This may be the craziest story you will read today. It takes place on Lantau Island, where people have farmed for centuries.
Once, a couple grew fruit and vegetables for their two children. On a diet of bananas, pak choi, breadfruit and peppers, the children became healthy and strong.
But one year a naughty papaya tree grew so huge that the other crops were in constant shadow. The wife called a passing boy to help her chop it down.
"I will help," said the boy, "but it'll consume a lot of my energy. So please first feed me ten litres of congee and a hundred dough sticks."
The wife ran home to tell her husband, who, although surprised, quickly boiled a mountain of rice, and rolled a stack of dough sticks.
As the wife was pulling the laden food cart across the field, a skinny girl approached her. "I'm very hungry," she said. "Could I eat some?"
The wife took pity on the girl. But next minute, the girl had gulped down the lot and was running away.
"Where's my food?" asked the boy, when he saw the empty cart.
The wife pointed to the fast-disappearing girl. The boy angrily ripped the papaya tree up, roots and all, and gave chase.
The girl ran and ran, to the next field where an old man was collecting eggs. "Farmer, help me," she cried.
"Jump into my right eye," said the old man.
Which she did.
But the boy jumped in after her.
So the girl ran across the bridge of the old man's nose into his left eye, landing close to a group of men played mahjong.
She jumped out.
And as far as I know, the boy is still chasing her. I wonder if you have seen them. Watch out for that papaya tree.
This story is a Hong Kong version of a Chinese folk tale called Through the Eyes published in the collection民前故事by 北新書局北新书 in 1933.
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