JOURNEY FROM BEYOND
Adapted from Lafcadio Hearn's The Story of the Girl Ts'ing
by Yuko Saito
nce upon a time, a baby girl was born to a rich family who lived in a peaceful village on a river. The baby, named Chunfung, was healthy and strong. But sadly, a week after her birth, her mother died. The father, grief-stricken as he was, immediately had to find a nursemaid for his baby who was crying bitterly for milk.
He was consulting with his mother about it when their maid brought them good news.
"You know the ferryman who lives upriver?" she said. "His wife just gave birth to a boy, Liensen, a few days ago. The woman has plenty of milk. Perhaps she could nurse your baby together with her own."
"That's great," said her master, "I will go ask her right away."
hunfung and Liensen were fed together and slept together. By and by, their teeth came in and they began to toddle. Chunfung was brought back to her home.
But little Chunfung cried and cried, missing her foster home. So the maid took her each day to the ferryman's hut to let her play.
When she grew a little bigger, Chunfung began to go there by herself. She and Liensen would play all day, catching small fish or jumping into the river from his father's boat.
Chunfung was a strong-willed child and always stood up for Liensen. When his father hit him because of his pranks, she would cling to the man's waist saying, "Don't hit him, please! He isn't a bad boy!" If village children picked on him, she would pick up a stick and chase them away.
ears passed. Chunfung became a beautiful young lady. All the young men in and around the village wanted to marry her. But she did not show any interest in them.
Word of her reputation reached the ears of the lord of the manor and he made an offer of marriage. Her father and grandmother were overjoyed.
But Chunfung said, "I don't want to marry anybody except Liensen."
"Oh, Chunfung!" exclaimed her grandmother, "Don't be silly! Liensen is the poorest young man in this village. You cannot marry him. Of course not."
"Then I will remain single all my life," replied Chunfung determinedly.
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