Foreword to the Chinese Fables

This book contains six ancient Chinese fables. Among them, two stories— “One Rice Thousand Gold” and “Cup Bow Snake Reflection”— are based on alleged events. “Draw Dragon Dot Eyes” is a narrative written in an exaggerated way by an ancient writer. The other three— “Dung-Shi 1  Copies Eyebrows,” “Yay-Gung Loves Dragons,” and “Morning Three Night Four”— are creations of pure imagination.

All six fables originate from Chinese classics. “Dung-Shi Copies Eyebrows” and “Morning Three Night Four” come from Zhuangzi of the warring period (4th century B.C.E.). “One Rice Thousand Gold” can be traced to The Records of Histories written in the Han period. “Yay Gung Loves Dragons” is taken from the New Preface. “Cup Bow Snake Reflection” is from Meanings of Customs. The narrative of “Draw Dragon Dot Eyes” is borrowed directly from Famous Paintings through the Ages published in the Tang Period.

Choosing Chinese fables as the subject for a book intended to teach elementary English readers the process of reading is fresh and innovative. The ancient fables adapted for this collection are highly interesting and are sure to stimulate readers’ interest and motivation. The interpretations are faithful to the original works. Though simplified, the vivid illustrations and concise text elegantly communicate the philosophical idea of the ancient originals. In this way, young children will learn to read, and increase their awareness of the ancient Chinese culture at the same time. It is certain that this book will be greeted with applause.

Prof. Zhang Fan
Department of History,
Peking University
Beijing, China
October, 2006






 1  Editor’s Note: The Chinese use Pinyin spelling to translate Chinese characters to the English alphabet. This does not correspond exactly to the conventional English phonetic spellings used in these stories. In the Pinyin system, “Dung-Shi” would be spelled “Dong-Shi,” “Shi-Shi” would be “Xi-Shi,” “Sung-Yow” would be “Seng-Yao,” “Yay-Gung” would be “Ye-Gong,” and “Han-Shin” would be “Han-Xin.”