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Main > Chinese folktales > Fairy tale "The Cave of the Beasts"

The Cave of the Beasts

Once upon a time there was a family in which there were seven daughters. One day when the father went out to gather wood, he found seven wild duck eggs. He brought them home, but did not think of giving any to his children, intending to eat them himself, with his wife. In the evening the oldest daughter woke up, and asked her mother what she was cooking. The mother said: “I am cooking wild duck eggs. I will give you one, but you must not let your sisters know.” And so she gave her one. Then the second daughter woke up, and asked her mother what she was cooking. She said: “Wild duck eggs. If you will not tell your sisters, I’ll give you one.” And so it went. At last the daughters had eaten all the eggs, and there were none left.

In the morning the father was very angry with the children, and said: “Who wants to go along to grandmother?” But he intended to lead the children into the mountains, and let the wolves devour them there. The older daughters suspected this, and said: “We are not going along!” But the two younger ones said: “We will go with you.” And so they drove off with their father. After they had driven a good ways, they asked: “Will we soon get to grandmother’s house?” “Right away,” said their father. And when they had reached the mountains he told them: “Wait here. I will drive into the village ahead of you, and tell grandmother that you are coming.” And then he drove off with the donkey-cart. They waited and waited, but their father did not come. At last they decided that their father would not come back to fetch them, and that he had left them alone in the mountains. So they went further and further into the hills seeking a shelter for the night. Then they spied a great stone. This they selected for a pillow, and rolled it over to the place where they were going to lie down to sleep. And then they saw that the stone was the door to a cave. There was a light in the cave, and they went into it. The light they had seen came from the many precious stones and jewels of every sort in the cave, which belonged to a wolf and a fox.

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