Saturday, July 21, 2012

The phoenix’s egg

The phoenix’s egg
(Favourite stories from Taiwan)

Long ago, a man and his wife lived in the town of Huan-Lien. They had a large house and much land but they were unhappy because they had no children.
One day, the woman had a dream. In the dream, a fairy said to her, “As you are a very kind and good couple, I shall give you children. When you wake up, you will find four peaches. Look after them very carefully. You will then have children.
The woman told her husband about the dream the next morning. They looked around the house and found four peaches on their kitchen table. They wrapped them carefully in cloth and placed them in a box. A week later, they heard the sound of babies crying. They looked inside the box and found four beautiful boys there.
“What shall we call them?” the couple asked each other. That night, the woman dreamt again. And the same fairy said to her, “You will call your children Big Head, Hard Head, Long Feet and Cold Head.” So the children were given these names and they grew up healthy and strong. .
One day, the lady became ill. She told her sons that only medicine made from a phoenix’s egg could cure her. There was only phoenix’s egg in the entire country and that was kept in the king’s palace.
Big Head did not waste any time. He stole  the phoenix’s egg from the palace. His mother was cured immediately. The king , however, was very angry. He ordered his men to find the thief. Soon afterwards, Big head was arrested. The king ordered that he should be executed, but his head was so big that it was impossible to cut it off.
His brother, Hard Head, was then arrested. But his head was so hard that it was impossible to cut it off.
After that, Long Feet was arrested. The king ordered that he should be drowned. However, it was impossible to do so as he just walked on the water with his long feet.
“Seize the four brother,” cried the officer in charge of the king’s men. “and boil him alive.”
It was now the turn of Cold Head. He was throw into a pot of boiling water, but he did not fell the heat. He jump out of the pot and walked away.
When the king saw that it was useless to try and kill such children, he decided to let them go.
All for brothers lived happily ever after.

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