I am a Chinese Orphan. We are all Chinese orphans. I happen to come from California. I have children’s stories my people from Kwangtung have been telling since 1849, the year we left a corrupt and corrupted corruption of China to search for a place to live as Chinese. Every language in the world was a dialect of Cantonese.
The Manchu Qing Dynasty and the Brits gave the Opium War to the Chinese in 1840. By 1842 the brag was that 27% of Chinese manhood annually was being consumed by the cultivation, processing and consumption of opium. Consumption goes around and consumers comes around, in a perpetual motion of Chinese making white money. Business was so good that the Church took it over. In 1849 there was a lull in the Opium War.
Who knew when the Brits would fall on the Cantonese again? Like and unlike the people that abandon centuries of crops and home to follow Lowe Bay, a ruler they liked, but he was running out of the country in search of another, before the cruel genius Cho Cho rode into town and took it over. The people of the town chose to trust their fate to the unknown future of Lowe Bay. He represents Heaven. He is served by Kwan Kung who represents men, and Chiang Fei, a rich farmer who represents the earth. The Three Stars, the triad of Earth, Man and Heaven. Our first ancestor set off for new lands or failure.
Kwangtung province, the port of Canton, and boats were the only way out. Chinese didn’t need China to be Chinese. They had the stories. The stories led to money from the Chinese to the family waiting in China. Each Chinese sooner of later chose a place to settle, and sent for family. Sons, daughter, wives, parents. One by one, member by member from baby to grandma and grandpa the families reassembled as their first ancestor saved the money to buy the papers legal and otherwise and paid the fare their passage, one by one, to the Gold Rush in California, to the Gold Rush in New Zealand, to someplace new.
Dinky Chinese restaurants became family empires of restaurants, dentists offices and car dealerships. They were Chinese because of the stories they told. If you know the Chinese stories, you are Chinese. If you were told the Chinese stories, you are Chinese. If you tell the stories you are Chinese.
Among the stories still told in languages all over the world, is the Fox and the Tiger.
And now, I’m going to tell it to you.
THE FOX AND THE TIGER
YOU ALL KNOW what a fox is. Looks a little like a large house cat. Looks a little like a medium sized dog. Sharp-nosed. Sharp-eared. Bright-eyed. Bushytailed. It is a nice day. Fresh. The little fox is out for a little walk, through the woods, minding his own business.
Out of the shadows jumps the tiger. "All right, little fox, say Goodbye! to the world, for I'm going to eat'ya!"
"Now, hold on there, Tiger!" the little fox says. "You just can't jump out of the shadows with bad manners and threats and interrupt my pleasant nice little walk around my woods!"
"You don’t know that I am the King of the Woods?
"You! The King of the Woods?" The tiger laughs, "You? You? Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. You can't be King of the Woods! You have a teeny kitty cat body, and I have this beautiful, (Ooh, I love it so much) magnificently sculpted musculature! You have these little itty bitty kitty cat paws. Me, I have these magnificent ripping, terrifying claws. You have little toy teeth that can't get around one of my toes. And I have a mouth full of these pointed big teeth to puncture hide and muscles, break bone, and bite meat. Teeth that break! Teeth that gnash! Teeth….! How can you be King of the Woods?"
"Tsk.Tsk. Tsk.," the Fox shakes his head, "Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.. I don't want to hurt you, Tiger."
"I know you are just a big dumb guy. But I am willing to give you a chance to see for yourself."
"I am going to walk down this road here.”
“You’re going to walk?”
“We are going to walk down this road here. And we’ll see how the first three animals we meet along the way treat me with courtesy and respect.”
”If just one of these three animals talks bad manners all over me, or spits on me, or makes threats… I’ll let you eat me."
"Hmmm,” the tiger thought a moment, “You’re going to walk down this road?”
“The first three animals we meet…”
“And if just one of them treats you with bad manners, spits, or makes threats, you let me eat you?”
“I’ll let you eat me.”
"Hmmm," the tiger thought a moment and said, “How do I know you won't just run away, Little Fox?"
"To make sure I don't run away, Tiger, why don't you just follow me as close as you can?"
"Hmmm," the tiger says, and thinks, "Hmmm.” And thinks some more, and says. “To make sure you don't just run away, I get to follow behind you as close as I want?"
"Sounds good to me, let's go."
The little fox rattles along on his little feet. And the tiger follows close behind with his big shoulders rising and falling and his big pads silently separating the grass and settling into the earth.
"A little fox!" A buffalo comes snorting and charging out of the grass, “Stomp! Stomp! Stompity! Stomp! Gonna stomp on a Little Fox!” The buffalo screeches to a stop. “Oh ho, Little Fox!” he shakes his huge head chews his cud. “How are you today Little Fox?”
“Fine Buffalo. How are you?”
