Sunday, January 27, 2013

Water (Part 3)

I said there was a fine line between drought and floods. Here on the east coast of Australia, we have moved on from bushfires to floods! They came before the Alvaro Villa  Flood book I ordered has even arrived. I spent last week at school finalising bulk loans and doing PD and in a quiet moment covered a new book The Water Dragon: A Chinese Legend retold in English and Chinese by Li Jian. The cover of the book is extremely enticing, the limited colour scheme appealed and the dragon looked very friendly so I found myself reading it to see if I should loan it to the classes doing the unit of study on water. The main character a small boy, Ah Bao, finds a red stone while out gathering wood. The stone is magical and brings about abundance of things ( a bit like Lily Toy Hong's magic pot in Two of Everything). It has not rained since Ah Bao found the stone and the villagers are suffering the famine caused by drought. Ah Bao dreams of a water dragon and sets off in search of him. Along the way he meets various animals who give him pieces of themselves and warn him about a greedy red monster. I can't tell anymore without ruining the story, but the water dragon does indeed save the villagers from drought.

This story also reminded me of Little Sima and the Giant Bowl, by Zhi Qu and Lin Wang, another Chinese folktale where a small boy, Sima, lives in a village that  is also in the grips of a long drought. A wizard gives his family a large porcelain bowl and says that their luck will change. It does and rain falls and fills this bowl which has pride of place at Sima's home. The full bowl then creates a new challenge for Sima.

It would seem from these and other stories set in China, that this country also sees the presence of water as a valuable natural resource that requires looking after.

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