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For four days past have great Chinese New Year Feast been celebrated. Third day the greatest day of all. Every where in land much feasting, much of firework, much of congratulating. (Gung-hi).
Out side Compound wall, can hear soldiers marching in day, can see processions marching by night carrying lanterns and torches, with much music and fire-works.
Every body greet each other and say, "Seng Meng. Bing Ang." All girls in College most happy, because Honorable Teachers say, "For one week we now turn over College to students; we nothing say, nothing do. Students must plan all things, arrange all things, what most like to do;" every one quite joyous. Second and third day have great secret, we most wonderful, beautiful surprise give Honorable Teachers.
With large, red paper carefully written in black characters and folded into red envelope, we invite all to Chinese girls' reception hall at eight o'clock of third day.
Teachers much have wonderment. Girls all too great excitement. From village call No. 1 Good Feast Maker; he plan all things according to high official style. He say, "This feast must contain all very best; twenty-eight courses not enough, must have forty-two courses, with many special servants and on each table one Chafing dish."
All day keep doors locked many girls work to trim hall make all look like one-piece garden, every one so happy, faces shine like flower faces, Coolies very interest, come bring much Bamboo, Poinsettia, make one large arch over fire-place like arch way in street, then fill up over top and side with Bamboo, Cryptomeria bough, and build another archway or arbor to top of room, where build high seats for Honorable Teachers where sit at feast.
Many friends of girls send much beautiful lanterns, some look like fish, some look like bird, some like fire-balloon - all most large and bright.
Coolies hang lanterns from top of green arbors, then Coolies bring much big log and fill stone fire-place, ready for great fire at night to make room bright. Have wood fire and lanterns, no other light.
To make feast ready, twenty Coolies and girls work two days and nights, then great night come, and eight o'clock strike. Inside hall all prepare, all like one golden dream, great fire blaze up Chimney. Lanterns spread glow like red of sun set, all through green arbors, and through great room. A bell sounds. Ah, the Honorable Teachers have come!
Girls all stand in row beside the door and make low bowings as Teachers pass. Bing Ding invite to seats, and when all in place, girls also take seats and feast begin.
After Miss Powers say little word of blessing servants bring in covered dishes, and place on tables.
In middle of feast all suddenly begin great noise outside of hall, fire-crackers and rockets and Tom-Toms then all so still we very much surprised and know not who come to congratulate us. Then most wonderful, most beautiful Band begin to play under window and every body look at Da Hua because well we know it is St. Marks College Band and we know who is at the head of that Band, and why it plays for our feast. Da Hua dare not look up for she too knows it is for her that the Head Master is bringing congratulations thus. When the Band stops playing all clap hands for more, Miss Powers stand up and say, "Seng Meng. Bing Ang, and many times thank you. Ke Dang." Again beautiful music begin, and continue all through feast.
When feast is finished we hear more large fire-crackers and musicians go away. Honorable Instructors stand and Miss Powers begin to make polite thank you's and farewells.
Then I go forward because I have the Folk stories to introduce. I beg Honorable Teachers to remain a little while that we may relate to them some Chinese Folk-lore of our feasts and festivals, of which we have so many.
Quickly, like magic, Coolies carry tables and other feast furniture away, and move seats to centre of room, where make one-half circle before fire, Honorable Teachers in centre, and girls sitting on floor all about each side.
After some little explanations about stories of great enchantment to all Chinese people, I say to all, "Since this feast the very greatest of the whole year, we make selections of two other feasts for stories, and Cui Ai will tell the first story."
Cui Ai at once came to centre of wide half circle, and after making little bow, take seat on low hassock, Miss Sterling whisper to Dr. Ewing, "She look like fire-witch with the great flames framing her black head, and those long braids sweeping out over the floor."
Cui Ai begin with voice much of shakiness at first, after awhile grow strong, and all time so clear so plain Chinese girls whisper together that it wonderful to speak the difficult foreign language so clearly.
Cui Ai's Story.
The Mid-Autumn Festival.
Our country has a feast every year, on the fifteenth day of the eighth moon, to commemorate King Dong Ming who invented the Musical Instruments.
This is the story:
When King Dong Ming was crowned King he loved a Sorcerer and promised him promotion and set him above all the Princes that were in the land with him.
One day the Sorcerer said to him - "I can take you up into the Moon," so King Dong Ming set many masons and carpenters to build a very high tower for looking at the Moon.
The tower was finished on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, just on the night that the moon was full.
That night King Dong Ming prepared a feast in the tower and sent for the Sorcerer to come and banquet with him.
When they had feasted they saw a ladder set up on the tower, the top of which reached the Moon.
King Dong Ming ascended to the Moon on this great ladder. When they reached there they saw many Moon Daughters all dressed in shining black robes, and crowned with flowers.
When the beautiful Moon Daughters saw two men coming in they all stood up and bowed very low before them and treated them with great kindness. Every girl played for them her Musical Instrument, such as the Psalteries, the Cymbals, the Harp, the Organ, and the Tymbal, then they sang songs in one grand concert.
King Dong Ming knew nothing more, until he found himself in a bed in the tower.
