Author: Norman Hinsdale Pitman
Rewritten by Liana Chau
Hu-Lin was a slave. She got sold to a wretched man since she was a baby by her father, and was treated badly, along with a couple of other little girls. Their jobs were hard, to go to the streets, and act like beggars. The man was evil, that the girls call him Black Heart. Hu-lin longed to go to the fields and play with kites, but if she was caught slcking off, she would get a beating. One day, she finally decided to run away until she noticed old Black Heart following her. She tried to run, but Black Heart was too fast for her. He grabbed a stick and gave her a hard beating until she could no longer stand. She lay there as Black Heart went to the boat in the river to take a nap.
There was a goose next door, owned by an old man. The goose was called Ch’ang. Ch’ang and Hu-lin were close friends, because they often chatted when Hu-lin was off to the market . Ch’ang saw Hu-lin lying there, not moving. he said:
” Hu-lin, my friend, why are you sleeping, come, come, I have a big secret to tell you.”
Hu-lin rolled over and stared at her friend.
” My goose friend, I am not sleeping, for Black Heart has given me a hard beating for trying to run away. And not so loud please, he’s in that boat taking his daily nap.”
” Let me come over there, where it is safe to tell you.” he said. The goose waddled over to Hu-Lin and whispered in her ear: ” Last night Iv’e made a startling discovery. I was hungry last night, for my master has forgotten about my meal. The door blew open, and inside, I saw a young man sleeping on the bed. he suddenly awoke, and he had a white beard and bald head again. I think he is in some kind of spell!”
“OH! Then he must be a fairy!” Hu-lin said in amazement.
” What’s a fairy?” the goose asked.
Hu-lin laughed and after that, gave a brief explanation of what a fairy was. She then forgot about her own pain that she was able to get up, and followed the goose inside the house, because she was tempted to see a fairy. They went in the house, no one. They went to the bedroom, no one.
” Hmm, my master mustv’e went out today, but he rarely does. ” the goose said.
” This bedroom looks like a human’s bedroom after all.” Hu-lin said. They suddenly heard a slight sound from the door.
” MY MASTER’S HOME!” the goose whispered in fright.
They hid behind a basket in the bedroom. Luckily, Ch’ang’s master did not come to the bedroom, but went to the front yard. They stayed there overnight, and when they woke up, they saw an young, handsome, black-haired man on the bed. Hu-lin gasped.
” There he is!” Ch’ang cried out in amazement. He woke up, but he stayed young.
” What are you doing in my bedroom, and who is this child that seems so frightened?” the startled master asked.
” May I ask this question before I answer yours: What have you done to my master kind sir?” Ch’ang asked.
” No, you silly goose, I am your master!” the young man said.
” But, my master is old and ugly, while you are young and handsome.” the goose replied.
” What? do you say I am still young?” he asked.
” Of course,” Hu-lin said.
” May I ask what is your name dear?” the young man asked.
” Hu-lin,” she replied.
“Yes! My curse has finally been lifted! THANK YOU Hu-lin! Thank you! Also you Ch’ang! I couldn’t have done it without you.”
The two friends stared at him with confused looks.
” Would you like to hear the story of my misfortune?” he asked.
They both nodded eagerly, wanting to hear the story of the fairy.
” When I was a boy, my father always gave me what I wanted. He was a rich man, and he always told me that gods are better than humans. I didn’t belive that, so then I would always say that gods are no match to my father. One day, when I was walking with my teacher, we saw a well. He told me that the god of the well will get angered if I jumped over it. I didn’t believe it so I jumped. As soon as my feet landed on the other side, I started to shrink. My hair turned white, my skin turned yellow and wrinkly. When I asked my teacher what happened, he just shook his head sadly. When my father heard this news, he was heartbroken. One day, I decided to run away because I was ashamed of myself for living with the people over there. So I moved here, and stored all the money my father gave me away. I asked a fortune teller to help me with my horrible fate, but all they said was I would be a young man only when I sleep, and I would be turned back to normal if I was spotted by a mad goose and a tiger forest- I guess that would be you two.”
” What? I am not a mad goose!” Ch’ang said.
” Of course you’re not. But I just bought a goose to take care of, and just in case you were the one. I didn’t think so though. Since Hu-lin’s Hu is tiger, and lin, means forest. ” he explained.
” Ohh… I get it . So I’m the Tiger Forest.” Hu-lin said while laughing.
There was a banging on the door. They wondered who in the world would be knocking in that manner, while Hu-lin knew it was old Black Heart. She changed from a smiling face to a face full of tears.
” I will get another beating now, and have nothing to eat.” she said as she cried even harder.
” Don’t worry child, I will buy you from him.” he kindly said.
He bought Hu-lin from Black Heart pretty fast, and Hu-lin was thankful. She touched her head nine times on the floor, on her knees, before standing up.
“I am so happy that I belong to you now ! Thank you!” she said in gratitude.
” Don’t worry, I should do this, since you have turned me to my normal form once again. And when you are a little older, you shall become my wife, and live in luxury with my father.” he said kindly to the 15 year old girl.
” No more begging for food?” she asked.
” No. Don’t even worry, because you’ll never get a beating ever again, as far as I’m concerned.