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Main > Chinese folktales > Fairy tale "How the River God's Wedding Was Broken Off"

How the River God's Wedding Was Broken Off

They were about to thrust the couch into the stream, and the girl’s parents said farewell to her amid tears. But Si-Men bade them wait and said: “Do not be in such a hurry! I have appeared in person to escort the bride, hence everything must be done solemnly and in order. First some one must go to the river-god’s castle, and let him know that he may come himself and fetch his bride.”

And with these words he looked at a witch and said: “You may go!” The witch hesitated, but he ordered his servants to seize her and thrust her into the stream. After which about an hour went by.

“That woman did not understand her business,” continued Si-Men, “or else she would have been back long ago!” And with that he looked at one of the sorcerers and added: “Do you go and do better!” The sorcerer paled with fear, but Si-Men had him seized and cast into the river. Again half-an-hour went by.

Then Si-Men pretended to be uneasy. “Both of them have made a botch of their errand,” said he, “and are causing the bride to wait in vain!” Once more he looked at a sorcerer and said: “Do you go and hunt them up!” But the sorcerer flung himself on the ground and begged for mercy. And all the rest of the sorcerers and witches knelt to him in a row, and pleaded for grace. And they took an oath that they would never again seek a bride for the river-god.

Then Si-Men held his hand, and sent the girl back to her home, and the evil custom was at an end forever.

Note: Si-Men Bau was an historical personage, who lived five centuries before Christ.

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