a-weeping and wailing when he told her of the promise which he had given, he was very unhappy.
All this was soon told to the King up at the palace, and when he heard what sorrow the woman was in, and the reason of it, he said that he himself would take the child and see if he could not save it. The baby was a boy, and the King took him at once and brought him up as his own son until the lad grew up. Then one day he begged to have leave to go out with his father to fish; he had a strong desire to do this, he said. The King was very unwilling to permit it, but at last the lad got leave. He stayed with his father, and all went prosperously and well with them the whole day, until they came back to land in the evening. Then the lad found that he had lost his pocket-handkerchief, and would go out in the boat after it; but no sooner had he got into the boat than it began to move off with him so quickly that the water foamed all round about, and all that the lad did to keep the boat back with the oars was done to no purpose, for it went on and on the whole night through, and at last he came to a white strand that lay far, far away. There he landed, and when he had walked on for some distance he met an old man with a long white beard.
`What is the name of this country?’ said the youth.
`Whiteland,’ answered the man, and then he begged the youth to tell him whence he came and what he was going to do, and the youth did so.
`Well, then,’ said the man, `if you walk on farther along the seashore here, you will come to three princesses who are standing in the earth so that their heads alone are out of it. Then the first of them will call you—she is the eldest—and will beg you very prettily to come to her and help her, and the second will do the same, but you must not go near either of them. Hurry past, as if you neither saw nor heard them; but you shall go to the third and do what she bids you; it will bring you good fortune.’
When the youth came to the first princess, she called to him and begged him to come to her very prettily, but he walked on as if he did not even see her, and he passed by the second in the same way, but he went up to the third.
`If thou wilt do what I tell thee, thou shalt choose among us three,’ said the Princess.
So the lad said that he was most willing, and she told him that three Trolls had planted them all three there in the earth, but that formerly they had dwelt in the castle which he could see at some distance in the wood.
`Now,’ she said, `thou shalt go into the castle, and let the Trolls beat thee one night for each of us, and if thou canst but endure that, thou wilt set us free.’
`Yes,’ answered the lad, `I will certainly try to do so.’
`When thou goest in,’ continued the Princess, `two lions will stand by the doorway, but if thou only goest straight between them they will do thee no harm; go straight forward into a small dark chamber; there thou shalt lie down. Then the Troll will come and beat thee, but thou shalt take the flask which is hanging on the wall, and anoint thyself wheresoever he has wounded thee, after which thou shalt be as well as before. Then lay hold of the sword which is hanging by the side of the flask, and smite the Troll dead.’
So he did what the Princess had told him. He walked straight in between the lions just as if he did not see them, and then into the small chamber, and lay down on the bed.
The first night a Troll came with three heads and three rods, and beat the lad most unmercifully; but he held out until the Troll was done with him, and then he took the flask and rubbed himself. Having done this, he grasped the sword and smote the Troll dead.
In the morning when he went to the sea-shore the Princesses were out of the earth as far as their waists.
The next night everything happened in the same way, but the Troll who came then had six heads and six rods, and he beat him much more severely than the first had done but when the lad went out of doors next morning, the Princesses were out of the earth as far as their knees.
On the third night a Troll came who had nine heads and nine rods, and he struck the lad and flogged him so long, that at last he swooned away; so the Troll took him up and flung him against the wall, and this made the flask of ointment fall down, and it splashed all over him, and he became as strong as ever again.
Then, without loss of time, he grasped the sword and struck the Troll dead, and in the morning when he went out of the castle the Princesses were standing there entirely out of the earth. So he took the youngest for his Queen, and lived with her very happily for a long time.
At last, however, he took a fancy to go home for a short time to see his parents. His Queen did not like this, but when his longing grew so great that he told her he must and would go, she said to him:
`One thing shalt thou promise me, and that is, to do what thy father bids thee, but not what thy mother bids thee,’ and this he promised.
So she gave him a ring, which enabled him who wore it to obtain two wishes.
He wished himself at home, and instantly found himself there; but his parents were so amazed at the splendour of his apparel that their wonder never ceased.
When he had been at home for some days his mother wanted him to go up to the palace, to show the King what a great man he had become.
The father said, `No; he must not do that, for if he does we shall have no more delight in him this time; `but he spoke in vain, for the mother begged and prayed until at last he went.
