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´╗┐Title: The Chinese Boy and Girl
Author: Headland, Isaac Taylor, 1859-1942
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Chinese Boy and Girl" ***

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Author of Chinese Mother Goose Rhymes


No thorough study of Chinese child life can be made until the wall of
Chinese exclusiveness is broken down and the homes of the East are
thrown open to the people of the West. Glimpses of that life however,
are available, sufficient in number and character to give a fairly good
idea of what it must be. The playground is by no means always hidden,
least of all when it is the street. The Chinese nurse brings her
Chinese rhymes, stories and games into the foreigner's home for the
amusement of its little ones.

Chinese kindergarten methods and appliances have no superior in their
ingenuity and their ability to interest, as well as instruct. In the
matter of travelling shows and jugglers also, no country is better
supplied, and these are chiefly for the entertainment of the little

To the careful observer of these different phases it becomes apparent
that the Chinese child is well supplied with methods of exercise and
amusement, also that he has much in common with the children of other
lands. A large collection of toys shows many duplicates of those common
in the West, and from the nursery rhymes of at least two out of the
eighteen provinces it appears that the Chinese nursery is rich in
Mother Goose. As a companion to the "Chinese Mother Goose," this book
seeks to show that the same sunlight fills the homes of both East and
West. If it also leads their far-away mates to look upon the Chinese
Boy and Girl as real little folk, human like themselves, and thus think
more kindly of them, its mission will have been accomplished.




It is a mistake to suppose that any one nation or people has exclusive
right to Mother Goose. She is an omnipresent old lady. She is Asiatic
as well as European or American. Wherever there are mothers,
grandmothers, and nurses there are Mother Gooses,--or; shall we say,
Mother Geese--for I am at a loss as to how to pluralize this old dame.
She is in India, whence I have rhymes from her, of which the following
is a sample:

  Heh, my baby! Ho, my baby!
  See the wild, ripe plum,
  And if you'd like to eat a few,
  I'll buy my baby some.

She is in Japan. She has taught the children there to put their fingers
together as we do for "This is the church, this is the steeple," when
she says:

     A bamboo road,
          With a floor-mat siding,
     Children are quarrelling,
          And parents chiding,

the "children" being represented by the fingers and the "parents" by
the thumbs. She is in China. I have more than 600 rhymes from her
Chinese collection. Let me tell you how I got them.

One hot day during my summer vacation, while sitting on the veranda of
a house among the hills, fifteen miles west of Peking, my friend, Mrs.
C. H. Fenn, said to me:

"Have you noticed those rhymes, Mr. Headland?"

"What rhymes?" I inquired.

"The rhymes Mrs. Yin is repeating to Henry."

"No, I have not noticed them. Ask her to repeat that one again."

Mrs. Fenn did so, and the old nurse repeated the following rhyme, very
much in the tone of, "The goblins 'll git you if you don't look out."

     He climbed up the candlestick,
          The little mousey brown,
     To steal and eat tallow,
          And he couldn't get down.
     He called for his grandma,
          But his grandma was in town,
     So he doubled up into a wheel,
          And rolled himself down.

I asked the nurse to repeat it again, more slowly, and I wrote it down
together with the translation.

Now, I think it must be admitted that there is more in this rhyme to
commend it to the public than there is in "Jack and Jill." If when that
remarkable young couple went for the pail of water, Master Jack had
carried it himself, he would have been entitled to some credit for
gallantry, or if in cracking his crown he had fallen so as to prevent
Miss Jill from "tumbling," or even in such a way as to break her fall
and make it easier for her, there would have been some reason for the
popularity of such a record. As it is, there is no way to account for
it except the fact that it is simple and rhythmic and children like it.
This rhyme, however, in the original, is equal to "Jack and Jill" in
rhythm and rhyme, has as good a story, exhibits a more scientific
tumble, with a less tragic result, and contains as good a moral as that
found in "Jack Sprat."

It is as popular all over North China as "Jack and Jill" is throughout
Great Britain and America. Ask any Chinese child if he knows the
"Little Mouse," and he reels it off to you as readily as an
English-speaking child does "Jack and Jill." Does he like it? It is a
part of his life. Repeat it to him, giving one word incorrectly, and he
will resent it as strenuously as your little boy or girl would if you

     Jack and Jill
     Went DOWN the hill

Suppose you repeat some familiar rhyme to a child differently from the
way he learned it and see what the result will be.

Having obtained this rhyme, I asked Mrs. Yin if she knew any more. She
smiled and said she knew "lots of them." I induced her to tell them to
me, promising her five hundred cash (about three cents) for every rhyme
she could give me, good, bad, or indifferent, for I wanted to secure
all kinds. And I did. Before I was through I had rhymes which ranged
from the two extremes of the keenest parental affection to those of
unrefined filthiness. The latter class however came not from the nurses
but from the children themselves.

When I had finished with her I had a dozen or more. I soon learned
these so that I could repeat them in the original, which gave me an
entering wedge to the heart of every man, woman or child I met.

One day, as I rode through a broom-corn field on the back of a little
donkey, my feet almost dragging on the ground, I was repeating some of
these rhymes, when the driver running at my side said:

"Ha, you know those children's songs, do you?"

"Yes do you know any?"

"Lots of them," he answered.

"Lots of them" is a favorite expression with the Chinese.

"Tell me some."

"Did you ever hear this one?"

   "Fire-fly, fire-fly,
       Come from the hill,
         Your father and mother
           Are waiting here still.
             They've brought you some sugar,
                Some candy, and meat,
                  For baby to eat."

I at once dismounted and wrote it down, and promised him five hundred
cash apiece for every new one he could give me. In this way, going to
and from the city, in conversation with old nurses or servants,
personal friends, teachers, parents or children, or foreign children
who had been born in China and had learned rhymes from their nurses, I
continued to gather them during the entire vacation, and when autumn
came I had more than fifty of the most common and consequently the best
rhymes known in and about Peking.

A few months after I returned to the city a circular was sent around
asking for subscriptions to a volume of Pekinese Folklore, published by
Baron Vitali, Interpreter at the Italian legation, which, on
examination, proved to be exactly what I wanted. He had collected about
two hundred and fifty rhymes, had made a literal--not
metrical--translation and had issued them in book form without

Others learned of my collection, and rhymes began to come to me from
all parts of the empire. Dr. Arthur H. Smith, the well-known author of
"Chinese Characteristics" gave me a collection of more than three
hundred made in Shantung, among which were rhymes similar to those we
had found in Peking. Still later I received other versions of these
same rhymes from my little friend, Miss Chalfant, collected in a
different part of Shantung from that occupied by Dr. Smith. I then had
no fewer than five versions of

     "This little pig went to market,"

each having some local coloring not found in the other, proving that
the fingers and toes furnish children with the same entertainment in
the Orient as in the Occident, and that the rhyme is widely known
throughout China.

These nursery rhymes have never been printed in the Chinese language,
but like our own Mother Goose before the year 1719, if we may credit
the Boston story, they are carried in the minds and hearts of the
children. Here arose the first difficulty we experienced in collecting
rhymes--the matter of getting them complete. Few are able to repeat the
whole of the

          "House that Jack built"

although it has been printed many times and they learned it all in
their youth. The difficulty is multiplied tenfold in China where the
rhymes have never been printed, and where there have grown up various
versions from one original which the nurse had, no doubt, partly
forgotten, but was compelled to complete for the entertainment of the

A second difficulty in making such a collection is that of getting
unobjectionable rhymes. While the Chinese classics are among the purest
classical books of the world, there is yet a large proportion of the
people who sully everything they take into their hands as well as every
thought they take into their minds. Thus so many of their rhymes have

Some have an undertone of reviling. Some speak familiarly of subjects
which we are not accustomed to mention, and others are impure in the

A third difficulty in making a collection of Chinese nursery lore is
greater than either the first or the second,--I refer to the difficulty
of a metrical rendition of the rhymes. I have no doubt my readers can
easily find flaws in my translations of Chinese Mother Goose Rhymes
published during the past year. It is much easier for me to find the
flaws than the remedies. Many of the words used in the original have no
written character or hieroglyphic to represent them, while many others,
though having a written form, are, like our own slang expressions, not
found in the dictionary.

Now let us turn to a more pleasant feature of this unwritten nursery
literature. The language is full of good rhymes, and all objectionable
features can be cut out without injury to the rhyme, as it was not a
part of the original, but added by some more unscrupulous hand.

Among the nursery rhymes of all countries many refer to insects, birds,
animals, persons, actions, trades, food or children. In Chinese rhymes
we have the cricket, cicada, spider, snail, firefly, ladybug and
butterfly and others. Among fowls we have the bat, crow, magpie, cock,
hen, duck and goose. Of animals, the dog, cow, horse, mule, donkey,
camel, and mouse, are the favorites. There are also rhymes on the snake
and frog, and others without number on places, things and
persons,--men, women and children.

Those who hold that the Chinese do not love their children have never
consulted their nursery lore. There is no language in the world, I
venture to believe, which contains children's songs expressive of more
keen and tender affection than some of those sung to children in China.

When we hear a parent say that his child

     "Is as sweet as sugar and cinnamon too,"

or that

     "Baby is a sweet pill,
     That fills my soul with joy"

or when we see a father, mother or nurse--for nurses sometimes become
almost as fond of their little charge as the parents
themselves,--hugging the child to their bosoms as they say that he is
so sweet that "he makes you love him till it kills you," we begin to
appreciate the affection that prompts the utterance.

Another feature of these rhymes is the same as that found in the
nursery songs of all nations, namely, the food element. "Jack Sprat,"
"Little Jacky Horner," "Four and Twenty Black-birds," "When Good King
Arthur Ruled the Land," and a host of others will indicate what I mean.
A little child is a highly developed stomach, and anything which tells
about something that ministers to the appetite and tends to satisfy
that aching void, commends itself to his literary taste, and hence the
popularity of many of our nursery rhymes, the only thought of which is
about something good to eat. Notice the following:

     Look at the white breasted crows overhead.
     My father shot once and ten crows tumbled dead.
     When boiled or when fried they taste very good,
     But skin them, I tell you, there's no better food.

In imagination I can see the reader raise his eyebrows and mutter, "Do
the Chinese eat crows?" while at the same time he has been singing all
his life about what a "dainty dish" "four and twenty blackbirds" would
make for the "king," without ever raising the question as to whether
blackbirds are good eating or not.

We note another feature of all nursery rhymes in the additions made by
the various persons through whose hands,--or should we say, through
whose mouths they pass.

When an American or English child hears how a certain benevolent dame
found no bone in her cupboard to satisfy the cravings of her hungry
dog, its feelings of compassion are stirred up to ask: "And then what?
Didn't she get any meat? Did the dog die?" and the nurse is compelled
to make another verse to satisfy the curiosity of the child and bring
both the dame and the dog out of the dilemma in which they have been
left. This is what happened in the case of "Old Mother Hubbard" as will
readily be seen by examining the meter of the various verses. The
original "Mother Hubbard" consisted of nothing more than the first six
lines which contain three rhymes. All the other verses have but four
lines and one rhyme.

We find the same thing in Chinese Mother Goose. Take the following as
an example:

  He ate too much,
    That second brother,
  And when he had eaten his fill
    He beat his  mother.

This was the original rhyme. Two verses have been added without rhyme,
reason, rhythm, sense or good taste. They are as follows:

  His mother jumped up on the window-sill,
  But the window had no crack,
  She then looked into the looking-glass,
  But the mirror had no back.

  Then all at once she began to sing,
  But the song it had no end
  And then she played the monkey trick
  And to heaven she did ascend.

The moral teachings of nursery rhymes are as varied as the morals of
the people to whom the rhymes belong. The "Little Mouse" already given
contains both a warning and a penalty. The mouse which had climbed up
the candle-stick to steal tallow was unable to get down. This was the
penalty for stealing, and indicates to children that if they visit the
cupboard in their mother's absence and take her sweetmeats without her
permission, they may suffer as the mouse did. To leave the mouse there
after he had repeatedly called for that halo-crowned grandmother, who
refused to come, would have been too much for the child's sympathies,
and so the mouse doubles himself up into a wheel, and rolls to the

In other rhymes, children are warned against stealing, but the penalty
threatened is rather an indication of the untruthfulness of the parent
or nurse than a promise of reform in the child, for they are told that,

     If you steal a needle
          Or steal a thread,
               A pimple will grow
                    Upon your head.

     If you steal a dog
          Or steal a cat,
               A pimple will grow
                    Beneath your hat.

Boys are warned of the dire consequences if they wear their hats on the
side of their heads or go about with ragged coats or slipshod feet.

  If you wear your hat on the side of your head,
  You'll have a lazy wife, 'tis said.
  If a ragged coat or slipshod feet,
  You'll have a wife who loves to eat.

Those rhymes which manifest the affection of parents for children
cultivate a like affection in the child. We have in the Chinese Mother
Goose a rhyme called the Little Orphan, which is a most pathetic tale.
A little boy tells us that,

     Like a little withered flower,
          That is dying in the earth,
     I was left alone at seven
          By her who gave me birth.

     With my papa I was happy
          But I feared he'd take another,
     But now my papa's married,
          And I have a little brother.

     And he eats good food,
          While I eat poor,
     And cry for my mother,
          Whom I'll see no more.

Such a rhyme cannot but develop the pathetic and sympathetic instincts
of the child, making it more kind and gentle to those in distress.

A girl in one of the rhymes urged by instinct and desire to chase a
butterfly, gives up the idea of catching it, presumably out of a
feeling of sympathy for the insect.

Unfortunately all their rhymes do not have this same high moral tone.
They indicate a total lack of respect for the Buddhist priests. This is
not necessarily against the rhyme any more than against the priest, but
it is an unfortunate disposition to cultivate in children. There are
constant sallies at the shaved noddle of the priest. They speak of his
head as a gourd, and they class him with the tiger as a beast of prey.

Some of the rhymes illustrate the disposition of the Chinese to
nickname every one, from the highest official in the empire to the
meanest beggar on the street. One of the great men of the present
dynasty, a prime minister and intimate friend of the emperor, goes by
the name of Humpbacked Liu. Another may be Cross-eyed Wang, another
Club-footed Chang, another Bald-headed Li. Any physical deformity or
mental peculiarity may give him his nickname. Even foreigners suffer in
reputation from this national bad habit.

A man whose face is covered with pockmarks is ridiculed by children in
the following rhyme, which is only a sample of what might be produced
on a score of other subjects:

    Old pockmarked Ma,
          He climbed up a tree,
    A dog barked at him,
          And a man caught his knee,
    Which scared old Poxey
          Until he couldn't see.

A well-known characteristic of the Chinese is to do things opposite to
the way in which we do them. We accuse them of doing things backwards,
but it is we who deserve such blame because they antedated us in the
doing of them. We shake each other's hands, they each shake their own
hands. We take off our hats as a mark of respect, they keep theirs on.
We wear black for mourning, they wear white. We wear our vests inside,
they wear theirs outside. A hundred other things more or less familiar
to us all, illustrate this rule. In some of their nursery rhymes
everything is said and done on the "cart before the horse" plan. This
is illustrated by a rhyme in which when the speaker heard a disturbance
outside his door he discovered it was because a "dog had been bitten by
a man." Of course, he at once rushed to the rescue. He "took up the
door and he opened his hand." He "snatched up the dog and threw him at
a brick." The brick bit his hand and he left the scene "beating on a
horn and blowing on a drum."

Tongue twisters are as common in Chinese as in English, and are equally
appreciated by the children. From the nature of such rhymes, however,
it is impossible to translate them into any other language.

In one of these children's songs, a cake-seller informs the public in
stentorian tones that his wares will restore sight to the blind and that

     They cure the deaf and heal the lame,
     And preserve the teeth of the aged dame.

They will further cause hair to grow on a bald head and give courage to
a henpecked husband. A girl who has been whipped by her mother mutters
to herself how she would love and serve a husband if she only had one,
even going to the extent of calling that much-despised mother-in-law
her mother, and when overheard by her irate parent and asked what she
was saying, she answers:

     I was saying the beans are boiling nice
     And it's just about time to add the rice.

These are rather an indication of good cheer on the part of the
children than lack of filial affection. A parent must be cruel indeed
to make a girl willing to give up her mother for a mother-in-law.