“Fine! Fine! I was stomping along and saw you, and just had to stop and say it’s such a beautiful day, isn’t a beautiful day?”
"Yes, it is Buffalo."
"The birds are singing." The buffalo blinks and shudders a bird off his flanks. “And the bees are buzzing.”
“Yes, they are Buffalo.”
“Well, it’s such a nice day, I’ll just be stomping along. If that’s okay with you.”
"Nice seeing you, Buffalo," the little fox says, and walks on.
The tiger follows, and says to himself, "Hmmmm. Interesting."
They walk on, come to a river and walk by the river awhile.. Suddenly an alligator comes leaping out of the water and snapping its jaws toward the fox. "My, my, my …!" the alligator sees the tiger, "Ooops! …friend! My pal. Ahhh." The alligator smiles, "Beautiful day. My good friend, Little Fox.”
“Have you noticed the sun is shining, the grass is so green.”
“Yes, I have noticed that.”
“The water sparkles.”
"Yes, it does."
"Yes, it does. I just had to say it to somebody.."
"Why, thank you, Alligator. That’s very kind."
"Yes, it is, isn’t it. Well, see you later."
"See you later, alligator," the little fox says and the alligator slinks back into the water. And the little fox walks on.
The tiger follows, saying to himself, "Hmm. Interesting."
Next a huge snake, a python comes dangling out of a tree and sticks its thin black forked tongue out and in, fast several times without licking its lips. "Haaaa, Little Fox say..." and the snake sees the tiger, "Hi-i-i-i! Say, Hiiiiiii there!"
"Hello, snake, how are you?"
"Oh? Oh, I'm just fi-i-i-ine, just fine thank you," the snake says. “Well…I mustn’t keep you. I’d hate to do thaaat.”
“Well, I should be going.”
“Yesss. Welll…” and the snake slips around a tree trunk and disappears.
The little fox walks on a few steps, then stops and turns to the tiger. He dusts his fur and asks, "Well, tiger, do you feel like eating me now?"
The tiger shies back and gulps and looks down at the little fox with awe, "Err. Oh, Little Fox. I lost my head. I obviously did not know what I was doing. You are, indeed the King of the Woods. With your permission, I'll withdraw now, and leave you to enjoy your walk alone."
The tiger back steps away, turns and disappears into the shadows, and the little fox walks on.###
WHAT KEPT THE TIGER from eating the Little Fox?
THE REAL NAME OF THE STORY is: THE FOX AND THE TIGER STRATEGY. Do you understand strategy? Or tactics? The difference between the tactical and the strategic will come clear to you in the next story, if not immediately, remember it for later, Confucius says, it clear up like the sniffles when you’re older.
STUPID THE SCHOLAR & THE WOLF, also known as THE NORTH COUNTRY WOLF, or THE WOLF OF SERNGDOONG or THE WOLF OF SHANDONG. Do you know where Serngdoong (Shandong) is?
( Draw a map of China on blackboard. Begin with the chalk in the upper right, and draw the part of the body that dangles, that’s Korea, come around to draw the inland sea to China, come around the camel’s head of Shandong, around the belly of China, past the island of Taiwan, to the underside past Hong Kong, the entry to the Pearl River to the port of Canton, past Macau, past Hainan Island to drawing the armpit of the Bay of Tonkin and on down the long armlike coast of Vietnam.) Shandong is the camel head pointing its nose at Korea.
STUPID THE SCHOLAR & THE WOLF
(THE WOLF OF SHANDONG)
A SCHOLAR HAS failed the Imperial examinations, "Oh me, I failed the exams. I'm stupid, stupid, stupid!" The failed scholar mopes along on the road of life with his bag of books over his shoulder. "How can I go home? Hi folks, I failed the Imperial exams?" He groans. "I'm just another failed scholar on the road of life.” He kicks himself. “Oh, me. Oh, my. I failed.” He slaps himself on the forehead. “I'm stupid. I don't know nothing."
A wolf dashes out of the woods and falls down at the failed scholar's feet, and looks up into his eyes.
"Please! Save my life! Save my life! Save my life!"
"Who? What? I don't know nothing!"
"I'll give you silver," the wolf says. "Silver!"
“I'll give you Gold!"
"Just hide me, and save my life! And I'll give you silver and gold," the wolf says.
"Err, uhh, how? Where?"
"What do ya have in the bag, man?"
"Books!" the scholar said.
"Books! You don't need books! No one’ll give you silver and gold for carrying books in a bag! Dump the books!"
"Right," the scholar says and dumps the books. The wolf climbs into the bag. His body is tight fit. His neck sticks out. Off in the distance barking dogs are heard. The wolf is frantic. "Come on, man, stuff my head down in this bag. Come on!"
The scholar shoves and pushes, and pushes, "Come on, get me in the bag!" The scholar shoves the wolf's head down into the bag.
