China Tales


1.      The Bad, Terrible Windy Day tells a story that one windy day in old Beijing everything went wrong. The beacon fires on the Great Wall wouldn’t light. And the empress’ hair style was ruined! Everyone was in a grumpy mood. Mr Li got a good idea. He made a kite with his wife’s silk scarf. People all smiled when they see the kite flying in the sky.


2.      The Legend of Dumplings tells the origin and tale of Chinese dumplings with the story of the outstanding medical scientist Zhang Zhongjing of the Eastern Han Dynasty. On the way home, Dr. Zhang Zhongjing saw a girl crying because her ears were frozen. Dr. Zhang prescribed the mixture of medicine which could be eaten as food, and made flour parcels of mixture named “jiao er” (dumpling). Dr. Zhang instructed the villagers that eating “jiao er” in winter would cure the frozen ears. So every Chinese New Year from then on people made and ate dumplings to remind them of kind Dr. Zhang Zhongjing.


3.      How the Chinese Zodiac Was Created tells a story that in order to name the Chinese Lunar Years and the 12 hours in a day, the Jade Emperor, who was the Emperor of China in ancient times held a water race for the animals. Animals performed differently in competition: At that time, the Cat and the Rat were very close friends, but the Rat kicked the Cat off the Ox’s back for winning the first! The Rabbit, who was so fearful of the Tiger that she dared to do nothing but fall behind him. The Dragon, who offered a hand to the trapped people on the way came in fifth place. The Snake, who kept looking above at the sky and trying to follow the Dragon’s lead, followed the Dragon’s detour… In the end, 12 animals such as the Rat and the Ox fulfilled the twelve naming places for the Chinese Lunar Years.


4.      The Proud Chopsticks tells the origin and tale of Chinese chopsticks with the story of Little Panda and his friends. Little Panda is invited to join Little Dragon’s birthday party; they will eat birthday noodles at the party, which is the tradition of Chinese birthday. But Little Panda don’t know how to use chopsticks. With the help of Little Rabbit, he tried to learn and practice to use chopsticks persistently, though he failed many times. Finally, Little Panda makes a success and enjoy birthday noodles with his friends happily.


5.      Wu Gang and the Sweet Osmanthus Tree explains the Chinese myths about Wu Gang from a new and modern perspective, and inspires people to persist and not give up halfway.  Wu Gang is famous in the local for his powerful muscles, but he is so lazy and impatient that he always gives up halfway. One day, on impulse he wants to be a celestial god under the guidance of the Earth God. As usual, not long after a few days,Wu Gang became tired of training. The Earth God took him to the moon, and asked him to chop off the Sweet Osmanthus tree, which will help him be a celestial god. In fact, this is a new trial for Wu Gang, can he make it?


6.      A Parcel from Home tells the story about Aigul and introduces naan bread, a special food in Xinjiang, China.Aigul had left her hometown in Xinjiang and just started university in Xi'an. She liked it here, but she felt like something was missing. Until one day, she received a battered box filled with naan bread from her hometown, she finally knew what she missed most——delicious smell of home.


7.      Jalen’s Name Stamp tells the character of Chinese name and name stampngs with the story of Jalen choosing his Chinese name. Jalen is a boy studying Chinese in China. One day, his Chinese teacher gave each student a name stamp. However, Jalen doesn’t have a Chinese name and the Jalen on the name stamp looks strange. With the help of teacher and students, Jalen get a satisfying Chinese name: Sima Junlong


8.      Mrs Li Makes Noodle tells the origin and making method of lamian (Pulled noodles) with the story of Mrs Li making birthday noodles for his husband, Mr. Li. Mrs. Li wanted to make a kind of long birthday noodles to wish Mr. Li a long life ahead. With the help of her family and neighbor, she made the Pulled Noodle successfully.


9.      The Legend of Hou Yi explains the Chinese myths about Hou Yi from a new and modern perspective. In ancient times, The Heaven God had ten sons called Suns, who were bird-like creatures that radiated heat and light. The Suns were so naughty and always fly down to the earth, however their bright light and heat had great effect on people on the earth. In order to help people, Hou Yi decided to shot the Suns down….


10.  The Legend of Qixi explains the Chinese myths about Niu Lang and Zhi Nu from a new and modern perspective. Niu Lang is a poor but kind-hearted cowboy; Zhi Nu is a beautiful heavenly princess, who is the daughter of the Queen in heaven. They met in the earth and fall in love with each other. Then they got married and born two children secretly. One day , the Queen knew what happened and got angry. She tries her best to separate them. Finally, through ceaseless efforts, the Queen was moved by the love between Niu Lang and Zhi Nv, and allow them to meet on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month every year.


