Chinese Folk Tales 1.
(Kinesiske folkefortællinger/eventyr)

”Happiness” Upside down.
(At vende/hænge tingene på hovedet)

When New Year comes, people
in China hang the character
“Happiness” upside down on the door.
in Chinese, “upside down”
is a homonym for “to arrive”, so
this is a pun for “happiness arrives”.

This custom started in the Ming
Dynasty, before which, no one hung
“Happiness” upside down.

It was said that the first emperor of
the Ming Dynasty Zhu Yuan Zhang
often went into the city disguised as
an ordinary citizen.

One day, Emperor Zhu Yuan
Zhang heard a family criticizing
him. He got very angry and
turned the character “Happiness”
on their door upside down to
mark the house. He decided to kill
the family on the night of New
Year´s Eve.

When the Emperor got back to
the palace, he was still angry.

Empress Ma asked him what had
happened. He told her the whole story
and how he had marked the family.
he said, “After this incident, no
one will dare to speak ill of me”.

The kindhearted Empress Ma came up
with an idea to avert the tragedy. She
gave an order that every family should
Hang “Happiness” upside down on the

One New Years Eve, the men sent
by Emperor Zhu Yuan Zhang
Found that every family
hung “Happiness” upside down, and could not
find their target.

Emperor Zhu Yuan Zhang got the
report, and shouted angrily, “The
whole city was against me”!

Empress Ma advised him. “People who hang
“Happiness” upside down are looking forward to
receiving great fortune and success in their life”.
she persuaded Zhu Yuan Zhang to listen to the
people´s opinion with an open mind.

Emperor Zhu Yuan Zhang
accepted Empress Ma´s suggestions and
ordered the people to hang
“Happiness” upside down. And
also, he became open to their suggestions and

From then on, all people hang
“Happiness” upside down during
Chinese New Year. When others
See it, they will say, “Happiness has

Walking on Stilts
(At gå på stylter)

In ancient China, people would gather in the
City to celebrate the Spring Festival. They
would give performances to express their
good wishes for the coming new year.

But one new year´s eve, a
Greedy official took office
In the city.

When the greedy official saw people
for the celebration, he began to thinkof ways he could
profit them, so he ordered his staff to put up a tollbridge
at the city gate.

The staff on the city wall
shouted, “His Excellency has decreed
that anyone who wants to cross the bridge
must pay 50 grams of silver.
otherwise, no one may enter the city”.

Having no other choice, people had
to go home to pool money.

Everyone contributed as much
money as they could and returned
to the city gate. But the staff
shouted, “His Excellency has decreed
that everyone who
wants to cross the bridge must pay
500 grams of silver at noon”!

People didn´t have so much
money, they had to return angrily.

The group leader was very worried. His
son named Xiao Hu learnt of this, and
decided to help his father.

“How to cross the deep moat?” Xiao
Hu thought when he was looking at the
long legs of a crane in the picture on
the wall. Suddenly he got an idea.

He ran into the yard, and made a pair
Of stilts with two long sticks. He tried,
and they worked! So Xiao Hu told this method
to his fellow villagers.

The next day, people followed Xiao Hu´s
Way and walked on stilts to cross the moat
Conveniently. The staff and the greedy
Official reached their wit´s end.

From then on, the game of walking on
Stilts has been passed on and played
even today.


In ancient times, there was an arched door
Formed by a huge peach tree in the Du
Shou Mountain in the East China Sea. A devil
often came out through the door and
went to hurt people.

The Jade Emperor (Jadekejseren) learnt of this and
ordered Generals Shen Tu and Yu Lei to guard the
arched door and capture
the devil.

Shen Tu and Yu Lei came to the Du
Shou Mountain, and waited for the devil nearby the
arched door.

The devil walked out from the arched door as usual.

Shen Tu and Yu Lei arrested the devil
with magic, and sent him to the Jade Emperor.
from then on, the devil couldn´t hurt people again.

Since then when Spring Festival comes, people
draw the two generals Shen Tu and Yu Lei on peach wood and hang them on the doors to keep evils away. That is the origin of Door-God.

Dragon Dance.

In the remote past, it rained heavily and
Relentlessly in one year, and many people
were drowned.

A kindhearted Dragon King was awoken by the people´s cry.

Seeing the people in great distress, he decided to save them.
So he flew to the heaven.

The Dragon King found the Grand Immortal of the South Pole
and asked for the reason. The Grand Immortal of the South Pole
told him, “The West Queen Mother treated the Jade Emperor to wine.
His exellency got drunk and made a mistake calculating this rain plan,
so three tenths more rain is falling”.