"Now tie the bag up! Hurry, man!"
The scholar ties the bag up.
"Now pick the bag up and start walking, come on, hurry!"
The scholar heaves the bag full of wolf onto his back and staggers into a walk.
Hunters on horseback break out of the woods and rein up by the scholar. "You there! Have you seen a wolf come by this way?" the leader of the hunting party asks.
"You're sure you haven't seen a wolf come by this way or cross this road?" the hunters ask.
“The dogs sniff the wolf on your trail, and then nothing, no wolf spoor.”
“Well, I haven’t seen a wolf. If one were around, I certainly would have noticed.”
“Would you?” one hunter asks and laughs.
“You seem a stupid, for a scholar,” the other says. The hunters back their horses and the scholar finally looks up and sees they wear imperial colors. They are the emperor's hunters. They ride off the road where the dogs are sniffing for a trail.
The scholar walks on carrying the wolf in his book bag for one mile, two miles, six miles till the wolf cries out, "Hey, lemme out here! I can't breathe! Put me down. Let me out of here!"
The scholar stops and sets the bag down, unties it and helps the wolf slip out.
"You know, while I was in your bag," the wolf says, "I got awful hungry. I'm so hungry from being in your bag, I am going to eat you up. Don’t look at me like that, it is your fault I'm hungry."
"Now, wait a minute, Wolf. That's not fair. You promised me silver…”
“Yes, I know. And I promised you gold.”
“And you promised me gold if I hid you in my bag and saved your life," the scholar says.
“If you saved my life, yes. That’s what I said.”
"I kept my part of the bargain, and now instead of silver and gold you tell me, I owe you a meal, and I'm it? That is not fair!"
"Sure, that's fair. Anybody will tell you that's fair," the wolf says. "What’s unfair about it?"
"Come on, nobody will say that's fair! I'm not that stupid."
"Ask anybody. Anybody!. And they'll tell you, I'm being fair."
"Ask anybody. Ask any three living things, and I bet, they'll tell you it’s fair to eat you for saving my life."
"Yes. Ask three old things and if one, just of them says it's not fair of me eat to eat you…I won't eat you," the wolf says.
He chuckles. "Stupid!"
They walk a bit and come to an old withered apricot tree. "Talk to the tree," the wolf says.
"Talk to the tree?" the failed scholar whines.
"Talk to the tree," the wolf says.
The scholar stops by the old apricot tree, and bows. "Old Apricot Tree," the failed scholar says, "I beg your pardon, I'm nobody, I don't mean anything, but I would like the benefit of your instruction in a personal matter."
The rickety Old Apricot Tree rattles and sighs, "Hummmm."
"Old Apricot Tree, I was minding my own business moping along the road of life after I flunked the big exams and this wolf runs out of the woods begs me to save his life. He makes me dump my books, and promises me silver and gold to hide him in my bag and carry him, and I do, and the Imperial hunters ride up, and ask me if saw a wolf, and I tell them I didn't see any wolf, and then when the wolf gets out of the bag, he tells me he got hungry inside my bag, and it's my fault he's hungry and he's going to eat me," the scholar says on a long breath. "Is that fair, Old Apricot Tree?"
And the Old Apricot Tree sighs and rattles his rickety twigs and says, "I was born and the rain watered me. And the sun shone on me. And you protected me from the birds and made sure I got water and sun, and I grew and grew. And then I sprouted fruit and you humans picked my fruit and ate it and threw away the seeds. And you carved your initials in my bark and you let your kids climb into my branches and break them. Then you cut off my branches and you burned them for firewood. And, yeah, it's fair for the wolf to eat you!"
Oh, oh, the scholar thinks. This isn't good, and thanks the Old Apricot Tree and walks on.
They come to a field and in the field is an old horse. "Talk to the horse," the wolf says. And the scholar approaches the old horse, bows and says, "Old Horse, I'm nobody and don't mean anything but beg the benefit of your instruction in a personal matter."
"Oh, boy, here we go again," the Old Horse says.
"Old Horse, I was minding my own business just walking along the road of life after I flunked the big exams and this wolf runs out of the woods and begs me, to save his life. He falls on his knees at my feet, and begs me to save his life. He promises to give me silver and gold if I'll hide him in my bag and carry him, and I do, and the Imperial hunters ride up and I tell them I didn't see any wolf. And then when the wolf gets out of the bag, he tells me it's my fault he's hungry and he's going to eat me," the scholar says on a long breath. "Is that fair, Horse?"