The King was very much surprised to find himself in bed, and without having come down the ladder into the tower, and very much surprised that the Sorcerer was not any longer with him. The King remembered all the songs which the girls had sung to him, and also all the shapes of all the Musical Instruments which they had played upon for him.
He sent for a skillful man and told him to make all the Instruments according to all that he had seen in the Moon.
Then King Dong Ming taught the people the use of the Instruments.
Chinese Musical Instruments date from that time.
Then the people began to imitate King Dong Ming on the 15th day of the 8th Moon by making a feast with their friends and their relations every year. They expect that they can see the beautiful Moon Palace, and hear the music from out this Palace if they only listen.
Ai Lang then took the story teller's place and began the wonderful story of the
Our Country has a Festival three days before Christmas to commemorate a family meeting again.
The story is as follows:
Once there was a man who wished to go a long journey, so he went down to a harbor and found a boat, he paid the boat hire for it, and then he went down into the boat, just then a mighty tempest was on the sea; the boat was about to be broken and the men were very much afraid; and the sailor thinking to do something against the wind fell overboard and was drowned.
Then the lone man could not bear up against the wind so he let the boat drive. The day went by, on, on the boat sailed, but no land appeared in sight.
The lone man grew sadder and sadder, he neither ate or slept, but spent his time praying to his Gods.
One morning he saw many birds fluttering around his masts, so that he knew the land was near.
Two hours after this the boat floated near to a great Mountain. On this Mountain many beasts had their homes. When the man realized this he was very much afraid, and he said to himself, "If I stay in this spot, in this boat I will starve soon; and if I go out and up the Mountain I will be killed by the wild beasts."
In the very midst of the young man's trouble and wonder who should come down the Mountain but a female Monkey. This Monkey was the Queen of the place; she led him to her cave and prepared a dinner for him, and sat with him at meat.
After a few days the female Monkey made a stately bow before him and asked him to become her husband.
Then the man said to himself, "If do not consent to her she will kill me, so I shall have to marry her to save my life, and perhaps after a time I shall have a good chance to go back to my home again."
So he promised to marry her.
On their wedding day there were many little Monkeys who came to congratulate her.
After a year the Monkey bore a baby to him.
When the boy was old enough his Mother took him out to hunt for game, which they carried home for dinner.
The man taught her to cook, so that they could roast the game quite nicely.
One day the man got very homesick so he went out, wishing to escape from his wife. Just that time the Monkey and her son were returning from their hunt. When they saw him come up they were very angry and led him home.
Next time she went out to hunt she left the boy at home to watch his Father.
After another year the Monkey bore him another son. When this second son was old enough his Mother made him a bow and arrow, and taught him to shoot the animals; from that day forth she always took her second son with her when she went out to shoot, leaving the oldest son at home to keep guard over the Father. The man always told this big boy about his home, and the big boy talked to his little brother about it, so that after a while the second boy began to refuse to go hunting with his Mother.
One day the man said to his sons, "If I go home I can only let one of you go with me," but they said "Surely we will both go with you," and the man saw that they would both go with him and he was much perplexed as to how he could bring it to pass.
One day soon after they saw a boat coming toward the Mountain, so they went down into it, the boat sailed away very quickly. When the Monkey came home and found that her husband and children were not there she began to search for them. Then she saw a great boat opposite her in which three men were sitting, she began to call to them and to cry, but the three waved their hands to her from the boat and gave her a silent farewell.
After a few days the boat reached the City in which the man was born.
When the man came to his home and his wife saw him and the two boys, she was very angry, because she thought that he had married another wife.
The man told her all about all his troubles and said, "If you will look at them very carefully then you will know that they are come from a breed of animals." When she so looked at the two boys she knew that this was true, and then she made a feast for him, and called in her friends and neighbors to come and rejoice with them.
The two boys' Step-Mother treated them very badly and always scolded them, saying, "Of what good are you, sons of an animal?" But after a few years the two boys became very famous Officers; and often talked about what their Step-Mother had called them, and after a while they went by boat to search for their own Mother.
At last when they reached the Mountain they saw a Monkey coming toward them with full eyes; then they knew it was their Mother and they wished to carry her home with them, but she had grown very savage, so that they could not lead her home. Then they remembered that their Father had told them that their Mother liked things made of rice, so they made a kind of dough of rice and stuck it upon the trees or grass, when the Monkey saw this she was very happy and began to eat the rice from the trees and grass.
The two Brothers stuck the rice upon every thing as they went upon their homeward way, and the Monkey came nearer and nearer to get the rice balls, at length she came very near to the boys' home, and they stuck the rice balls inside the court, when the Monkey came in there to get the rice, the boys bolted the door, and locked her in a room, and gave her well cooked things to eat and treated her well.
The hair on her body began to drop off, and she became very tame; and the two boys were very happy to get their own Mother again.
The Monkey was tempted home by her two sons in the winter time two days before Christmas, so from that time the people always make a feast with their families and roll rice balls on that day each year.
When people are rolling the rice balls they want the whole family present, because they think that if the whole family is together to make the rice balls, the whole family will have peace and prosperity throughout the coming year.
Cliff Near The Monkey Mother's Home