Folktale – Chinese

My friend Alex told me this Chinese tale that he learned from his grandmother.  Alex said there was this couple who lived in a house and a mother who lived with them. The mother loved eating carp, but the nearest stream was 5 miles away. The water from the stream was so fresh the children always brought this water for their grandma to drink and for her to cook the carp in. Every morning at 5AM, they would go catch four or five carp and bring back buckets of water to cook for their mother and grandmother.  They did this every day for two or three years. Then one day, one of the rocks cracked in their yard and out came a stream of water and carp.  Alex said that the stream with the water and carp appeared in their yard because God was saying thank you for taking care of their elders and now they didn’t have to go far for the carp or forther water that was as sweet as that from the river.

Alex said that he heard this folktale from his grandmother who used to tell it to him when he was younger.  According to Alex the Chinese culture is very family oriented and that is illustrated in the folktale as the children go to great lengths to do something kind for their parents and to take care of them.  In the story the children are rewarded for the kindness and care towards their parents.  But Alex emphasized the point that the children did not know they would be rewarded for this, so they did it of their own accord, not because they had incentive behind it.

I think like many cultural folklore, the meaning and understanding of it reveals much about the morals, values, and beliefs of a the culture.  Like Alex said, this folktale exemplifies the dutifulness of the children to their parents which could be indicative of the great respect honor that is paid to elders in the Chinese culture.  It also demonstrates the religious side of the culture that obviously feels that God will “reward” those who are deserving accordingly.

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