And the Old Horse says, "I was born. I suckled on my mother's milk and ran and played after her. And you humans gave me good grass and good grain to eat and lots of water to drink and lots of room to run. I was out when the sun shone and sheltered from the rain. Then you let your kids ride on me, and whip me, and you tie me up to things. You made me pull for you round and round or back and forth back and forth. And then you whipped me to make me pull harder when your plow hit hard ground. And the work and the harness left sores on my body. And biting flies buzzed and birds came to eat off my open sores and I got a little older and you stopped feeding me. You only whipped me and then when my back gave out, you turned me out without food. You no longer let me in out of the rain after all the work I've done for you and, yeah, it's fair for the wolf to eat you."
"Whoops," the scholar says to himself, "I'm in trouble."
Next the scholar sees an old teacher asleep on the road. "Old Teacher. Wake up. You’re sleeping on the road.”
“What?” the Old Teacher says waking up. “What ma I doing on the road? I was asleep here? Who are you? Did you rob me?”
“Ask the Old Teacher,” the wolf says low so the old teacher won’t hear.
“Ask him,” the wolf says with threatening show of teeth.
The scholar bursts into tears, falls on his face in front of the old man and whimpers, "Old Teacher, I wasn't hurting anybody I was just walking along the road of life after I flunked the big exams, minding my own business. And this wolf runs out of the woods and begs me to dump my books and promises me silver and gold to hide him in my bag and carry him, and I do, and the Imperial hunters ride up and I tell them I didn't see any wolf. Then when the wolf gets out, he tells me he got hungry inside my bag, and it's my fault he's hungry and he's going to eat me!" the scholar whines. "And he says that's fair! Is that fair, Old Teacher?"
"There are many sides to every question,” the Older Teacher says. “I want to understand this before I decide. Is this what happened, Wolf?"
"Yes, I thought he told it very well," the wolf says.
"Hmmm. There's something I still don't understand," the Old Teacher says. "Where did you say this happened?"
"Oh, back this way along the road about, maybe six miles," the scholar says.
"Can we go back there and let me have a look at where this all happened?"
"Sure, we can. Let's get this over with fast," the wolf says and leads the way.
They reach the spot where the scholar and wolf met and the Old Teacher paces around this way and that with his stick and shakes his head. "No, there's still something I don't quite understand," he says, "You say you dumped your books and this wolf here climbed into that little bag?"
"Oh, I understand your problem," the wolf says, "You don't believe a big magnificent wolf like me can fit into that little bag! Here we'll show you!" The wolf turns to the scholar and snaps, "Come on, stupid, help me get in the bag!"
The wolf and scholar huff and puff and grunt and groan stuffing the wolf into the bag. And the Old Teacher laughs. "I can still see your head, Wolf. What kind of hiding is that?"
"Well, I had Stupid shove and push on my head till it was stuffed in the bag too."
"Well?" the old Teacher shrugs.
"Come on, man," the wolf says, "Stuff my head down into the bag!"
And the scholar uses all his strength and shoves the wolf's head into the bag, and stops to catch his breath.
"Then what did you do?" the Old Teacher asks.
"I tied up the bag."
"Aha!" the Old Teacher says.
"Tie up the bag!" the wolf says from inside the bag.
The scholar blushes, "Oh, how stupid of me!" and ties up the bag. "Now what?" he asks.
"Walk on," the Old Teacher says.
“Walk on?” the scholar asks.
“Walk on?” the wolf asks inside the bag.###
The tiger is so busy outsmarting Stupid he forgets to eat him. The teacher’s talk and walking the wolf back step by step into the bag is a distraction and a tactic that works.
Talk about STUPID THE SCHOLAR & THE WOLF with the Chinese storyteller in your family.
Ask why THE STUPID SCHOLAR & THE WOLF was told as if the wolf being tied up in a bag was nothing? Why are the children listening to the story relieved that the teacher did not tell the scholar to bag the wolf, tie up the bag and toss it in the water?
The stoyteller will say some children’s stories are told with the age of the listener, in mind, and some are written for the ages.
Listen to THE STUPID SCHOLAR & THE WOLF or THE NORTH COUNTRY WOLF, or THE WOLF OF SHANDONG. You know though it is never said, that for as long as this story, you are safe from killers, killing and kill.
When the listener has knowledge of killing the Confucian brain kicks in, and the older listener will see that killers, killing and kill are in the story.
The children’s stories are distillation of a people’s dreams. Dreams that teach how to hold yourself together and live a in raw, bloody, and very scary world. Stories boiled out of a life that was war, where families were the only reality and didn’t legally exist. Family members were property of the king pretending to be an emperor, and the family had to pay taxes to the corrupt emperor, and tribute to the gangs, tribute to the horsemen every fall as sure as crows, in order to stay on their land, that no matter who ruled, who trampled on it, it was their family’s land. Only the rule of a monster, could drive the family to give up the land they’ve held for generations. Only the promise of a land ruled by a king of their dreams, would lead them to follow the good, kindly ruler to a land he would rule. That’s a story only told once, in Lo Kuanchung’s THE THREE KINGDOMS and, unfortunately, not here. The landbound Chinese trying to farm vs the horsemen who follow the seasons and live off the land come every year like crows at harvest time. Might the Chinese have been nomads themselves, before taking up agriculture? Clues are in the children’s stories. Our’s and their’s. Why don’t we know their’s? Might the nomad’s family keep what came from the family inside the family? I don’t know. The answer is in the stories.
