The Magical Dumplings and Other Chinese Fables
Chew, Katherine L
Here is yet another book printed upon demand days after I ordered it. The book contains twenty-seven short Chinese stories. I tried four and enjoyed them thoroughly. They tend to be pourquoi or aetiological stories, explaining for example why the cat hates the rat. When Nian Xian decided to name the years of the twelve-year cycle after animals, he arranged a contest across the Heavenly River. Both cat and rat asked for help from the bull, since both were unable to swim. Near the end of the crossing, rat deceived cat and pushed him into the water and then jumped ashore ahead of the bull (The Rat and the Cat, 31-32). The stories here tend to move into the supernatural more than fables usually do. What, for example, was the origin of the kitchen god? Where is the one missing scroll of the Buddhist scriptures brought to China from India? Since all of these printed upon demand books have a different printing date from the date of their publication, I begin here to list them according only to their date of publication.