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Rice Genie Ong-lua
Vietnam From Stories and Legends of Annam by Clotilde Chivas-Baron, 1920.
He is a gentleman dressed all in green, like the Genie of the Tan-Vien. His flesh is white as milk. On his head he wears a hat decked with little bells.
And the bells tinkle in the breath of the wind.
From morn to night he bathes his feet, lest he be too hot.
I went to visit him to-day, and this is what he said:
"O blind man! tell the sprightly child to be obedient as I.”
"Bid the maiden be virtuous, bid the mother be tender,”
"Bid the man be free-handed, the father kindly.”
"I that am a Genie, I obey the hand of mortal man.”
“I give him my life.”
"He plants me where he will, and I permit him.”
"He cuts me, grinds me, crushes me, he cooks me, he eats me, nor do I hinder him.”
"Every day I bear this pain without complaint, that man may live and wax in strength.”
"I am but a little gentleman dressed all in green, yet, lacking me, the Annamite could not exist.”
"When the bare-thighed planter-woman throws me into the furrow traced by the black buffalo, she is wont to sing. I am happy in her toilsome joy.”
"When I am grown, and the plumes nod over me, I shake the bells on my hat to show my pleasure.”
"Man cuts me down, as he cuts, he sings, and I, I do not weep.
“In the cool evenings, 'neath the thatched roof, the mill is set a-moving. Couic! Couic!”
“Tis the paddy-mill moved by a pretty maid, who chews betel the while, and exchanges sweet words with her affianced.”
"I, I sing 'neath the pestle that grinds me, I sing well-nigh as loud as the pretty maid and her lover.”
"When the house-mother throws me into her cooking-pot, she sings... or scolds her turbulent sons.”
"I feel not my torments, since I give my life for the Annamite.”
"I am a gentleman dressed all in green, my flesh is white, and my hat is decked with little bells."
This is what Ong-lua, the Rice-Genie, said to me to-day at dawn.
Chivas-Baron, Clotilde. Stories and Legends of Annam. Translated by E. M. Smith-Dampier, Andrew Melrose Ltd., 1920. see www.tota.world
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