The Dragon King learned the reason and slipped into the
Jade Emperor´s palace to correct the rain plan.
After that, people´s life got better.

Unluckily, when the Jade Emperor realized the change, he was
enraged and ordered sacred army to arrest the Dragon King.

The sacred army found the Dragon King and the fight started.
Even the Thunder God and the Lightning God and the Lightning
Goddess came to help the sacred army.

The Dragon King was no match for the attack. He transformed
into a small bird and flew to the Jade Emperor´s palace.

The small bird came to the Jade Emperor and claimed, “It was
you who made the wrong rain plan, and people are gonna drown!
Why are you trying to kill me?”

The Jade Emperor realized his fault
And set the Dragon King free.

Since then, people beat drums ang gongs and do dragon dances
on January 15. to commemorate the Dragon King

Writing Brush

There was no pen or paper in ancient times,
People just carved the words in bamboo and
Wood slips.

Meng Tian was a general of the State of Qin.
One day, he won a victory, but there were
No more bamboo slips to cave on. He would
be killed if he didn´t report it to the emperor in time.

General Meng Tian was worried. He looked at the spear
with a red trassel , and suddenly an idea came upon him.

General Meng Tian tied a tassel on a stick, dipped it
In the ink and wrote his report on a piece of silk.
After writng, General Meng Tian did not think the tassel
worked well, so he threw it into a lime pool.
Later, Emperor Shihuang ordered General Meg Tian
to build the Great Wall.

Expecting to complete the project earlier.
General Meng Tian went to the construction site
every day to hasten the workers.

Finally, the Great Wall was finished.
but General Meng Tian met the trouble
of writing report again.

General Meng Tian recalled the tassel, and scooped
it from the lime pool. The tassel was softened by lime
and was convenient to write with. So General Meng Tian
named it “writing brush”.

Later, General Meng Tian made many writing brushed
with the hair from weasel tails, and people liked this
kind of writing tool.

After paper was invented in China, writing brushes
began to have more uses. Later, many mills began to make
writing brushes. General Meng Tian was greatly respected
as the founder of writing brush.

Cai Sui

In ancient times, a devil came out to harm people on
the eve of the Spring Festival. Every year when that
day came, people escaped from their villages.

On year, when the Spring Festival was
drawing near, a mother said to her son,
“Son, the devil is coming. I am too old to run,
you should run away yourself”.

“Mum, there is some sesame left. Let´s make some sesame cakes.”
the son found sesame stalks and beat them with a stick to get the seds.
After eating, the son got a knife
to abrade, and said, “Mum, I won´t let the devil hurt you. If he comes,
i will kill him!”.

At night, the devil came.

When the devil entered the yard, he stepped right onto the
sesam stalks. Crack! Crack!
The devil was scared of sound, and ran away.

Since then, on every Spring Festival eve, children will put
sesam stalks in the courtyard and step on them,
Crack! Crack! This is ”Cai Sui”.

God of Fortune

In the Ming Dynasty, there was a treacherous court official named Yan Song.
For his career, he presented his daughter to the emperor.
Because of the young maid, the emperor
Paid no attention to state affairs, drinking and
partying every day, and let Yan Song decide everything.

With power in hand, Yan Song got very overbeared.
All the civilian and military officers at court were resentful of him.

At last, all the other civilian and military officers at court jointly
required a punishment on Yan Song. Under the pressure, the emperor
had to expel Yan Song from his office.

The emperor secretly gave Yan Song a gold bowl for begging.

Having no other choice, Yan Song obeyed the order, and begged in the street.

Yan Song begged in the street with this Gold Bowl. As he had done too
many bad things, people who knew him didn´t give him any food; those who
didn´t know him thought he was ma at the sight of the gold bowl in his hand.

Yan Song was starving after a whole day begging.

Suddenly, a peddler was coming and shouting, “Beancurd for sale,
beancurd for sale!”

Hearing this, Yan Song rushed over and said, “Please give me a piece
of beancurd, I´m starving. I can trade this gold bowl with you.”

The peddler surely wanted the trade. He grabbed the gold bowl and gave
Yan Song a piece of beancurd, Yan Song ate it eagerly.

But he swallowed so fast that he got choked and died. All the people were
happy and said that the peddler did a good thing.

The peddler went home very delighted. He drew a picture of Yan Song,
and enshrined it.

From then on, people followed him, enshrining Yan Song as
the God of Fortune.

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