The reduction that occurred in the stories makes the link between the children’s stories and the psychological images of self-inspiration that writers these days try to convince the reader are real experiences.
In modern times the children’s stories have been scrubbed of all and anything that might disturb a nation’s particular definition of “socialization” and “assimilation” leaving bland and incomprehensible, cute and utterly meaningless shells of stories that were once Chinese.
The people cared so much about the survival of the family, the body of knowledge and ethics the family treasured, and members valued above themselves, that they warned their children to defend themselves against adults of their family who sold children for the good life. The children responded by keeping certain stories close to their original forms. I’m going to tell you a Chinese story and a Japanese story where kids are the teachers of adults.
DO YOU THINK YOUR PARENTS love you? Would they sell you to me, for food? For $100. American? For $5000. American? How about you? I will pay $ 1 million American to your parents for you! Not enough? I will pay your parents $5 million for each of you. Oh, they’ll miss you. But 5 million buys a lot of grief. They won’t take my 5 million dollars? They’ll take my $ 10 MILLION. OK, a few of you have the kind of parents that won’t sell you at any price. But most of you go home with me.
And five, maybe six, maybe ten years later I come back with another big hunger and a lot of money to buy all the children of Auckland, New Zealand.. And ten years later I come back again….
What would happen to Auckland?
To stop grownups from selling their children to monsters, for the good life, the Chinese have a story about a child like you, who comes to a family in a boat, in this case a lotus bud, and the Japanese told a story about a boy born out a peach, to teach the adults to look on their children as their future.
WE ARE IN CHINA, in a beautiful green place where a great mountain pass opens and a significant river runs from the heart of China out to the sea. Chentang Pass. A beautiful place, with a beautiful fortress city, under the command of handsome Commandant Li.
People here live a good life. No famine. No flood. No drought. No disease. Nobody starves. Nobody gets sick. Nobody works hard. Nobody goes without. Everyone has more than enough. This place is protected by the Green Dragon King of the Eastern Sea.
And all the Green Dragon King of the Eastern Sea asks in return for the good life, is children, to eat as party food. There a recipes for chicken in THE JOY OF COOKING he uses on children.
Commandant Li's wife is pregnant with their third child She goes into labor. She stays in labor for three years. The commandant is losing his patience. At last she gives birth. But it’s not a child.
Who is going to tell the commandant he is father of a flower bud. A closed lotus!
A cute smiling servant carries the Third Prince in the palm of his hand. He rolls it off his hand onto a stone tabletop, and backs away.
“The Third Prince is a flower?” The Commandant is not happy with what he sees.. He draws his sword and slices the lotus bud open. Golden light brights out and blinds everyone in the room. Right in the center of the light is a tiny little naked boy no larger than a thumb.
The women attending the birth go, "Ooooh!"
The Commandant takes the little boy in his hand, and examines him closely. "Ahhh. He's a cute little fella, isn't he!" he says. "But he's so small!"
The Taoist teacher flies down from the mountaintop on the back of a crane, dismounts, covers his right hand with his left and. congratulates the Commandant on the birth of a son.
The tiny little boy jumps into the teacher's hand and the teacher asks, "Allow me to name your son, and I will restore him to full size."
"Please, teacher," the Commandant says covering his right hand with his left, “Name my son. And please restore him to full size.”
The teacher names the little boy "Nah Jah."
"Nah Jah," the Commandant says. “My son.”
The teacher takes a lotus seed from his gourd, puts it into Nah Jah's mouth. The little boy swallows it, and grows to a full sized boy before everyone’s eyes. The teacher says, "Nah Jah will continue to grow as a normal boy," and, "I give Nah Jah his magic weapons. Hoops of heaven and earth. And a red ribbon." Then the teacher sits cross legged on the back of the crane and the crane spreads its wings and silently flies the teacher back to the mountaintop.
Nah Jah grows very fast. He plays on the beach with his friend the magic deer and children.
There is a reason the heros of the Asian children’s stories are orphans. Orphans force the people who decide to become their parents, by word, or deed, to promise to raise the child stranger as their own.MOMOTARO
We are in Japan. The story is MOMOTARO. An old samurai and his wife have packed up the sword, and picked up the plow here in a beautiful mountain region that slopes down to the sea. They are old and childless. They grow rice.
One day he's out cutting firewood and the old woman goes down to the river to beat dirty clothes on wet rocks.
