Making Humans

Here in the civilized world, strange events can occur before our very own eyes.

Once, a man drew up in his van near a small guest house on Lantau Island. It was a scorching day and there was no wind. “I need a room for the night, dinner, and somewhere to tie my dogs,” he called, to the owner of the guest house, an old Hakka lady.

26. Making HumansShe helped him tie his five big dogs to a post. They were panting heavily. “Don’t give them anything to drink,” said the man sternly, before going to park his vehicle.

The dogs pawed the ground. The woman felt sorry for them. Nearby there was a banyan tree which provided shade. But as she led the dogs there, they spotted some water and dragged her along to drink. The moment the water touched the dogs’ lips, they transformed into five girls.

The old woman dropped her hat with surprise. “Who are you?” she said.

It seemed the girls couldn’t talk. And then the man was coming back! The woman quickly tethered the girls behind the tree.

The man was pulling five sheep. He immediately asked the old woman where his dogs were. “I’ll bring them to you after you’ve ordered dinner,” she said, breathing heavily.

The man tied his sheep to the post and went into the eating area of the guest house, where

he ordered the finest steamed fish.

“I’ll go and fetch your dogs now,” said the woman.

She had a suspicion. She quickly untied the sheep and led them to the water. The moment they drank, they transformed into five boys. That’s when she knew the man must be an evil magician.

She phoned 999 and the police came to arrest him.

This is a retelling of Making Animals from聊齋誌異by 蒲松齡.

Illustrated by Bianca Lesaca

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