Short Stories

Romance Of Zhang Li


In a place long ago and a time far away, there was a little girl named Zhang Li. She was a rowdy and very undisciplined child. She terrorized the boys in her school by brandishing sharp pencils. She bullied and picked on smaller boys and girls alike. If she had been in England, she would have been referred to as a tomboy, but this story takes place no-where near England. Her aggressive nature should not be misleading. It was not that she was mean or that she was evil. It was simply that she had a fiery temper and would let no one bully her around.

She was the smartest child in her rural village. When the Emperor’s Minister of Education visited her school, and gave her and her fellow students the Standards Test, it was found that she was among the smartest in all the land. Of course her mighty intelligence sometimes forgot where it was when she was engaged in eating mud pies in her grandmother’s yard. Those mud pies did little to improve her digestive powers either.

As she grew from girl to young woman, her fiery demeanor diminished. The boys grew too big for her to beat up, and eventually children outgrow such noble pastimes in favor of other pursuits. Namely the pursuit of each other.

In these games of boy meets girl, girl falls in love with boy, Zhang Li was not an active player. Great thick glasses rested on her button nose and her hair was cut a little too short perhaps. Her mother believed that short hair required less shampoo to wash. As shampoo was expensive and the family poor, Zhang Li had to be satisfied with short hair when all the other girls let their grow enticingly to their waists.

Zhang Li’s family being poorer than others, on account of many reasons not her fault at all, Zhang Li was forced to wear clothes that were not flattering or expensive. In short, and she was that as well, Zhang Li did not make a stunning impression on the other young people of the village. She enjoyed physical sports and spoke her mind. These too discouraged boys who preferred more traditional girls instead. Sadly, Zhang Li retreated into the village background, turning to her studies to keep her occupied.

A few years later the village was approached by a stranger. He was a handsome looking fellow, riding a tall horse with a sable coat, bearing a friendly smile, with the looks of good manners and wealth. He was a young lord. When he rode up to the village everyone rushed out to greet this stranger.

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