Another style of verses comes under the head of pure nonsense rhymes.
They are wholly without sense and I am not sure they are good nonsense.
They are popular, however, with the children, and critics may say what
they will, but the children are the last court of appeal in case of
nursery rhymes. Let me give one:

     There's a cow on the mountain, the old saying goes,
     On her legs are four feet, on her feet are eight toes.
     Her tail is behind on the end of her back,
     And her head is in front on the end of her neck.

The Chinese nursery is well provided with rhymes pertaining to certain
portions of the body. They have rhymes to repeat when they play with
the five fingers, and others when they pull the toes; rhymes when they
take hold of the knee and expect the child to refrain from laughing, no
matter how much its knee is tickled; rhymes which correspond to all our
face and sense; rhymes where the forehead represents the door and the
five senses various other things, ending, of course, by tickling the
child's neck.

All of these have called forth rhymes among Chinese children similar to
"little pig went to market," "forehead bender, eye winker," etc. The
parent, or the nurse, taking hold of the toes of the child, repeats the
following rhyme, as much to the amusement of the little Oriental as the
"little pig" has always been to our own children:

     This little cow eats grass,
     This little cow eats hay,
     This little cow drinks water,
     This little cow runs away,
     This little cow does nothing,
     Except lie down all day.
          We'll whip her.

And, with that, she playfully pats the little bare foot. If it is the
hand that is played with the fingers are taken hold of one after
another, as the parent, or nurse, repeats the following rhyme:

  This one's old,
  This one's young
  This one has
             no meat;
  This one's gone
  To buy some hay,
  And this one's on
            the street.

There are various forms of this rhyme, depending upon the place where
it is found. The above is the Shantung version. In Peking it is as

  A great, big brother,
  And a little brother, too,
  A big bell tower,
  And a temple and a show,
  And little baby wee, wee,
  Always wants to go.

The following rhyme explains itself: The nurse knocks on the forehead,
then touches the eye, nose, ear, mouth and chin successively, as she

     Knock at the door,
          See a face,
               Smell an odor,
                    Hear a voice,
                         Eat your dinner,
                              Pull your chin, or
                                   Ke chih, ke chih.

Tickling the child's neck with the last two expressions.

We have in English a rhyme:

     If you be a gentleman,
          As I suppose you be,
     You'll neither laugh nor smile
          With a tickling of your knee.

I had tried many months to find if there were any finger, face or body
games other than those already given. Our own nurse insisted that she
knew of none, but one day I noticed her grabbing my little girl's knee,
while she was saying:

     One grab silver,
          Two grabs gold,
               Three don't laugh,
                    And you'll grow old.

There is no literature in China, not even in the sacred books, which is
so generally known as their nursery rhymes. These are understood and
repeated by the educated and the illiterate alike; by the children of
princes and the children of beggars; children in the city and children
in the country and villages, and they produce like results in the minds
and hearts of all. The little folks laugh over the Cow, look sober over
the Little Orphan, absorb the morals taught by the Mouse, and are sung
to sleep by the song of the Little Snail.

Sometimes however they, like children in other lands, are skeptical as
to the reality of the stories told in the songs. Thus I remember once
hearing our old nurse telling a number of stories and singing a number
of songs to the little folk in the nursery. They had accepted one after
another the legends as they rolled off the old woman's tongue, without
question, but pretty soon she gave them a version of a Wind Song which
aroused their incredulity. She sang:

  Old grandmother Wind has come from the East.
  She's ridden a donkey--a dear little beast.
  Old mother-in-law Rain has come back again.
  She's come from the North on a horse, it is plain.

  Old grandmother Snow is coming you know,
  From the West on a crane--just see how they go.
  And old aunty Lightning has come from the South,
  On a big yellow dog with a bit in his mouth.

"There is no grandmother Wind, is there, nurse?"

"No, of course not, people only call her grandmother Wind."

"Why do they call the other mother-in-law Rain?"

"I suppose, because mothers-in-law are often disagreeable, just like
rainy weather."

"And why do they speak of snow and the crane, and lightning and a
yellow dog?"

"I suppose, because a crane is somewhat the color of snow, and a yellow
dog swift and the color of lightning."


Before going to China, I could not but wonder, when I saw a Chinese or
Japanese doll, why it was they made such unnatural looking things for
babies to play with. On reaching the Orient the whole matter was
explained by my first sight of a baby. The doll looks like the child!

Nothing in China is more common than babies. Nothing more helpless.
Nothing more troublesome. Nothing more attractive. Nothing more

A Chinese baby is a round-faced little helpless human animal, whose
eyes look like two black marbles over which the skin had been
stretched, and a slit made on the bias. His nose is a little kopje in
the centre of his face, above a yawning chasm which requires constant
filling to insure the preservation of law and order. On his shaved head
are left small tufts of hair in various localities, which give him the
appearance of the plain about Peking, on which the traveler sees, here
and there, a small clump of trees around a country village, a home, or
a cemetery; the remainder of the country being bare. These tufts are
usually on the "soft spot," in the back of his neck, over his ears, or
in a braid or a ring on the side of his head.

The amount of joy brought to a home by the birth of a child depends
upon several important considerations, chief among which are its sex,
the number and sex of those already in the family, and the financial
condition of the home.

In general the Chinese prefer a preponderance of boys, but in case the
family are in good circumstances and already have several boys, they
are as anxious for a girl as parents in any other country.

The reason for this is deeper than the mere fact of sex. It is imbedded
in the social life and customs of the people. A girl remains at home
until she is sixteen or seventeen, during which time she is little more
than an expense. She is then taken to her husband's home and her own
family have no further control over her life or conduct. She loses her
identity with her own family, and becomes part of that of her husband.
This through many years and centuries has generated in the popular mind
a feeling that it is "bad business raising girls for other people," and
there are not a few parents who would prefer to bring up the girl
betrothed to their son, rather than bring up their own daughter.

"Selfishness!" some people exclaim when they read such things about the
Chinese. Yes, it is selfishness; but life in China is not like ours--a
struggle for luxuries--but a struggle, not for bread and rice as many
suppose, but for cornmeal and cabbage, or something else not more
palatable. This is the life to which most Chinese children are born,
and parents can scarcely be blamed for preferring boys whose hands may
help provide for their mouths, to girls who are only an expense.

The presumption is that a Chinese child is born with the same general
disposition as children in other countries. This may perhaps be the
case; but either from the treatment it receives from parents or nurses,
or because of the disposition it inherits, its nature soon becomes
changed, and it develops certain characteristics peculiar to the
Chinese child. It becomes t'ao ch'i. That almost means mischievous; it
almost means troublesome--a little tartar--but it means exactly t'ao

In this respect almost every Chinese child is a little tyrant. Father,
mother, uncles, aunts, and grandparents are all made to do his bidding.
In case any of them seems to be recalcitrant, the little dear lies down
on his baby back on the dusty ground and kicks and screams until the
refractory parent or nurse has repented and succumbed, when he get up
and good-naturedly goes on with his play and allows them to go about
their business. The child is t'ao ch'i.

This disposition is general and not confined to any one rank or grade
in society, if we may credit the stories that come from the palace
regarding the present young Emperor Kuang Hsu. When a boy he very much
preferred foreign to Chinese toys, and so the eunuchs stocked the
palace nursery with all the most wonderful toys the ingenuity and
mechanical skill of Europe had produced. As he grew older the toys
became more complicated, being in the form of gramophones,
graphophones, telephones, phonographs, electric lights, electric cars,
cuckoo clocks, Swiss watches and indeed all the great inventions of
modern times. The boy was t'ao ch'i, and the eunuchs say that if he
were thwarted in any of his undertakings, or denied anything he very
much desired, he would dash a Swiss watch, or anything else he might
have in his hand, to the floor, breaking it into atoms; and as there
was no chance of using the rod there was no way but to spoil the child.

It is amusing to listen to the women in a Chinese home when a baby
comes. If the child is a boy the parents are congratulated on every
hand because of the "great happiness" that has come to their home. If
it is a girl, and there are more girls than boys in the family, the old
nurse goes about as if she had stolen it from somewhere, and when she
is congratulated, if congratulated she happens to be, she says with a
sigh and a funereal face, "Only a 'small happiness'--but that isn't

When a child is born it is considered one year old, and its years are
reckoned not from its birthdays but from its New Year's days. If it has
the good fortune to be born the day before two days old it is reckoned
two years old being one year old when born and two years old on its
first New Year's day.

The first great event in a child's life occurs when it is one month
old. It is then given its first public reception. Its head is shaved
amid kicking and screaming, its mother is up and around where she can
receive the congratulations of her friends, its grandmother is the
honored guest of the occasion, and the baby is named.

All the relatives and friends are invited and every one is expected to
take dinner with the child, and, which is more important, to bring
presents. If the family is poor, this day puts into the treasury of
life a day of happiness and a goodly amount of filthy lucre. If the
family is rich the presents are correspondingly rich, for nowhere
either in Orient or Occident can there be found a people more lavish
and generous in their gifts than the Chinese. All the family can afford
is spent upon the dinner given on this occasion, with the assurance
that they will receive in presents and money more than double the
expense both of the dinner and the birth of the child. If they do not
"come" they are expected to "send" or they "lose face." Among the
middle-class, the presents are of a useful nature, usually in the form
of money, clothing or silver ornaments which are always worth their
weight in bullion.

The name given the child is called its "milk" name until the boy enters
school. Whether boy or girl it may answer a good part of its life to
the place it occupies in the family whether first, second or third.

If a girl she may be compelled to answer to "Little Slave," and if a
boy to "Baldhead." But the names usually given indicate the place or
time of birth, the hope of the parent for the child, or exhibit the
parent's love of beauty or euphony.

A friend who was educated in a school situated in Filial Piety Lane and
who afterwards lived near Filial Piety Gate called his first son "Two
Filials." Another friend had sons whose names were "Have a Man," "Have
a Mountain," "Have a Garden," "Have a Fish." In conversation with this
friend about the son whose "milk" name was "Have a Man," I constantly
spoke of the boy by his "school" name, the only name by which I knew
him. The old man was perfectly blank--he knew not of whom I spoke, as
he had not seen his son since he got his school name. Finally, as it
began to dawn on him that I was talking of his son, he asked:

"Whom are you talking about?"

"Your son."

"Oh, you mean 'Have a Man.'"

This same man had a little girl called "Apple," not an ordinary apple,
but the most luscious apple known to North China. I have as I write a
list of names commonly applied to girls from which I select the
following: Beautiful Autumn, Charming Flower, Jade Pure, Lucky Pearl,
Precious Harp, Covet Spring; and the parent's way of speaking of his
little girl, when not wishing to be self-depreciative, is to call her
his "Thousand ounces of gold."

The names given to boys are quite as humiliating or as elevating as
those given to girls. He may be Number One, Two or Three, Pig, Dog or
Flea, or he may be like Wu T'ing Fang a "Fragrant Palace," or like Li
Hung Chang, an "Illustrious Bird" or "Learned Treatise."

During the summer-time in North China the child goes almost if not
completely naked. Until it is five years old, its wardrobe consists
largely of a chest-protector and a pair of shoes. In the winter-time
its trousers are quilted, with feet attached, its coat made in the same
way, and it is anything but "clean and sweet." The odor is not unlike
that of an up-stairs back room in a narrow alley at Five Points, in
which dwell a whole family of emigrants.

When the Chinese child is ill he does not have the same kind of
hospital accommodations, nursing and medical skill at his command as do
we in the West. His bed is brick, his pillow stuffed with bran or
grass-seed, he has no sheets, his food is coarse and ill-adapted to a
sick child's stomach. While his nurse may be kind, gentle and loving
she is not always skillful, and as for the ability of his physician let
the following child's song tell us:

  My wife's little daughter once fell very ill,
  And we called for a doctor to give her a pill.
  He wrote a prescription which now we will give her,
  In which he has ordered a mosquito's liver.
  And then in addition the heart of a flea,
  And half pound of fly-wings to make her some tea.

When the child begins to walk and talk it begins to be interesting. Its
father has a little push cart made by which it learns to walk, and the
nurse goes about the court with it repeating ba ba, ma ma, (notice that
these words for papa and mama are practically the same in Chinese as in
English, the b being substituted for p), and all the various words
which mean elder brother, younger brother, elder and younger sisters,
uncles, aunts, grandfathers, grandmothers, and cousins and all the
various relatives which may be found in its family, village or home.

It is not an easy matter to learn the names of one's relatives in
China, as there is a separate name for each showing whether the person
whom we call uncle is father or mother's elder or younger brother or
the husband of their elder or younger sister. When it comes to learning
the names of all one's cousins it is quite a difficult affair. Suppose,
for instance, you were to introduce me to your cousin, and I wanted to
know which one, you might explain that he is the son of your mother's
elder brother. In China the word you used for cousin would express the
exact idea. The child begins his study of language by learning all
these relationships.

These are for the most part taught them by the nurse, who is an
important element in the Chinese home and a useful adjunct to the
child. Each little girl in the homes of the better classes has her own
particular nurse, who teaches her nursery songs in her childhood, is
her companion during her youth, goes with her to her husband's home,
when she marries presumably to prevent her becoming lonesome, and
remains with her through life. In conversation with the granddaughters
of a duke and their old nurse, I discovered that the same games the
little children play upon the street, they play in the seclusion of
their green-tiled palace, and the same nursery songs that entice
Morpheus to share the mat shed of the beggar's boy, entice him also to
share the silken couch of the emperor in the palace.

When a boy is old enough, he grows a queue, which takes the place in
the life of the Chinese boy which his first pair of trousers does in
that of the American or English boy. It is one of the first things he
lives for; and he should not be despised for wearing his hair in this
fashion, especially when we remember that George Washington and
Lafayette and their contemporaries wore their hair in a braid down
their backs.

Besides the queue has a great variety of uses. It serves him in some of
the games he plays. When I saw the boys in geometry use their queues to
strike an arc or draw a circle, it reminded me of my college days when
I had forgotten to take a string to class. The laborer spreads a
handkerchief or towel over his head, wraps his queue around it and
makes for himself a hat. The cart driver whips his mule with it; the
beggar uses it to scare away the dogs; the father takes hold of his
little boy's queue instead of his hand when walking with him on the
street, or the child follows holding to his father's queue, and the
boys use it as reins when they play horse. I saw this amusingly
illustrated on the streets of Peking. Two boys were playing horse. Now
I have always noticed that when a boy plays horse, it is not because he
has any desire to be the horse, but the driver. He is willing to be
horse for a time, in order that he may be allowed to be driver for a
still longer time. A large boy was playing horse with a smaller one,
the latter acting as the beast of burden. This continued for some time,
when the smaller, either discovering that a horse is larger than a man,
or that it is more noble to be a man than a horse, balked, and said:

"Now you be horse."

The older was not yet inclined to be horse, and tried in vain, by
coaxing, scolding and whipping, to induce him to move, but the horse
was firm. The driver was also firm, and not until the horse in a very
unhorselike manner, gave away to tears, could the man be induced to let
himself down to the level of a horse. From all of which it will be seen
that the disposition of Chinese children is no exception to that
longing for superiority which prevails in every human heart.

All kinds of trades, professions, and employments have as great
attraction for Chinese as for American children. A country boy looks
forward to the time when he can stand up in the cart and drive the
team. Children seeing a battalion of soldiers at once "organize a
company." This was amusingly illustrated by a group of children in
Peking during the Chinese-Japanese war. Each had a stick or a weed for
a gun, except the drummer-boy, who was provided with an empty
fruit-can. They went through various maneuvres, for practice, no doubt,
and all seemed to be going on beautifully until one of those in front
shouted, in a voice filled with fear:

"The Japanese are coming, the Japanese are coming."

This was the signal for a general retreat, and the children, in
imitation of the army then in the field, retreated in disorder and
dismay in every direction.

The Chinese boys and girls are little men and women. At an early age
they are familiar with all the rules of behaviour which characterize
their after life and conduct. Their clothes are cut on the same
pattern, out of cloth as those of their parents and grandparents. There
are no kilts and knee-breeches, pinafores and short skirts, to make
them feel that they are little people.

