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True Story
6,000 Steps to Paradise (2)

19 November 2006

1, 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."

3, A Forbidden Love

Pre 6,000 Steps to Paradise-Part 1
Next: Under One Roof


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