Once upon a time there lived a very beautiful and innocent girl Chunhua in a small village of JiangSu province. She was the only baby of her parents, Gao and Biyu, who belonged to Xingjian family. At first, her parents had no child after many years of their marriage. Once a soothsayer visited their village, who told them that they would surely have a baby-girl, but they had to set out a long journey to meet a recluse living in a thick jungle hundred miles away from their village. They decided to embark upon their long excursion immediately. But since it was 7th of the month that day, which was considered as an ill omen to start an important task, they waited for the next sun to commence their journey on 8th to seek the support of the recluse for getting a baby. After spending twenty-five days and nights, they saw the dark hill on crossing which they could have an access to the jungle. It was 25th day from their departure, which was also an ill sign but they could not wait anymore in a deserted area and their edibles were also scarce. It was utter dark in the thick jungle and the howls and growls of beasts made the atmosphere extremely horrible, but it could not mitigate their passion. After little effort, they reached the place from where dim beams of candle-light were coming out of his hut. They knocked at the door and a small fox came out of the hut. For one moment, both the two scared, but to their astonishment the animal gave them the way to enter. They passed through the small corridor and reached the hall, which was more gorgeous than a palace. The pageant walls, and enchanting curtains and carpets had been placed in a highly glamorous way. There were hanging tube lights and the round dining table presented the image of a prince’s castle. Soon, very old man entered with bent back and both hair and beard entirely snow-white, carrying a golden bowl in his left hand. The wrinkles on his countenance and hands were also telling about his old age. After formal greetings, they asked them to sit down and ordered them to pick one glass each from the dining table. He poured some liquid into their glasses and asked them to drink. He also drank from his bowl and they were surprised to note that during his drink, his chin hung like fox and he spread both his elbows too on the chair while drinking. The taste of the liquid was sweeter than honey containing the flavor of pomegranate and it diminished all their hunger after taking only few drops. After it, he inserted his hand into the bowl and picked the sprout of pomegranate out of it. He gave the sprout to Biyu and told them that they would get a baby-girl soon, name of which would be Chunhua. Without listening to their reply, the recluse got up to go inside the house. Both Gao and Biyu looked very happy on their return. Time went on speedily and the day came when Biyu gave birth to a very pretty doll-like daughter. She was named Chunhua as described by the recluse. Years passed and Chunhua turned into a graceful damsel of seventeen years. Her parents were worried about her marriage and looked for a suitable match for her. Though all the villagers respected and loved them, yet they could not get their daughter married to any of the local boy because all of them belonged to the same Xingjian family. It sometimes perturbed them and they became worried and anxious in this regard. Chunhua was very brilliant; she had developed special interest for books, flowers and plants. Pomegranates and their fragrance always bewitched the charming maiden and she always maintained its sprouts under her pillow. One night, she had a dream while sleeping in which she found a very old man drinking from his bowl like cats and foxes. After completing his drink, he gave Chunhua a bright red pomegranate. As soon as she received it, it changed into a fox immediately. She got up at once from her deep sleep and called her parents in anxiety. On coming to know all about the dream, both Gao and Biyu became extremely concerned regarding the health and safety of their beloved daughter, but they did not want to disclose anything to her regarding their meeting with the same old man before her birth. The next day, Auntie Huan, Chunhua’s next day neighbor, called on them with a handsome boy of twenty years, called Hong. The boy’s complexion was also bright red like his name. Auntie Huan introduced the boy as the son of her family friend from Jin tribe. It could be an ideal match for Chunhua, and her parents welcomed him with open arms. The boy had lost his parents in his childhood and the uncle of his father had brought him up, who had also died ten months ago. Since his conversation and attitude was polite and humane, they were no objection regarding the betrothal of their daughter with him. But they had to wait for two months for the completion of one year since the death of Hong’s grandfather. Hong stayed at the village in his own hut-like house and paid regular visits of Chunhua’s house to meet the family. Hong was also fond of pomegranates, but seldom ate them in the presence of Chunhua and her family. In addition, he had never accepted any offer of dinner with the Gao’s family. One day, Chunhua requested her mother to accompany her to meet Hong at his hut. When they reached the hut, Biyu was startled to observe that Hong was lying on the floor with a big bowl before his long lips. On examining his features closely, Biyu got the clue that his features resembled too much with that old man who had given them sprout. She asked Hong to disclose all about the place where he had brought up. Surprisingly, he indicated the same area that mentioned the very fact that both the old man and Hong were not only relatives, but foxes too. The next day Gao and Biyu cancelled the betrothal leaving Chunhua in a state of confusion and perplexity. On hearing about the cancellation of the betrothal, she ran amuck towards the Hong’s hut, but there was nothing at all but an empty piece of land… All her dreams, schemes and wishes regarding marriage dashed to the ground; mere two drops from her deep pretty eyes and a dreadful scream could come out of the mouth of the poor girl…!!!!
