Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scarface the pirate

Many year ago there was a pirate who lived in the Rhio Is land. He had one hundred men, and one day they had a terrible fight, one of the pirates cut the leader's face with a knife. After that, the pirate leader was called “scarface.”

Scarface took some of his inert and went to look for an­other place to live. Before long they came to the village of Pasir Panjang on the western coast of Singapore. Now, the people who lived in Pasir Panjang were fishermen. They lived quietly. and when they saw the pirates, they were very frightened.

“Help us, and we won't hurt you,” said Scarface to the people. “If you don't Help us, we'll burn your village.”

The people were poor, and they would be even poorer if the pirates burned the village. They agreed to let the pirates stay, but soon they learned that Scarface arid his men were very cruel. One afternoon, a man was carrying a chicken home to his family when a pirate stopped him. “Give me that chicken,” said the pirate.

'But my wife is ill, and I need it to make her some soup,'” said the man.

At this, the pirate drew his sword and cut off the poor man's head. Then he picked up the chicken and walked away laughing.

The next day, the villagers talked to their headman. “These pirates must leave our village,” they said. “And you are the headman, so you must tell them to leave.”

Like everyone else in Pasir Panjang, the headman was afraid of the pirates, but he went to see Scarface. “You have made my people angry, and we want you to leave,” he said.

Scarface laughed. “You are a stupid old man,” he said, and kicked the headman down the stairs.

That night the old headman died. The next morning, after the pirates had left. the village to rob some Chinese junks, the villagers talked among themselves. “Our headman is dead, and we have no one to help us now,” they said. “We must tell the sultan.”

“I'll go to tell the sultan.” said the headman's son.

“Brave boy!” said the villagers.

And so, the headman's son ran to see the sultan in his pal­ace. When the boy finished telling the sultan about the pirates. the sultan said, “You are a brave boy, and I will certainly help the people in Pasir Panjang. Go back to the village arid tell the people that will send the soldier tonight. Tell them to stay in their houses when the soldiers come.”

“Oh, thank you, Your Majesty,” said the boy, and he ran all the way back to his village. When he came to the village, he told the villagers what the sultan had said.

That afternoon, the pirates returned. They had stolen many jewels, clothes and baskets of fine food. They asked the villagers to cook the food for them. The villagers did as they were told and then went quietly to their homes. Scarface and his men ate too much and drank too much palm wine. Soon all the pirates were asleep.

When the pirates were asleep, the sultan's soldiers came into the village. They tied all the pirates with strong rope and took them to the sultan's palace. The next day all the pirates were hanged, and the sultan said he would hang any other pirate who came ashore.

Once again Pasir Panjang became a peaceful place, but people never forgot Scarface the pirate.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Fly and the Ant

A fly and an ant got into an argument over a silly question as to who had right of way. The fly, which has always been one of the rudest insects, said all sorts of horrible things to the unas­suming ant.
“You are such a tiny, insignificant creature,” it said. “How dare you compare yourself to me, a daughter of the air? I go to the palaces of the greatest lords, and eat out of the plates of bishops. If I choose to, I can even walk about on the crown on the king's head!”
The ant waited patiently for the fly to finish, and then he answered carefully: “Yes, I know that you can land on heads, but you are not even capable of distinguishing between the head of a king and the head of an ass. Furthermore, it is not as if you are welcomed In palaces.... But why am I wasting my time with you when l should be off gathering supplies for the winter? Although ants may be tiny, we are wise, and the cold doesn't kill us. You flies can fly up high.... but when the first cold comes, you fall to the ground, along with the dry leaves, and what good to you are your wings then!”

