Nationality: Chinese American
Residence: Los Angeles, California
Date of Performance/Collection: 2022
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Mandarin
(Notes-The informant will GT be referred to as and the interviewer as K)
Background info: GT is a Chinese American student who was born and raised in California. Both his parents were born and raised in a small town in China, which is where he knows this story from. He told me this story in his home during the daylight.
K: So uh same questions. Name of the story, context of the performance, and uh…where did you hear it?
GT: Yeah, I remember. Its called 白莲山庄的巫师 or like…sorcerer of the white lotus lounge if I make it make sense in English. Uh so its another like fairytale I heard from my mom or like books and stuff
K: Ok neat, whenever youre ready
GT: Yeah ok uh so like…Uh, it starts with there was a very powerful sorcerer, who could use dark magic. He had pupils as he like taught them dark magic I guess. Anyways, he asked them to watch a covered bowl and to not uncover it but of course, the students did, and all that was in it was a little straw boat in clear water. They like messed with the uh boat, and it tipped over. The sorcerer came back and said he knew what they had did, even if they denied it. The next night he left them with an uh..a candle and told them to watch it so it doesn’t go out. They all fell asleep and it went out, and again they denied it but the sorcerer knew, and that like…scared the students. Later uh, one of them insulted him, so he turned him into a pig and sold him to a butcher who killed him like a butcher does to an uh pig. Anyways, that student’s dad found out so the Emporer arrested him and his family. As they were going up an uh…a mountain all of them, the soldiers and such, saw this huge tree with a giant mouth and eyes. The sorcerer said his wife could handle it, and she got eaten. He said his son could handle it and then he got eaten, then he begged to handle it, and then HE got eaten. The thing is, it was all a trick and the three of them got away scot-free. The end
K: Is there like…a moral to this story
GT: *laughter* you’d think huh? No, just don’t fuck with sorcerers I guess.
This was an odd one. The fact that there’s no real moral, in fact, the “bad guy” got away with his deeds, was super interesting. Most other folklore and/or fairytales at least have the good guy succeeding, if not rife with moral teachings. I later asked for further clarification from the informant, and he told me that the sorcerer was part of the lounge of white lotus, as seen in the title. This lounge was, at least according to my research, a revolutionary society in China, so it makes sense that they’d go against the grain in who “won” in a fairytale. I also thought it was interesting that the sorcerer was meant be scary. The story did not shy away from making him the very obvious bad guy, at least by today’s standards. He turns one of his students into a pig and sells him to a butcher!