W7-Wang+Xingyuan-The+Iron+Inspector

W7-Wang+Xingyuan-The+Iron+Inspector - Wang Xingyuan has:...

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Unformatted text preview: Wang Xingyuan has: [Wang Hsing-yilan] Wang Xingyuan is a young writer from Kwangtung province who published in 1955 the first part of a long novel set in a village in eastern Kwangtung. In 196? he was a member of a group of writers who visited Vietnam. This story, first published in r963, illustrates the clash between the loyalties of clan and class that has been so often a feature of the Chinese countryside in transition. There is nothing unusual about a youngster with only a few years’ schooling taking such testing jobs in the teams and brigades of the people’s communes, as the only members of the older generation with the necessary experience tend to come from the richer sections of society and thus not have the same sympathy for collectivism. It is easy to imagine the im- portance that proper accounting has for the commune member‘sj morale—if some are credited for work not done, and the efforts of others go unrewarded, enthusiasm is bound to suffer. The number of work—points each member of the commune earns during the year decides the size of his share of the harvest. There are a number of methods by which work-points can be allocated, varying from daily assessment by a work-point recorder as in this story to a monthly meeting at which all the members of a production team decide to— gether what the work of each is worth. The Iron Inspector Everyone for miles around is full of praise for the way Apricot Village has gone from poverty to prosperity by increasing production over the past year or two. All the villagers think that this year will be better than ever, and anyone who goes there can see the truth of it. The soil has been improved in sixty or seventy per cent of the village‘s two hundred or so and of paddy fields, and each ma has already been given siaty to seventy carrying-pole loads of fertilizer of some sort or another. 1 It run is a fifteenth of a hectare, or about one-sixth of an acre. THE IHIDH INSPECTDH 231 Hoehig and the care of the rice-shoots are all up to date. The mountain streams have been cleared, the paths between the fields have been weeded, the dikes round the paddy-fields have been trimmed neatly into shape, and the way the fruit trees have been pruned and heaped around with earth has made the mountainside orchards look like gardens. Since the begin- ning of spring the peasants have been working hard, competing with each other in skill and ability. As soon as the team leader gives the order they set to work like a platoon of soldiers. This whole atmosphere should be enough to convince anyone that this year will be even better than ever. How was it that Apricot Village, which used to be called Three Kinds Village, improved so quickly? Ask any of the villagers and they will tell you, ‘We’ve got the Communist Party to show us the way, there are good cadres in charge, and we’ve trained able men like our “iron inspector” who can cope with anything.’ But not so fast. You’ve never heard of this 'iron inspector‘. If you are curious enough to inquire further I can guarantee that anyone who asks more about him will be full of admiration for his unselfish sense of justice. The reader does not know who this ‘iron inspector” is, does he? He is no bigwig, only a humble work-point recorder called Li Zhenping, a seventeen-year-old with parted hair, a boyish face, clever eyes, and a very strong character. His mother will tell you that he is a poor orphan who lost his father as soon as he came into the world. He was reared on thin rice porridge and salt vegetables, and he grew up wandering through mountains and fields as he clung to his mother’s skirt. He only started primary school in 1955 at the age of eleven. Although he had hoped to go on to secondary school, it happened that when he finished his primary education the team’s work-point recorder had just walked out on them. As the villagers wanted Zhenping, the Party secretary said to him, ‘Gome back and take over. You can’t let the accounts get into a mess by refusing to help us.l The secretary persuaded him in this one conversation to go home and enter ‘The University of W’ork’. He made a start worthy of a tiger or adragon, and the villagers were pleased with him from the moment he left his studies. He