A Stone Ladder
2, A Beautiful Bride
It all started in 1942, when the most part of China was
under Japanese occupation. But Sichuan, protected by the
tall mountains surrounded, was untouched by the war, and
the life in villages carried on as it had always been.
A Sichuan mountain village
In one of Sichuan mountain villages, there was a Liu family
living next to a river. And Liu family had a six-year old
boy named Guojiang who had recently lost his first baby tooth.
One day, as he played with ants in dirt, his mom was inside
the house cooking lunch for him and the whole family. Then
all of a sudden, a spell of pitch pipes broke the silence,
followed by clamours of gongs and bellows of drums, which
reminded his mom that Wu’s son was having a wedding with
Xu’s daughter from a neighbouring village. Judging by the
sound, she believed Xu the Bride must had arrived. Feeling
excited, she halted cooking and walked out of the door to
find Guojiang. "C’mon boy, let the bride touch your
mouth, then new tooth will grow straightway."
So following the time-honoured village tradition, Jiangguo
was led to the front of the bride’s sedan. Slowly, a finger,
that was white and smooth as if crafted out of marble, motioned
out of the curtain, and slipped into the boy’s mouth. Either
the boy was too nervous or simply too hungry, he had his
mouth water running. Felt ashamed of himself, he tried to
do the right thing by sucking the finger dry, yet when he
did so, he only bit the finger hard.
A bride's sedan
Xu the Bride was hurt and tried to pull the finger, but
it got stuck between the boy’s teeth. Embarrassed by the
farce, she lifted a corner of the curtain to give the boy
a reproached stare.
As the boy looked up, he caught sight of her. The beauty
and grace of the bride stunned him greatly that he was convinced
she must be a fairy princess. So there he was, standing in
front of the sedan, with his mouth wide open, gawking at
her, which effectively brought the whole wedding procession
to a brief pause. And he kept in this way long after the
sedan was gone.
"Hi boy, ease off a bit," a neighbouring woman
advised him, laughing. "Be a good boy, you may then
find a wife exactly like her."
Ever since then, the villagers found a lot of fun in questioning
this little boy with regard to his future bride. And the
boy always replied in deadly earnest: "Someone just
like Auntie Xu."
A Forbidden Love
Steps to Paradise-Part 1