The old woman looks up from beating clothes to see a huge peach, larger than a beach ball, bobbing down the river.
"Oooh," the old woman says, "This is going to be good to eat tonight after the same old rice."
After dinner the old man picks up his knife and slice! "Whoops, what's this little naked baby boy doing standing up in the middle there? This peach has no seed, only a little boy! He's perfect. He's the child we have always wanted."
Peach is Momo, and Taro is boy in Japanese. Life is good where Momotaro, the Peach boy, lives by the sea. The weather is always perfect and the crops always full. And there no pirates no marauders. That’s because this part of Japan is protected by the Oni. The people have a deal for the Oni’s protection, all they want are a few children.
The oni are demons with horns growing out of their heads, and monsters who eat children.
Momotaro does not think giving up children to the oni is such a good idea. His parents tell him, “It’s politics, son. You’re too young to understand politics.”
Momotaro insists. “I’m going off to fight the oni.” His parents relent and make him kibidango rice cakes to eat along his way to war. They give him armor, a long sword for fighting, and short sword, the unmentionable, an iron fan for gesturing. They give him a flag with the peach crest on it and the slogan "Nippon Ichi" "Japan First!"
On his walk to the sea, Momotaro sits on the ground to eat a kibidango. A big chested dog with a curly tail woof woofs for attention in the woods and asks for a kibidango, to eat. “I can help you. I have a huge bite and sharp teeth and strong jaws. I can bite through trees and fell them.”
“I won’t give you a whole kibidango, but I’lll share one with you.”
On their walk to the sea, the dog senses a monkey, up in a tree. The monkey yip yips and laughs at Momotaro and the dog. “Momotaro. Momotaro! Take me with you. I can climb. Just give me a kibidango.”
“I won’t give you a whole kibidango, but I’lll share one with you.”
““Momotaro. Momotaro! Up in the sky” Momotaro looked up and saw a green headed ring necked pheasant, winging circles in the air. “I can fly high and scout from the sky. How about a kibidango?
“I won’t give you a whole kibidango, but I’lll share one with you.”
Momotaro, the dog, the monkey and the pheasant, build a boat, cross the sea. They surprise the oni. They tear off the oni’s horns. They kill the oni. They massacre the oni. Oni tear their own horns off and surrender.
Momotaro and his friends free the children, and return home with the treasure.
Momotaro goes home because the old man and old woman kept their word. They did not sell Momotaro to monsters for the good life. And everyone who'd had it so easy for so long, had to work for a living again. They had to raise their children instead of selling them to monsters for the good life.
DOWN IN THE UNDERSEA KINGDOM, in the crystal palace of the Green Eastern Sea, the Dragon King wakes up from a long sleep and licks his chops. "It feels like party time," he says.
He sends a Sea Devil on the back of a sea turtle to the surface of the sea after children A few children happen to be playing on the beach with Nah Jah and his friend, the deer. Nah Jah whips his red ribbon and drives the devil back empty handed.
"What? No children?" Dragon King says. The Sea Devil slimes into a toad in a puddle of itself at the Dragon King's feet. The Dragon King is angry. Instead of children his Sea Devil shows up empty handed and an expression of sorry trembling on his face. The Dragon King is disgraced. His guests are hungry for children. The undersea tea and wine, all the sauces, bits and tidbits in dishes on the palace table have been shaken into the laps of his guests the Dragon Kings. It’s that boy Nah Jah, the son of the Commandant who should be keeping his deal and feeding the choicest children to the Dragon King.
He sends his own son, the Dragon Prince armed with two round hammers, up to the surface to pound Nah Jah into mush and grab children to fry, to boil, to steam, to smoke and eat!
The Dragon Prince breaks the surface of the sea and shouts, "Who dares rough up my father's palace guard and stir up the sea?"
"I do,” Nah Jah answers.
The Dragon Prince clangs his round hammers together and attacks.
Nah Jah kills the dragon prince with his hoops of heaven and earth, then reaches his hand down inside the dragon's mouth, grabs his gut, and pulls the dragon inside out. He throws the limp gutted, body, into the sea. He keeps the dragon prince's gut. "A nice present for my father," Nah Jah says.
The body of the Dragon Prince settles to the bottom of the Eastern Sea at the feet of the Dragon King. The Dragon King of the Eastern Sea is angry.
The Dragon King walks into the Commandant's castle, with his sword drawn, and yells, "Your son! Your son killed my son. We had a deal. I gave you good weather. I gave your people the good life. Your people were supposed to give me children. My son comes to collect a few children, and your son kills my son? You take care of your son, or no rain. No green growth. No good life."