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The False Sultan

Once there was an old sultan who had several wives. One of these wives was the mother of Prince Ibrahim. She was the sultan's favourite wife, and Prince Ibrahim was his favourite son. Another of the sultan's wives was called Fawziah, and she was the mother of Prince Hashim. Fawziah hated Prince Ibrahim because she knew that he would become sultan when the old sultan died. She wanted her own son, Prince Hashim, to become sultan.
One day Fawziah went to see a bomoh. The bomoh gave her a strong medicine made from roots. When Fawziah went back to the palace, she put this medicine in Prince Ibrahim's food.
The next clay Prince Ibrahim went hunting in the forest. Af­ter he ate lunch, he began to feel very ill. The poor prince felt so ill that he could not open his eyes or move. Luckily, a kind woodcutter found him and took him to his own house deep in the forest. When the prince was well again the woodcutter asked him who he was and where he had come from.
“I can't remember,” said Prince Ibrahim. “I don't know who I am or what I did before I came to the forest.”
“Well, in that case.” said the woodcutter, “I'll teach you how to cut wood. I can always use this help of a strong young man.” And so, the young prince became a woodcutter.
Meanwhile the old sultan had did. Before he died he had asked to see his favourite son, but Fawziah told him that Prince Ibrahim was outside the palace enjoying himself. This made the old man angry.
“So,” said the old sultan. “Prince Ibrahim thinks more of his own pleasure than of his old father. Bring me Prince Hashim instead.”
When Prince Hashim arrived, the old sultan gave him a beautiful keris. Its handle was made of gold and jewels, and its blade was of the finest steel. “Take this keris,” said the old sul­tan, “and the people will know that you are their ruler.” The old sultan gave the keris to Prince Hashim, but suddenly it flew out of his hand and fell to the floor with a loud crash.
Now the ministers who were watching began to worry. They knew that the magic keris would only stay in the hand of the true sultan. They said nothing though, because they did not know who the true sultan was.
When the old sultan died, Prince Hashim became the sul­tan. His first act was to send his mother away because he was afraid she might tell someone that she had poisoned Prince Ibrahim. Before she left, Fawziali asked the bomoh to curse her son, Sultan Hashim. She was never heard from again, but the bomoh's curse worked. The new sultan was cruel and unjust, there was little food, and many people were hungry and sick.
The minister went to see the sultan. “Your Majesty,” they said, “the people are unhappy. They are hungry and many of them are sick. They say all this is your fault, and we think you should let us rule the country for a time.”
“Then they will say it is your fault,” said Sultan Hashim, and that is fine with me. I will tell the people about this change tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is my birthday.”
Now next morning , the sultan showed himself to his people. He also showed them the magic keris which was always shown to the people on the sultan's birthday. Now the magic keris was kept in a fine box. When the box was opened, everyone could see it. But this year, .when the box opened, the keris flew out and began dancing through the crowd of people who had come to see it. In a flash, the royal keris had landed at the feet of a young woodcutter.
“You!” cried the sultan instantly recognising  Prince Ibrahim “What are you doing here?” my mother poisoned you.”
When the people heard this they began to shout. Then they chased the cruel sultan out of the palace. The ministers watched happily as the young woodcutter held the keris in his hand. They then put the royal crown on his head.
Sultan Ibrahim ruled well. The country grew rich and the people were happy. He did not forget to reward his old friend the woodcutter who came to live at the palace, and the ministers were glad to have true sultan on the throne at last.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Many, many years ago, there lived in Keelung a famous doctor. There was a teapot hanging outside his front door. When he had finished work for the day, he jumped into the teapot where he lived, instead of living in his house.
One day, a man called Wang saw him jump into the teapot. "That's strange," he thought. "How does he do that?"
The next day he went to see the doctor. "I know you are not an ordinary man," he said. "Can you teach me everything you know?"
The doctor invited him to dinner. "The teapot is my house," he said. "Will you come inside with me?"
"How can I do that?" asked Wang. "The teapot is so small."
The doctor held his hand. "Let's jump in together," he said.
Whoosh! They jumped and instantly they were inside the pot. Wang looked around. He was amazed to find that he was inside a large house. There were many rooms and all of them were beautifully furnished. There was a garden too with many strange flowers in it.
After a while, a servant came in carrying a golden teacup. "Please have some tea," said the doctor.
When Wang tasted the tea, he found that it had a delicious flavour. "What kind of tea is this?" he asked the doctor.

