Saturday, May 12, 2012



SHENG HAI and his wife lived in a small village in China. They were very poor. They could not buy rice. A bag of rice cost a lot of money. Only very rich people had rice to eat.

Every day Sheng Hai and his wife had a little fish and some vegetables for their dinner. But they did not have any rice. Sheng Hai caught the fish in the river, and his wife grew the vegetables in the garden.

One day Shen Hai would not eat his dinner.

"What is wrong?" asked his wife. "Do you feel ill, good Husband? Is your head hot? Have you hurt yourself?"

"No! No!" answered Sheng Hai. "It is nothing like that. I am not hungry. Every day, in the morning and again in the evening, we have fish and vegetables to eat. I am sick of fish and vegetables! I never want to eat them again. I want some rice. I want to fill myself up with good rice. Nothing else will do!"

"That is silly talk," said his wife. "You know that we have no rice. How could we buy rice? We have no money. Only rich people buy rice. Eat up your fish and your vegetables, and be happy because you have something good for your dinner."

But Sheng Hai would not eat up his fish and his vegetables. He would not eat anything! Later he got up and he went out of the house and walked down to the river. He sat on the bank and looked at his sampan.

Suddenly he jumped up, and said, "I know what I will do. I will sell my sampan and with the money I will buy a bag full of lovely white rice. We shall eat rice in the morning and rice in the evening. We shall eat rice every day!"

He went off to the village to sell his sampan. But nobody wanted to buy it.

At last he came to the end of the village, and there he saw a very old man.

"Sir," called Sheng Hai, "Please buy my boat. It is a good boat, a dry one. It flies over the water like fish in the sunlight. It is long, and as light as a feather. Please buy my boat."

The old man answered, "I have no money. I have a little red box; that is all. But it is a good box," he said. "It has magic inside it."

"What is the magic?" asked Sheng Hai.

"What is the sun made of? Where are the stars when the sun shines?" said the old man. "Magic is magic. Nobody knows what it is, where it comes from, nor where it goes to. But come close and look carefully, and listen. You willsee what my magic red box can do."

The old man said, "Corn and fish, rats and mice and a bowl of rice."

As soon as he said this, a big bowl of rice and some fish came onto the top of the box.

Sheng Hai didn't wait. He took the old man to his sampan and gave it to him. Then he took the little red box and ran home to his wife. "Look, Wife," he called. "Look what we've got!" Then he said, "Corn and fish, rats and mice and a bowl of rice," and at once there was a nice hot bowl of rice and a good piece of fish on top of the box!

Sheng Hai and his wife were very happy. They had good food every day. They grew fat. They soon became rich too, for they sold the rice and fish that they did not eat. But as well as getting fat and rich, Sheng Hai's wife became a little silly! She wanted to open the box. She wanted to see what was inside it. One day, she lifted the lid and looked.

Inside, there was a small bowl. The bowl filled up with rice as she looked. Then the box filled up with rice. She tried to shut it, but there was too much rice inside. It would not shut.

Rice fell onto the floor. Rice filled the room. Rice filled the house. Rice came out of the house into the garden!

Then the west wind came, and it blew the rice all over the land. It blew it all over China. Soon, too, it started to grow. The fields and the hills grew green with good rice.

Ever since that time, when the west wind blows, the farmers are happy as they look at their beautiful rice growing in the fields. And ever since that time people have had rice to eat with their fish and vegetables.

from google

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