was eatremely conscientious about setting quotas, assigning 232 WANG KINGYUAH werk te peeple, pesting werlz—peints en the wall, and everything else. He did it all very earefully. He was friendly tee, and used te read the paper aleud te the villagers after he’d entered all the peints. He put a pieture ef Chairman Mae en the wall ef the werk-team’s efiiee te liven it up, and eevered the walls ef the little village hall with New-Year pietures, serells ef birds and flewers, and newspaper euttings, making the plaee leek. grand and eheerful. Ne needle is sharp at beth ends: Li Zhenping eeuld net use an abaeus te ealeulate werk—peints. He had te add them up every night with pen and paper. Seeing what a let ef treuble this was fer him the members ef the team urged him te learn. hew te use an abaeus. He made up his mind te de se. But when he breught the subjeet up semebedy eeughed drily in the eerner and said, ‘Hmm. It’s finding a teaeher that will be diilieult. The enly prehlem abeut learning te use the abaeus is when the teaeher is werried that the pupil will learn se fast that he’ll seen be better than he is himself. But if yeu feund a teaeher yeu’d have ne treuble learning.’ The speaker was Li Zhenping’s unele Li Wanhen, and his remarks drew many meeking glanees frem everyene else. ‘That’s right,” semebedy said, ‘it’s enly natural fer an unele te teaeh his ewn nephew.’ ‘He didn’t get any business when he advertised fer pupils,” snerted semebedy else. At this eemment Li Wanben slipped eff witheut anether werd. This Li Wanben was well knewn in the village as a ealeulating menster. He was fameus fer being grasping and selfish like an eld silhwerm that gebbles up big leaves: he eeuld werlt eut ways ef getting benes frem eggs. In the eld days he had been quite a rieh trader with a geed ‘reputatien’. When the eem- mune was set up he refused te use its lavateries. He used his family’s eaerernent te fised three big degs he was raising at heme. One merning the degs started fighting fer his shit when he went te feed them, and in the nu’ilee ene ef them bit his baehside. He lay idle en his stemaeh in bed and sent his wife te tell the team leader that he had a bad eeld and te ask fer the meney te get it treated. When the meney was refused he wept and made a great fuss. Then semeene teld the team leader what had really happened and revealed his dirty seeret. His THE IHDN INSPEETDH 233 prestige was eempletely destreyed. The peeple in the village whe gave eut nieknames ehanged his name frem Wanben te Wangben ( ‘Origin-fergetter’). ‘Wangben it shall be then.’ When he aeeepted the niekname the villagers theught he had seen the errer ef his ways, but it weuld have been harder te ehange his nature than te draw bleed frem a turnip by peeling it. They eften saw him eeming baek in the evening frem werlsing in the eemmunal fields with an agenised eapressien en his faee, walking en tiptee, and bent deuble with a hand pressed te his belly. At first they theught it must be belly aehe, but en repeated ebservatien they realised that the eld regue was helding baelt his urine te water the vegetables in his private plet by the village. Li Zhenping wanted nething te de with a man whe had se bad a name. He eeuld learn frem the brigade aeeeuntant. But when Li Zhenping was eating luneh the neat day Li Wanben eame in with an abaeus under his arm te teaeh his nephew. ‘We sheuldn’t let eur sewage be wasted by flewing inte semeene else”s stream,’ said Li lalvfanben. "fee must get with it and learn all the trieks.’ The bey’s unele seemed se sineere that Zhenping’s mether insisted that he sheuld take lessens frem him. New that Wanben had eeme reund te their heuse Zhenping had te agree, unable as he was te refuse. Thus it was that Zhenping mastered additien, subtraetien, multipli- eatien, divisien, and the ‘under nine teehniquel—everything eneept peunds and eunees—in eight midday rest perieds and nine evenings. Skill strengthens the will, as the saying gees. New that he knew hew te use the abaeus Zhenping rattled away at it te his heart’s eentent as he ealeulated werk-peints; and Wanben, feeling that he new had a well-plaeed supperter, started te get up te his trielts again. The way he divided the labeur in his family was that his eldest sen went up te eut fireweed en the hillside te sell fer ready eash, while his daughter-in-law had te teil away at their private plet. Thus when the eemmune