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Thread: Needed: A story or myth from another country/culture

  1. #1
    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Needed: A story or myth from another country/culture

    Summer is almost over and another school year is upon us... and that means summer reading assignments are FINALLY being worked on. My younger daughter was assigned the short story “Peach Blossom Spring” by Tao Qian... (posted below) she then has to answer a few questions about the story. She would like your assistance with one of the questions as she knows there are many of you on this forum from different backgrounds and cultures and figures she would get some AMAZING responses that she would never find even if she spent weeks researching.

    The question she would like to have your input on is this:
    Identify a story or myth from another country/culture that seems to address the same themes addressed in “Peach Blossom Spring.” How are the two stories similar? How are they different?
    Here is the Introduction and the Short Story... Thanks...

    Introduction
    Tao Qian (T’ao Ch’ien, or Tao Yuanming, 376-427 CE) was a man of the southern part of China during the time of the Eastern Jin dynasty (317-420) and its successor state, the Liu Song (420-479), during the period in which China was divided between northern and southern dynasties. The years between the final collapse of the Han dynasty in 220 CE and the Sui dynasty’s reunification of north and south in 589 were characterized by warfare and instability. The rulers and elite of the south were tortured by the loss of the north to various non-Chinese (mostly Turkic) rulers. In both north and south, one ruling house succeeded another. It was in this context of instability that Tao Qian, an official, scholar, and poet, wrote his famous essay, “Peach Blossom Spring.”

    “Peach Blossom Spring”
    By Tao Qian

    During the reign period T’ai yuan [326-97] of the Chin dynasty there lived in Wu-ling a certain fisherman. One day, as he followed the course of a stream, he became unconscious of the distance he had travelled. All at once he came upon a grove of blossoming peach trees which lined either bank for hundreds of paces. No tree of any other kind stood amongst them, but there were fragrant flowers, delicate and lovely to the eye, and the air was filled with drifting peach bloom.

    The fisherman, marveling, passed on to discover where the grove would end. It ended at a spring; and then there came a hill. In the side of the hill was a small opening which seemed to promise a gleam of light. The fisherman left his boat and entered the opening. It was almost too cramped at first to afford him passage; but when he had taken a few dozen steps he emerged into the open light of day. He faced a spread of level land. Imposing buildings stood among rich fields and pleasant ponds all set with mulberry and willow. Linking paths led everywhere, and the fowls and dogs of one farm could be heard from the next. People were coming and going and working in the fields. Both the men and the women dressed in exactly the same manner as people outside; white-haired elders and tufted children alike were cheerful and contented.

    Some, noticing the fisherman, started in great surprise and asked him where he had come from. He told them his story. They then invited him to their home, where they set out wine and killed chickens for a feast. When news of his coming spread through the village, everyone came in to question him. For their part they told how their forefathers, fleeing from the troubles of the age of Ch’in, had come with their wives and neighbors to this isolated place, never to leave it. From that time on they had been cut off from the outside world. They asked what age was this: they had never even heard of the Han, let alone its successors the Wei and the Chin. The fisherman answered each of their questions in full, and they sighed and wondered at what he had to tell. The rest all invited him to their homes in turn, and in each house food and wine were set before him. It was only after a stay of several days that he took his leave.

    “Do not speak of us to the people outside,” they said. But when he had regained his boat and was retracing his original route, he marked it at point after point; and on reaching the prefecture he sought audience of the prefect and told him of all these things. The prefect immediately dispatched officers to go back with the fisherman. He hunted for the marks he had made, but grew con fused and never found the way again.The learned and virtuous hermit Liu Tzu-chi heard the story and went off elated to find the place. But he had no success, and died at length of a sickness. Since that time there have been no further “seekers of the ford.”

    [Translated by Cyril Birch]
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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  2. #2
    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    .El Dorado - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Reminds me a little of El Dorado. from wikipedia: "El Dorado is also sometimes used as a metaphor to represent an ultimate prize or "Holy Grail" that one might spend one's life seeking. It could represent true love, heaven, happiness, or success. It is used sometimes as a figure of speech to represent something much sought after that may not even exist, or, at least, may not ever be found. Such use is evident in Poe's poem "El Dorado". In this context, El Dorado bears similarity to other myths such as the Fountain of Youth and Shangri-la. The disillusionment side of the ideal quest metaphor may be represented by Helldorado, a satirical nickname given to Tombstone by a tardy miner who complained that many of his profession had traveled far to find El Dorado, only to wind up washing dishes in restaurants."

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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    The only myth about a secret enter to the place full of benefits I can think of is Ali Baba's story. But here the secret door can be entered multiply times and provides not only benefits but death menace as well.
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

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    Старший оракул
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    I don't know how much relevant this is, but I was reminded immediately of the Sannikov Land.

    "Russian geologist and science fiction writer Vladimir Obruchev fictionalized this phantom island in his novel Sannikov Land (1926). In the story, the island provided the last escape for a tribe of Onkilon (in fact, this was one of the older names for Yuit), pushed away from the mainland by other Siberian peoples. The (fictional) Onkilon were thought to be extinct, and were discovered by a small expedition looking for the island and eventually stranded at it."
    Sannikov Land - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I know about this story from the film. The ending wasn't a happy one.

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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    I am keeping a list.... the more the better... thanks and
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
    Check out the MasterRussian Music Playlist
    Click here for list of Russian films with English subtitles and links to watch them.

  7. #7
    Hanna
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    Shangri-La
    Atlantis
    Kitezh, a Russian lost city Kitezh - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Many countries in Europe have a variation of this story.

    It is said that only those who are pure in their heart and soul will find their way to Kitezh (ironically, the road to the lake is still called "Батыева тропа", or the Path of Batu). It is also said that in calm weather one can sometimes hear the wailing sound of chiming bells and people singing from under the waters of the Lake Svetloyar. Some people say that the most pious individuals may actually see the lights of religious processions (called "крестный ход") and even buildings on the bottom of the lake. This is why the Lake Svetloyar is sometimes called the "Russian Atlantis".
    Blåkulla - a Swedish mythical island that according to legend witches congreate at. It actually exists, and it is rather mysterious.

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    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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  9. #9
    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Everyone!!! Thank you as always for your assistance. My daughter has finished the first draft of her assignment for this and she went with Seraph's suggestion of El Dorado!
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
    Check out the MasterRussian Music Playlist
    Click here for list of Russian films with English subtitles and links to watch them.

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