11.  The Chinese Dragon tells about the importance of Chinese dragon to the Chinese nation. One day, Peter told his Chinese language teacher Long Laoshi that he saw him in the dragon dance in Chinatown. So Long Laoshi taught the class about the dragon’s important position in Chinese culture and introduced various cultural elements with dragons, such as the Chinese zodiac, Kowloon in Hong Kong, the Forbidden City, and the Dragon Boat Festival. In the end, Long Laoshi proposed that the whole class work together to make a dragon like the one used in the dragon dance.


12.  Dumplings and Sandwiches tells the difference between Chinese and foreign diets and the resulting cultural collisions with the story of pre-schooler Xiao Yu’s lunch. Charlee found that her daughter Xiao Yu had been bringing the lunch back home uneaten. Other children at pre-school all ate cold meals, while Xiao Yu brought hot Chinese food, which embarrassed her. Charlee had an idea and made a “Chinese sandwich” for Xiao Yu. Charlee also invited the children to share the dumplings at lunchtime. Everyone loves Chinese food.


13.  A Present for the Emperor introduces the shape of the Chinese dumplings and their production methods with a story of Mei Mei who went through time and space in sleep and helped a family to present gifts to the emperor. Mei Mei came from Australia to her grandmother’s house which is a Siheyuan in Beijing. She rested in bed and fell asleep when she returned to ancient times and saw a boy crying in the wild. Mei Mei learned that the emperor had asked families to present gifts. But the boy’s family was too poor to buy a decent gift. Mei Mei went home with the boy and taught his family to make dumplings as a gift. The Emperor was very pleased after tasting the dumplings. He loved these dumplings shaped like gold ingots!


14.  Mei Mei and the Poet tells the story of Mei Mei who returned to the Tang Dynasty in her dreams. Mei Mei found a poem collection of Chinese-English version at Grandma’s home and went back to the ancient times by chance. In the wild, Mei Mei met Li Bai, a kid who was chasing the giant. Playing together, the two encountered an elderly woman who was rubbing an iron rod into a needle. Li Bai was inspired and determined to study hard, aspiring to become a great poet. Mei Mei suddenly returned back and found that the poem collection in her hands was written by Li Bai.


15.  Love Among the Lanterns tells the story of ancient Chinese young people enjoying lanterns, guessing riddles, and conducting beautiful marriages. In the big houses standing at the contrary corners of an old street in Nanjing City lived the most beautiful girl in the city, Ling Long and the smartest young man Bai Chuan. Bai Chuan’s parents wanted him to marry someone of similar status and background. It was Lantern Festival’s night, Ling Long and Bai Chuan fell in love at first sight in the street. Bai Chuan sent Ling Long back home and decided to inform his parents that he had found the girl from the “matching doorways”.


16.  The Lost Little Dragon tells how the newborn little dragon found his mother. He met a little bee who guided him to the Forbidden City, where he saw a statue of a dragon who said that his mother was on the yellow robe; then the lost little dragon found the emperor dressed in a robe covered in dragons, who said that his mother lived in the Dragon Palace down in the sea. The lost little dragon went to the Dragon Palace and finally found his mother.


17.  A New Baby Arrives tells the interaction between a foreign expectant mother and her Chinese mother-in-law during her prenatal period and after she gave birth to her child in terms of food and idea of confinement in childbirth. The Chinese mother-in-law cooked all kinds of delicious food for her daughter-in-law and talked with her about the idea of confinement in childbirth of Chinese people, which shows many differences between China and western countries in the aspects of culture and thought.


18.  Baby’s First Birthday tells the story of the first birthday of a little girl whose mother is an Australian and father is a Chinese. In Shanghai, Chao Chao, the little girl, spent the 100th day after she was born. When her first birthday came, her grandmother was invited to Sydney. The ceremony of Grasping Week of Goodies was held.


19.  The Lady in the Moon tells life of Hou Yi and Chang’e after they were exiled to man’s world. Hou Yi and Chang’e came to man’s world and started to live a mortal life. Hou Yi was good at hunting, which brought him many apprentices. One of his apprentices harbored malicious intentions. He coveted a bottle of divine water and wanted to drink it furtively. Chang’e caught him on the spot and drank it all. She could not help but fly to the sky to be an immortal again. She and Hou Yi had to be far apart from each other. 


20.  Jiao Jiao the Lucky Dumpling tells the story of a young dumpling finding his true self and becoming mature after a series of hardships. Jiao Jiao set out with 8 lucky coins given by his mother and wish from the villagers. He was tricked out of 5 coins by a fortuneteller and lost 2 coins when he was attacked by a pair of mandarin ducks. Finally he met a master and wanted to give him the last coin to ask for directions. However, the master said that Jiao Jiao had already accomplished the procedure of finding his true self.


21.  Treasure Ships and New Worlds tells the story of Zheng He travelling to the west. The emperor was curious about the world outside his empire, so he asked Zheng He to lead fleet to explore. The fleet went forward with great strength and vigor, passing Vietnam, Java, Ceylon, Siam, Indonesia and Australia. They exchanged goods with local people and invited foreign friends to come to China. They also brought back giraffe, which widened people’s vision.