members set eut fer werk in the merning his sen and daughter- inulaw were the suppert treeps whe enly reperted in leng after the ethers had started. Apart frem being the last in, they were the first eat when it was time te step werk. Li Wanben 234 WANG KING‘I’UAH himself did nut start late ur finish early, but he carried a little hambuu basket at his waist and drupped his mattuck tu chase any frugs ur edible lucusts he saw. If they dived intu une uf the luw dikes ruund a field he insisted un breaking it duwn. When exhausted by the pursuit he wuuld sit duwn at the edge uf the field fur a smuke. This enabled him tu feed his huge numbers uf hens, geese, and ducks; and withuut this ’juint state-private enterprise‘ he rcckuned that he cuuld nut have managed tu survive. 1While Wanben was up tu nu guud every day Zhenping went daily tu the fields, keeping his eyes skinned tu see huw hard each eummune member was wurking and whether thuse whu were nut un the system uf cuntracting tu carry uut a particular jub were up tu the minimum standard; he alsu inspected the quality uf euntraeted wurk. Seeing huw disgracefully his uncle Wanben was behaving he went up tu him and said, ’Yuu must fill yuur quuta, uncle.’ ‘Quuta my fuut! I’ve eaten mure salt in my life than yuu’ve eaten rice.’ Wanben gave his nephew an evil glare and started resentfully tu wurk. One day Li Wanben had been estremely lucky: he had caught twu basketfuls uf fi'ugs in mm gu. This was guing tu be the day un which the eummune members put Zhenping’s integrity tn the test. The jub Wanben had undertaken tu carry uut fur the wurh team was tu pluugh and harruw a piece uf land in the date urehard sumewhat bigger than a ma. He had put tuu much weight un the pluugh, leaving the gruund luuking as thuugh it were euvered in muuntain ranges, and even after he had harruwed it the suil was still uneven and nut pruperly bruken duwn. Amung the villagers sume were wurried that Zhenping might nut be clever enuugh tu avuid being taken in by Wanben. Sume were making all surts uf critical remarks and uthers were warning him. Aniu, the wurk team leader, slapped him un the shuulder and said, ’Nuw we’ll see whether yuu’re a pillar uf strength ur nut.’ Zhenping wundered huw, feeling mure un his guard than ever. That evening he was still pacing up and duwn in the date urehard examining the land his uncle had pluughed and har- ruwed. He really had dune a very shuddy juh. When calculating the wurk—puints that evening Zhenping felt awkward with the THE IHEII'III INSPECTDH 235 abacus and used pen and paper instead. He was bursting with anger and determined tu humiliate his uncle that night. He wurked uut everyune else’s wurlt-puints first, deliberately leav- ing his uncle’s tn the last. Li Wanben was as pleased as punch that day. He squatted in a chair by the accuunts desk with a grin su bruad that his eyes were half clused while he waited fur his puints tu be wurked uut. As he saw his nephew passing uver him again and again tu wurk uut the uthers’ puints first his face darkened. W35 his uwn nephew, the student he himself had taught, daring tu turn un him like this? He cuughed uccasiunally as a hint tu Zhenping. When the puints uf everyune in the team eacept Wanben had been wurlted uut Zhenping thuught fur a while hefure saying tu the eummune members, ’I hupe yuu will all repurt anyunc duing shuddy Wfll‘l-I.’ After a lung silence the deputy team leader lust patience. ’Write duwn the truth,’ he said decisively. ’I’ll back yuu up if there’s any truuble.’ ’Hmm. Huw can I knuw huw shuddy it was:r1 Everyune must repurt un him.’ Zhenping had been intending tu say straight uut whu it was whu had wurkcd badly, but he decided tu give his uncle a chance tu shuw a little pulitical awareness. The uwlish gaae his uncle fined un him shuwed that there was nu hupe, su he said tu Wanbcn, ’Yuu’re the cue whu’s wurked badly, uncle. I think yuu uught tu re-du the piece uf land in the date urchard.’ “What i" said Wanhen with an evil glare, adding thruugh clenched teeth, ’Very well. Write it duwn then. I’ve finished with yuu.’ He slapped the desk and stalked uut. thnping sat there quietly as Wanben’s clugs cuuld be heard stamping uut thruugh the duur. The eummune members burst uut laughing. ‘Zhenping,’ sumeune said, ’yuu’re like the barber’s apprentice whuse first custumer was a hairy uld man. We’re guing tu see what yuu’re like with the raaur nuw.’ ’It’s a steel une,’ said Zhenping with determinatiun. ’Unless he dues it uvcr again I’ll unly give him three—fifths uf the puints. If he duesn’t like it he can ludge a cumplaint against me.’ With that he wrute duwn the puints. Tu pay uff the favuur Wanben had dune him, and tu leave himself under nu uhligatiun tu anyune as wurlt—puint recurder, Zhenping transferred five uf his uwn 235 WANG XINEVUAH points to Wanben as a very fat fee for teaching him the abacus. Although the team members said the points should be given to Wanben from the general pool, Zhenping refused, generously wrote down the transfer, and went. The people who had been waiting to see Zhenping face this test had to clap and laugh. ‘Geod. Apricot 1Village really has got an iron inspector.’ When an unhappy Li Zhenping went home and opened the door he saw that his uncle and his mother were chatting about something. ’No need to ask,’ he thought, ‘he’s complaining to mother. I don’t care. He can complain as much as he likes.’ He went straight into the inner room, climbed into bed, burrowed under the bed-clothes, WTappcd them around him- self, and waited for the complaints to begin. ’You’re getting much too big for your boots,’ said his mother. She was very embarrassed by Wanben’s complaint and at the sight of her sen she lest her temper. Without going into the rights and wrongs of the question she grabbed the bamboo pinchers she used for driving her hens and started to belabour Zhenping as he lay there on the bed. ’Nothing will stop you. How could you shew so little feeling, and you an educated boyi” Giving one whack with every phrase she made the dust fly out of Zhenping’s bedding. He neither moved nor cried. His mother went on beating him till Wanben snatched the pinchers from her and said, ’That’s enough. Don’t be like a puppy chewing a stone that somebody has thrown tbr him. It doesn’t really matter if I’ve been hard done by. It must be because my ancestor Shunaing didn’t leave a legacy of good deeds. That’s why his descendants are all like worms in the ground that get chopped up by ether people’s spades. You’ll have to eat your way through many more sheaves of rice yet before you’re in a position to lay down the law, my lad.’ Zhenping’s mother turned to Wanben and apologized to him profusely. When at last she saw him out she said, “The boy is still very inexperi— enced. He’ll need a lot more of your advice in future, uncle.’ That night she went on and on at the boy as if she were reciting scriptures, scolding him for ‘trying to block out the sun with a chopstick.’ At first he ignored her, but when he could hear her nagging no longer his temper flared up. He leapt out of bed and shouted at his mother, ’The more you go on with THE IHDN IMSFECTDH 23? your capitalist and lousy feudal ideas the more they stink.’ After this outburst he went back into his quilt and shut his ears to all his mother’s abuse. He felt that what he had done was honourable and right and did not care who attacked him for it. At the same time he was aware of how sharp and com- plicated the struggle in the villages was and how difficult it was to do the right thing. When the commune members went to the fields to harvest the winter wheat and pick peas the neat morning Zhenping went with them as usual. Li Wanben’s family started work particularly early. Everyone noticed that he had no basket at his belt and was working very conscientiously. When he had to watch the frogs that he could not catch leaping around in the fields, it was as if lumps of his own flesh were jumping about. The other commune members were quietly delighted. Seeing how well Wanbcn was now behaving the team leader Aniu said to Zhenping, ’As long as you bake it in ashes the prickly ecl can’t do you any harm.’ Then he turned to Wanben and said provocatively, ‘How terrible. Such a pity to see all these frogs hopping about with nobody to catch them.’ Grinding his teeth so hard that he almost broke them, Wanben angrily raised his sickle and cut a frog in half. As several days went by Wanbcn had to watch his ducks laying smaller and smaller eggs or even stop laying altogether. But it was not worth catching frogs for them if he lost work- peints for it. Neither could he bear to feed them on rice. For Wanbcn, a man who calculated his every move, to be reduced to such a state made him hate Zhenping to the very marrow of his bones. After four days of solid hatred he managed to think up an evil plan. When nobody was looking he threw a packetful of broken glass that he had collected into the team office through the crack between the doors. ‘That’ll cut his feet to shreds,’ he thought. ‘Now we’ll see if he can come into the fields to spy on me.’ You cannot be on your guard against a danger you do not know about; and as Zhenping, his bare legs covered in mud, was the first to unlock and go in at midday several jagged pieces of glass cut right into the soles of his feet. He collapsed, blood gushing out. The commune members helped him, as soon as they heard about it, by removing the 233 WANG KINGTUAM glass and bandaging his weunds. Wanben tee pretended te sigh when he heard the news, but really he was chuckling te himself, ‘Try beiling the head ef an er; and a chicken in the same pet and yeu’ll see which has mere flaveur.‘ This sneak attack en Zhenping meant that he was unable te ge te werk. He had te stay at heme and recever. The cadres, the team leader, and he decided that this must have been a trap set by seme evil persen. The cadres urged him te carry en and net te weaken. He was alse greatly eenseled and en- ceuraged by the eeneern the eemmnne members shewed fer him. New that he ceuld net ge nut with the ethers the bambee basket reappeared at Wanben’s waist and disaster struck the {regs in the fields enee mere. 1When ene herse steps the ethers rest. These whe shared Wanben’s stinking eutleek began te slacken as well. Zhenping ceuld ne lenger ge en sitting areund when he learnt ef this. He ceuld net let anyene make treuble and held up preductien new that it was well inte spring and the rice sheets weuld seen have te be transplanted. Even theugh he ceuld net werk with the ethers he ceuld sit beside the fields and help the team leader te keep an eye en things. He weuld sert them eut. Three days later he limped eut te the fields en crutches. When his mether and the ether cemmnne members tried te held him back and make him rest, he threw the crutches away and said, ‘They den’t hurt at all.’ When he reached the field he sat beside it and watched. Thus Li Wanben’s plan te get rich was feiled by the iren inspecter enee again. After the spring harvest the rice sheets were transplanted. Apart frem what was seld tn the state er kept fer the seed nearly all the wheat, peas, and sweet petatees were shared ameng the villagers en the basis ef werk-peints. It werked nut that each peint was werth a little ever feur peunds ef wheat and three ef peas, as well as seme sweet petatees. They had werked hard and new they were being amply rewarded. They were all delighted te receive the fruits ef their labeur apart frem Li Wanben. He went reund with an evil face, making snide remarks and saying that he had been rebbed and bullied by the cadres. He and his sympathiaers made a let ef bether. They threatened net te werk and demanded transfers te ether teams. THE IHIDH INSPECTDH 239 These treubles were the werk ef Wanben tee. The team leader Ania was an imperturbable man whe knew hew te cepe ne matter hew Wanben twisted and turned. As fer Li Zhenping, his feet were new teughened up again and he was determined te carry this battle threugh te the end. Several days after the share-eat his eeusin came frem the ceunty tewn te visit them, and Zhenping’s mether talked about the rights and wrengs ef what he had been deing. Wanben came aleng tee te make his eemplaint. When he had heard beth sides ef the stery the eeusin, whe was a gevernment werker, teek Zhenping te ene side and said, ‘It was right ef yeu te put the cemmen geed abeve yenr persenal feelings; but all the same, we cadres have he weigh up the character ef every cernnnme member and be patient in educating and referming them. . . ." This enplanatien made Zhenping realise that he had net dene nearly eneugh te change his uncle’s way ef thinking. Then he thenght that trying te change his thinking at this stage weuld be a waste ef time, like a hen peeking at a clesed clam. At last an answer came te him. At neen the neat day, when his mether was net there te knew, he slipped ever te his uncle’s with a sceepihl ef his ewn family’s wheat in the hepe that this weuld Inellew 1Wanben an that he ceuld then tackle his uncle’s attitude ef mind. But when he reached his uncle’s frent deer and called eut te him, Wanben came eat and spat at him and gave him a vicietts glare like that ef a ghest seeing a fire. ‘Damn yen! My evil star.’ With that he slammed the deer. As Zhenping steed under the eaves wiping the spit frem his face, he glared back at the deer feeling humiliated and angry. 'lf yen wen’t refertn that’s yenr leek-nut,l he said at last, marching eff in a great fury. One day abeut a fertnight later Zhenping went te the marketing and supply ce-eperative te arrange fer the sale ef seme heme-made baskets, breems, and such things. Instead ef geing straight back that aflerneen as he had intended, he went te the clinic te buy seme basic medicines fer the village’s first-aid werker. While he was there Li Yengfu happened te ring up the clinic asking fer a decter te visit his sick sen. The decters were all eut. Rather than let ene take the menntain path by himself, Zhenping felt he’d better wait till ene came 24D WANG XIHEVUAN back and gn with him. The pediatrician did nnt return till evening. Zhenping tnnk him back tn Aprient Village that night, and it was nearly ten by the time they reached Li Ynngfu’s place. Zhenping hurried hack tn the nffiee withnut stnpping at Li Ynngfu’s. He unlncked the dnnr, went in, and turned nn the light. A tray had been turned nver. When he switched nn his tnreh fnr a clnser lnnlt he fnund tn his hnrrnr that a basket nf wheat and annther nne nf beans were missing. A desperate search failed tn reveal any sign nf them. Whn had stnlen them? Annther hunt rnund the rnnm revealed a cigarette end that he recngniaed as his uncle’s. Wnndering hnw it had gnt there he hurried nver tn the team leader Aniu’s hnuse. It was a pitch-black night with nnt a star tn be seen, and as he rushed alnng in his impatience his tnreh danced arnund like a firefly. When he was past the seennd lane he heard scurrying fnntsteps in the third, and he lnnked upjust in time tn see a dark figure flit acrnss it. His eyes prnbed the night like searehlights nnw that he was thnrnughly alerted. He ran after the figure tn the beginning nf the third lane and shnuted, ‘Whn’s there?" Then he heard a snund and saw the dark figure drnp snmething. Running up and shining his tnreh nn it he saw that it was the wheat seed stnlen frnm the team nffiee: ‘Third Team1r was painted nn the basket in big red letters. He started nli in pursuit again, shnuting, ‘Stnp thief, stnp thief!“ All the dngs in the village started tn bark as his shnuts wnke the sleeping enm- mune members. TWch Zhenping after him the dark figure stumbled and ran in terrnr past the third lane and back intn the first lane, nnt realising that it was a eul-de-sae walled nH at the end. l‘Stnp thief. He‘s stnlen the team’s seed,” shnuted Zhenping when he reached the entrance tn the lane. Zhenping’s mnther was the first persnn tn npen her dnnr, and she came tn the threshnld brandishing a carrying-pnle. ‘Where is he?” she asked Zhenping. "Where is the damn thief i” ‘At the end nf the alley. Catch him, mnther. He’s stnlen the team’s wheat seed.’ ‘Right then.” After a quick search she saw a piglet jump squealing nut nf the sty nf the hnuse nppnsite. Withnut a mnment’s hesitatinn she charged at it, waving her carrying- pnle. Just as she was abnut tn bring it swinging dnwn she heard THE IHflhl IMEFECTDFI 241 a hnarse, implnring vnice saying, ‘It’s . . . it’s me.” I{1h . . . it’s ynu.’ She recngniaed it immediately as Wanbeu’s. As she stnnd rnnted tn the grnund with shnek, nnt knnwin g what tn dn, she saw Wanben shnnt nut nf the pigsty and intn her hnuse. She shut the dnnr and shnuted, ‘He’s gnt away. Stnp thief l’ ‘Where did he gn i” asked Zhenping, shining his tnreh arnnnd in his nwn hnuse. By nnw everynne in the lane had npened their dnnrs and jnined the hunt, and in answer tn all their questinns Zhenping's mnther waved and said, ‘The thief went nver the wall.’ They all came rushing dnwn the lane. When Zhenping reached the wall at the end nf it he saw that as there was nn ladder the thief ennld nnt have gnt nver it. This made him eurinus. He searched the wnndpile and pigsties nearby. Nn sign nf him. The way his mnther was shaking all nver as she shut the dnnr arnused his suspieinns. ‘Afraid nf the thief i" he asked. His mnther made a tntting nnisc and said, ‘Fnrget abnut it. He’s miles away by nnw. Gn tn bed.’ ‘All right. But I’ll cnnk a bnwl nf rice first—I’m hungry.” He pushed his mnther aside and went intn the kitchen. As she cnuld nnt stnp him she went in with him, shutting the dnnr nf the rnnm behind her. He shnne his tnreh under her bed, nn the stnve, and in the cnrners. He was just gning tn climb up intn the lnft, which she knew wnuld be disastrnus, when she grabbed hnld nf him and whispered, ‘Snn, this is terribly impnrtant, terribly impnrtant.’ ‘I’m seeing this thrnngh tn the bitter end,‘ he replied, shnving her aside and stnrming up the ladder. In the beam nf his tnreh he saw Wanben ernuching like a dng under a cupbnard and gazing pathetically at him. Wanben, whn had been dissatisfied with the share-nut after the spring harvest, had been watching fur a chance tn destrny Zhenping. That evening he had taken advantage nf his absence tn gn alnng tn the team’s nffiee with skeletnn keys and steal snme wheat. an he was caught—like a juninr devil whn had run intn the great wiaard’s net. Zhenping hesitated fnr a mnment at the sight nf him, stunned at meeting his enemy sn unexpectedly. He glared malevnlently at his uncle. an that the cat was nnt nf the bag Zhenping’s mnther pninted at the tip nf her snn’s nnse and began tn senld him under her breath: l"Ynulll be the death nf me. Even an na’s hnrn bends inwards, I 242 WAN E II NGYUAH so you ought to show some consideration for your own family. The gods themselves sometimes make mistakes. If your uncle has gone wrong the right thing to do is to eritieiae him on the quiet. What else ean you be thinking of?” ”‘That would be like wrapping dogs muek up in elean white paper,” said Zhenping, flaring up. ‘You”ll see what I”m going to do.” He turned to go downstairs. ‘I”m not dead yet,” she said, hanging on to him with both hands and not letting him take a step. ‘Even if you have no eonsideration for him please show me some.” ‘I”ll show none for anybody.” Seeing the hard expression on Zhenping”s faee Wanhen pretended to be tough and said, ‘Let him go. It must be the fault of our aneestors that we”re in this state now.” Zhenping ignored him and insisted on going downstairs, dragging his mother to the top of the ladder with him as she would not let go. ‘How can you be so heartless,” she pleaded. ‘You”ve no more ehanee of stopping me than of pouring all the water out of the reservoir in the mountains.” At this his mother lost her temper. ”I”ll do it, I”ll do it,” she said, slapping him in the faee and making him so angry that his hair stood on end. As he thrust her foreefully aside he heard the team leader Ania shouting, “Where”s the thief, Zhenping ?” ‘Here,” Zhenping shouted haek, his voiee shaking the whole village and making all Wanhen”s eronies tremble. The eoeks erowed. The ‘iron inspeetor”, the publie-spirited reeorder of work-points, realized that this was his moment of vietory at last. 35.3%? TWO MODERN STORYTELLERS' STORIES The storyteller”s art has reeeived much attention in the Igfios as it is one of the most efl'eetive ways of bringing politieal and other messages to ordinary people, partieularly in the villages, who are not usually in the habit of reading for pleasure. The older storytellers have been urged to drop the traditional subjeet matter, often drawn fl‘om the novels of the fiddle Ages, in favour of new, revolutionary themes; and youngsters are being eneouraged to learn the art. The mixture of prose and verse in the first of these two pieces is an in- teresting reminder of the eontinuing vigour of old forms used by professional storytellers some thousand years ago. The first of the two pieees, both of which date from the early Igfios, is based on a real eo-op founded in Xisishilipn village, Zun- hua county, Hopei provinee in 1952 by Wang Guofan (Wang Gusting in the story) and Du Kui (Du Hong}. The plot of the story stieks very close to the aeeonnt of this eo-op in The High Tide sf Seeiaiion in the Chinese Ceahtrysia'e, a eolleetion of artieles on the eo—op movement in China that appeared in 1955. In an editorial note to this artiele Mao Tse-tung held up the frugality with whieh this eo-op had built itself up through its own efforts as a model to the whole eountry. Since then the eo-op has beeome part of the Jian— ming Commune, and a mueh fuller history of it has been published. The seeond story is one of many on the improvement of farming methods. ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/06/2012 for the course ASIAN 261 taught by Professor Kaldis during the Winter '11 term at University of Michigan.

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