“This is news to me,” the Commandant says. He's at loss for words. Nah Jah walks in with the little dragon's gut. “A present for you, father.” The Green Dragon King seeing his son’s insides, lunges at the impudent boy with his naked sword. Nah Jah laughs, slips and dodges the Dragon King's strikes and slashes. The Dragon King swings down to split Nah Jah, and breaks his sword on a large incense burner and Nah Jah smiles.
“You broke my promise to the Dragon King made before the Jade Emperor in heaven!”
He takes away Nah Jah's magic weapons. He ties his son to a pillar.
"Give me your Third Prince!" the Dragon King screams.
The Commandant draws his sword and approaches Nah Jah. He raises his sword to strike Nah Jah down.
Nah Jah snaps the ropes that hold him, snatches the sword out of his father's hands, says, "I give you back your flesh and blood," and the boy slits his own throat and dies. Dies.
Nah Jah’s father does not keep his promise to the boy born from lotus. Does the Commandant give the Dragon Kings children to banquet on?
Nah Jah's friend, the deer comes to Nah Jah's side with his magic weapons, and lays them by the dead boy's side and licks his hand. Nah Jah and his weapons turn into a glowing lotus seed.
The crane flies down from the mountaintop, picks up the seed and flies back up the mountain. The teacher takes the seed, tosses it into the pond. After awhile a new lotus blossoms, and inside the new lotus is a new Nah Jah.
"Thank you, teacher," Nah Jah says, covers his fighting hand in salute, and drops to his knees.
The teacher helps Nah Jah to his feet, “I didn’t bring you back for nothing. You want to fight the Dragon Kings? You will fight dragon kings. All four dragon kings.”
To celebrate the victory over the Third Prince, the Green Dragon King of the Eastern Sea has collected all the children of the Commandant’s Chentang Pass and plans to serve them prepared four ways at a great banquet for the three other dragon kings.
The teacher restores the hoops of heaven and earth and the red ribbon to Nah Jah.
Again Nah Jah drops to one knee, bows his head, covers his fighting hand and says, “Thank you, Teacher.”
“Here I give you a duster that turns into a spear with a shake, Also I give you wind and fire wheels to place under your feet and fly through the sky. And here also I give you the power to sprout two extra heads and two extra sets of arms. With three heads and six arms you can fight in all directions at once.”
Nah Jah drops to one knee, bows his head, covers his fighting hand a third time, and says, “Thank you, Teacher.” Then flies off on his fire wheels. He crashes the Green Dragon King's party before before the cooking for the banquet has started. The outraged dragon kings rise to fight the smart aleck boy.
The red dragon tries burning him. The white dragon tries freezing him in outer space. They fight Nah Jah every way they know how and nothing they do stops the three headed boy with six arms. Nah Jah throws his spear. It skewers the Green Dragon King and grows into a pillar planted in the earth and fixed in the sky, with the dragon pinned at the top, high and dry as far from the sea as Nah Jah can keep him.
Nah Jah frees the children and sends them home to Chentang Pass. The children wave and the people cheer the sight of him flashing in the sun as rides a deer across the sky. There is no more selling of children to monsters for the good life, people have to work for a living again.
But because the Commandant broke his promise to care for Nah Jah as his own, Nah Jah never goes home again.
There are more adventures of Nah Jah in the folk novel THE CREATION OF THE GODS. But I direct your attention to the statues of Kwan Yin, the Buddhist Goddess of mercy, you will find for sale in curio shops in Chinatowns and around the world, or displayed in Kwan Yin temples and shrines.
Look at Kwan Yin's feet. In some of the larger statues, a child by each foot can be seen. A little girl by the right foot. And by her left foot, a little boy with a red ribbon and hoops of heaven and earth, standing on a lotus.
The children’s stories define China by acclamation and authority of five thousand years Chinese storytelling. They define of the Chinese people as Joan of Arc and Degas and the Eiffel Tower define the French people, as Greek myths define the Greeks, being Chinese by definition means you know the stories I ‘ve just told and up to a hundred Chinese stories more.
Chinese that haven’t enjoyed the fruits of a Chinese childhood, have no reason to pass their ignorance on to their children and guarantee they “suffer” the same “lack of identity” and the silliness of the “identity crisis,” that afflicted their parent acting like Hans Christian Andersen’s THE UGLY DUCKLING. The Ugly Duckling parent can give their children the Chinese childhood they never had, simply by reading a book of stories and telling the ones they like to their kids, while they’re still kids, if you please.THE BIG CHICKEN
I need three brave volunteers to help me tell a scary story of my own. Hands go up. (I hope) I choose three. They give me their names. In the meantime, I’ll use the names of children I know.
time forrr…THE BIG CHICKEN
ONCE UPON A TIME, there were three little children. One was named Benin (my granddaughter). And two was named Garrick (my son’s friend). And the third was named Sam (my son).
