Lord of the Cranes A Chinese Tale Viral Kindle My kids and I read this book as part of our history unit about ancient China We almost didn t get to it before it was due back at the library but I sn
Lord of the Cranes: A Chinese Tale Viral Kindle My kids and I read this book as part of our history unit about ancient China. We almost didn't get to it before it was due back at the library, but I snuck in a little reading after breakfast. My children loved this story. The illustrations are gorgeous and the story is a classic one along the lines of Baucis and Philemon about the rewards that come when we're generous. My children were enchanted by the idea of a man riding on the back of a crane in flight and painting a picture that came alive when people danced and clapped. It also gave us a chance to have a discussion about the reasons for and against being generous.I do have some reservations, though, about these tales that always connect tangible rewards with generosity. (The only story of generosity I've read that doesn't connect kindness with rewards is "Uncle Ry and the Moon," a Zen Buddhist tale retold by Jon Muth in his Zen Shorts.) In Lord of the Cranes, the innkeeper didn't feed the beggar because he was expecting a reward, but the tale wouldn't have been quite as interesting if the beggar just took the food and the innkeeper's life just kept on as it was (or if, at the end of the month, the innkeeper discovered that, because he'd given away so many free meals, he couldn't pay all of his bills and he lost his business and ended up a beggar himself). Because he got a reward for his kindness, I worry that children may end up with the idea that they should get something in return for being generous. Rather than feeling fulfilled and happy when they share their money or their time or their possessions, will they feel cheated if reality doesn't match all of the stories they've been told?How do we teach children to be generous even if there's no reward attached to it for us? Oh, wait...I guess that's my job as their mother to lead by example. I'd probably better get working on that.. Once upon a time Tian, the Lord of the Cranes, decided to leave his home, high in the clouds, and fly down to the city to test the people Dressed in rags, he went begging for alms, but only the innkeeper Wang, passed the test Tian rewarded Wang with a miraculous gift, a gift that brought fame and fortune to the innkeeper, and in return, Wang vowed to help the Lord of theOnce upon a time Tian, the Lord of the Cranes, decided to leave his home, high in the clouds, and fly down to the city to test the people Dressed in rags, he went begging for alms, but only the innkeeper Wang, passed the test Tian rewarded Wang with a miraculous gift, a gift that brought fame and fortune to the innkeeper, and in return, Wang vowed to help the Lord of the Cranes with his special mission The painter Jian Jiang Chen remembered this folktale from his childhood in China He heard it from an old man who told stories accompanied by a violin a common form of entertainment at that time when so few Chinese had televisions Retold here by his wife, Kerstin, it is a haunting and uplifting tale of virtue rewarded.. A viral Ebook Lord of the Cranes: A Chinese Tale My niece has some sort of inexplicable, life-long fascination with anything to do with China or the Chinese culture. Admitedly, her life has been short thus far, but that's beside the point. I knew she would appreciate this book simply because it's a Chinese story. She did like it, she appreciated the art, and the story itself.The story is more or less a do unto others story--it talks about the virtue of charity and kindness to those in need. It's a pretty book that tells a story that's been told in a million different ways. It's pretty, but nothing particularly special. What makes this book a four star book for me, though, is the part it played in a little piece of daily life today.When I picked my niece up from school today, this book was sitting in the seat of the car beside me, and we were going to be reading it in 15 or 20 minutes or so. While we were stopped at a light, a woman was on the sidewalk holding up a sign asking for help. The sign said she was diabetic, and that she needed money for food and medicine. I saw the woman, but did what is typical, and ignored her.In the back seat my niece said, "Amy, does that lady need money?" I said, "She says she does." My niece asked, "Why isn't anyone helping her?" I sighed and said, "I don't know, Baby." My little eight year old niece then got truly mad and said, "You know, people are so selfish these days! They always only think about themselves and never about helping others! It's always me-me-me!" She may as well have hit me right between the eyes with a hammer. Nothing can stop someone in their tracks faster than truth from the mouth of a child. I caught my breath, and then I saw Lord of the Cranes, in all of it's beautiful red cover-ness, sitting in the seat beside me. This stop light, this needy woman, this fabulous child, and this book all converged at this moment, and it was a really weirdly powerful moment! As that pretty red cover of Lord of the Cranes winked at me, I said, "You know what, Baby? You are absolutely right. We'll help her."So I don't know if Lord of the Cranes was more than an enjoyable story to my niece, but as I learned today, that's all it needed to be for her, because she already lives the lesson. But it was certainly more than that to her cynical, suspicious, hard-hearted auntie. My niece and Lord of the Cranes reminded me of an important and timeless lesson. A lesson that is especially vital and worthy of occasional reinforcement in this me-me-me world. Books and babies. They are great teachers.
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