"Yes, exactly," said the girl eagerly.
"No, that one we haven't seen," said Pippi decidedly.
The girl looked crestfallen and went off without a word.
"Wait a minute," shrieked Pippi after her. "Was he bald-headed?"
"No, he certainly was not," said the girl crossly.
"Lucky for him!" said Pippi and spit out a pear core.
The girl hurried away, but then Pippi shouted, "Did he have big ears that reached way down to his shoulders?"
"No," said the girl and turned and came running back in amazement. "You don't mean to say that you have seen a man walk by with such big ears?"
"I have never seen anyone who walks with his ears," said Pippi. "All the people I know walk with their feet."
"Oh, don't be silly! I mean have you really seen a man who has such big ears?"
"No," said Pippi, "there isn't anybody with such big ears. It would be ridiculous. How would they look? It isn't possible to have such big ears. At least not in this country," she added after a thoughtful pause. "Of course in China it's a little different. I once saw a Chinese in Shanghai. His ears were so big that he could use them for a cape. When it rained he just crawled in under his ears and was as warm and snug as you please. Of course his ears didn't have it so good. If it was very bad weather he used to invite his friends to camp under his ears. There they sat and sang sad songs while the rain poured down. They liked him a lot because of his ears. His name was Hai Shang. You should have seen Hai Shang run to work in the morning. He always came dashing in at the last minute because he loved to sleep late, and you can't imagine how funny he looked, rushing in with his ears flying behind him like two big golden sails."
The girl had stopped and stood open-mouthed listening to Pippi. And Tommy and Annika forgot to eat any more pears, they were so utterly absorbed in the story.
"He had more children than he could count, and the littlest one was named Peter," said Pippi.
"Oh, but a Chinese baby can't be called Peter," interrupted Tommy.
The Renowned Hero, Bova Korolevich and the Princess Drushnevna
Category: Russia folktales
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