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Superstitions and beliefs of Chinese people
It is fact beyond doubt that magic and superstitions contain universality in their fold and no human society can be declared as free from false beliefs and notions. People consider some specific numbers, digits, dates and incidents as ill signs. Breaking of mirror, sight of black cat, seeing some poor fellow earliest in the morning, marriage on some specific date or year are thought bad and ghastly things in different cultures and societies. These superstitions vary from one society to the other. For example the number 13 is considered bad in some societies, while some astrologists and numerologists think it a highly fortunate and lucky number. In the same way, number 7 is viewed as one of the greatest numbers, yet Chinese take it the most dangerous one, as it has been viewed in the above story where Gao and Biyu delayed their journey because of this number. Similarly, presence of ghosts and metaphysical objects is also an essential part of Chinese superstitions. The Chinese superstitions are based on the myths of ancient Greek, Indian and Buddhist civilizations. They also follow the stories of various dynasties including Wei, Jin, Tao, Tang, Song and others. The Chinese take their ancestors as the spiritual ones and worship them to seek their metaphysical support and supernatural help. They also state that the ghosts can change their forms and shapes which can be of animals and non-living things too. The Chinese believe that foxes are the most mysterious animal, which can adopt various guises. They also believe that if a person has died with so many worries and tensions in his mind, his ghost will remain restless forever. Similarly, if the family, children and descendents of a dead person are suffering from some difficulty, it may also cause pain to the ghost of the dead person. The ghost can take on the shape of animal and insect too to watch the activities of his family. Fox is one of the most significant animals in Chinese superstitions. They strongly believe that fox can lead a peaceful life in human form like other members of society, as has been narrated in the above story where recluse and Hong did never harm to anyone. The Chinese contain their own sets of beliefs, traditions, conventions, which are valid all over China without discrimination. The Chinese scare sending the pregnant woman alone outside the home when the delivery of child is at hand. In the same way, thrashing and hammering of nails and using scissors and glue during lunar eclipse in pregnancy are also thought the activities which could harm the coming child. If there is any defect and deformity in child, his mother is blamed of carelessness and negligence during the pregnancy. The Chinese are also very conscious in respect of naming the newly born child as well. Often, the parents of a newly born consult soothsayer and get the horoscope drawn to estimate the child’s fate, which has also been narrated in the story of Chunhua and Hong in which the former’s parents sought soothsayer’s help before the birth of their daughter. Fragrance of fruits and flowers is always welcomed by the Chinese. They use perfumes and send to the family members and friends as a gesture of love and regard. Innocence and simplicity are considered as the best qualities among Chinese. The customs, norms and traditions of the Chinese people regarding betrothal, engagements and marriage are really remarkable and worthy to note. It is really hard for the Chinese to select the month, day and place of their marriage. They have to look into many matters while determining the matters related to matrimony. A Chinese woman cannot enter into a matrimonial relationship in a month in which any member of her family has been born. Similarly, the Chinese have to observe their own calendar year while making a matrimonial relationship. Cousin marriage is also forbidden among Chinese people as the story relates that Chunhua’s parents were unable to marry their daughter in the whole tribe. Similarly, a Chinese man cannot marry the member of his distant relatives and ancestral lineage even. Moreover, Chinese people cannot make matrimonial tie with the person who obtains the same surname. This condition is applied to avoid any possibility of blood link between the two. The place and time of the marriage is also determined while keeping in view the date and time of the birth of the couple. No marriage can take place in the family within one year of the death of any of the members from either side. Religious beliefs have also left their indelible impact on the social life of Chinese people. The concepts of recluse, soothsayer and fortune-tellers became the part of Chinese traditions, conventions and superstitions from Confucianism, where a spiritual leader maintained significant influence in the life of individuals. Moreover, he was considered the source to solve all problems and difficulties. The Chinese believe that hurting, harming and misbehaving with others always bring pains and sufferings. This superstition has been extracted from Buddhism, which preached love and tolerance to others and stress for special care of the neighbors and relatives. Some of the Buddhist and Hinduism teachings believe in rebirth but interestingly in the form of an animal. They believe that the virtuous would lead a happy life in the next rebirth, while the wicked would have an adverse life due to their misdeeds. Hence, they view that each rebirth offers new style and nature of life, which is quite unpredictable and is based on the performance and activities made and conducted in present life. Consequently, man could become an animal, a tree, or a metal in his next life. The Chinese beliefs also reflect the same in their social life and superstitious beliefs.