Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lucky Pearls

As Moon Festival approached, Mr. Wan's mistress wondered if she would see her lover, even if just for a few hours. It was doubtful though, given all his family obligations. Just in case he should surprise her, she wore her red envelope slippers and her lucky pearls.

~sold to anonymous buyer. Proceeds went to Home Sweet Home in Shanghai, a home for the homeless.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Lin Brothers Get Paid

When the Lin Brothers had finished sweeping the Wong's courtyard it was late and Mrs. Wong, who controlled the family purse, had already gone to bed. The Wong's gate man refused to wake anyone in the household who had authority to see that the boys from Chai Yi were paid. It was also too late to walk back to town for dinner so he offered the brothers the stone floor of his guard house and a bowl of luke-warm tea.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mrs. Tan's Gold Ring

Mrs. Tan was highly respected by all her neighbors. She was good with money. She could not resist any opportunity to show off her gold ring. "Wa! I tell you what! When I fled from Shanghai I came here with only one small piece of gold my Ni Ni gave to me for the trip. I sewed it into my red padded coat. I had nothing! I have sold and bought it back many many times whenever I am low on the cash."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Third Brother Ponders

Third Brother was pondering his life. He had suddenly become homesick.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Autumn Festival

When Mrs. Huang gathered her children and prepared to take them to her parent's home to pay respects to their ancestors, her only son, Little Brother, refused to go unless Shiao Li, his nanny, accompanied them. Huang Tai Tai sighed, but finally agreed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Don't Be Afraid

When Li Mei was about to set off to work as a kitchen maid for Mrs. Chen, her auntie told her not to be afraid. "You'll see. It is a very very lucky arrangement. The Chen's have many sons."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Exceeding Joy

When Uncle Tu finally returned from his trip to the big northern city he was informed by a very nervous Mrs Chen that her third son had carelessly let the old man's beloved song bird, Exceeding Joy escape. She went on to tell him that every resident of Wu Fung Road had spent two weeks or more trying to either catch the bird or coax it back into its cage. She hoped that Uncle Tu would not be angry and demand compensation.

Exceeding Joy had flitted here and there, eluding them all while she flew about exploring the courtyards of Wu Fung Road and singing as she pleased. At last the wayward bird alighted on the outstretched hands of Little Kite, a child with no known ancestors but in the care of the Chen family as a possible future wife for one of their many sons.

When Uncle Tu saw his bird and the little girl together, he was suddenly glad to be back in Chai Yi and even happier to live on Wu Fung Road. The big northern city had been a disappointment and he had found no happiness there.

"Chen Tai Tai," he said turning to her. "It's alright. Sorry for the trouble my bird has caused you."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Fitting Tune For a Fleeting Return

Exceeding Joy was glad to be back. In truth, her daring escape from Uncle Tu's courtyard and subsequent travels had only gotten her as far as the end of town. When she heard Little Wang, Teacher Li's poorest student, reciting ancient poems for his class, she suddenly felt the need to sing. Exceeding Joy came willingly to the boy and pondered for a moment as to what would be a fitting homecoming tune.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Not everyone on Wu Fung Road was listening for Uncle Tu's return. Some were at school. Chang Fei had just been called upon by Teacher Li to recited a passage from Dream of the Red Chamber when he was interrupted by the gleeful singing of Uncle Tu's bird, Exceeding Joy, who had been loose and free for more than a week.

Never had a student felt more relief.