But they are little people as really and truly as are the children of
other countries. A gentleman in reviewing my "Chinese Mother Goose
Rhymes" speaks of some of the illustrations which "present the Chinese
children playing their sober little games." Why we should call such a
game as "blind man's buff," "e-ni-me-ni-mi-ni-mo," "this little pig
went to market" or "pat-a-cake" "sober little games," unless it is
because of preconceived notions of the Chinese people I do not
understand. The children are dignified little people, but they enjoy
all the attractions of child-life as much as other children do.

It is a mistake to suppose that the life of Chinese children is a
doleful one. It is understood, of course, that their life is not the
same, nor to be compared with that of children in Europe or America:
and it should be remembered further that the pleasures of child-life
are not measured by the gratification of every childish whim. Many of
the little street children who spend a large part of their time in
efforts to support the family, when allowed to go to a fair or have a
public holiday enjoy themselves more in a single day than the child of
wealth, in a whole month of idleness.

In addition to his games and rhymes, the fairs which are held regularly
in the great Buddhist temples in different parts of the cities, are to
the Chinese boy what a country fair, a circus or Fourth of July is to
an American farmer's boy or girl. He has his cash for candy or fruit,
his crackers which he fires off at New Year's time, making day a time
of unrest, and night hideous. Kite-flying is a pleasure which no
American boy appreciates as does the Chinese, a pleasure which clings
to him till he is three-score years and ten, for it is not uncommon to
find a child and his grandfather in the balmy days of spring flying
their kites together. He has his pet birds which he carries around in
cages or on a perch unlike any other child we have ever seen. He has
his crickets with which he amuses himself--not "gambles"--and his gold
fish which bring him days and years of delight. Indeed the Chinese
child, though in the vast majority of cases very poor, has ample
provision for a very good time, and if he does not have it, it must be
his own fault.

Statements about the life of the children, however, may be nothing more
than personal impressions, and are usually colored as largely by the
writer's prejudices as by the conditions of the children. Some of us
are so constituted as to see the dark side of the picture, others the
bright. Let us go with the boys and girls to their games. Let us play
with their toys and be entertained by the shows that entertain them,
and see if they are not of the same flesh and blood, heart and
sentiment as we. We shall find that the boys and girls live together,
work together, study together, play together, have their heads shaved
alike and quarrel with each other until they are seven years old, the
period which brings to an end the life of the Chinese child. From this
period it is the boy or the girl.


Children's games are always interesting. Chinese games are especially
so because they are a mine hitherto unexplored. An eminent archdeacon
once wrote: "The Chinese are not much given to athletic exercises." A
well-known doctor of divinity states that, "their sports do not require
much physical exertion, nor do they often pair off, or choose sides and
compete, in order to see who are the best players," while a still more
prominent writer tells us that, "active, manly sports are not popular
in the South." Let us see whether these opinions are true.

Two years ago a letter from Dr. Luther Gulick, at present connected
with the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, N. Y., came to us while in Peking,
asking that we study into the character of Chinese children's games.
Dr. Gulick was preparing a series of lectures on the "Psychology of
Play." He desired to secure as much reliable information as possible
regarding the play-life of the children of the East, in order that he
might discover what relation exists between the games of Oriental and
those of Occidental children. By so doing he would learn the effect of
play on the mental and physical development as well as the character of
children, and through them upon the human race as a whole. We were
fortunate in having at our disposal a large number of students
connected with Peking University, the preparatory, intermediate and
primary schools, together with 150 girls in attendance at the girls'
high school.

We received the letter at four o'clock, at which time the students had
just been dismissed from school, and were taking their afternoon meal,
but at 4:30 we went to the playground, notebook in hand, called
together some of our most interesting boys, explained to them our
object, and asked them to play for us. Some one may say that this was
the worst possible thing to do, as it would make the children
self-conscious and hence unnatural--the sequel, however, will show.

At first that was exactly what happened. The children tittered, and
looked at each other in blank astonishment, then one of them walked
away and several others gathered about us. We repeated our explanation
in order to secure their interest, set their minds to work thinking up
games, and do away with the embarrassment, and it was only a few
minutes before an intelligent expression began to appear in the eyes of
some of the boys, and one of them, who was always ready for anything
new, turned to his companion and said:

"You go and find Chi, and bring him here."

"Who is Chi?" we inquired.

"He is the boy who knows more games than any of the rest of us," he

Away he ran and soon reappeared with a very unpromising looking boy
whom we recognized as a street waif that had been taken into what some
one called our "raggedy school" a few years before. He was a glum
looking boy--a boy without a smile. There was a set expression on his
face which might be interpreted as "life is not worth living," or,
which would be an equally legitimate interpretation in the present
instance, "these games are of no importance. If you want them we can
play any number of them for you, but what will you do with them after
you get them?"

All the crowd began at once to explain to Chi what we  wanted, and he
looked more solemn than ever, then we came to his rescue.

"Chi," we asked, "what kind of games do boys play?"

Slowly and solemnly Chi wound one leg around the other as he answered:

"Lots of them."

This is the stereotyped answer that will come from any Chinaman to
almost any question he may be asked about things Chinese. "For
instance?" we further inquired.

"Forcing the city gates," he answered.

"Play it for me."

The boys at once appointed captains who chose sides and they formed
themselves into two lines facing each other, those of each line taking
fast hold of each other's hands. The boys on one side then sang:

     He stuck a feather in his hat,
          And hurried to the town
     And children met him with a horse
          For the gates were broken down.

Then one from the other side ran with all his force, throwing himself
upon the hands of the boys who had sung, the object being to "break
through," in which case he took the two whose hands had been parted to
"his side," while if he failed to break through he had to remain on
their side. The others then sang. One from this group tried to break
through their line, and thus they alternated until one side or the
other was broken up.

The boys were panting and red in the face when the game was over, a
strong argument against the
Chinese-are-not-much-given-to-vigorous-exercise theory.

"Now play something which does not require so much exercise," we

Every one looked at Chi, not that the other boys did not know the
games, but simply because this matter-of-fact boy was their natural
leader in this kind of sport.

"Blind man," he said quietly.

At once a handkerchief was tied around the eyes of one of the boys who
was willing to be "blind man," and a game corresponding almost exactly
to our own "blind man's buff" was played, without the remotest
embarrassment, but with as much naturalness as though neither teacher
nor spectator was near them.

"Have you any other games which require strength?" we inquired.

"Man-wheel," said Chi in his monosyllabic way.

"Play it, please."

"Go and call Wei-Yuan," to one of the smaller boys.

The boy ran off to find the one indicated, and Chi selected two other
middle-sized and two small boys. When Wei-Yuan, a larger but very
good-natured, kindly-dispositioned lad, came, the two middle-sized boys
stood beside him, one facing north, the other south, and caught each
other's hand over Wei-Yuan's shoulder. The two smaller boys then stood
beside these two, each of whom clutched hold of the small boys'
girdles, who in turn clutched their girdles and Wei-Yuan took their
disengaged hands. Thus the five boys were firmly bound together. The
wheel then began to turn, the small boys were gradually lifted from the
ground and swung or whirled around in an almost horizontal position.

"This game requires more strength," Chi explained, "than any other
small boys' game."

"Have you any games more vigorous than this?"

"Pitching the stone lock, and lifting the stone dumb-bells, but they
are for men."

"What is that game you were playing a few days ago in which you used
one stick to knock another?"

"One is striking the stick, and another is knocking the stick."

"Play one of them."

Chi drew two lines on the ground eight feet apart, on one of which he
put a stick. He then threw another stick at it, the object being to
drive it over the other line. He who first succeeds in driving it over
the line wins the game. The sticks are ten to fifteen inches long.

Striking the stick is similar to tip-cat which we have often seen
played by boys on the streets of New York. The children mark out a
square five or six feet on each side. The striker takes a position
inside, with his feet spread apart as wide as possible, to give him a
better command of the square. One of the others places the block in the
position which he supposes will be most difficult for the striker to
hit. The latter is then at liberty to twist around on one foot, placing
the other outside the square, in order if possible to secure a position
from which he can strike to advantage. He then throws a stick about
fifteen inches long at the block to drive it out of the square. If he
fails, the one who placed the block takes the stick, and another places
the block for him. If he succeeds he has the privilege of striking the
block three times as follows: He first strikes it perpendicularly,
which causes it to bound up two or three feet, when he hits it as one
would hit a ball, driving it as far as possible. This he repeats three
times, and if he succeeds in driving it the distance agreed upon, which
may be 20, 50, 200, 300, 500 or more feet, he wins the game. If not he
brings back the block and tries again, continuing to strike until he
fails to drive it out of the square. This game develops ingenuity in
placing the block and skill, in striking, and is one of the most
popular of all boys' games.

When they had finished striking the stick one of the smaller children
went over to where Chi was standing and whispered in his ear. The
expression of his face remained as unchangeable as that of a stone
image, as he called out:

"Select fruit."

The boys danced about in high glee, selected two captains who chose
sides, and they all squatted down in two rows twenty feet apart. Each
boy was given the name of some kind of fruit, such as apples, pears,
peaches, quinces or plums, all of which are common about Peking. The
captain on one side then blindfolded one of his boys, while one from
the other group arose and stealthily walked over and touched him,
returning to his place among his own group and taking as nearly as
possible the position he had when the other was blindfolded. In case
his companions are uncertain as to whether his position is exactly the
same, they all change their position, in order to prevent the one
blindfolded from guessing who it was who left his place.

The covering was then removed from his eyes, he went over to the other
side, examined carefully if perchance he might discover, from change of
position, discomfort in squatting, or a trace of guilt in the face or
eyes of any of them, a clue to the guilty party. He "made faces" to try
to cause the guilty one to laugh. He gesticulated, grimaced, did
everything he could think of, but they looked blank and unconcerned, or
all laughed together, allowing no telltale look to appear on their
faces. His pantomimes sometimes brought out the guilty one, but in case
they did not, his last resort was to risk a guess, and so he made his
selection. If he was right he took the boy to his side; if wrong, he
stayed on their side. One of their side was then blindfolded, and the
whole was repeated until one group or the other lost all its men. The
game is popular among girls as well as boys.

"Do you have any other guessing games?" we asked Chi.

"Yes, there is point at the moon or the stars," he answered, "and blind
man is also a guessing game."

By this time the boys had become enthusiastic, and had entirely
forgotten that they were playing for us or indeed for any purpose. It
was a new experience, this having their games taken in a notebook, and
each was anxious not only that he play well, but that no mistake be
made by any one. The more Chi realized the importance of playing the
games properly the more solemn he became, if indeed it were possible to
be more solemn than was his normal condition. He now changed to a game
of an entirely different character from those already played. Those
developed strength, skill or curiosity; this developed quick reaction
in the players.

"What shall we play?" inquired one of the boys.

"Queue," answered Chi.

Immediately every boy jerked his queue over his shoulder and began to
edge away from his companions. But as he walked away from one he drew
near another, and a sudden calling of his name would so surprise him
that in turning his head to see who spoke his short queue would be
jerked back over his shoulder and he received a dozen slaps from his
companions, all of whom were waiting for just such an opportunity. This
is the object of the game--to catch a boy with his queue down his back.
Some of the boys, more spry than others, would move away to a distance,
and then as though all unconsciously, allow their queue to hang down
the back in its natural position, depending upon their fleetness or
their agility in getting out of the way or bringing the queue around in
front. This game is peculiarly interesting and caused much hilarity. At
times even the solemn face of Chi relaxed into a smile.

"Honor," called out Chi, and as in the circus when the ringmaster
cracks his whip, everything changed. The boys each hooked the first
finger of his right hand with that of his companion and then pulled
until their fingers broke apart, when they each uttered the word
"Honor." This must not be spoken before they broke apart, but as soon
as possible after, and he who was first heard was entitled to an
obeisance on the part of the other. Those who failed the first trial
sat down, and those who succeeded paired off and pulled once more, and
so on until only one was left, who, as in the spelling-bees of our
boyhood days, became the hero of the hour.

Chi, however, was not making heroes, or was it that he did not want to
hurt the feelings of those who were less agile; at any rate he called
out "Hockey," and the boys at once snatched up their short sticks and
began playing at a game that is not unlike our American "shinny," a
game which is so familiar to every American boy as to make description
unnecessary--the principal difference between this and the American
game being that the boys all try to prevent one boy from putting a ball
into what they call the big hole, which, like the others, tended to
develop quickness of action in the boys.

I was familiar with the fact that there are certain games which tend to
develop the parental or protective instinct in children, while certain
others develop the combative and destructive, as for instance playing
with dolls develops the mother-instinct in girls; tea-parties, the love
of society; and paper dolls teach them how to arrange the furniture in
their houses; while on the other hand, wrestling, boxing, sparring,
battles, and all such amusements if constantly engaged in by boys, tend
to make them, if properly guided and instructed, brave and patriotic;
but if not properly led, cause them to be quarrelsome, domineering,
cruel, coarse and rough, and I wondered if the Chinese boys had any
such games.

"Chi," I asked, "do you have any such games as host and guest, or games
in which the large boys protect the small ones?"

"Host and guest," said Chi.

The boys at once arranged themselves promiscuously over the playground,
and with a few peanuts, or sour dates which they picked up under the
date trees, with all the ceremony of their race, they invited the
others to dine with them. After playing thus for a moment, Chi called

"Roast dog meat."

The children gathered in a group, put the palms of their hands
together, squatted in a bunch or ring, and placed their hands together
in the centre to represent the pot. The boy on the left of the
illustration represents Mrs. Wang, the guest of the occasion, while Chi
himself stands on the right with his hand on the head of one of the
boys. Chi walked around the ring while he sang:

     Roast, roast, roast dog meat,
     The second pot smells bad,
     The little pot is sweet,
     Come, Mrs. Wang, please,
     And eat dog meat.

He then invited Mrs. Wang to come and partake of a dinner of dog meat
with him, and the following conversation ensued.

          I cannot walk.
     I'll hire a cart for you.
          I'm afraid of the bumping.
     I'll hire a sedan chair for you.
          I'm afraid of the jolting.
     I'll hire a donkey for you.
          I'm afraid of falling off.
     I'll carry you.
          I have no clothes.
     I'll borrow some for you.
          I have no hair ornaments.
     I'll make some for you.
          I have no shoes.
     I'll buy some for you.

This conversation may be carried on to any length, according to the
fertility of the minds of the children, the excuses of Mrs. Wang at
times being very ludicrous. All these, however, being met, the host
carries her off on his back to partake of the dainties of a dog meat

"What were you playing a few days ago when all the boys lay in a
straight line?"

"Skin the snake."

The boys danced for glee. This was one of their favorite games.

They all stood in line one behind the other. They bent forward, and
each put one hand between his legs and thus grasped the disengaged hand
of the boy behind him.

Then they began backing. The one in the rear lay down and they backed
over astride of him, each lying down as he backed over the one next
behind him with the other's head between his legs and his head between
the legs of his neighbor, keeping fast hold of hands. They were thus
lying in a straight line.

The last one that lay down then got up, and as he walked astride the
line raised each one after him until all were up, when they let go
hands, stood straight, and the game was finished.

"Have you any other games which develop the protective instinct in
boys?" we inquired of Chi.

"The hawk catching the young chicks," said the matter-of-fact boy,
answering my question and directing the boys at the same time.

The children selected one of their number to represent the hawk and
another the hen, the latter being one of the largest and best natured
of the group, and one to whom the small boys naturally looked for

They formed a line with the mother hen in front, each clutching fast
hold of the others' clothing, with a large active boy at the end of the

The hawk then came to catch the chicks, but the mother hen spread her
wings and moved from side to side keeping between the hawk and the
brood, while at the same time the line swayed from side to side always
in the opposite direction from that in which the hawk was going. Every
chick caught by the hawk was taken out of the line until they were all

One of the boys whispered something to Chi.

"Strike the poles," exclaimed the latter.

As soon as they began playing we recognized it as a game we had already

The boys stood about four feet apart, each having a stick four or five
feet long which he grasped near the middle. As they repeated the
following rhyme in concert they struck alternately the upper and lower
ends of the sticks together, occasionally half inverting them and thus
striking the upper ends together in an underhand way. They struck once
for each accented syllable of the following rhyme, making it a very
rhythmical game.