When he arrived there he was more splendid, both in raiment and in all else, than the other King, who did not like it, and said:
`Well, you can see what kind of Queen mine is, but I can’t see yours. I do not believe you have such a pretty Queen as I have.’
`Would to heaven she were standing here, and then you would be able to see!’ said the young King, and in an instant she was standing there.
But she was very sorrowful, and said to him, `Why didst thou not remember my words, and listen only to what thy father said? Now must I go home again at once, and thou hast wasted both thy wishes.’
Then she tied a ring in his hair, which had her name upon it, and wished herself at home again.
And now the young King was deeply afflicted, and day out and day in went about thinking of naught else but how to get back again to his Queen. `I will try to see if there is any place where I can learn how to find Whiteland,’ he thought, and journeyed forth out into the world.
When he had gone some distance he came to a mountain, where he met a man who was Lord over all the beasts in the forest —for they all came to him when he blew a horn which he had. So the King asked where Whiteland was.
`I do not know that,’ he answered, `but I will ask my beasts.’ Then he blew his horn and inquired whether any of them knew where Whiteland lay, but there was not one who knew that.
So the man gave him a pair of snow shoes. `When you have these on,’ he said, `you will come to my brother, who lives hundreds of miles from here; he is Lord over all the birds in the air—ask him. When you have got there, just turn the shoes so that the toes point this way, and then they will come home again of their own accord.’
When the King arrived there he turned the shoes as the Lord of the beasts had bidden him, and they went back.
And now he once more asked after Whiteland, and the man summoned all the birds together, and inquired if any of them knew where Whiteland lay. No, none knew this. Long after the others there came an old eagle. He had been absent ten whole years, but he too knew no more than the rest.
`Well, well,’ said the man, `then you shall have the loan of a pair of snow shoes of mine. If you wear them you will get to my brother, who lives hundreds of miles from here. He is Lord of all the fish in the sea—you can ask him. But do not forget to turn the shoes round.’
The King thanked him, put on the shoes, and when he had got to him who was Lord of all the fish in the sea, he turned the snow shoes round, and back they went just as the others had gone, and he asked once more where Whiteland was.
The man called the fish together with his horn, but none of them knew anything about it. At last came an old, old pike, which he had great difficulty in bringing home to him.
When he asked the pike, it said, `Yes, Whiteland is well known to me, for I have been cook there these ten years. To-morrow morning I have to go back there, for now the Queen, whose King is staying away, is to marry someone else.’
`If that be the case I will give you a piece of advice,’ said the man. `Not far from here on a moor stand three brothers, who have stood there a hundred years fighting for a hat, a cloak, and a pair of boots; if anyone has these three things he can make himself invisible, and if he desires to go to any place, he has but to wish and he is there. You may tell them that you have a desire to try these things, and then you will be able to decide which of the men is to have them.’
So the King thanked him and went, and did what he had said.
`What is this that you are standing fighting about forever and ever?’ said he to the brothers; `let me make a trial of these things, and then I will judge between you.’
They willingly consented to this, but when he had got the hat, the cloak, and the boots, he said, `Next time we meet you shall have my decision,’ and hereupon he wished himself away.
While he was going quickly through the air he fell in with the North Wind.
`And where may you be going?’ said the North Wind.
`To Whiteland,’ said the King, and then he related what had happened to him.
`Well,’ said the North Wind, `you can easily go a little quicker than I can, for I have to puff and blow into every corner; but when you get there, place yourself on the stairs by the side of the door, and then I will come blustering in as if I wanted to blow down the whole castle, and when the Prince who is to have your Queen comes out to see what is astir, just take him by the throat and fling him out, and then I will try to carry him away from court.’
As the North Wind had said, so did the King. He stood on the stairs, and when the North Wind came howling and roaring, and caught the roof and walls of the castle till they shook again, the Prince went out to see what was the matter; but as soon as he came the King took him by the neck and flung him out, and then the North Wind laid hold of him and carried him off. And when he was rid of him the King went into the castle. At first the Queen did not know him, because he had grown so thin and pale from having travelled so long and so sorrowfully; but when she saw her ring she was heartily glad, and then the rightful wedding was held, and held in such a way that it was talked about far and wide.
From: Andrew Lang’s RED FAIRY BOOK