The Wild Goose

There was once a fisherman who lived on the wetlands of Mai Po. While returning from fishing one day, he saw a plump goose with one wing spread awkwardly across the sand. It was injured.

The fisherman carried the goose home and nursed it back to health. On a beautiful summer morning, he released it back into the wild.

12. The Wild GooseSoon after, the fisherman came home to find a pretty woman mending his nets. He invited her in and soon they were married.

At first his wife was happy, but gradually her cheeriness turned into seriousness, their conversations turned into silence. When the fisherman set off early one morning, he noticed a big black hawk circling his home. On his return, he found his wife crying.

The next morning, the hawk swooped down on him, cawing and pecking. The fisherman grabbed a brush and chased the bird away. His wife was watching and when he tried to comfort her, she cried more loudly. "Forgive me for not telling you," she said, "but I am not human. I once turned myself into a goose but got injured. That's when you found me. I came to be your wife to repay your kindness. But now we are in great danger because my father didn't agree. He has turned himself into a hawk in order to peck us to death."

The following morning, the fisherman beat the hawk up badly. It stopped coming and his wife started to go outside to enjoy the sunshine again.

That night the fisherman returned home to find it empty. With a heavy heart, he walked down to the beach. There, spread over the sand, was the crumpled body of a goose. The poor old fisherman never smiled again.

This is an adaptation of a Manchu folktale.

Illustrated by Bianca Lesaca



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