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Chapter 1: Xiao Tu is Born


When Xiao Tu[1] was still in the womb, the TV was broadcasting “Journey to the West.” With just one glance, her mother had grown fond of the jade rabbit demon in the show, so when Sun Wu Kong had appeared and ruined the good moment between Tang Seng and the jade rabbit, she became furious. In that moment of anger, she disturbed the fetus and screamed out in pain.

When her father had received the news, he immediately left his office and headed to the hospital. But by the time he arrived, Xiao Tu had already been born.

Due to her premature birth, Xiao Tu was only a wee bit larger than a newborn monkey. Lying in the incubator, with wrinkles all over, she appeared especially ugly.

Her father was very pessimistic and felt that this daughter wouldn’t live long. Even if they raised her to adulthood, no one would marry her.

However, her mother believed that their daughter was the reincarnation of the jade rabbit demon and would marry Tang Seng in the future.

Her father felt that her mother’s way of thinking wasn’t very realistic. “What’s so good about Tang Seng? Don’t tell you me you want to marry our daughter to a monk?”

Her mother looked at her father with disdain. “What do you know? Tang Seng is not only handsome, but also related to the royal family. Also, he wouldn’t go involving himself with other women. Most importantly, if one day she gets tired of him, she can eat him!”  

Her father was speechless.

By the time the nurses finally brought Xiao Tu out of the incubator, she had already grown larger, and all the wrinkles were nowhere to be seen. She now looked very white and tender.

Her father was still rather pessimistic. A girl undergoes eighteen changes between childhood and womanhood. She might be pretty now, but it doesn’t guarantee that she wouldn’t become an ugly person.

Her mother didn’t think so; she believed that her daughter was a beauty since conception and that once she had grown up, she would be a beauty capable of toppling a city. At that time, when all the boys came chasing after their daughter, she as a mother would be enjoy the scenery.

When her mother thought about it, she became extremely excited. At that moment she decided to name her daughter ‘Xiao Tu’ so that one day the jade rabbit could marry Tang Seng!

Afterward, Xiao Tu began to cry, wailing very loudly.

Her mother said, “Look, our little Tu likes her name .”

Her father pointed out, “She’s currently crying though.”

Her mother nodded, “Yes. Yes, she’s so happy that she’s crying.”

Then, Xiao Tu made a cackling sound and didn’t cry anymore.

When Xiao Tu learned of this later on, she became very depressed because of it. When Wu Cheng En, wrote the novel that year, it was about a jade pig demon. Could it be that her mother had really wanted to call her Xiao Zhu (pig)? No profundity, really no profundity at all!

Of course, this was a problem for later.  

Although Xiao Tu was born prematurely, her vitality was unusually vigorous. She only needed to stay at the hospital for a month before her mom had carried her out. As they reached the main door, they ran into their neighbors, the Ling family.  Mrs. Ling was lying on a stretcher with a large stomach as Mr. Ling followed behind in slippers.

At that moment, in her mother’s embrace, Xiao Tu experienced her first moment of excitement.

“Old Ling, is your wife about to give birth?”

“Yeah. Early in the morning, she suddenly felt pain when she was going to the bathroom. I didn’t even change my shoes to rush her here.”

“Your wife’s stomach is so large, it must be a chubby boy, right?

“Who knows? Can’t talk anymore, I need to go check on my wife!” Saying this, Old Ling pitter pattered away in his slippers.

The noise from the slippers woke up Xiao Tu, who had just fallen asleep, and she started to cry again.

Her mother reached out her hand and tapped on Xiao Tu’s head. She then mumbled to herself, “Such a large stomach, must definitely be a boy…”

Her mother didn’t guess incorrectly; three hours later, Mrs. Ling gave birth to a boy. Since it was a full term pregnancy, the baby was healthy and tender and had large head. However, when the baby was born, it didn’t cry. A few days later, he was like an enigma, neither crying nor making noise.

Mr. Ling became panicked, fearing that his son might be a mute. He invited the neighbors to come and help determine the problem, including Xiao Tu and her mother.

The sleeping Xiao Tu was being carried in her mother’s arms when they had arrived at the hospital room.

A group of people were circled around Mr. Ling’s son while they discussed. Her mother, who was holding a baby, didn’t dare squeeze into the crowd. She sneakily pinched Xiao Tu’s bottom, causing her to wake up. Her crying could shake the heavens.

Sure enough, the group stopped their discussion and moved out of the way for Xiao Tu and her mother to enter.  

Her mother happily moved in front of the baby’s bed. As she did, the chubby baby suddenly cried out, “Wa~~~” and continued crying.

Mr. Ling was so emotional that tears began to fall: His son was finally no longer a mute!

Mrs. Ling felt so grateful to Xiao Tu and her mother that she suggested taking Xiao Tu as her goddaughter. Just like that, Xiao Tu not only had her own parents, but also a pair of godparents and a little god-brother; whether he came willingly or not was another issue.

