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THE ABBOT AND THE WIDOW:
Tales from the Ming Dynasty
Ling Mengchu


Translated and Edited by Ted Wang and Chen Chen

This volume contains tales collected and retold by Ming dynasty author Ling Mengchu (1580–1644). Ling wrote down hundreds of stories told in the now-famous tradition of teahouse storytelling of the era. Variously humorous and staid, bawdy and moralizing, salacious and brutal, exotic and fantastic, these tales are about people from all walks of life. These ten tales reflect the lives, loves, adventures, sufferings, escapades, and customs of the time. Together they provide a fascinating glimpse into the remarkable Chinese life of some four to ten centuries ago.
The selection made by the translators, from a total of about 200 stories by Ling, were made with an eye to their appeal to Western readers. Besides being wonderfully entertaining, these tales are a rich source of information for anthropological and cultural studies of Chinese behavior, social mores, living conditions, and legal norms during the Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties. The thoughtful reader will gain valuable insights into the psyche of today’s Chinese by wandering down these pleasant roads.

The Tales. . .
How Fortune Smiled on Wen the Luckless
The Abbot and the Widow
Judge Bao Uses Guile to Right an Injustice
How a Childless Philanthropist Honored a Blank Letter and Begot Sons
The Fox Sprite’s Three Sheaves of Herbs
South Boy Meets the Emperor
What a Scholar Suffered Because of His Foul Temper
The General’s Daughter Who Disguised Herself as a Man
What Happened after Academician Quan Found Half a Vanity Case
The Thief Who Was Both a Prankster and a Gentleman

Ted Wang majored in English and Russian at Yanjing and Beijing universities. An experienced translator from English to Chinese and Chinese to English, his main works are translations of Chinese novels, plays, screenplays, and a number of social science papers in Chinese studies.

Chen Chen was a musicologist in her youth in China. She became a translator and editor in the late 1970s, working both in China and the United States. She is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir: Come Watch the Sun Go Home (1998).

EastBridge Signature Books 2004 247 pp illustrations


ISBN 1-891936-39-5 (pb) $29.95
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