M412
The fox and the goldcrest.

Told by Yang Ya-go.

Introduction.

Samuel Pollard, who recorded this story in his diary, was not given a title for it in Miao, so he supplied one in English, "The fox and the bird". At a later stage "bird" was crossed out and "quail" substituted. Where the name first occurs in the text, a note in brackets explains that it was "a small bird". This explanation was not deleted, but the word "quail", together with the Chinese equivalent in Romanization was written in the space above it. Clearly the narrator did not know the Chinese name for this particular kind of bird, and the guess, which produced the translation "quail", was not correct.

In this version of the story, the statement that the Yi woman was taking lunch out to some people who were busy threshing, seems rather more likely than that she was taking it to folk who were engaged in fighting each other, as Wang Ming-jiís version would have us believe. On the other hand the elaborate play on words in his account, which gives zest and point to the last section of the story, is here missing altogether.

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