The Miao lad who went to carry an idol from Sichuan.

Told byYang Xiu-gong.


It is not made clear in this story why a Miao lad should want to carry off a Chinese idol. The Miao did not make or worship idols, and would not normally have anything to do with them. Presumably, the intention was to steal a small idol from a local shrine and sell it in some distant place where it was unlikely to be recognised. However, it would be unusual to find any Miao who had the temerity to undertake such an exploit, and equally surprising to find someone who was prepared actually to sleep in a temple full of idols. Be this as it may the story is full of improbable happenings, and since many smaller shrines were completely unattended, it would be easy enough to carry off a small idol if one dared.

The eligible daughter of a wealthy family would normally be betrothed to the son of another wealthy family, which would pay well for an attractive bride. Such payment the Miao lad was in no position to make, which explains, but in no way condones, the wealthy manís churlish behaviour.

Literal Transcription

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