Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The beggar's magic: a Chinese tale

Chang, Margaret Scrogin. The beggar's magic: a Chinese tale, New York: M. K. McElderry, c1997.

This is an ancient Chinese folktale, which retells a story about selfishness and sharing. An old beggar-priest arrives in a small village, Fu Nan and his father are totally astonished by the priest who shows the most wonderful and miraculous magic tricks in the world: He draws a sparrow on a paper, then the sparrow turns into a real sparrow and escapes from the page; he fills an old widow’s dry well with full of sweet clean water. When the Moon Festival arrives, the wealthy farmer Wu refuses to share his food with the other villagers, and ripe pears with the priest. The slighted beggar-priest picks up a pear seed, and performs a magic trick that makes the selfish, greedy farmer the laughingstock of the village.

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