"It is heavenly tea," the doctor replied.
Soon dinner was served. There were many different kinds of dishes on the table. Wang had not seen most of them before. However, one dish looked like bean curd. "What is that?" he asked. "Is it bean curd?"
"No," answered the doctor. "It is made from the bones of a dragon which has just been caught in the mountains."
Then Wang realized that all the food on the table came from another world.
Before long, the two men became good friends. They used to meet every day and drink wine, together.
One day, the doctor said to Wang, "I have some bad news for you. You know I am not an ordinary man. My master, who is a fairy, has found out that I am friendly with you. He has ordered me to return to heaven. I have brought some special wine for us to drink. We shall soon have to part."
The doctor sent his servant to bring the wine. However, al­though the wine was in a small bottle? his servant was unable to lift it.
"Call some other men to help you," said the doctor.
The servant did as he was told. But although a dozen men helped him, they were unable to move the bottle.
The doctor laughed. He picked up the bottle with two fin­gers. Then he and Wang began to drink the wine. They drank cup after cup but the bottle never became empty.
The doctor saw that Wang looked very unhappy. "Don't be so sad," he said. "Why don't you come with me?"
"How can IT' asked Wang. "I have a wife and family."
"If you really want to go," the doctor said, "I can tell you what to do." He cut a small piece of bamboo and gave it to Wang. "Hang this outside your kitchen door before you go to bed tonight."
When Wang's family opened the kitchen door the next morning, they were surprised to see his body hanging there. His wife cried bitterly. She thought her husband had killed himself because of some business debts. So they made a coffin and buried him.

Then the doctor led Wang into the mountains with him. Af­ter some days, he said to Wang, "I am going to leave you. You can train yourself to become an immortal. It is the only way. But you must remember one thing. Whatever happens, you must not be afraid."
Not long afterwards, while Wang was sleeping, he was wak­ened by the roaring of tigers. When he opened his eyes, lie saw that he was surrounded by many fierce tigers Luckily, he thought of what the doctor had told him. He kept quiet and did not move. After a while, the tigers went away.
Later, when he was resting in a cave, he saw a huge rock hanging above him. It began to move as if about to fall on him. But Wang did not move. And this danger passed too.
After some time, the doctor suddenly appeared. "You are doing. Quite well," he said, "but there is one more test for you to pass. There is a pool of boiling water as hot as fire. If you can bathe in it, you will be able to change into an immortal. "
"Take me to it," said Wang. He did not feel afraid. He thought it would only be another test like the other two.
When they reached the pool, the water was bubbling. Wang tested the heat of the water with his toes. It was terribly hot. He tried several times to jump into the water. But each time, he turned back at the last moment.
"Never mind," the doctor said. "You nearly succeeded in be­coming an immortal. However, you failed to pass this last test. No one can do what is beyond their power. It is a pity you can­not follow me. I advise you to return home to your wife and family."
Wang was very disappointed. He even tried once more to jump into the boiling water but he could not do so as he was too afraid.
"How can I return home?" he asked the doctor. "You brought me here and I do not know the way back."
The doctor then cut a bamboo and gave it to him. "You can ride home on that. When you arrive home, throw the bamboo away. That is all."
Wang thought of his home once more. He sat on the bam­boo and shouted "Go!" The bamboo flew up into the sky with Wang. He dared not look down at the ground below. In a few minutes, he arrived at the gate of his own house. He threw the bamboo away. It changed into a dragon and flew away.
He knocked at the door. His wife opened it. She shouted out in fright. Then all the members of his family ran out. They refused to believe he was still alive.
"You must be a ghost!" they said.
Wang tried to tell them what had happened but they re­fused to listen. They said that he must be dead because his body had been buried.
"That was only a stick of bamboo that you buried," said Wang.
"What nonsense! It was your body," they replied.
So Wang told them to dig up the coffin. When they opened it, they found there was only a stick of bamboo inside.
After that, they believed him and they held a great feast to welcome him back. Wang stayed with his family for the rest of his life. He was very happy and never left home again.

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