          Strike the stick,
          One you see.
  I'll strike you and you strike me.
          Strike the stick,
          Twice around,
  Strike it hard for a good, big sound.
          Strike it thrice,
          A stick won't hurt.
  The magpie wears a small white shirt.
          Strike again.
          Four for you.
  A camel, a horse, and a Mongol too.
          Strike it five--
          Five I said,
  A mushroom grows with dirt on its head.
          Strike it six
          Thus you do,
  Six good horsemen caught Liu Hsiu.
          Strike it seven
          For 'tis said
  A pheasant's coat is green and red.
          Strike it eight,
          Strike it right,
  A gourd on the house-top blossoms white.
          Strike again,
          Strike it nine,
  We'll have some soup, some meat and wine.
          Strike it ten,
          Then you stop,
  A small, white blossom on an onion top.

Chi did not wait for further suggestion from any one, but called out:

"Throw cash."

The boys all ran to an adjoining wall, each took a cash from his purse
or pocket, and pressing it against the wall, let it drop. The one whose
cash rolled farthest away took it up and threw it against the wall in
such a way as to make it bound back as far as possible.

Each did this in turn. The one whose cash bounded farthest, then took
it up, and with his foot on the place whence he had taken it, he
pitched or threw it in turn at each of the others. Those he hit he took
up. When he missed one, all who remained took up their cash and struck
the wall again, going through the same process as before. The one who
wins is the one who takes up most cash.

This seemed to call to mind another pitching game, for Chi said once
more in his old military way:

"Pitch brickbats."

The boys drew two lines fifteen feet apart. Each took a piece of brick,
and, standing on one line pitched to see who could come nearest to the

The one farthest from the line set up his brick on the line and the one
nearest, standing on the opposite line, pitched at it, the object being
to knock it over.

If he failed he set up his brick and the other pitched at it.

If he succeeded, he next pitched it near the other, hopped over and
kicked his brick against that of his companion, knocking it over. Then
he carried it successively on his head, on each shoulder, on back and
breast (walking), in the bend of his thigh and the bend of his knee
(hopping), and between his legs (shuffling), each time dropping it on
the other brick and knocking it over.

Finally he marked a square enclosing the brick, eighteen inches each
side, and hopped back and forth over both square and brick ten times
which constituted him winner of the game.

Chi had become so expert in pitching and dropping the brick as to be
able to play the game without an error. The shuffling and hopping often
caused much merriment.

"What is that game," we inquired of Chi, "the boys on the street play
with two marbles?"

Without directly answering my question Chi turned to the boys and said:

"Kick the marbles."

The boys soon produced from somewhere,--Chinese boys can always produce
anything from anywhere,--two marbles an inch and a half in diameter.
Chi put one on the ground, and with the toe of his shoe upon it, gave
it a shove. Then placing the other, he shoved it in the same way, the
object being to hit the first.

There are two ways in which one may win. The first boy says to the
second, kick this marble north (south, east or west) of the other at
one kick. If he succeeds he wins, if he fails the other wins.

If he puts it north as ordered, he may kick again to hit the other
ball, in which case he wins again. If he hits the ball and goes north,
as ordered, at one kick, he wins double.

Each boy tries to leave the balls in as difficult a position as
possible for his successor; and here comes in a peculiarity which
leaves this game unique among the games of the world. If the position
in which the balls are left is too difficult for the other to play he
may refuse to kick and the first is compelled to play his own difficult
game--or like Haman--to hang on his own gallows. It recognizes the
Chinese golden rule of not doing to others what you would  not have
them do to you.

The boys spent a long time playing this game--indeed they seemed to
forget they were playing for us, and we were finally compelled to call
them off.

Chi had turned the marbles over to the others as soon as he had fairly
started it, and stood in that peculiar fashion of his with one leg
wound around the other, and when we called to them, he simply said as
though it were the next part of the same game:

"Kick the shoes."

The boys all took off their shoes--an easy matter for an Oriental--and
piled them in a heap. At a given sign they all kicked the pile
scattering the shoes in every direction, and each snatched up, and, for
the time, kept what he got. Those who were very agile got their own
shoes, or a pair which would fit them, while those who were slow only
secured a single shoe, and that either too large or too small. It was
amusing to see a large-footed boy with a small shoe, and a boy with
small feet having a shoe or shoes much too large for him.

The game was a good test of the boys' agility.

On consulting our watch we found it would soon be time for the boys to
enter school, but asked them to play one more game.

"Cat catching mice," said Chi.

The children selected one of their company to represent the cat and
another the mouse.

The remainder formed a ring with the mouse inside and the cat outside,
and while the ring revolved, the following conversation took place:

     "What o'clock is it?"
          "Just struck nine."

     "Is the mouse at home?"
          "He's about to dine."

All the time the mouse was careful to keep as far as possible from the

The ring stopped revolving and the cat popped in at this side and the
mouse out at the other. It is one of the rules of the game that the cat
must follow exactly in the footsteps of the mouse. They wound in and
out of the ring for some time but at last the mouse was caught and
"eaten," the eating process being the amusing part of the game. It is
impossible to describe it as every "cat" does it differently, and one
of the virtues of a cat is to be a good eater.

The boys continued to play until the bell rang for the evening session.
They referred to many different games which they had received from
Europeans, but played only those which Chi had learned upon the street
before he entered school. This was repeated day after day, until we had
gathered a large collection of their most common, and consequently
their best, games, the number of which was an indication of the
richness of the play life of Chinese boys.

Another peculiarly interesting fact was the leadership of Chi. The
Chinese boy, like the Chinese man is a genuine democrat and is ready to
follow the one who knows what he is about and is competent to take the
lead, with little regard to social position. It is the civil service
idea of a genuine democracy ingrained in childhood.


After having made the collection of boys' games we undertook to obtain
in a similar way, fullest information concerning games played by the
girls. Of course, it was impossible to do it alone, for the appearance
of a man among a crowd of little girls in China is similar to that of a
hawk among a flock of small chicks--it results in a tittering and
scattering in every direction, or a gathering together in a dock under
the shelter of the school roof or the wings of the teacher. One of the
teachers, however, Miss Effie Young, kindly consented to go with us,
and a goodly number of the small girls, after a less than usual amount
of tittering and whispering, gathered about us to see what was wanted.
The smallest among them was the most brave, and Miss Young explained
that this was a "little street waif" who had been taken into the school
because she had neither home nor friends, with the hope that something
might be done to save her from an unhappy fate.

"Do you know any games?" we asked her.

She put her hands behind her, hung her head, shuffled in an embarrassed
manner, and answered: "Lots of them."

"Play some for me."

This small girl after some delay took control of the party and began
arranging them for a game, which she called "going to town," similar to
one which the boys called "pounding rice." Two of the girls stood back
to back, hooked their arms, and as one bent the other from the ground,
and thus alternating, they sang:

     Up you go, down you see,
     Here's a turnip for you and me;
     Here's a pitcher, we'll go to town;
     Oh, what a pity, we've fallen down.

At which point they both sat down back to back, their arms still
locked, and asked and answered the following questions:

     What do you see in the heavens bright?
          I see the moon and the stars at night.
     What do you see in the earth, pray tell?
          I see in the earth a deep, deep well.
     What do you see in the well, my dear?
          I see a frog and his voice I hear.
     What is he saying there on the rock?
          Get up, get up, ke'rh kua, ke'rh kua.

They then tried to get up, but, with their arms locked, they found it
impossible to do so, and rolled over and got up with great hilarity.

This seemed to suggest to our little friend another game, which she
called "turning the mill." The girls took hold of each other's hands,
just as the boys do in "churning butter," but instead of turning around
under their arms they turn half way, put one arm up over their head,
bringing their right or left sides together, one facing one direction
and one the other; then, standing still, the following dialogue took

     Where has the big dog gone?
          Gone to the city.
     Where has the little dog gone?
          Run away.

Then, as they began to turn, they repeated:

     The big dog's gone to the city;
     The little dog's run away;
     The egg has fallen and broken,
     And the oil's leaked out, they say.
     But you be a roller
     And hull with power,
     And I'll be a millstone
     And grind the flour.

As soon as this game was finished our little friend arranged the
children against the wall for another game. Everything was in
readiness. They were about to begin, when one of the larger girls
whispered something in her ear. She stepped back, put her hands behind
her, hung her head and thought a moment.

"Go on," we said.

"No, we can't play that; there is too much bad talk in it." This is one
of the unfortunate features of Chinese children's games and rhymes.
There is an immense amount of bad talk in them.

She at once called out:

"Meat or vegetables."

Each girl began to scurry around to find a pair of old shoes, which may
be picked up almost anywhere in China, and putting one crosswise of the
other, they let them fall. The way they fell indicated what kind of
meat or vegetables they were. If they both fell upside down they were
the big black tiger. If both fell on the side they were double beans.
If one fell right side up and the other on its side they were beans. If
both were right side up they were honest officials. (What kind of meat
or vegetables honest officials are it is difficult to say, but that
never troubles the Chinese child.) If one is right side and the other
wrong side up they are dogs' legs. If the toe of one rests on the top
of the other, both right side up and at right angles, they form a dark
hole or an alley.

The child whose shoes first form an alley must throw a pebble through
this alley--that is, under the toe of the shoe--three times, or,
failing to do so, one of the number takes up the shoes, and standing on
a line, throws them all back over her head. Then she hops to each
successively, kicking it back over the line, each time crossing the
line herself, until all are over. In case she fails another tries it in
the same way, and so on, till some one succeeds. This one then takes
the two shoes of the one who got the alley, and, hanging them
successively on her toe, kicks them as far as possible. The possessor
of the shoes, starting from the line, hops to each, picks it up and
hops back over the line with it, which ends the game. It is a vigorous
hopping game for little girls.

The girls were pretty well exhausted when this game was over and we
asked them to play something which required less exercise.

"Water the flowers," said the small leader.

Several of them squatted down in a circle, put their hands together in
the centre to represent the flowers. One of their number gathered up
the front of her garment in such a way as to make a bag, and went
around as if sprinkling water on their heads, at the same time

     "I water the flowers, I water the flowers,
     I water them morning and evening hours,
     I never wait till the flowers are dry,
     I water them ere the sun is high."

She then left a servant in charge of them while she went to dinner.
While she was away one of them was stolen.

Returning she asked: "How is this that one of my flowers is gone?"

"A man came from the south on horseback and stole one before I knew it.
I followed him but how could I catch a man on horseback?"

After many rebukes for her carelessness, she again sang:

     "A basin of water, a basin of tea,
     I water the flowers, they're op'ning you see."

Again she cautioned the servant about losing any of the flowers while
she went to take her afternoon meal, but another flower was stolen and
this time by a man from the west.

When the mistress returned, she again scolded the servant, after which
she sang:

     "A basin of water, another beside,
     I water the flowers, they're opening wide."

This was continued until all the flowers were gone. One had been taken
by a carter, another by a donkey-driver, another by a muleteer, another
by a man on a camel, and finally the last little sprig was eaten by a
chicken. The servant was soundly berated each time and cautioned to be
more careful, which she always promised but never performed, and was
finally dismissed in disgrace without either a recommendation, or the
wages she had been promised when hired.

The game furnishes large opportunity for invention on the part of the
servant, depending upon the number of those to be stolen. This little
girl seemed to be at her wit's end when she gave as the excuse for the
loss of the last one that it had been eaten by a chicken.

This game suggested to our little friend another which proved to be the
sequel to the one just described, and she called out:

"The flower-seller."

The girl who had just been dismissed appeared from behind the corner of
the house with all the stolen "flowers," each holding to the other's
skirts. At the same time she was calling out:

          "Flowers for sale,
               Flowers for sale,
          Come buy my flowers
               Before they get stale."

The original owner hereupon appeared and called to her:

"Hey! come here, flower-girl, those flowers look like mine," and she
took one away.

The flower-seller did not stop to argue the question but hurried off

          "Flowers for sale," etc.

The original owner again called to her:

"Ho! flower-seller, come here, those flowers are certainly mine,"
whereupon she took them all and whipped the flower-seller who ran away

As the little flower-seller ran away crying in her sleeve, she stumbled
over an old flower-pot that lay in the school court. This accident
seemed to act as a reminder to our little leader for she called out,


The girls divided themselves into companies of three and stood in the
form of a triangle, each with her left hand holding the right hand of
the other, their hands being crossed in the centre.

Then by putting the arms of two back of the head of the third she was
brought into the centre (steps into the well), and by stepping over two
other arms, she goes out on the opposite side, so that whereas she was
on the left side of this and the right side of that one, she now stands
on the right side of this and the left side of that girl. In the same
way the second and third girls go through, and so on as long as they
wish to keep up the game, saying or singing the following rhyme:

     You first cross over, and then cross back,
     And step in the well as you cross the track,
     And then there is something else you do,
     Oh, yes, you make a flower-pot too.

By this time the girls had lost most of their strangeness or
embarrassment and continued the flower-pot until we were compelled to
remind them that they were playing for us. Everybody let go hands and
the little general called out,

"The cow's tail."

One girl with a small stick in her hand squatted down pretending to be
digging and the others took a position one behind the other similar to
the hawk catching the chicks. They walked up to the girl digging and
engaged in the following conversation:

     "What are you digging?"
          "Digging a hole."
     "What is it for?"
          "My pot for to boil."
     "What will you heat?"
          "Some water and broth."
     "How use the water?"
          "I'll wash some cloth."
     "What will you make?"
          "I'll make a bag."
     "And what put in it?"
          "A knife and a rag."
     "What is the knife for?"
          "To kill your lambs."
     "What have they done?"
          "They've eaten my yams."
     "How high were they?"
          "About so high."
     "Oh, that isn't high."
          "As high as the sky."

  "What is your name?"
     "My name is Grab, what is your name?"
     "My name is Turn."
  "Turn once for me."

They all walked around in a circle and as they turned they sang:

     "We turn about once,
         Or twice I declare,
     And she may grab,
         But we don't care."

     "Can't you grab once for us?"
     "Yes, but what I grab I keep."

She then ran to "grab" one of the "lambs" but they kept behind the
front girl just as the boys did in the hawk catching the chicks. After
awhile however, they were all caught.

Why this game is called "cow's tail" and the girls called "lambs," we
do not know. We asked the girls why and their answer was, "There is no

The girls were panting with the running before they were all caught and
we suggested that they rest awhile, but instead the little leader
called out:

"Let out the doves."

One of the larger girls took hold of the hands of two of the smaller,
one of whom represented a dove and the other a hawk. The hawk stood
behind her and the dove in front.

She threw the dove away as she might pitch a bird into the air, and as
the child ran it waved its arms as though they were wings. She threw
the hawk in the same way, and it followed the dove.

She then clapped her hands as the Chinese do to bring their pet birds
to them, and the dove if not caught, returned to the cage. This is a
very pretty game for little children.

By this time the girls were all rested and our little friend said:

"Seek for gold."

Three or four of the girls gathered up some pebbles, squatted down in a
group and scattered them as they would a lot of jackstones. Then one
drew her finger between two of the stones and snapped one against the
other. If she hit it the two were taken up and put aside.

She then drew her finger between two more and snapped them.

If she missed, another girl took up what were left, scattered them,
snapped them, took them up, and so on until one or another got the most
of the pebbles and thus won the game. Our little friend was reminded of
another and she called out:

"The cow's eye."

Immediately the girls all sat down in a ring and put their feet
together in the centre. Then one of their number repeated the following
rhyme, tapping a foot with each accented syllable.

     One, two, three, and an old cow's eye,
     When a cow's eye's blind she'll surely die.
     A piece of skin and a melon too,
     If you have money I'll sell to you,
          But if you're without,
          I'll put you out.

The foot on which her finger happened to rest when she said "out" was
excluded from the ring. Again she repeated the rhyme excluding a foot
with each repetition till all but one were out.

Up to this point all the children were in a nervous quiver waiting to
see which foot would be left, but now the fun began, for they took the
shoe off and every one slapped that unfortunate foot. This was done
with good-natured vigor but without intention to hurt. It was amusing
to see the children squirm as they neared the end of the game.

This game finished, the little girl called out:

"Pat your hands and knees."

