DRAGONS SHAPE CHINA – Chinese Stories
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The villages respected and honored the Dragons, because they offered protection, controlled the weather thus created good fortune and wealth, now a Dragon becomes a friend and brings a festive New Year to a starving village.
Once a very long time ago Mei Ling, a young girl, lived in an impoverished village. Rain never came, and the crops of rice and the vegetables had died. Grandma said, "The villagers are afraid of the anger from the dragon on the mountain top. The village bestows no honor on him, so village not honored by dragons."
Mei Ling invites an angry dragon to a village party.
And the people lived near an enormous mountain were afraid of the Dragon who lived on top the dragon three this steam through mountains down and bellowed in a terrible voice, "Never come near me. I live alone, and that's the way I want it."
The villagers warned their children, "Never climb the mountain or go near the angry dragon. He caused our poverty and woes. He is an unlucky dragon. Stay away from him!"
Mei Ling's grandmother said, "The dragon is lonely and nobody honors him, so he is angry."
It was a time of the great birthday celebration everyone in the village celebrated birthdays at one time at the beginning of the New Year in spring. Mei Ling's grandmother said, "Poor as we are, Mei Ling, you may invite anybody you pleased to the birthday party, this is your party also."
To her grandmother, Mei Ling said, "I am to invite the sad, lonely dragon, so he feels happy and wanted. He will stop roaring at our village."
The next morning Mei Ling said, "Mother, I am going to ask the dragon to come to the birthday party." Mei mother hollered at her daughter, "Foolish girl the dragon will eat you up."
Mei Ling said under her breath," No he won't!"
Mei Ling started up the rocky mountain path; tree branches grew over rocks and blocked her the climb. She tripped several times; the path not traveled for years. About a third of the way up the steep cliff, the Dragon roar and spit steam, which sprayed down on her. Rocks tumbled on her. Scared, Mei Ling ran down the stumbled down the mountain. The Dragon roared, "Always alone forever more."
The next morning Mei Ling told her father, "I am going to invite the Dragon on the mountain to the party."
"Come back, silly girl, the dragon will ramp you with his four legs and long tail," hollered her father after her.
Again stepping over stones, loose rocks, and tree roots, Mei Ling climbed her way up the mountain, this time two-thirds of the way. Then the Dragon roar, "Without a friend I shall die." Her bellowed and screeched. Hot drops of steam fall on Mei Ling; this was too much. She again stumbled down the steep mountain.
"I will be back, angry dragon!" Mei Ling was not giving up. The dragon was one sad, lonely beast. He needed a friend.
Her mother and father looked at her as she ran breathlessly towards them. "Hope you learned your lesson," said her father. Mei Ling's grandma gave her a smile and a hug, whispering, "Don't give up, Mei Ling. The dragon needs honor."
The day of the celebration arrived. The villagers brought their unique dishes of rice with dried fish and dried vegetables they cooked and placed on along on rocks beside the dried river. Their hope being their music, their prayers, and their feast would invite good luck.
Today was the birthday party and Mei Ling's last chance to ask the lonely, sad dragon with the loud roar that steamed round to come to the village and be a friend. She must ask him.
This time Mei Ling took extreme effort to be quiet, climbing gently over the rugged rocks and stepping carefully over the roots of the trees. She reached did the top standing for a moment to observe the dragon, who looked down at the village. Tears hung in the dragon's huge eyes, which alerted her that the dragon was incredibly sad and friendless.
Mei Ling stepped in front of the dragon, who arched up with a start. Before he showed his anger, Mei Ling politely bowed and said, "Oh dragon of the mountain, you with the angry roar and blows of steam. I've come to invite you to the party that we celebrate for everyone's birthday. You are my guest."
All the dragon could only say, "You, tiny girl, had courage enough to climb through my angry roars and steaming. No one for years dared approach me." Saying that the dragon started to cry, and the tears rolled from his eyes and continued until Mei Ling stood in the small pond. The Dragon noticing the pond he made said, "What kindness you have to be my friend. Climb on my back, and we shall slide with my tears to your party."
Mei Ling sat on the mountain dragon's back, and they slid down the mountain in the dragon's tears that became brisk, bright blue and fresh. The small river filled up the dry lake. Mei Ling on the dragon floated on the top; he swam over to the villagers. Nothing said, not a comment made while Mei Ling climbed from the dragon and offered him a bowl of rice. Then Mei Ling turned to the villagers and hugging the dragon, said, "We are to honor and respect my friend, Mountain Dragon; the day is his birthday just as ours."
One of the villagers shouted, "The good-luck dragon!" Another one shouted, "Our New Year's Dragon!" All the villagers bowed and one at a time patted the dragon, each declaring, "I honor you, might Mountain Dragon?"
Because of Mei Ling and her courage that New Year's day many centuries ago, the Dragon of the Mountain became a welcome guest and invited to all New Year's parties, after all, he was the New Year's Dragon.
And forever the mountain river filled the lake in the valley, so the farmers had enough rice and vegetables, fish, shrimp, eel, and crabs to eat. The people were never hungry, and the dragon lost his angry roar. He became a friend and honored as the 'Good-Luck Dragon' bringing fortune and friendship to the people.
Since that ancient time when the Good-Luck Dragon brought in the New Year, the respect and honor for dragons grew, because these dragons create rivers and lakes that supply fish, crabs, eels and shrimp to eat and water for crops, and which give the people fortune, prosperity and now friendship.
As a storyteller, I want adults and children to understand the respect gained by the mythical Dragons that enabled culture and history; and the usage of the dragon by the Emperors to declare their power in China. My intentions being to honor the ancient history of Chinese mythology in the simplest of words. If I misrepresent anything, please let me know.
An adapted story for Dragons Shape China, "Mei Ling and the Lonely Dragon," told in the Chinese Galleries at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Enhance, adapted, re-imaged, and elaborate by teller Bobbie Kinkead, 2002-2012.
Multicultural Fables and Fairy Tales, 'Mei-Ling and the Dragon,' Tara McCarthy, Scholastic Professional Books, pp. 91 to 93, 1993.
There are too many to list!
© This version of 'The Lonely Dragon' is mine. You may use the idea, premise, or plot for your stories. A well-used plot: a child who helps the old lonely person. Please respect the use of Chinese tales, legends, and myth when using - always give credit to the resources.
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ASIAN STORIESHistorical Fiction
Daily in April will be posted a written story: 'How Dragons Shaped China'; the Hindu Ramayana from SITA's point of view; and from Korea, 'Taming of Tiger'; from my days of telling verbal stories at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. These tradi...