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The Dragon Pearl - a Chinese Folklore Legend

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Long time ago, in the province of Sichuan, near the River Min, there lived a woman and her son. They were very poor but good people. Every day the boy cut grass and sold it to people to get money. One year there was little grass because of the drought, the boy made little money and unfortunately, his mother became ill.

As the boy was tenacious, he kept looking for grass and one day he found a good field of bright green grass near a dry streambed. He cut that grass, sold it and could buy food and medicine for his mother. When he came to the streambed the next day, he was surprised as the grass had grown again. It was a miracle. He cut grass there every day and the family were happy and grateful for the miracle.

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Then one day when he was cutting grass, he found a beautiful white pearl in the grass. The pearl was ineffable. The boy wanted to sell the pearl too but his mother told him to keep it for a while and put it into a rice jar, which was almost empty. The next morning they saw that the rice jar became full of rice. They were very happy to cook and eat the rice.

The next morning, to their great surprise, the jar was replete with rice again. They understood it was a magical pearl and put it in to the moneybox and soon they became rich. The pearl created for them whatever they wanted. As they were generous, they even started helping other people. One day, people found out about the pearl and wanted to take the pearl from the boy and his mother. The boy wanted to hide the pearl and accidentally swallowed it. After that, he became very thirsty and drank all tea and water in the house. Then he drank the well dry, and still he was thirsty. He drank the river dry, too.

Suddenly, it started to rain heavily meaning that the drought was over and people were grateful and happy. However, when they looked at the boy, they saw that he turned into a dragon that walked into the overflowing river. The mother wanted him to come back but the boy knew he would not change back. He had become the guardian of the river as a dragon.

Since that time, the guardian dragon lived in the River Min keeping the magical pearl safe, which continued to increase the things among which it was placed. The mud banks were created by the mighty dragon’s tail as well. For many years, the boy’s mother came to the river every day to speak with her child, the guardian dragon. That is why people call these banks of the River Min the ‘Mother Banks.’

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