Moss Roberts


Chinese Fairy Tales and Fantasies (1979)


Chinese Fairy Tales and Fantasies (1979)

Chinese Folk and Fairy Tales with original illustrations. These were wonderful, with many tales I had not before read, and fantastic illustrations. All the books in the Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library I read were fantastic, and this was no exception. Here is an excerpt, a short tale I really liked:

Jade Leaves

In the land of Sung there was a man who fashioned jade into wild mulberry leaves for his lord. The leaves, which took three years to complete, were so perfectly proportioned in stalk and stem, so magnificently realized in the minutest detail, that they could not be told apart when mixed among living leaves. The state supported this craftsman for his skill.

Lieh Tzu objected, "What if heaven and earth needed three years to create a leaf? There wouldn't be many trees. Surely the sage counts on the fruitfulness of nature rather than the ingenuity of man."

This is an excellent collection, and again, there is a difference in tone and setting and everything else that comes across as slightly odd or foreign to someone raised in Western European tales.