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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Tan Hou and the Double Sixth Festival
by Wu Chaozhu and Xiang Hua
Age Range: 6-8
When Tan Hou was born his parents knew he was special because of the three dragon marks on his body. However, the dragon is the emperorís symbol which places Tan Hou in terrible danger. When news reaches the emperor, his men are dispatched to look for Tan Hou and bring him back to the palace. Tan Hou is hidden in a cave so the emperorís men return empty handed but not before they have exacted terrible revenge on Tan Houís parents. Tan Hou survives. Now an adult, he is determined to honour his parents and stand up for his people.
This is the legend behind the annual day of celebration of the Double Sixth Festival among the Tujia people of China. The original text by Wu Chaozhu and Xiang Hua has been adeptly adapted and translated from Chinese by award-winning translator Helen Wang. Cai Gao, who in 2000 was named as Chinaís most outstanding artist, has provided atmospheric, colourful and expressive watercolour artwork perfectly capturing this folk tale from China.