The girls sat down in pairs and, after the style of "Bean Porridge
Hot," clapped hands to the following rhyme:

               Pat your hands and knees,
               On January first,
     The old lady likes to go a sightseeing most.
               Pat your hands and knees,
               On February second,
     The old lady likes a piece of candy it is reckoned.
               Pat your hands and knees,
               On March the third,
     The old lady likes a Canton pipe I have heard.
               Pat your hands and knees,
               On April fourth,
     The old lady likes bony fish from the north.
               Pat your hands and knees,
               The fifth of May,
     The old lady likes sweet potatoes every day.
               Pat your hands and knees,
               The sixth of June,
     The old lady eats fat pork with a spoon.
               Pat your hands and knees,
               The seventh of July,
     The old lady likes to eat a fat chicken pie.
               Pat your hands and knees,
               On August eight,
     The old lady likes to see the lotus flowers straight.
               Pat your hands and knees,
               September nine,
     The old lady likes to drink good hot wine.
               Pat your hands and knees,
               October ten,

     The old lady, you and I, may meet  hope again.

This we afterwards discovered is very widely known throughout the north
of China.

The foregoing are a few of the games played by the children in Peking.
In that one city we have collected more than seventy-five different
games, and have no reason to believe we have secured even a small
proportion of what are played there. Games played in Central and South
China are different, partly because of climatic conditions, partly
because of the character of the people. There, as here, the games of
children are but reproductions of the employments of their parents.
They play at farming, carpentry, house-keeping, storekeeping, or
whatever employments their parents happen to be engaged in. Indeed, in
addition to the games common to a larger part of the country, there are
many which are local, and depend upon the employment of the parents or
the people.


One day while sitting at table, with our little girl, nineteen months
old, on her mother's knee near by, we picked up her rubber doll and
began to whip it violently. The child first looked frightened, then
severe, then burst into tears and plead with her mother not to "let
papa whip dolly."

Few people realize how much toys become a part of the life of the
children who play with them. They are often looked upon as nothing more
than "playthings for children." This is a very narrow view of their
uses and relationships. There is a philosophy underlying the production
of toys as old as the world and as broad as life, a philosophy which,
until recent years, has been little studied and cultivated.

Playthings are as necessary a constituent of human life as food or
medicine, and contribute in a like manner to the health and development
of the race. Like the science of cooking and healing, the business of
toy-making has been driven by the stern teacher, necessity, to a rapid
self-development for the general good of the little men and women in
whose interests they are made.

They are the tools with which children ply their trades; the
instruments with which they carry on their professions; the goods which
they buy and sell in their business, and the paraphernalia with which
they conduct their toy society. They are more than this. They are the
animals which serve them, the associates who entertain them, the
children who comfort them and bring joy to the mimic home.

Toys are nature's first teachers. The child with his little shovels,
spades and hoes, learns his first lessons in agriculture;  with his
hammer and nails, he gets his first lessons in the various trades; and
the bias of the life of many a child of larger growth has come from the
toys with which he played. Into his flower garden the father of
Linnaeus introduced his son during his infancy, and "this little garden
undoubtedly created that taste in the child which afterwards made him
the first botanist and naturalist of his age, if not of his race."

No experiments in any chemical laboratory will excite more wonder or be
carried on with more interest, than those which the boy performs with
his pipe and basin of soapy water. The little girl's mud pies and other
sham confectionery furnish her first lessons in the art of preparing
food. Her toy dinners and playhouse teas offer her the first
experiences in the entertainment of guests. With her dolls, the
domestic relations and affections.

No science has ever originated and been carried to any degree of
perfection in Asia. There is no reason why this statement should cause
the noses of Europeans and Americans to twitch in derision and pride,
for there is another fact equally momentous in favor of the
Asiatics,--viz., no religion that originated outside of Asia has ever
been carried to any degree of perfection.

The above facts will indicate that we need not hope to find the
business of toy-making, or the science of child-education in a very
advanced state in China--the most Asiatic country of Asia. Child's play
and toy-making have been organized into a business and a science in
Europe, as astronomy, which had been studied so long in Asia, was
developed into a science by the Greeks. And so we find that what is
taught in the kindergarten of the West is learned in the streets of the
East; and the toys which are manufactured in great Occidental business
establishments, are made by poor women in Oriental homes, and the same
mistakes are made by the one as by the other.

The same whistle by which the cock crows, enables the dog to bark, the
baby to cry, the horse to neigh, the sheep to bleat and the cow to low,
just as in our own rubber goods. The same end is accomplished in the
one case as in the other. The two, three or twenty cash doll does for
the Chinese girl what the two, three or twenty dollar one does for her
antipodal sister,--develops the instinct of motherhood, besides
standing a greater amount of rough handling. Nevertheless it usually
comes to the same deplorable end, departing this world, bereft of its
arms and legs, without going through the tedious process of a surgical

Chinese toys are less varied, less complicated, less true to the
original, and less expensive than those of the West,--more perhaps like
the toys of a century or two ago. Nevertheless they are toys, and in
the hands of boys and girls, the drum goes "rub-a-dub," the horn
"toots," and the whistle squeaks. The "gingham dog and calico cat,"
besides a score of other animals more nearly related to the soil of
their native place--being made of clay--express themselves in the
language of the particular whistle which happens to have been placed
within them. All this is to the entire satisfaction of "little Miss
Muffet" and "little boy Blue," just as they do in other lands.

When the children grow older they have tops to spin that whistle as
good a whistle, and buzzers to buzz that buzz as good a buzz, and music
balls to roll, and music carts to pull, that emit sounds as much to
their satisfaction, as anything that ministered to the childish tastes
of our grandfathers; and these become as much a part of their business
and their life as if they were living, talking beings. Furthermore,
their dolls are as much their children as they themselves are the
offspring of their parents.

Chinese toys embrace only those which involve no intricate scientific
principles. The music boxes of the West are unknown in China except as
they are imported. The Chinese know nothing about dolls which open and
shut their eyes, simple as this principle is, nor of toys which are
self-propelling by some mysterious spring secreted within, because,
forsooth, they know nothing about making the spring.

There are some principles, however, which, though they may not
understand, they are nevertheless able to utilize; such, for instance,
as the expansion of air by heat, and the creation of air currents. This
principle is utilized in lanterns. In the top of these is a paper wheel
attached to a cross-bar on the ends of which are suspended paper men
and women together with animals of all kinds making a very interesting
merry-go-round. These lantern-figures correspond to the sawyers,
borers, blacksmiths, washers and others which twenty or more years ago
were on top of the stove of every corner grocery or country post-office.

When we began the study of Chinese toys our first move was to call in a
Chinese friend whom we thought we could trust, and who could buy toys
at a very reasonable rate, and sent him out to purchase specimens of
every variety of toys he could find in the city of Peking. We ordered
him the first day to buy nothing but rattles, because the rattle is the
first toy that attracts the attention of the child.

In the evening Mr. Hsin returned with a good-sized basket full of
rattles. Some were tin in the form of small cylinders, with handles in
which were small pebbles: others were shaped like pails; and others
like cooking pots and pans.

Some of the most attractive were hollow wood balls, baskets, pails and
bottles, gorgeously painted, with long handles, necks, or bails. The
paint was soon transferred from the face of the toy to that of the
first child that happened to play with it, which child was of course,
our own little girl.

The most common rattles representing various kinds of fowls and animals
known and unknown are made of clay. Others are in the form of fat
little priests that make one think of Santa Claus, or little roly-poly
children that look like the little folks who play with them.

As the child grows larger the favorite rattle is a drum-shaped piece of
bamboo or other wood, with skin--not infrequently fish skin, stretched
over the two ends, and a long handle attached. On the sides are two
stout strings with beads on the ends, which, when the rattle is turned
in the hand, strike on the drum heads. These rattles of brass or tin as
well as bamboo, are in imitation of those carried by street hawkers.

We said to Mr. Hsin, "Foreigners say the Chinese do not have dolls, how
is that?"

"They have lots of them," he answered in the stereotyped way.

"Then to-morrow buy samples of all the dolls you can find."

"All?" he asked with some surprise.

"Yes, all. We want to know just what kind of dolls they have."

The next evening Mr. Hsin came in with an immense load of dolls. He had
large, small, and middle sized rag dolls, on which the nose was sewed,
the ears pasted, and the eyes and other features painted. They were
rude, but as interesting to children as other more natural and more
expensive ones, as we discovered by giving one of them to our little
girl. In not a few instances Western children have become much more
firmly attached to their Chinese cloth dolls than any that can be found
for them in America or Europe.

He had a number of others both large and small with paper mache heads,
leather bodies, and clay arms and legs. The body was like a bellows in
which a reed whistle was placed, that enabled the baby to cry in the
same tone as the toy dog barks or the cock crows. They had "real hair"
in spots on their head similar to those on the child, and they were
dressed in the same kind of clothing as that used on the baby in
summer-time, viz., a chest-protector and a pair of shoes or trousers.

Mr. Hsin then took out a small package in which was wrapped a
half-dozen or more "little people," as they are called, by the Chinese,
with paper heads, hands and feet, exquisitely painted, and their
clothing of the finest silk. Attached to the head of each was a silk
string by which the "little people" are hung upon the wall as a

"But what are these, Mr. Hsin?" we asked. "These are not dolls."

"No," he answered, "these are cloth animals. The children play with
these at the same time they play with dolls."

He had gone beyond our instructions. He had brought us a large
collection of camels made of cloth the color of the camel's skin, with
little bunches of hair on the head, neck, hump and the joints of the
legs, similar to those on the camel when it is shedding its coat in the
springtime. He had elephants made of a grayish kind of cloth on which
were harnesses similar to those supposed to be necessary for those
animals. He had bears with bits of hair on neck and tail and a leading
string in the nose; horses painted with spots of white and red, matched
only by the most remarkable animals in a circus; monkeys with black
beads for eyes, and long tails; lions, tigers, and leopards, with
large, savage, black, glass eyes, with manes or tails suited to each,
and properly crooked by a wire extending to the tip. And finally he
laid the bogi-boo, a nondescript with a head on each end much like the
head of a lion or tiger. When not used as a plaything, this served the
purpose of a pillow.

"Do the Chinese have no other kinds of toy animals?" we inquired.

"Yes," he answered, "I'll bring them to-morrow."

The following evening he brought us a collection of clay toys too
extensive to enumerate. There were horses, cows, camels, mules, deer,
and a host of others the original of which has never been found except
in the imagination of the people. He had women riding donkeys followed
by drivers, men riding horses and shooting or throwing a spear at a
fleeing tiger, and women with babies in their arms while grandmother
amused them with rattles, and father lay near by smoking an opium pipe.

From the bottom of his basket he brought forth a nuber of small

"What are in those?"

"These are clay insects."

They were among the best clay work we have seen in China. There were
tumble-bugs, grasshoppers, large beetles, mantis, praying mantis, toads
and scorpions, together with others never seen outside of China, and
some never seen at all, the legs and feelers all being made of wire.

In another package he had a dozen dancing dolls. They were made of
clay, were an inch and a half long, dressed with paper, and had small
wires protruding the sixteenth of an inch below the bottom of the
skirt. He put them all on a brass tray, the edge of which he struck
with a small stick to make it vibrate, thus causing the dancers to turn
round and round in every direction.

The next package contained a number of clay beggars. Two were fighting,
one about to smash his clay pot over the other's head: another had his
pot on his head for a lark, a third was eating from his, while others
were carrying theirs in their hand. One had a sore leg to which he
called attention with open mouth and pain expressed in every feature.

From another package he brought out a number of jumping jacks,
imitations as it seemed of things Japanese. There were monkey acrobats
made of clay, wire and skin, fastened to a small slip of bamboo. A doll
fastened to a stick, with cymbals in its hands would clash the cymbals,
when its queue was pulled. Finally there was a large dragon which
satisfied its raging appetite by feeding upon two or three little clay
men specially prepared for his consumption.

But, perhaps, among the most interesting of his toys were his clay
whistles. Some of these burnt or sun-dried toys were hollow and in the
shape of birds, beasts and insects. When blown into, they would emit
the shrillest kind of a whistle. In others a reed whistle had been
placed similar to those in the dolls, and these usually had a bellows
to blow them. Whether cock or hen, dog or child, they all crowed,
barked, cackled, or cried in the self-same tone.

"What will you get to-morrow?"

"Drums, knives, and tops," said Mr. Hsin. He was being paid by the day
for spending our money, and so had his plans well laid.

The following evening he brought a large collection of toy drums, some
of which were in the shape of a barrel, both in their length and in
being bulged out at the middle. On the ends were painted gay pictures
of men and women clad in battle-array or festive garments, making the
drum a work of art as well as an instrument of torture to those who are
disturbed by noises about the house.

He had large knives covered with bright paint which could easily be
washed off, and tridents, with loose plates or cymbals, which make a
noise to frighten the enemy.

The tops Mr. Hsin had collected were by far the most interesting.
Chinese tops are second to none made. They are simple, being made of
bamboo, are spun with a string, and when properly operated emit a
shrill whistle.

The ice top, without a stem, and simply a block of wood in shape of a
top, is spun with a string, but is kept going by whipping.

Another toy which foreigners call a top is entirely different from
anything we see in the West. The Chinese call it a K'ung chung, while
the top is called t'o lo. It is constructed of two pieces of bamboo,
each of which is made like a top, and then joined by a carefully turned
axle, each end being of equal weight, and looking not unlike the wheels
of a cart. It is then spun by a string, which is wound once around the
axle and attached to two sticks. A good performer is able to spin it in
a great variety of ways, tossing it under and over his foot, spinning
it with the sticks behind him, and at times throwing it up into the air
twenty or thirty feet and catching it as it comes down. The principle
upon which it is operated is the quick jerking of one of the sticks
while the other is allowed to be loose.

"To-morrow," said Mr. Hsin, as he ceased spinning the top, "I will get
you some toy carts."

The Chinese cart has been described as a Saratoga trunk on two wheels.
This is, however, only one form--that of the passenger cart. There are
many others, and all of them are used as patterns of toy carts. They
all have a kind of music-box attachment, operated by the turning of the
axle to which the wheels of the toys, as well as those of some of the
real carts, are fixed.

The toy carts are made of tin, wood and clay. Some of them are very
simple, having paper covers, while others possess the whole
paraphernalia of the street carts. When the mule of the toy cart is
unhitched and unharnessed, he looks like a very respectable mule.
Nevertheless, instead of devouring food, he becomes the prey of
insects. Usually he appears the second season, if he lasts that long,
bereft of mane and tail, as well as a large portion of his skin.

The flat carts have a revolving peg sticking up through the centre, on
which a small clay image is placed which turns with the stick. Others
are placed on wires on the two sides, to represent the driver and the

These in Peking are the omnibus carts. Running from the east gate of
the Imperial city to the front gate, and in other parts of the city as
well, there are street carts corresponding to the omnibus or street
cars of the West. These start at intervals of ten minutes, more or
less, with eight or ten persons on a cart, the fare being only a few
cash. Toy carts of this kind have six or eight clay images to represent
the passengers.

Mr. Hsin brought out from the bottom of his basket a number of neatly
made little pug dogs, and pressing upon a bellows in their body caused
them to bark, just as the hen cackled a few days before.

What we have described formed only a small portion of the toys Mr. Hsin
brought. Cheap clay toys of all kinds are hawked about the street by a
man who sells them at a fifth or a tenth of a cent apiece. With him is
often found a candy-blower, who with a reed and a bowl of taffy-candy
is ready to blow a man, a chicken, a horse and cart, a corn ear, or
anything else the child wants, as a glass-blower would blow a bottle or
a lamp chimney. The child plays with his prize until he tires of it and
then he eats it.


It was on a bright spring afternoon that a Chinese official and his
little boy called at our home on Filial Piety Lane, in Peking.

The dresses of father and child were exactly alike--as though they had
been twins, boots of black velvet or satin, blue silk trousers, a long
blue silk garment, a waistcoat of blue brocade, and a black satin
skullcap--the child was in every respect, even to the dignity of his
bearing, a vest-pocket edition of his father.

He had a T'ao of books which I recognized as the Fifteen Magic Blocks,
one of the most ingenious, if not the most remarkable, books I have
ever seen.

A T'ao is two or any number of volumes of a book wrapped in a single
cover. In this case it was two volumes. In the inside of the cover
there was a depression three inches square in which was kept a piece of
lead, wood or pasteboard, divided into fifteen pieces as in the
following illustration.

