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Located in the south of Hubei, known as "the South Gate of Hubei", Xianning has great renown for “Chibi old haunt of the Three Kingdoms, inland nuclear power city”, which has great advantages of its "mountain", "water" "geography","location","culture","scenery","energy"and the trend of development. Xianning is a suitable place to do ...[more]
location
Xianning City, attached to Hubei Province, known as “the southern gateway to Hubei”, is famous for sweet-scented os... [more]
Administrative divisions
Lying in the southeast of Hubei Province, along the south bank of the Yangtze River, and at the junction of Hunan, Hu... [more]
History
 Despite the late administrative construction of Xianning (prefecture-level city), the counties and urban districts under its administration all have a long history. The territory of today’s Xianning belonged to Jing Chu in the Xia and Shang Dynasties ( about 2200-1100 BC), Nan County in the Qin Dynasty(221-206 BC ), [more]
Making Do with Borrowed Talent
http://English.xianning.gov.cn 10-12-22
 

  Prefect Yang did not have a daughter until he was in his 30s. In ancient China, most people had their first child in their early or mid-20s. Therefore, the daughter was considered as a gift from God and given a name “Pearl”, despite her ugliness and slowness. And it was not until the age of 13 did she learnt 7 to 8 Chinese characters. Afraid of being blamed, the teacher, with great efforts, instilled half a couplet into her mind---“With a puff, one can blow out a lighted candle but help a fire grow even stronger.” This line happened to be overheard by the Prefect, who was so thrilled as to boast in front of everyone he met about his daughter’s great talent: “my 7-year-old little girl can compose a poem.”

  Qianliu, a girl born at the same hour as Pearl, was unable to speak but can only laughed. After a few years, the former grew so smart that she could strike off a poem. This did not convince Prefect Yang as he asked Mr. Qian to pay a visit to him together with his so-called smart daughter. Upon her stepping into the door, Yang enquired on purpose, “Is this your daughter who couldn’t even speak at 5? Look at my Pearl. She can say’ With a puff, one can blow out a lighted candle but help a fire grow even stronger.’ This might never be followed by yours.”

  Defiant, Qianliu replied, “That’s not impressive. She only got the first half of the couplet. What about the other?” The prefect said, “You know how to versify. Why not make the couplet a complete one?”

  “OK. I suggest ‘A leak in a boat helps fill the hull full but one in a wok gets all broth leaks out.’” Qianliu said, without even thinking too much.

  Flabbergasted, Prefect Yang could not believe his ears of the blue stocking’s talent, pondering it might be the work of her father beforehand. Later he learnt that a new house had been built for the Qian family. Therefore, he called with Pearl to congratulate, with the real intention to test the talented girl. By coincidence, with her parents out on business, Qianliu alone stayed home. As she welcomed the two, the prefect enquired hurriedly, “Is the construction completed?”

  With smile all over her face, Qianliu replied, “my parents were committed with so many helping hands involved. Finally it’s finished and it turned out to be quite tolerable.”

  Walking into the back, the official found a broken fence and shook his head, saying, “How broken the fence is. You didn’t try to fix it?”

  Quick in mind, Qianliu answered, “So frequently is fence is worn by the rain and climbed by people. Even constant repair will not work.”

  After a while, the young hostess led them into the sitting room for tea. In front of the door was a landscape painting. Staring at it for quite a few moments, the prefect started, “Where did this painting come from?”

  “From Tang Dynasty (from 618 to 907).”

  Back home, the father bombarded Pearl with jealousy of Qianliu’s poetic gift, “You must also master it.” The daughter grew impatient, “I learnt that ages ago. Just a few lines. No big deal.” Some time went by, and the Yangs had a new member—a son. The prefect was overjoyed to send invitations for dinners. Among the invited were Qianliu and her father.

  By that time, she has become friends with Pearl. The two tried to grab each other’s hand the moment they saw each other. Qianliu congratulated her on her little brother.

  Pearl was trying to show off her poetic talent in front of the crowd, saying, “My parents were committed with so many helping hands involved. Finally it’s finished and it turned out to be quite tolerable,” the exact thing from the visit stated above.

  So furious was Prefect Yang that she seized Pearl’s collar, yelling, “You!” which scratched her clothes. Qianliu hurried to put an end, “Her clothes were scratched.”

  Pearl smiled, “So frequently is fence is worn by the rain and climbed by people. Even constant repair will not work.”

  Prefect Yang was almost fainted, “For god’s sake, what are you parroting?”

  The daughter replied, “From Tang Dynasty.”

  The story is narrated by Xiong Yuanchu and compiled by Dong Ming.


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