(11/26/01 9:55:00 am)
| IDing a Chinese tale?|
This sounds familiar, but for some reason my brain is numb. Can anyone help me answer this question from a visitor to SurLaLune?
"I am trying to find the title of a fairy tale that I remember reading a long time ago. It was the story of I think three or five brothers. I remember that one could hold the ocean in his mouth and then he collected fish in a basket. I believe that they were Chinese. If you are able to tell me the title from such sketchy information, I would appreciate it."
(11/26/01 10:06:46 am)
| chinese brothers|
The Five Chinese Brothers retold by Claire Huche Bishop - that's the version I'm familiar with. I remember this story - I loved the idea of someone swallowing the sea.
Here's a synopsis from Powell's Books:
Five identical brothers have remarkable talents: one can swallow the sea, one has an iron neck, one can stretch and stretch his legs, one cannot be burned, and one can hold his breath indefinitely. The first one's talent gets him in serious trouble, but the other four step up to receive his punishment, one after the other, and their remarkable attributes come in very handy indeed.
(11/26/01 4:18:58 pm)
I must point out (dispassionately) that in the past fifteen years, that particular book (a version of a European and Middle Eastern folk tale using Chinese characters and setting) has had a lot of bad press in children's literature circles for being caricatures.
(11/26/01 7:14:45 pm)
| Mahy's version|
Margaret Mahy has a version of this tale entitled Seven Chinese Brothers that do not have the "dreaded topknot" that caused much of the controvery with Bishop's earlier tale. Gail