These blocks are all in pairs except one, which is a rhomboid. They are
all exactly proportional, having their sides either half-inch, inch,
inch and a half, or two inches in length.

They are not used as are the blocks in our kindergarten simply to make
geometrical figures, but rather to illustrate such facts of history as
will have a moral influence, or be an intellectual stimulus to the

He may build houses with them, or make such ancient or modern
ornaments, or household utensils, as may suit his fancy; but the
primary object of the blocks and the books, is to impress upon the
child's mind, in the most forcible way possible, the leading facts of
history, poetry, mythology or morals; while the houses, boats and other
things are simply side issues.

The first illustration the child constructed for me, for I desired him
to teach me how it was done, was a dragon horse, and when I asked him
to explain it, he said that it represented the animal seen by Fu Hsi,
the original ancestor of the Chinese people, emerging from the Meng
river, bearing upon its back a map on which were fifty-five spots,
representing the male and female principles of nature, and which the
sage used to construct what are called the eight diagrams.

The child tossed the blocks off into a pile and then constructed a
tortoise which he said was seen by Yu, the Chinese Noah, coming out of
the Lo river, while he was draining off the floods. On its back was a
design which he used as a pattern for the nine divisions of his empire.

These two incidents are referred to by Confucius, and are among the
first learned by every Chinese child.

I looked through the book and noticed that many of the designs were for
the amusement of the children, as well as to develop their ingenuity.
In the two volumes of the T'ao he had only the outlines of the pictures
which he readily constructed with the blocks. But he had with him also
a small volume which was a key to the designs having lines indicating
how each block was placed. This he had purchased for a few cash. Much
of the interest of the book, however, attached to the puzzling
character of the pictures.

There was one with a verse attached somewhat like the following:

  The old wife drew a chess-board
     On the cover of a book,
  While the child transformed a needle
     Into a fishing-hook.

Chinese literature is full of examples of men and women who applied
themselves to their books with untiring diligence. Some tied their hair
to the beam of their humble cottage so that when they nodded with
sleepiness the jerk would awake them and they might return to their

Others slept upon globular pillows that when they became so restless as
to move and cause the pillow to roll from under their head they might
get up and study.

The child once more took the blocks and illustrated how one who was so
poor as to be unable to furnish himself with candles, confined a
fire-fly in a gauze lantern using that instead of a lamp. At the same
time he explained that another who was perhaps not able to afford the
gauze lantern, studied by the light of a glowworm.

"K'ang Heng," said the child, as he put the blocks together in a new
form, "had a still better way, as well as more economical. His house
was built of clay, and as the window of his neighbor's house was
immediately opposite, he chiseled a hole through his wall and thus took
advantage of his neighbor's light.

"Sun K'ang's method was very good for winter," continued the child as
he rearranged the blocks, "but I do not know what he would do in
summer. He studied by the light reflected from the snow.

"Perhaps," he went on as he changed the form, "he followed the example
of another who studied by the pale light of the moon."

"What does that represent?" I asked him pointing to a child with a bowl
in his hand who looked as if he might have been going to the grocer's.

"Oh, that boy is going to buy wine."

The Chinese have never yet realized what a national evil liquor may
become. They have little wine shops in the great cities, but they have
no drinking houses corresponding to the saloon, and it is not uncommon
to see a child going to the wine shop to fetch a bowl of wine. The
Buddhist priest indulges with the same moderation as the official class
or gentry. Indeed most of the drunkenness we read about in Chinese
books is that of poets and philosophers, and in them it is, if not
commended, at least not condemned. The attitude of literature towards
them is much like that of Thackeray towards the gentlemen of his day.

The child constructed the picture of a Buddhist priest, who, with staff
in hand, and a mug of wine, was viewing the beautiful mountains in the
distance. He then changed it to one in which an intoxicated man was
leaning on a boy's shoulder, the inscription to which said: "Any one is
willing to assist a drunken man to return home."

"This," he went on as he changed his blocks, "is a picture of Li Pei,
China's greatest poet. He lived more than a thousand years ago. This
represents the closing scene in his life. He was crossing the river in
a boat, and in a drunken effort to get the moon's reflection from the
water, he fell overboard and was drowned." The child pointed to the
sail at the same time, repeating the following:

     The sail being set,
          He tried to get,
     The moon from out the main.

I noticed a large number of boat scenes and induced the child to
construct some of them for me, which he was quite willing to do,
explaining them as he went as readily as our children would explain Old
Mother Hubbard or the Old Woman who Lived in her Shoe, by seeing the

Constructing one he repeated a verse somewhat like the following:

     Alone the fisherman sat,
          In his boat by the river's brink,
     In the chill and cold and snow,
          To fish, and fish, and think.

Then he turned over to two on opposite pages, and as he constructed
them he repeated in turn:

     In a stream ten thousand li in length
          He bathes his feet at night,

     While on a mount he waves his arms,
          Ten thousand feet in height.

The ten thousand li in one couplet corresponds to the ten thousand feet
in the other, while the bathing of the feet corresponds to the waving
of the arms. Couplets of this kind are always attractive to the Chinese
child as well as to the scholar, and poems and essays are replete with
such constructions.

The child enjoyed making the pictures. I tried to make one, but found
it very difficult. I was not familiar with the blocks. It is different
now, I have learned how to make them. Then it seemed as if it would be
impossible ever to do so. When I had failed to make the picture I
turned them over to him. In a moment it was done.

"Who is it?" I asked.

"Chang Ch'i, the poet," he answered. "Whenever he went for a walk he
took with him a child who carried a bag in which to put the poems he
happened to write. In this illustration he stands with his head bent
forward and his hands behind his back lost in thought, while the lad
stands near with the bag."

We have given in another chapter the story of the great traveller,
Chang Ch'ien, and his search for the source of the Yellow River.

In one of the illustrations the child represented him in his boat in a
way not very different from that of the artist.

Another quotation from one of the poets was illustrated as follows:

     Last night a meeting I arranged,
          Ere I my lamp did light,
     Nor while I crossed the ferry feared,
          Or wind or rain or night.

The child's eyes sparkled as he turned to some of those illustrating
children at play, and as he constructed one which represents two
children swinging their arms and running, he repeated:

     See the children at their play,
     Gathering flowers by the way.

"They are gathering pussy-willows," he added.

In another he represented a child standing before the front gate, where
he had knocked in vain to gain admission. As he completed it he said,
pointing to the apricot over the door:

     Ten times he knocked upon the gate,
          But nine, they opened not,
     Above the wall he plainly saw,
          A ripe, red apricot.

He continued to represent quotations from the poets and explain them as
he went along.

There was one which indicated that some one was ascending the steps to
the jade platform on which the dust had settled as it does on
everything in Peking; at the same time the verse told us that

     Step by step we reach the platform,
          All of jade of purest green,
     Call a child to come and sweep it,
          But he cannot sweep it clean.

"You know," he went on, "the cottages of many of the poets were near
the beautiful lakes in central China, in the wild heights of the
mountains, or upon the banks of some flowing stream. In this one the
pavilion of the poet is on the bank of the river, and we are told that,

      In his cottage sat the poet
          Thinking, as the moon went by,
      That the moonlight on the water,
          Made the water like the sky."

Changing it somewhat he made a cottage of a different kind. This was
not made for the picture's sake, but to illustrate a sentence it was
designed to impress upon the child's mind. The quotation is somewhat as

     The ringing of the evening bells,
          The moon a crescent splendid,
     The rustling of the swallow's wings
          Betoken winter ended.

The child looked up at me significantly as he turned to one which
represented a Buddhist priest. I expected something of a joke at the
priest's expense as in the nursery rhymes and games, but there was
none. That would injure the sale of the book. The inscription told us
that "a Buddhist lantern will reflect light enough to illuminate the
whole universe."

Turning to the next page we found a priest sitting in front of the
temple in the act of beating his wooden drum, while the poet exclaims:

     O crystal pool and silvery moon,
          So clear and pure thou art,
     There's nought to which thou wilt compare
          Except a Buddha's heart.

The child next directed our attention to various kinds of flowers, more
especially the marigold. A man in a boat rows with one hand while he
points backward to the blossoming marigold, while in another picture
the poet tells us that,

     Along the eastern wall,
          We pluck the marigold,
     While on the south horizon,
          The mountain we behold.

"What is that?" I asked as he turned to a picture of an old man riding
on a cow.

"That is Laotze, the founder of Taoism, crossing the frontier at the
Han Ku Pass between Shansi and Shensi, riding upon a cow. Nobody knows
where he went."

There were other pictures of Taoist patriarchs keeping sheep. By their
magic power they turned the sheep into stones when they were tired
watching them, and again the inscriptions told us, "the stones became
sheep at his call." Still others represented them in search of the
elixir of life, while in others they were riding on a snail.

The object of thus bringing in incidents from all these Buddhist,
Taoist, Confucian, and other sources is that by catering to all classes
the book may have wide distribution, and whatever the Confucianist may
say, it must be admitted that the other religions have a strong hold
upon the popular mind.

The last twenty-six illustrations in Vol. I represent various incidents
in the life, history and employments of women.

The first of these is an ancient empress "weaving at night by her
palace window."

Another represents a woman in her boat and we are told that, "leaving
her oar she leisurely sang a song entitled, 'Plucking the Caltrops.'"

Another represents a woman "wearing a pomegranate-colored dress riding
a pear-blossom colored horse." A peculiar combination to say the least.

The fisherman's wife is represented in her boat, "making her toilet at
dawn using the water as a mirror." While we are assured also that the
woman sitting upon her veranda "finds it very difficult to thread her
needle by the pale light of the moon," which fact, few, I think, would

In one of the pictures "a beautiful maiden, in the bright moonlight,
came beneath the trees." This is evidently contrary to Chinese ideas of
propriety, for the Classic for girls tells us that a maiden should not
go out at night except in company with a servant bearing a lantern. As
it was bright moonlight, however, let us hope she was excusable.

This sauntering about in the court is not uncommon if we believe what
the books say, for in the next picture we are told that:

     As near the middle summer-house,
          The maiden sauntered by,
     Upon the jade pin in her hair
          There lit a dragon-fly.

The next illustration represented the wife of the famous poet Ssu-Ma
Hsiang-Ju in her husband's wine shop.

This poet fell in love with the widowed daughter of a wealthy merchant,
the result of which was that the young couple eloped and were married;
and as the daughter was disinherited by her irate parent, she was
compelled to wait on customers in her husband's wine shop, which she
did without complaint. In spite of their imprudent conduct, and for the
time, its unhappy results, as soon as the poet had become so famous as
to be summoned to court, the stern father relented, and, as it was a
case of undoubted affection, which the Chinese readily appreciate they
have always had the sympathy of the whole Chinese people.

One of the most popular women in Chinese history is Mu Lan, the A
Chinese Joan of Arc. Her father, a great general, being too old to take
charge of his troops, and her brothers too young, she dressed herself
in boy's clothing, enrolled herself in the army, mounted her father's
trusty steed, and led his soldiers to battle, thus bringing honor to
herself and renown upon her family.

We have already seen how diligent some of the ancient worthies were in
their study. This, however, is not universal, for we are told the
mother of Liu Kung-cho, in order to stimulate her son to study took
pills made of bear's gall and bitter herbs, to show her sympathy with
her boy and lead him to feel that she was willing to endure bitterness
as well as he.

The last of these examples of noble women is that of the wife of Liang
Hung, a poor philosopher of some two thousand years ago. An effort was
made to engage him to Meng Kuang, the daughter of a rich family, whose
lack of beauty was more than balanced by her remarkable intelligence.
The old philosopher feared that family pride might cause domestic
infelicity. The girl on her part steadfastly refused to marry any one
else, declaring that unless she married Liang Hung, she would not marry
at all. This unexpected constancy touched the old man's heart and he
married her. She dressed in the most common clothing, always prepared
his food with her own hand, and to show her affection and respect never
presented him with the rice-bowl without raising it to the level of her
eyebrows, as in the illustration.

It may be interesting to see some of the ornaments and utensils the
child made with his blocks. I shall therefore add three, a pair of
scissors, a teapot, and a seal with a turtle handle.

Such is in general the character of the book the official's little boy
had with him. I afterwards secured several copies for myself and
learned to make all the pictures first shown me by the child, and I
discovered that it is but one of several forms of what we may call
kindergarten work, that it has gone through many editions, and is very
widely distributed. My own set contains 216 illustrations such as I
have given.


My little girl came running into my study greatly excited and

"Papa, the monkey show, the monkey show. We want the monkey show, may
we have it?"

Now if you had but one little girl, and she wanted a monkey show to
come into your own court and perform for her and her little friends for
half an hour, the cost of which was the modest sum of five cents, what
would you do?

You would do as I did, no doubt, go out with the little girl, call in
the passing showman and allow him to perform, which would serve the
triple purpose of furnishing relaxation and instruction for yourself,
entertainment for the children, and business for the showman.

This however proved to be not the monkey show but Punch and Judy, a
species of entertainment for children, the exact counterpart of our own
entertainment of that name. It may be of interest to young readers to
know how this show originated, and I doubt not it will be a surprise to
some older ones to know that it dates back to about the year 1000 B. C.

We are told that while the Emperor Mu of the Chou dynasty was making a
tour of his empire, a skillful mechanic, Yen Shih by name, was brought
into his presence and entertained him and the women of his seraglio
with a dance performed by automaton figures, which were capable not
only of rhythmical movements of their limbs, but of accompanying their
movements with songs.

During and at the close of the performance, the puppets cast such
significant glances at the ladies as to anger the monarch, and he
ordered the execution of the originator of the play.

The mechanic however ripped open the puppets, and proved to his
astonished majesty that they were only artificial objects, and instead
of being executed he was allowed to repeat his performance. This was
the origin of the play in China which corresponds to Punch and Judy in
Europe and America.

To the question which naturally arises as to how the play was carried
to the West, I reply, it may not have been carried to Europe at all,
but have originated there. From marked similarities in the two plays
however, and more especially in the methods of their production, we may
suppose that the Chinese Punch and Judy was carried to Europe in the
following way:

Among the many traders who visited Central Asia while it was under the
government of the family of Genghis Khan, were two Venetian brothers,
Maffeo and Nicolo Polo, whose wondering disposition and trading
interests led them as far as the court of the Great Khan, where they
remained in the most intimate relations with Kublai for some time, and
were finally sent back to Italy with a request that one hundred
European scholars be sent to China to instruct them in the arts of

This request was never carried out, but the two returned to the Khan's
court with young Marco, the son of one of them, who remained with the
Mongol Emperor for seventeen years, during which time he had a better
opportunity of observing their customs than perhaps any other foreigner
since his time. His final return to Italy was in 1295, and a year or
two later, he wrote and revised his book of travels.

The art of printing in Europe was discovered in 1438, and the first
edition of Marco Polo's travels was printed about 1550-59. Our Punch
and Judy was invented by Silvio Fiorillo an Italian dramatist before
the year 1600. I have found no reference to the play in Marco Polo's
works, nevertheless, one cannot but think that, if not a written, at
least an oral, communication of the play may have been carried to
Europe by him or some other of the Italian traders or travellers. The
two plays are very similar, even to the tones of the man who works the

In passing the school court on one occasion I saw the students gathered
in a crowd under the shade of the trees. A small tent was pitched, on
the front of which was a little stage. A manager stood behind the
screen from which position he worked a number of puppets in the form of
men, women, children, horses and dragons. These were suspended by black
threads as I afterwards discovered from small sticks or a framework
which the manager manipulated behind the screen. When one finished its
part of the performance, it either walked off the stage, or the stick
was fastened in such a way as to leave it in a position conducive to
the amusement of the crowd. These were puppet shows, and were put
through entire performances or plays, the manager doing the talking as
in Punch and Judy.

After the performance several of the students passed around the hat,
each person present giving one-fifth or one-tenth of a cent.

As I came from school one afternoon, the children had called in from
the street a showman with a number of trained mice. He had erected a
little scaffolding just inside the gateway, at one side of which there
was a small rope ladder, and this with the inevitable gong, and the
small boxes in which the mice were kept constituted his entire outfit.

