Volume 12, Issue 3 ~ January 15-21, 2004

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Not Just for Kids

A fable is a fictitious story making a moral point and often using animals as characters. Maybe you’ve read one already like The Fox and the Grapes or The Tortoise and the Hare. Can you write your own fable? Send us yours at
Bay Weekly Kids’ Page • PO Box 358 • Deale, MD 20751.

The Fable of the Ox
by Emily Kehne, age 8

Once upon a time, long before any emperor, low in the country in southern China was an evil warlord. His name was Chang-Chai and he didn’t believe in anything stronger than he was, even the gods.

One rainy summer day, a Mongol disguised as a traveler came to see the warlord Chang-Chai. In Chang-Chai’s chamber, the Mongol dropped to his knees and cried, “Oh mighty, loyal master! In the fields I have heard your people say that Tsu-Tsi, the Goddess of Strength, is greater and stronger than thee!”

“Whaaat?!?” stormed Chang-Chai. “Stronger than me? Never! I’ll show those miserable rats what I can do!”

Chang-Chai pushed over the Mongol and stomped off to the dungeon. The Mongol picked himself up and said with a sly smile, “Very well, Sire, we’ll see what happens next.”

In the dungeon, Chang-Chai fiddled with magic spell books at a very old, rotten, wooden table. “Ah-ha! Here it is!” said Chang-Chai when he found the spell he wanted. “Wind, land, fire, sea … bring seven advisors to me!”

There was a swirling gust of wind and a lightning bolt! Out of the secret passageway from the outside, faraway chanting could be heard. The chanting grew louder, and marching feet could be made out. Shadows sailed onto the wall of the tunnel. Seven old men with white beards and gray cloaks, each with a torch, appeared from the tunnel. They stopped in front of the warlord and bowed.

“Wonderful! Wonderful!” exclaimed the warlord. “Let’s get to business. What shall I do to punish the people for believing that someone is stronger than Chang-Chai?”

The seven advisors huddled together and finally, they turned to Chang-Chai and chanted, “Light the sea, wet the fire, O great and mighty Sire! Our plan is made of silver wind and golden rain. A plan of monsters that eat man! But beware! For when sun shines, monsters cannot dine!”

Chang-Chai said, “What a great idea I have thought of.”

At midnight, he threw silver into the wind and gold into the rain. Where all the pieces of silver and gold had fallen to the ground, sprouts grew. On each sprout was a flower, all closed up. The flowers opened to reveal the most terrible monsters that Chang-Chai had ever seen.

“Now that you are here, I shall tell you what to do. If you see anybody not working in the fields, eat them up.”

Chang-Chai also gave them special shades to keep the sun off of them during the day.

In the first quarter of the day, the people would do their chores. In the afternoon and all night, they made terraces in the hills to catch rain to get water for the plants. The whole time the monsters would be watching.

Finally, after two weeks, everyone was tired and hungry and 20 people had been eaten by the monsters. The people went to Tsu-Tsi’s temple and told her about Chang-Chai and the beasts. Tsu-Tsi thundered, “Bring this Chang-Chai to me.”

A man was chosen to tell Chang-Chai of Tsu-Tsi’s orders.The man walked steadily up to the palace gates and told the guard, “I wish to speak to Lord Chang-Chai.” Two soldiers grabbed the poor man and dragged him to the warlord’s chamber. When Chang-Chai saw his visitor being dropped to the floor, he laughed.

The messenger knelt before Chang-Chai, but before he could say a word, Chang-Chai screeched, “What’s the matter, old man? Come to beg for rice?” He and the guards laughed as the warlord continued to tease the man.

The warlord was in the middle of a joke when the ceiling broke through. Standing there was Tsu-Tsi in person.

“Well, Chang-Chai, I now know why your people have asked for help,” she said coolly. “I think it is time you get what you deserve.” She called the sun and told it, “Burn those dirty beasts, for I have taken away their shades.” And without another word, she turned Chang-Chai into a large, muscular animal with horns, which we now call the ox. This animal and its relatives are to work for the people for the rest of the Middle Kingdom’s time.

Believe in yourself, but not too much.

Kids’ Stuff This Week

Thursday, January 15
Do You Have a Dream? Can You Write a Poem?
Thru Jan. 31–Poetry by local kids will help you remember the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., America’s greatest civil rights leader. @ Southern Community Center, Appeal Ln., Lusby: 410/586-1101.

Saturday, January 17
Get to Know a Wetland
Teens 11-14 playing in a model marsh to learn how wetlands work and how animals interact with the Chesapeake Bay. 10am @ Baltimore Aquarium, Inner Harbor, Downtown Baltimore. $25 w/discounts. rsvp: 410/727-fish • www.aqua.org.

Babies in Bloom
Bring your adult for 45 minutes of story-songs, rhymes and finger plays in a session is especially designed for your early development. Up to 24 months. 9:30am @ Park Library, McKinsey Rd., Severna Park. Free: 410-222-6290. • www.aacpl.net

Sunday, January 18
Find Winter Birds
Kids 10 and up walk around Lake Waterford Park with Ranger Wendy to look for winter birds and waterfowl.. 8am @ Lake Waterford Park, Pasadena. rsvp: 410/222-6248.



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Last updated January 15, 2004 @ 12:13am.