Wednesday, 9 May 2012

White tiger, blue serpent

Tseng, Grace. White tiger, blue serpent, New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, c1999.
A lovely original fantasy based on a folktale from China’s Yunan Province. Two lands are divided by a raging river, one of which is a rich and fertile land which belongs to a Jealous goddess Qin, and is protected by a white tiger and a serpent; the other shore is barren and poor. There is a bridge that connects the two lands, but no one goes to the rich land. Kai and his mother grow up on the barren west shore. Kai’s mother is a master weaver who is good at weaving gorgeous silk brocades, which she barters for food and firewood. Kai has loved brocades for years, and he persuades his mother to make one for him to keep. To compensate for the loss, they make a pact; during the day she works on it, Kai has to work harder and longer to support them. Kai works like a man for a thousand days to fulfill his promise, and becomes supernaturally strong, agile and sharp-eyed. When the brilliant brocade is finished, the greedy goddess Qin sends a wind that sweeps it away. Kai starts his journey bravely to regain the brocade. He uses his newfound strengths to defeat the white tiger and the serpent…

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