Growing Wings

One sunny day, the rice was sprouting and the birds were singing and a farmer’s daughter sat minding the ducks. When an egret landed on the pond, the ducks rose to the sky, flapping and honking. How lovely to have wings, thought the girl.

17. Growing WingsA teachers’s daughter overheard her. “Have wings? What a stupid idea,” she snickered.

But the moment she arrived home, she dripped water on her shoulders and stood outside her block of flats.

“What are you doing?” said her school friend, a businessman’s daughter. When the teachers’s daughter told her what she was hoping for, the businessman’s daughter laughed cruelly.”If anyone had wings, it would be me. Because my family is rich.”

As soon as she arrived back home, she rubbed massage oil on her shoulders and stood in her family garden. The sunshine made her sweat.

“My family is both rich, and powerful, I’m sure it will be me who’s picked,” called an official’s daughter, from the other side of the railings.

And as soon as she arrived home, she sneaked into her mama’s bedroom and sprayed her shoulders with French perfume. Then she stood by her family’s swimming pool and waited.

Fair-weather dragon soon heard about the hundreds of girls standing out in the Hong Kong sun turning brown as berries.

He flew down to see them with his own eyes. “If I give wings to all of you, there’ll only be boys left. So I will only give a pair to the first girl who wanted them.”

Did you see that? Someone flying with the hawks high above the harbour? It was the little farmer’s daughter.

This story is a Hong Kong version of a Chinese folk tale called Growing Wings, published in兒童世界雜誌,18期,第3本 in 1926.

Illustrated by Bianca Lesaca

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