We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Kindness Across Cultures: Stories to Prove We Care. Each post highlights present-day and folktale examples.
China is a vast country where people often focus on community rather than individualism. This cultural aspect is cherished in many folktales where one sacrifices for the many – ultimate kindness. The Chinese girl picture shown here was taken by Steve Evans. He has granted permission for Story Crossroads to use this image.
Present-Day Charitableness & Care
China was celebrated in a fairly recent article called “China emerges as a serious player in humanitarian aid” and can be found here: https://www.devex.com/news/china-emerges-as-a-serious-player-in-humanitarian-aid-90974.
While reading the article, China was hesitant to receive such recognition. This highlights again the cultural values of community over the individual. In this case, it is an individual country fulfilling needs on a global scale.
Past Charitableness & Care (Folktale)
The Girl and the Waterfall – or under many different titles – with a couple versions here:
- Book called “The Girl and the Waterfall” by Lucretia Samson, published by Clean Slate Press
- Story called “The Waterfall of White Hair” within “Mother and Daughter Tales” by Josephine Evetts-Secker, published by Barefoot Books
Although there are several versions, here is my summary:
Water never came from the mountain like for most mountains. The people had to travel a long ways to get water. A girl with long black hair, whom everyone called Long Hair, had an elderly mother who could not make the long trek. Everyday, the girl walked with her pig. One day, her pig discovers a radish. When the girl pulls on it, she discovers an underground fresh water stream. She cannot wait to tell the whole village. Then, a green man with long golden hair, beard, and mustache says that he is the spirit of the mountain and she must not reveal this secret underground stream. Otherwise, she must hang her head over a waterfall forever. She keeps the secret though her long black hair turns into long white hair from the burden of the secret. Then, Long Hair sees an old woman stumble and spill her water. Long Hair does not want this woman to travel the long distance and commits to telling that old woman and the whole village about the underground stream. Long Hair is swooshed away and appears before the green man with golden hair. He allows her to say goodbye to her mother before sentenced to the waterfall. While traveling home, another man/spirit appears and says he admired her sacrifice. He wished for her life to be spared and said that he carved a statue that looks like her. She must be willing to shave her long white hair to place on the statue. She agrees, the statues is placed over the waterfall, and Long Hair is bald for a long time. When the hair grows back black, and the green man is none the wiser.
Interesting Notes on Kindness:
- Long Hair cared for her elderly mother without complaint
- The whole village committed to patience and looking out for each other due to the water source being – supposedly – so far away
- Long Hair’s first thought when discovering the secret underground stream was to tell the whole village
- Long Hair knew it would be death to reveal the secret to the old woman yet did anyways
- Another spirit was impressed by Long Hair’s selfless act and rewards her kindness with another kindness
- When Long Hair’s burden was lifted and her black hair came back, she returned to her natural way of being kind
What stories of kindness do you know associated with China? Anywhere in the world – past or present? Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.
While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2018-schedule/).
We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.)