In the boxes he had what seemed to be cotton from the milk-weed which
furnished a nest for the mice. These he took from their little boxes
one by one, stroked them tenderly, while he explained what this
particular mouse would do, put each one on the rope ladder, which they
ascended, and performed the tricks expected of them. These were going
through a pagoda, drawing water, creeping through a tube, wearing a
criminal's collar, turning a tread-mill, or working some other equally
simple trick.

At times the mice had to be directed by a small stick in the hands of
the manager, but they were carefully trained, kindly treated, and much
appreciated by the children.

Although less attractive, there is no other show which impresses itself
so forcibly on the child's mind as the monkey, dog and sheep show.

The dog was the first to perform. Four hoops were placed on the corners
of a square, ten feet apart. The dog walked around through these hoops,
first through each in order, then turning went through each twice, then
through one and retracing his steps went through the one last passed

The showman drove an iron peg in the ground on which were two blocks
representing millstones. To the upper one was a lever by which the dog
with his nose turned the top millstone as if grinding flour. He was
hitched to a wheelbarrow, the handles of which were held by the monkey,
who pushed while the dog pulled.

The most interesting part of the performance, however, was by the
monkey. Various kinds of hats and false faces were kept in a box which
he opened and secured. He stalked about with a cane in his hand, or
crosswise back of his neck, turned handsprings, went through various
trapeze performances, such as hanging by his legs, tail, chin, and
hands, or was whirled around in the air.

The leading strap of the monkey was finally tied to the belt of the
sheep which was led away to some distance and let go. The monkey
bounded upon its back and held fast to the wool, while the sheep ran
with all its speed to the showman, who held a basin of broom-corn seed
as a bait. This was repeated as often as the children desired, which
ended the show. Time,--half an hour; spectators,--all who desired to
witness it; price,--five cents.

The showmen in China are somewhat like the tramps and beggars in other
countries. When they find a place where there are children who enjoy
shows, each tells the other, and they all call around in turn.

Our next show was an exhibition given by a man with a trained bear.

The animal had two rings in his nose, to one of which was fastened a
leading string or strap, and to the other, while performing, a large
chain. A man stood on one end of the chain, and the manager, with a
long-handled ladle, or with his hand, gave the bear small pieces of
bread or other food after each trick he performed.

The first trick was walking on his hind feet as if dancing. But more
amusing than this to the children was to see him turn summersaults both
forward and backward. These were repeated several times because they
were easily done, and added to the length of time the show continued.

Children, however, begin to appreciate at an early age what is
difficult and what easy, and it was not until he took a carrying-pole
six feet long, put the middle of it upon his forehead and set it
whirling with his paws, that they began to say:

"That's good," "That's hard to do," and other expressions of a like

They enjoyed seeing him stand on his front feet, or on his head with
his hind feet kicking the air, but they enjoyed still more seeing him
put on the wooden collar of a convict and twirl it around his neck. The
manager gave him some bread and then tried to induce him to take it
off, but he whined for more bread and refused to do so. Finally he took
off the collar, and when they tried to take it from him he put it on
again. When he took it off the next time and offered it to them they
refused to receive it, but tried to get him to put it on, which he
stubbornly refused to do, and finally threw it away.

His last trick was to sit down upon his haunches, stick up one of his
hind feet, and twirl a knife six feet long upon it as he had twirled
the carrying-pole upon his head. The manager said he would wrestle with
the men, but this was a side issue and only done when extra money was
added to the regular price, which was twelve cents.

One of the most common showmen seen on the streets of Peking, goes
about with a framework upon his shoulder in the shape of a sled, the
runners of which are turned up at both ends. It seemed to me to be less
interesting than the other shows, but as it is more common, the
children probably look upon it with more favor, and the children are
the final critics of all things for the little ones.

The show was given by a man and two boys, one of whom impersonated a
girl. Small feet, like the bound feet of a girl, were strapped on like
stilts, his own being covered by wide trousers, and he and the boy sang
songs and danced to the music of the drum and cymbals in the hands of
the showman.

The second part of the performance was a boat ride on dry land. The
girl got into the frame, let down around it a piece of cloth which was
fastened to the top, and took hold of the frame in such a way as to
carry it easily. The boy, with a long stick, pushed as if starting the
boat, and then pulled as if rowing, and with every pull of the oar, the
girl ran a few steps, making it appear that the boat shot forward. All
the while the boy sang a boat-song or a love-ditty to his sweetheart.

Again the scene changed. The head and hind parts of a papier mache
horse were fastened to the "tomboy" in such a way as to make it appear
that she was riding; a cloth was let down to hide her feet, and they
ran to and fro, one in one direction and the other in the other, she
jerking her unmanageable steed, and he singing songs, and all to the
music of the drum and the cymbals.

It sometimes happens that while the girl rides the horse, the boy goes
beside her in the boat, the rapidity and character of their movements
being governed by the music of the manager.

The best part of the whole performance was that which goes by the name
of the lion show. The girl took off her small feet and girl's clothes
and became a boy again. One of the boys stood up in front and put on an
apron of woven grass, while the other bent forward and clutched hold of
his belt. A large papier mache head of a lion was put on the front boy,
to which was attached a covering of woven grass large enough to cover
them both, while a long tail of the same material was stuck into a
framework fastened to the belt of the hinder boy.

The manager beat the drum, the lion stalked about the court, keeping
step to the music, turning its large head in every direction and
opening and shutting its mouth, much to the amusement of the children.

There is probably no country in the world that has more travelling
shows specially prepared for the entertainment of children than China.
Scarcely a day passes that we do not hear the drum or the gong of the
showmen going to and fro, or standing at our court gate waiting to be
called in.


"How is that?"

"Very good."

"Can you do it?" asked the sleight-of-hand performer, as he rolled a
little red ball between his finger and thumb, pitched it up, caught it
as it came down, half closed his hand and blew into it, opened his hand
and the ball had disappeared.

He picked up another ball, tossed it up, caught it in his mouth,
dropped it into his hand, and it mysteriously disappeared.

The juggler was seated on the ground with a piece of blue cloth spread
out before him, on which were three cups, and five little red wax balls
nearly as large as cranberries.

He continued to toss the wax balls about until they had all
disappeared. We watched him closely, but could not discover where they
had gone. He then arose, took a small portion of my coat sleeve between
his thumb and finger, began rubbing them together, and by and by, one
of the balls appeared between his digits. He picked at a small boy's
ear and got another of the balls. He blew his nose and another dropped
upon the cloth. He slapped the top of his head and one dropped out of
his mouth, and he took the fifth from a boy's hair.

He then changed his method. He placed the cups' mouths down upon the
cloth, and under one of them put the five little balls. When he placed
the cup we watched carefully; there were no balls under it. When he
raised it up, behold, there were the five little balls.

He removed the cups from one place to another, and asked us to guess
which cup the balls were under, but we were always wrong.

There was a large company of us, ranging from children of three to old
men and women of seventy-five, and from Chinese schoolboys to a bishop
of the church, but none of us could discover how he did it.

Later, however, I learned how the trick was performed. As he raised the
cup with his thumb and forefinger, he inserted two other fingers under,
gathered up all the balls between them and placed them under the cup as
he put it down. While in making the balls disappear, he concealed them
either in his mouth or between his fingers.

The Chinese have a saying:

     In selecting his balls from north to south,
     The magician cannot leave his mouth;
     And in rolling his balls, you understand,
     He must have them hidden in his hand.

Of quite a different character are the jugglers with plates and bowls.
Not only children, but many of a larger growth delight to watch these.
Our only way of learning about them was to call them into our court as
the Chinese call them to theirs, and that is what we did.

The performer first put a plate on the top of a trident and set it
whirling. In this whirling condition he put the trident on his forehead
where he balanced it, the trident whirling with the plate as though
boring into his skull.

He next took a bamboo pole six feet long, with a nail in the end on
which he set the plate whirling. The plate, of course, had a small
indentation to keep it in its place on the nail. He raised the plate in
the air and inserted into the first pole another of equal length, then
another and still another, which put the plate whirling in the air
thirty feet high.

Thus whirling he balanced it on his hand, on his arm, on his thumb, on
his forehead, and finally in his mouth, after which he tossed the plate
up, threw the pole aside and caught it as it came down. The old manager
standing by received the pole, but as he saw the plate tossed up, he
fell flat upon the earth, screaming lest the plate be broken.

This same performer set a bowl whirling on the end of a chop-stick.
Then tossing the bowl up he caught it inverted on the chop-stick, and
made it whirl as rapidly as possible. In this condition he tossed it up
ten, then fifteen, then twenty or more feet into the air catching it on
the chop-stick as it came down.

He then changed the process. He tossed the bowl a foot high, and struck
it with the other chop-stick one, two, three, four or five times before
it came down, and this he did so rapidly and regularly as to make it
sound almost like music. There is a record of one of the ancient poets
who was able to play a tune with his bowl and chop-sticks after having
finished his meal. He may have done it in this way.

This trick seemed a very difficult performance. It excited the
children, and some of the older persons clapped their hands and
exclaimed, "Very good, very good." But when he tossed it only a foot
high and let go the chop-stick, making it change ends, and catching the
bowl, they were ready for a general applause. In striking the bowl and
thus manipulating his chop-sticks, his hands moved almost as rapidly as
those of an expert pianist.

"Can you toss the knives?" piped up one of the children who had seen a
juggler perform this difficult feat.

The man picked up two large knives about a foot long and began tossing
them with one hand. While this was going on a third knife was handed
him and he kept them going with both hands. At times he threw them
under his leg or behind his back, and at other times pitched them up
twenty feet high, whirling them as rapidly as possible and catching
them by the handles as they came down.

While doing this he passed one of the knives to the attendant who gave
him a bowl, and he kept the bowl and two knives going. Then he gave the
attendant another knife and received a ball, and the knife, the ball
and the bowl together, the ball and bowl at times moving as though the
former were glued to the bottom of the latter.

These were not all the tricks he could perform but they were all he
would perform in addition to his bear show for twelve cents--for this
was the man with the bear--so the children allowed him to go.

Some weeks later they called in a different bear show. This bear was
larger and a better performer, but his tricks were about the same.

The juggler in addition to doing all we have already described
performed also the following tricks.

He first put one end of an iron rod fifteen inches long in his mouth.
On this he placed a small revolving frame three by six inches. He set a
bowl whirling on the end of a bamboo splint fifteen inches long, the
other end of which he rested on one side of the frame, balancing the
whole in his mouth.

While the bowl continued whirling, he took the frame off the rod, stuck
the bamboo in a hole in the frame an inch from the end, resting the
other end of the frame on the rod, brought the bowl over so as to
obtain a centre of gravity and thus balanced it.

He took two small tridents a foot or more in length, put the end of the
handle of one in his mouth, set the bowl whirling on the end of the
handle of the other, rested the middle prong of one on the middle prong
of the other and let it whirl with the bowl. Afterwards he set the
prong of the whirling trident on the edge of the other and let it whirl.

He took two long curved boar's teeth which were fastened on the ends of
two sticks, one a foot long, the other six inches. The one he held in
his mouth, the other having a hole diagonally through the stick, he
inserted a chop-stick making an angle of seventy degrees. He set the
bowl whirling on the end of the chop-stick, rested one tooth on the
other, in the indentation and they whirled like a brace and bit.

Finally he took a spiral wire having a straight point on each end. This
he called a dead dragon. He set the bowl whirling on one end, placing
the other on the small frame already referred to. As the spiral wire
began to turn as though boring, he called it a living dragon. These
feats of balancing excited much wonder and merriment on the part of the

The juggler then took an iron trident with a handle four and a half
feet long and an inch and a half thick, and, pitching it up into the
air, caught it on his right arm as it came down. He allowed it to roll
down his right arm, across his back, and along his left arm, and as he
turned his body he kept the trident rolling around crossing his back
and breast and giving it a new impetus with each arm. The trident had
on it two cymbal-shaped iron plates which kept up a constant rattling.

This showman had with him three boy acrobats whose skill he proceeded
to show.

"Pitch the balls," he said.

The largest of the three boys fastened a cushioned band, on which was a
leather cup, around his head, the cup being on his forehead just
between his eyes.

He took two wooden balls, two and a half inches in diameter, tossed
them in the air twenty feet high, catching them in the cup as they came
down. The shape of the cup was such as to hold the balls by suction
when they fell. He never once missed. This is the most dangerous
looking of all the tricks I have seen jugglers perform.

"Shooting stars," said the showman.

The boy tossed aside his cup and balls and took a string six feet long,
on the two ends of which were fastened wooden balls two and a half
inches in diameter. He set the balls whirling in opposite directions
until they moved so rapidly as to stretch the string, which he then
held in the middle with finger and thumb and by a simple motion of the
hand kept the balls whirling.

He was an expert, and changed the swinging of the balls in as many
different ways as an expert club-swinger could his clubs.

"Boy acrobats," called out the manager, as the manipulator of the
"shooting stars" bowed himself out amid the applause of the children.

The two smaller boys threw off their coats, hitched up their
trousers--always a part of the performance whether necessary or
not--and began the high kick, high jump, handspring, somersault, wagon
wheel, ending with hand-spring, and bending backwards until their heads
touched the ground.

One of them stood on two benches a foot high, put a handkerchief on the
ground, and bending backwards, picked it up with his teeth.

The two boys then clasped each other around the waist, as in the
illustration, and each threw the other back over his head a dozen times
or more.

Exit the bear show with the boy acrobats, enter the old woman juggler
with her husband who beats the gong.

This was one of the most interesting performances I have ever seen in
China, perhaps because so unexpected.

The old woman had small, bound feet. She lay flat on her back, stuck up
her feet, and her husband put a crock a foot in diameter and a foot and
a half deep upon them. She set it rolling on her feet until it whirled
like a cylinder. She tossed it up in such a way as to have it light
bottom side up on her "lillies,"[1] in which position she kept it
whirling. Tossing it once more it came down on the side, and again
tossing it she caught it right side up on her small feet, keeping it
whirling all the time.

My surprise was so great that I gave the old woman ten cents for
performing this single trick.

The tricks of sleight-of-hand performers are well-nigh without number.
Some of them are easily understood,--surprising, however, to
children--and often interesting to grown people, while others are very
clever and not so easily understood.

Instead of the hat from which innumerable small packages are taken, the
Chinese magician had two hollow cylinders, which exactly fit into each
other, that he took out of a box and placed upon a cylindrical chest,
and from these two cylinders--each of which he repeatedly showed us as
being without top or bottom and empty--he took a dinner of a dozen

He called upon the baker to bring bread, the grocer to bring
vegetables, and after each call he took out of the cylinders the thing
called for. He finally called the wine shop to bring wine, and removing
both cylinders, he exposed to the surprised children a large crock of

As he brought out dish after dish, the children looked in open-mouthed
wonder, and asked papa, mama or nurse, where he got them all, for they
evidently were not in the cylinders. But papa saw him all the time
manipulating the crock in the cylinder which he did not show, and he
knew that all these things were taken from and then returned to this
crock, while instead of being full of wine, he had only a cup of wine
in a false lid which exactly fitted the mouth of the crock, and made it
seem full.

When he had put away his crock and cylinders, he produced what seemed
to be two empty cups.

He presented them to us to show that they were empty, then putting them
mouth to mouth, and placing them on the ground, he left them a moment,
when with a "presto change," and a wave of the hand, he removed the top
cup and revealed to the astonished children and some of the children of
a larger growth, a cup full of water with two or three little fish or
frogs therein.

On inquiry I was told that he had the under cup covered with a thin
film of water-colored material, and that as he removed the top cup he
removed also the film which left the fish or frogs exposed to view.

This same juggler performed many tricks of producing great dishes of
water from under his garments, the mere enumeration of which, might
prove to be tiresome.

I was walking along the street one day near the mouth of Filial Piety
Lane where a large company of men and children were watching a juggler,
and from the trick I thought it worth while to invite him in for the
amusement of the children. He promised to come about four o clock,
which he did.

He first proceeded to eat a hat full of yellow paper, after which, with
a gag and a little puff, he pulled from his mouth a tube of paper of
the same color five or six yards long.

