Author: Norman Hinsdale Pitman
Rewritten by Liana Chau
Once a ship was loaded with several people, traveling from North China to Shanghai. The vessel was messed up by the winds and the rain. Soon, a fantastic plaque took over everyone on board. There weren’t much people left. The sailors tried to keep it up, but soon died too.
All left was a boy named Ying-lo. He saw that all his family members had died, and he was the only one left in the middle of the sea. Surprisingly, he saw a fire ball coming his way. He wanted to die and thought the gods granted his wish and the fire ball was about to fall on him and he would die. But, that didn’t happen. From that small fire ball, appeared an old man.
Ying-lo knew that the man was harmless to him, but he was still speechless.
” Do you remember me?” the old man asked.
” I think you look familiar, but I do not quite know.” Ying-lo replied sincerely.
” Haha, if you don’t know, then I shall remind you,” he began.” It all began when I came to your neighborhood, dressed in rags and carrying an empty bowl. Begging from house to house, but no one would give me food. Until you saw me. You ran right into the house to get me some food. But, you got a hard beating. Your mother is too cruel.”
” Your’e right. I remember you now. But that mother is now dead.” he said sorowfully.
” Little did you know who you were giving food to that day,” he started.” for I am Iron Staff. Have you heard of me?”
” Yes indeed, people worship you.” Ying-lo said.
” Well, if I was dressed as Iron Staff that day instead of a poor homeless, people would be fighting to feed me and give me a fantastic feast and ask me to protect them.” he replied.
“Is there any way you can save my family? They are all dead and I do not want to be alone.” Ying-lo begged.
” You have to do two things first. I will not help people who do not have any virtue.” Iron Staff said.” First, you have to tell me one good deed your family members did.”
” Ah! My mother went to the temple to pray once! That’s a good deed!” Ying-lo said.
” What was she there for?” Iron staff questioned.
” My elder brother was terribly sick and-” Ying-lo said.
” Selfish! It is only for your elder brother, your own family! They are trying to keep your brother from dying so he can support them when they are old.”
” Well……….when a stranger came to our town and fell sick on the floor, we helped him.” Ying-lo said.
” What happened?” the old man asked.
” He died the next week.” Ying-lo replied, clearly trying to find a way to persuade old Iron Staff.
” And what did they do to his money, his mule, and his personal objects?’ he asked Ying-lo.
” They kept it….” Ying-lo muttered.
” So they kept it instead of giving it back to his people…” Iron staff said, as he stroked his beard in dissapproval.
” Anything else?” Iron staff asked him.
” Oh! Once, the birds were eating our crops, so our mother decided to buy poison and kill them, while my father spared them, for he said that they need to live.” Ying-lo said, satisfied.
” Yes! That is a good deed of virtue! But you must remember, you have one more task.”
” What is it? I’ll do anything!”
” What I demand is that you carry out to the letter my instructions. Now I will restore your family to you.”
He took his staff and tapped it three times on each and every one of Ying-lo’s family tree. They awoke from the dead. Recognizing Ying-lo, they were scared to see him with the fairy. Iron staff told him that to staff now belongs to him, and told him to revive everyone else on the ship. After that, He tapped the stick on the boat, and it started to go to shore. The old man became a fireball once again, and dissappeared into the heavens. Ying-lo hugged his parents as the phantom vessel started to float to shore.