Later on, Mrs. Ling left the hospital with her son. When they had reached the courtyard, firecrackers that could shake the heavens were being released.

By this time, Xiao Tu was quickly approaching two months old. Hearing the firecrackers made her extremely excited. She waved her hand so that her mother would bring her to watch.

Just as her mother brought her into the courtyard, Mr. Ling entered while holding onto Mrs. Ling and their son. This time Mr. Ling was wearing a suit from who knows where and a pair of shiny leather shoes. When he saw Xiao Tu and her mother, he took his son from Mrs. Ling, and walked over.

“Goddaughter, godfather has brought your little god-brother home!”

Xiao Tu blinked her eyes, not understanding what she heard.

“From now on you’re a big sister, are you happy?

The corners of Xiao Tu’s lips drew back into a foolish smile.

“Wa~~” Mr. Ling son began crying in his hands.

Xiao Tu’s mother said: “Mr. Ling, your son really cries with gusto now!”

“Of course! All thanks to your family’s Xiao Tu!”

“No need to be modest. A relative far away is less useful than a close neighbor! With our family’s Xiao Tu sheltering him, I guarantee your son will grow up healthy and strong in the future!”

“Of course, of course…”

“Oh right, what is the name of your son?”

“Ling Chao.[2]

“A wonderful name! In the future, he will definitely be outstanding!”

The conversation ended with Ling Chao’s endless crying.

Xiao Tu’s father on the side grumbled, “He really sure knows how to cry, how does he even resemble a boy?”

Xiao Tu’s mother stared at him coldly, “What would you know? Babies that know how to cry are intelligent.”

“Wouldn’t our family’s child be a genius then?”

“Pooh! Your talent’s the best!”

Father: >____<

※※※※※※

When Xiao Tu was seven months old, she could mumble to herself. The first words weren’t father nor mother, but the name of Mr. Ling’s son, “chaochao”.

Actually, the reason was quite simple. After being born, Xiao Tu had a very large appetite, and her mother didn’t produce enough milk. Without another option, they asked their neighbor, Mrs. Ling. Fortunately, Ling Chao didn’t eat that much, so Mrs. Ling fed the extra milk to Xiao Tu.

Ling Chao’s mom would often say: “Chaochao finished, its little Tu’s turn! Little Tu is obedient, Godmother will tell you a story. Yesterday our family’s chaochao….”   

Gradually, Xiao Tu memorized the phrase “ Chaochao”. Her first word was thus “Chao”.

Fortunately, people were simpler back then. If it had happened today, her parents would’ve definitely thought they had given birth to a rogue.

Afterward, when Xiao Tu was one-year-old and could walk, her parents held a small party for her birthday.

After everyone had drunk some liquor, they suggested that Xiao Tu show off her walking. Who would’ve thought that this little rascal would exceed their expectations and, in one breath, move in a big circle without tripping.  

Her mother became cheerful and suggested drawing lots for her daughter.

Other families would’ve prepared ahead of time for drawing lots, unlike the Xiao Family where the items were all placed around their daughter. After a while, Xiao Tu was surrounded by an assortment of different objects. Her mom patted her on the bottom, wanting her to go and pick one.

Xiao Tu unsteadily made a circle around the items. Finally she extended her arm and grabbed a piece of cloth.

The surrounding relatives then began to discuss about the cloth.

Her second uncle said, “ Looking at the material of the cloth, niece might become a cotton farmer in the future.”

Her second aunt glared at her husband, “Why don’t you think a little more? Cotton farmer? Only you could think such a thing! Let me see. In the future, little Tu will become a tailor!”

Her third aunt replied: “How could her job be a tailor? It should be a fashion designer!”

Just as the crowd was quarreling endlessly, Ling Chao’s mother carried him outside. “Ling Chao’s father, have you seen Chaochao’s diaper? The white one with a blue flower on it!”

The courtyard suddenly became quiet. Everyone turned their heads to see Xiao Tu holding a white cloth with a blue flower which she cheerfully stuck her face into…

Afterward, Xiao Tu’s mother hid away Ling Chao’s diaper. She made a rabbit plush and placed it on Xiao Tu’s headboard. Besides the clueless Xiao Tu, no one else would touch it.


Footnotes:

[1]Xiao Tu (肖兔) – Xiao sounds the same as 小 (xiao which means little), also Tu means rabbit

[2]Ling Chao (凌超) – Chao means to exceed, to surpass; to transcend. Hoping their son would be an outstanding person.


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3 thoughts on “[OWCAL] Chapter 1: Xiao Tu is Born

  1. sandrine says:

    Hello
    I like this mother ! she’s funny and weird…Thank YOU for this one. I’m generally a silent reader but i suscribed to your blog because i like your work , your English is quite good : keep it on !
    Merci !

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