This was very skillfully performed and for a long time I was not able
to understand how he did it. But after awhile I discovered that with
the last mouthful of paper he put in a small roll, the centre of which
he started by puffing, and this he pulled out in a long tube. He did it
with so many groanings and with such pain in the region of the stomach,
that attention was directed either to his stomach or the roll, and
taken away from his mouth.

"I shall eat these needles," said he, as he held up half a dozen
needles, "and then eat this thread, after which I shall reproduce them."

He did so. He grated his teeth together causing a sound much like that
of breaking needles. He pretended to swallow them, working his tongue
back and forth in his tightly closed mouth, after which he drew forth
the thread on which all the needles were strung.

He had a number of small white bone needles which he stuck into his
nose and pulled out of his eyes, or which he pushed up under his upper
lip and took out of his eyes or vice versa. How he performed the above
trick I was not able to discover. He seemed to put them through the
tear duct, but whether he did or not I cannot say. How he got them from
his mouth to his eyes unless he had punctured a passage beneath the
skin, is still to me a mystery.

His last trick was to swallow a sword fifteen inches long. The sword
was straight with a round point and dull edges. There was no deception
about this. He was an old man and his front, upper teeth were badly
worn away by the constant rasping of the not over-smooth sword. He
simply put it in his mouth, threw back his head and stuck it down his
throat to his stomach.

[1] Small feet of the Chinese woman.


One hot summer afternoon as I lay in the hammock trying to take a nap
after a hard forenoon's work and a hearty lunch, I heard the same old
nurse who had told me my first Chinese Mother Goose Rhymes, telling the
following story to the same little boy to whom she had repeated the
"Mouse and the Candlestick."

She told him that the Chinese call the Milky Way the Heavenly River,
and that the Spinning Girl referred to in the story is none other than
the beautiful big star in Lyra which we call Vega, while the Cow-herd
is Altair in Aquila.


Once upon a time there dwelt a beautiful maiden in a quiet little
village on the shore of the Heavenly River.

Her name was Vega, but the people of China have always called her the
Spinning Maiden, because of her faithfulness to her work, for though
days, and months, and years passed away, she never left her loom.

Her diligence so moved the heart of her grandfather, the King of
Heaven, that he determined to give her a vacation, which she at once
decided to spend upon the earth.

In a village near where the maiden dwelt there was a young man named
Altair, whom the Chinese call the Cow-herd.

Now the Cow-herd was in love with the Spinning Girl, but she was always
so intent upon her work as never to give him an opportunity to confess
his affection, but now he determined to follow her to earth, and, if
possible, win her for his bride.

He followed her through the green fields and shady groves, but never
dared approach her or tell her of his love.

At last, however, the time came. He discovered her bathing in a limpid
stream, the banks of which were carpeted with flowers, while myriad
boughs of blossoming peach and cherry trees hid her from all the world
but him.

He secretly crept near and stole away and hid her garments made of
silken gauze and finely woven linen, making it alike impossible for her
to resist his suit or to return to her celestial home.

She yielded to the Cow-herd and soon became his wife, and as the years
passed by a boy and girl were born to them, little star children,
twins, such as are seen near by the Spinning Girl in her heavenly home

One day she went to her husband, and, bowing low, requested that he
return the clothes he had hid away, and he, thinking the presence of
the children a sufficient guaranty for her remaining in his home, told
her he had put them in an old, dry well hard by the place where she had
been bathing.

No sooner had she secured them than the aspect of their home was
changed. The Cow-herd's wife once more became the Spinning Girl and
hied her to her heavenly abode.

It so happened that her husband had a piece of cow-skin which gave him
power over earth and air. Snatching up this, with his ox-goad, he
followed in the footsteps of his fleeing wife.

Arriving at their heavenly home the happy couple sought the joys of
married life. The Spinning Girl gave up her loom, and the Cow-herd his
cattle, until their negligence annoyed the King of Heaven, and he
repented having let her leave her loom. He called upon the Western
Royal Mother for advice. After consultation they decided that the two
should be separated. The Queen, with a single stroke of her great
silver hairpin, drew a line across the heavens, and from that time the
Heavenly River has flowed between them, and they are destined to dwell
forever on the two sides of the Milky Way.

What had seemed to the youthful pair the promise of perpetual joy,
became a condition of unending grief. They were on the two sides of a
bridgeless river, in plain sight of each other, but forever debarred
from hearing the voice or pressing the land of the one beloved, doomed
to perpetual toil unlit by any ray of joy or hope.

Their evident affection and unhappy condition moved the heart of His
Majesty, and caused him to allow them to visit each other once with
each revolving year,--on the seventh day of the seventh moon. But
permission was not enough, for as they looked upon the foaming waters
of the turbulent stream, they could but weep for their wretched
condition, for no bridge united its two banks, nor was it allowed that
any structure be built which would mar the contour of the shining dome.

In their helplessness the magpies came to their rescue. At early morn
on the seventh day of the seventh moon, these beautiful birds gathered
in great flocks about the home of the maiden, and hovering wing to wing
above the river, made a bridge across which her dainty feet might carry
her in safety. But when the time for separation came, the two wept
bitterly, and their tears falling in copious showers are the cause of
the heavy rains which fall at that season of the year.

From time immemorial it has been known that the Yellow River is neither
more nor less than a prolongation of the Milky Way, soiled by earthly
contact and contamination, and that the homes of the Spinning Maiden
and the Cow-herd are the centres of two of the numerous villages that
adorn its banks. It is not to be wondered at, however, that in an evil
and skeptical world there should be many who doubt these facts.

On this account, and to forever settle the dispute, the great traveller
and explorer, Chang Ch'ien, undertook to discover the source of the
Yellow River. He first transformed the trunk of a great tree into a
boat, provided himself with the necessities of life and started on his

Days passed into weeks, and weeks became months as he sailed up the
murky waters of the turbid stream. But the farther he went the clearer
the waters became until it seemed as if they were flowing over a bed of
pure, white limestone. Village after village was passed both on his
right hand and on his left, and many were the strange sights that met
his gaze. The fields became more verdant, the flowers more beautiful,
the scenery more gorgeous, and the people more like nymphs and fairies.
The color of the clouds and the atmosphere was of a richer, softer hue;
while the breezes which wafted his frail bark were milder and gentler
than any he had known before.

Despairing at last of reaching the source he stopped at a village where
he saw a maiden spinning and a young man leading an ox to drink. He
alighted from his boat and inquired of the girl the name of the place,
but she, without making reply, tossed him her shuttle, telling him to
return to his home and inquire of the astrologer, who would inform him
where he received it, if he but told him when.

He returned and presented the shuttle to the noted astrologer Chun
Ping, informing him at the same time where, when and from whom he had
received it. The latter consulted his observations and calculations and
discovered that on the day and hour when the shuttle had been given to
the traveller he had observed a wandering star enter and leave the
villages of the Spinning Girl and the Cow-herd, which proved beyond
doubt that the Yellow River is the prolongation of the Milky Way, while
the points of light which we call stars, are the inhabitants of Heaven
pursuing callings similar to our own.

Chang Ch'ien made another important discovery, namely, that the
celestials, understanding the seasons better than we, turn the shining
dome in such a way as to make the Heavenly River indicate the seasons
of the year, and so the children sing:

     Whene'er the Milky Way you spy,
     Diagonal across the sky,
     The egg-plant you may safely eat,
     And all your friends to melons treat.

     But when divided towards the west,
     You'll need your trousers and your vest
     When like a horn you see it float;
     You'll need your trousers and your coat.

It is unnecessary to state that I did not go to sleep while the old
nurse was telling the story of the Heavenly River. The child sat on his
little stool, his elbows on his knees and his chin resting in his
hands, listening with open lips and eyes sparkling with interest. To
the old nurse it was real. The spinning girl and the cow-herd were
living persons. The flowers bloomed,--we could almost smell their
odor,--and the gentle breezes seemed to fan our cheeks. She had told
the story so often that she believed it, and she imparted to us her own

"Nurse," said the child, "tell me about

          "'THE MAN IN THE MOON.'"

"The man in the moon," said the old nurse, "is called Wu Kang. He was
skilled in all the arts of the genii, and was accustomed to play before
them whenever opportunity offered or occasion required.

"Once it turned out that his performances were displeasing to the
spirits, and for this offense he was banished to the moon, and
condemned to perpetual toil in hewing down the cinnamon trees which
grow there in great abundance. At every blow of the axe he made an
incision, but only to see it close up when the axe was withdrawn.

"He had another duty, however, a duty which was at times irksome, but
one which on the whole was more pleasant than any that falls to men or
spirits,--the duty indicated by the proverb that 'matches are made in
the moon.'

"It was his lot to bind together the feet of all those on earth who are
destined to a betrothal, and in the performance of this duty, he was
often compelled to return to earth. When doing so he came as an old man
with long white hair and beard, with a book in his hand in which he had
written the matrimonial alliances of all mankind. He also carried a
wallet which contains a ball of invisible cord with which he ties
together the feet of all those who are destined to be man and wife, and
the destinies which he announces it is impossible to avoid.

"On one occasion he came to the town of Sung, and while sitting in the
moonlight, turning over the leaves of his book of destinies, he was
asked by Wei Ku, who happened to be passing, who was destined to become
his bride. The old man consulted his records, as he answered: 'Your
wife is the daughter of an old woman named Ch'en who sells vegetables
in yonder shop.'

"Having heard this, Wei Ku went the next day to look about him and if
possible to get a glimpse of the one to whom the old man referred, but
he discovered that the only child the old woman had was an ill-favored
one of two years which she carried in her arms. He hired an assassin to
murder the infant, but the blow was badly aimed and left only a scar on
the child's eyebrow.

"Fourteen years afterwards, Wei Ku married a beautiful maiden of
sixteen whose only defect was a scar above the eye, and on inquiries he
discovered that she was the one foretold by the Old Man of the Moon,
and he recalled the proverb that 'Matches are made in heaven, and the
bond of fate is sealed in the moon.'"

"Nurse, tell me about the land of the big people," whereupon the nurse
told him of


"There was in ancient times a country east of Korea which was called
the land of the giants. It was celebrated for its length rather than
for its width, being bounded on all sides by great mountain ranges, the
like of which cannot be found in other countries. It extends for
thousands of miles along the deep passes between the mountains, at the
entrance to which there are great iron gates, easily closed, but very
difficult to open.

"Many armies have made war upon the giants, among which none have been
more celebrated than those of Korea, which embraces in its standing
army alone many thousands of men, but thus far they have never been

"Nor is this to be wondered at, for besides their great iron gates, and
numerous fortifications, the men are thirty feet tall according to our
measurement, have teeth like a saw, hooked claws, and bodies covered
with long black hair.

"They live upon the flesh of fowls and wild beasts which are found in
abundance in the mountain fastnesses, but they do not cook their food.
They are very fond of human flesh, but they confine themselves to the
flesh of enemies slain in battle, and do not eat the flesh of their own
people, even though they be hostile, as this is contrary to the law of
the land.

"Their women are as large and fierce as the men, but their duties are
confined to the preparation of extra clothing for winter wear, for
although they are covered with hair it is insufficient to protect them
from the winter's cold."

While the old nurse was relating the tale of the giants I could not but
wonder whether there was not some relation between that and the
Brobdingnagians I had read about in my youth. But I was not given much
time to think. This seemed to have been a story day, for the nurse had
hardly finished the tale till the child said:

"Now tell me about the country of the little people," and she related
the story of


"The country of the little people is in the west, where the sun goes

"Once upon a time a company of Persian merchants were making a journey,
when by a strange mishap they lost their way and came to the land of
the little people. They were at first surprised, and then delighted,
for they discovered that the country was not only densely populated
with these little people, who were not more than three feet high, but
that it was rich in all kinds of precious stones and rare and valuable

"They discovered also that during the season of planting and
harvesting, they were in constant terror lest the great multitude of
cranes, which are without number in that region, should swoop down upon
them and eat both them and their crops. They soon learned, however,
that the little people were under the protecting care of the Roman
Empire, whose interest in them was great, and her arm mighty, and they
were thus guarded from all evil influences as well as from all danger.
Nor was this a wholly unselfish interest on the part of the Roman
power, for the little people repaid her with rich presents of the most
costly gems,--pearls, diamonds, rubies and other precious stones."

I need not say I was beginning to be surprised at the number of tales
the old woman told which corresponded to those I had been accustomed to
read and hear in my childhood, nor was my surprise lessened when at his
request she told him how


"Once upon a time Lu Yang-kung was engaged in battle with Han Kou-nan,
and they continued fighting until nearly sundown. The former was
getting the better of the battle, but feared he would lose it unless
they fought to a finish before the close of day. The sun was near the
horizon, and the battle was not yet ended, and the former, pointing his
lance at the King of Day caused him to move backward ten miles in his

"When did that happen?" inquired the child.

"The Chinese say it happened about three thousand years ago," replied
the old nurse.

"Now tell me about the man who went to the fire star."

The old woman hesitated a moment as though she was trying to recall
something and then told him the story of

          MARS, THE GOD OF WAR.

"Once upon a time there was a great rebel whose name was Ch'ih Yu. He
was the first great rebel that ever lived in China. He did not want to
obey the chief ruler, and invented for himself warlike weapons,
thinking that in this way he might overthrow the government and place
himself upon the throne.

"He had eighty-one brothers, of whom he was the leader. They had human
speech, but bodies of beasts, foreheads of iron, and fed upon the dust
of the earth.

"When the time for the battle came, he called upon the Chief of the
Wind and the Master of the Rain to assist him, and there arose a great
tempest. But the Chief sent the Daughter of Heaven to quell the storm,
and then seized and slew the rebel. His spirit ascended to the
Fire-Star (Mars)--the embodiment of which he was while upon
earth,--where it resides and influences the conduct of warfare even to
the present time."

"Tell me the story of the man who went to the mountain to gather
fire-wood and did not come home for such a long time."

The old nurse began a story which as it progressed reminded me of

          RIP VAN WINKLE.

"A long time ago there lived a man named Wang Chih, which in our
language means 'the stuff of which kings are made.' In spite of his
name, however, he was only a common husbandman, spending his summers in
plowing, planting and harvesting, and his winters in gathering
fertilizers upon the highways, and fire-wood in the mountains.

"On one occasion he wandered into the mountains of Ch'u Chou, his axe
upon his shoulder, hoping to find more and better fire-wood than could
be found upon his own scanty acres, or the adjoining plain. While in
the mountains he came upon a number of aged men, in a beautiful
mountain grotto, intently engaged in a game of chess. Wang was a good
chess-player himself, and for the time forgot his errand. He laid down
his axe, stood silently watching them, and in a very few moments was
deeply interested in the game.

"It was while he was thus watching them that one of the old men,
without looking up from the game, gave him what seemed to be a date
seed, telling him at the same time to put it in his mouth. He did so,
but no sooner had he tasted it, than he lost all consciousness of
hunger and thirst, and continued to stand watching the players and the
progress of the game, thinking nothing of the flight of time.

"At last one of the old men said to him:

"'You have been here a long time, ought you not to go home?'

"This aroused him from his reverie, and he seemed to awake as from a
dream, his interest in the game passed away, and he attempted to pick
up his axe, but found that it was covered with rust and the handle had
moulded away. But while this called his attention to the fact that time
had passed, he felt not the burden of years.

"When he returned to the plain, and to what had formerly been his home,
he discovered that not only years but centuries had passed away since
he had left for the mountains, and that his relatives and friends had
all crossed to the 'Yellow Springs,' while all records of his departure
had long since been forgotten, and he alone remained a relic of the

"He wandered up and down inquiring of the oldest people of all the
villages, but could discover no link which bound him to the present.

"He returned to the mountain grotto, devoted himself to the study of
the occult principles of the 'Old Philosopher' until the material
elements of his mortal frame were gradually evaporated or sublimated,
and without having passed through the change which men call death, he
became an immortal spirit returning whence he came."

Just as the old woman finished this story, my teacher, who always took
a nap after lunch, ascended the steps.

"Ah, the story of Wang Chih."

"Do you know any of these stories?" I asked him as I sat down beside

"All children learn these stories in their youth," he answered, and
then as if fearing I would try to induce him to tell them to me he
continued, "but nurses always tell these stories better than any one
else, because they tell them so often to the children, for whom alone
they were made."

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Chinese Boy and Girl" ***

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