A Chinese Fairytale was written in 1904, by Laurence Housman. He was from England and wrote many stories, novels and plays. This story first appeared in a book of stories called The Blue Moon. It tells of the young Tiki-pu who wants desperately to learn how to paint. But he is only a servant and must resort to trickery in order to learn his craft.
Tiki-pu was a small grub of a thing; but he had a true love of Art deep down in his soul. There it hung mewing and complaining, struggling to work its way out through the raw exterior that bound it.
Tiki-pu’s master professed to be an artist: he had apprentices and students, who came daily to work under him, and a large studio littered about with the performances of himself and his pupils. On the walls hung also a few real works by the older men, all long since dead.
In honor of the great people of Japan during a terrible crisis, I re-post this beautiful tale.
This is the story of young Momotaro, whose name literally means Peach Boy. The story is one of the most popular from Japanese folklore. Its theme of the unification of a people separated by hostility into an effective force for change resonates throughout history and applies to many different cultures.
Robinson Crusoe and Friday finally have a ship and a way off the island. Crusoe relates his journey home and how he resolves the outstanding issues he left behind in his life. He meets with one final harrowing adventure on his journey home and uses it to lead into the final thoughts of his great tale. So ends one of the greatest adventures ever written and so began the great art of the English novel. Daniel Defoe created a character that has influenced every writer and every reader’s imagination since he wrote this incredible book.
It has been an uncommon pleasure to read this difficult book and to make my way through the unusual language of Mr. Defoe. Perhaps by reading him, one can learn to think a bit like him. With great language comes great subtlety of thought.
By the way, Defoe did write a sequel to this book. It’s called ‘The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.’ Perhaps a podcast of that book should be…
Crusoe and Friday see what looks like an English ship. But what does this ship bring? This is an action-packed section of the book. Crusoe uses every bit of his cunning and skill to defend himself and Friday while never ceasing to maintain his hope of rescue.
Robinson Crusoe and Friday get many surprises as they battle cannibals. The action explodes as they are forced to think and act quickly to save lives. Crusoe continues to be amazed at the strength of Friday’s character and his incredible loyalty.
Crusoe builds his friendship with Friday, teaching him English, Christianity, hunting with a gun, and working with tools. The two men develop a deep and trusting bond once Crusoe gets over his struggles with suspicion and doubts about Friday’s intentions. We find ourselves at that part of the novel that best illustrates what many critics of Defoe’s novel say is a glorification of English colonialism and empire. To be sure, that is part of what is going on in the book. However, there is more to it than that. Defoe, at times, seems close to sowing seeds of doubt about the English world he lived in and its beliefs about its place in the world. Pay very close attention to the conversations between Friday and Crusoe. They move in directions entirely unanticipated by Crusoe. He is constantly surprised by how loyal, intelligent, and civilized Friday turns out to be in his very deepest nature.