Human Bait

Have you heard of Tiger Mountain near Tai O? The mountain got its name in the olden days when tigers still roamed Hong Kong.

An old lady lived with her grandson in a nearby fishing village. One day, she woke up with a fever. "Climb up the mountain and pick some bajiao for me,” she said.

21. Human BaitThe boy knew the way to the star anise trees because, when his grandmother could still walk, he’d often helped her pick medicinal plants. He walked up Tiger Mountain and filled his sack with nuts.

On his way down, there was a thunderstorm. The boy sheltered in a pagoda, where he lay on a bench, and fell asleep.

He woke to someone holding his hand; it was a hairy giant, with a long beard and fat stomach. "Let me go," shouted the boy. But the giant pulled him into a cave.

A fire was burning. Chunks of meat sizzled on a spit. The boy trembled. But the giant speared him some meat and offered it to him.

The boy ate a tasty supper.

Next morning, the giant wrapped rope around the boy and carried him to a cliff. What looked like a giant fishing rod was wedged in the rock. "What are you doing?' cried the boy, afraid again.

Chuckling, the giant hooked the boy onto the rod then hid behind a rock. The boy hung like human bait!

Scuffle, scuffle. What was that? A tiger.

Bang! The giant clubbed the tiger, unhooked the boy, and pulled the carcass back into the cave.

That night, they had a feast.

“Can I go home tomorrow?" asked the boy, remembering his sick grandmother.

“Yes," grunted the giant, "As long as you promise to come back to help me hunt every Saturday morning.”

This is an adaptation of a story called 以人為你 by the writer辛棄疾.

Illustrated by Bianca Lesaca

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