This week, there are two stories about death and what comes next, from China and Scotland. On the first, a lonely fisherman meets an odd man down by the river with a strange plan for his life. On the second, a stablehand helps out two strangers who stop by his tavern for the night...and discovers a terrifying secret.
The creature is an epic hero with oiled pecs who is doing his best to keep everyone in the world alive.
The cat that I tried to put in a harness (he hated it): https://myths.link/tomato
The membership: https://www.mythpodcast.com/membership
The store: https://myths.link/store
"Cloud Nine" by Podington Bear
"Dark Clouds" by Podington Bear
"Fading Prospects" by Podington Bear
"Eleven" by Broke for Free
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Loved the story of the fisherman. I don’t know why you chose this story, which is accurately from a famous collection of folklores from China but it’s not one of the more famous ones. (Well, I guess it is way more famous now since it’s part of middle school textbook. But I was too old to have used that version of textbook. )
Anyway, I am deeply moved by your telling of the story, I got years in my eyes. I decided to read the original text for the very first time. I appreciate how closely you follow the original telling in that book. But somehow, at the same time, you managed to give those two people more warm humanity. You Pictured the friendship with deep deep connection and emotion and care. I thank you for adding this aspect to the folklore through your retelling. The style of old Chinese story books (even as great as journey to the west or LiaoZhai) usually refrain from filling developing the emotional side.
Here is what I want to try giving some comets
1) it feels like a nice opportunity to introduce the book Liao Zhai to the audience. It’s very influential to Chinese culture, to the shared cultural reference to all Chinese speaking people, to the pop culture (tv, movie from mainland and Hong Kong and Taiwan), to the literature tradition of the past couple of centuries
2) the “local God” Wang became is the same level as those small deities the Monkey calls out in the journey to the west, for some light bullying and quick gather of enemy monster intel. They are some what comparable to local patreon saints in western tradition, in that a) They have the duty and capability to perform some miracle to benefit the local people; b) they are promoted from real people who have died. But their level in the hierarchy is the lowest, so, limited super power. Also, they continue with buddhism, but they are part of the loosely defined taoism system. So, you don’t need to say that they exist pre-buddhism.
3) this story has quite complicated history before being collected into LiaoZhai. In one paper I quickly browsed through, it is saying it is NOT really based on one earlier similar story, but may have closer tires to give or six other stories in other earlier books.
Here is some small points that I want to call out and show appreciation
1) nice converting Chinese distance of 10+ “li” into 4 miles
2) thank you for removing the moral of the story given by the author. Saying things about WangLiulang is great for not forgetting his friend after becoming a deity is such a bad take.
3) only a wise man knows how hard it is to pronounce fisherman’s last name “Xu”. Only an even wiser story teller manage to tell the story without having to say that name.
4) adding the detail of torch light into the description of the night fishing scene made thing feel so beautiful and vivid and warm.
5) translating LiuLang into sixth born is not the most natural translation, but it is accurate and that’s very helpful in me finding out the original material.