Late one day, their mother called them into the bedroom, where she was brushing her hair. She said, "Sam, Garrick, Benin. Your daddy and mommy are going out dancing tonight. But before we go, would like you to go down to the grocery store and buy us some peanuts.
"And make sure you get home before it gets dark outside, because tonight is the night, the Big Chicken comes out!
"And whatever you do, do not take the shortcut home, through the graveyard, because that is where the Big Chicken lives."
Benin, Garrick, and Sam went down to the grocery store, found the aisle with the peanuts and got into a big argument. Mommy did not say what kind of peanuts to buy. And there were peanuts in bags, peanuts in sacks cans, peanuts in jars. Salted peanuts. Unsalted peanuts. Peanuts in the shell and peanuts out of the shell. There were roasted peanuts, salt roasted peanuts, honey roasted peanuts, and boiled peanuts. There were even raw peanuts.
There were Texas peanuts, and California peanuts. There were Georgia peanuts and Carolina peanuts and Florida peanuts. Peanuts from Mexico even peanuts from Africa. Fancy peanuts and cocktail peanuts and peanuts mixed with peanuts from other places and other kinds of nuts.
Finally they decided to buy a can of salted cocktail peanuts. And when they got outside the store, it was dark!
"Let's take the shortcut home through the graveyard," said Sam.
"But the big chicken lives there," said Benin.
"Ay yay yay yah," said Garrick.
"Don't be scared. There's no big chicken," said Sam.
So, Benin, and Garrick and Sam went walking in the graveyard. The moon was up, and they could see their shadows stretch from their feet and slip over the grass and the headstones and the graves in front of them, as they walked down one hill and up another.
Then they saw this big shadow come up behind them and cover their shadows. And they heard, "Buck-Buck! Buck-Buck!"
"What'd you say, Sam?" Benin asked.
"I didn't say anything. It must have been Garrick," Sam said.
"I…I…I didn't hear anything," Garrick said.
And Sam, Garrick, and Benin looked in front of them and still couldn't see their shadows. And they heard, a little louder, "BUCK-BUCK! BUCK-BUCK!"
"Did you hear that, Garrick?" Sam said.
"I…I…I" Garrick said chattering his teeth.
"Turn around and see what it is," Benin said.
"I'm not turning around!" Garrick said.
"Sam? Would…would you turn around? And see if there's anything behind us?"
And Sam slowly turned around and took a look over his shoulder. And he saw the BIG CHICKEN! It had toes as big as Cadillac's. It's legs were as large as telephone poles! Its body was as big as a McDonald's. It's head was as large as a UPS truck. And it had an EYE as big around as a manhole cover! And Sam said, "Run!"
And they ran. Ran up the hills and down the hills. Ran out of the graveyard and into the street. Ran down the street and into their house. They put the cocktail peanuts in the kitchen and ran up the stairs, into the bedroom. They hid under Benin's bed. And waited. And listened.
They heard the Big Chicken walk into the house. "BUCK-BUCK!"
They heard the Big Chicken walk into the kitchen. "BUCK-BUCK!"
The Big Chicken ate the peanuts. "Buck-buck."
The Big Chicken ate everything in the refrigerator. Then the Big Chicken ate the refrigerator! The Big Chicken ate the cupboards, the stove, the sink. "Buck-Buck!"
The Big Chicken ate up all the furniture in the living room.
They heard the Big Chicken climbing the stairs. "Buck-buck!"
They heard the Big Chicken walk into Mom and Dad’s room. It ate up Dad’s golf clubs. “Buck-Buck.” It ate all Mom’s shoes. “Buck-Buck.” It ate their big bed! “Buck-Buck.”
They heard the Big Chicken walk into the bathroom. "Buck-Buck!"
It ate up the toilet! "Buck-Buck!" It ate up the shower, and the tub, and the sink. "Buck-Buck!" It ate up the medicine chest. "Buck-Buck!"
Then they heard the Big Chicken walk the into Benins' room. "Buck-Buck!" It looked at the Benin's dolls. "Buck-Buck!" And ate them up. It looked at the Benins' chest of drawers. "Buck-Buck!" And ate that. "Buck-Buck!"
The Big Chicken saw Benin's bed! "Buck-Buck!" It came closer, and looked.
"Uhhhh!" Benin said.
"Shhh!" the boy's said.
The Big Chicken ate the quilt covering the bed. "Buck-Buck!"
The Big Chicken ate the blankets. "Buck-Buck!"
The Big Chicken ate the sheets. "Buck-Buck!"
The Big Chicken ate the mattress! "Buck-buck! Buck-Buck!"
The Big Chicken ate the box springs! "Buck-buck." There were the kids under the bed. "Buck-buck!" The Big Chicken looked at Sam! "Buck-Buck!" The Big Chicken looked at Garrick! "Buck-Buck!" The Big Chicken…Boo!###