Chinese Folktales for Language Learners

Treasury of Folk Stories in Chinese and English (Free online Audio Recordings)

Tuttle Publishing
Vivian Ling, Peng Wang, illustrated by Yang Xi
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A collection of 15 classic Chinese folk stories — passed down from generation to generation — presented in both Chinese and English.

Welcome to the land of Chinese folklore, a delightful corner of the Chinese heritage that remains relatively unexplored in Western publications. Throughout history the medium of storytelling and the performing arts allowed folklore to flourish, bringing culture and entertainment to the common people. These stories are about universal human concerns such as the origin of humankind, impact of wars and natural disasters, legendary cultural heroes, dignity and justice for the common folks, and yearnings of the human heart.

Each story is given in parallel Chinese and English versions, and is accompanied by a short essay about its historical context, a vocabulary list, discussion questions, and native speaker audio recordings.

Enjoy fifteen classic Chinese folk tales, including:

  • Taming the New Year's Beast — How the Lunar New Year festival came about, celebrated after the ferocious monster Nian was frightened off by sparks, explosive noises and the color red when it came hunting for children and animals
  • Two Virtuous Mothers of Ancient China — The philosopher Mencius's mother, a virtuous widow, illustrates the importance of not wasting one's education through her efforts to ensure her son's success
  • The Chinese Romeo and Juliet — A classic tale of tragic love, Zhu Yingtai, the beloved daughter of a local official, is disguised as a young male scholar to study in Hangzhou — some distance away from her home. While she was in the academy she met a soulmate, Liang Shanbo, and as they studied together for three years, she developed feelings for him
  • Judge Bao Takes On the Emperor's Son-in-Law — The famous Judge Bao decided to right a wrong when the emperor's son-in-law, Chen Shimei, committed bigamy by pretending to be single in order to become the imperial son-in-law. He even attempted to hide this crime by obliterating his wife and two children, but was thwarted by Judge Bao, who risked his own life and career to carry out justice.
Contributor Bio

Vivian Ling has enjoyed a long career teaching Chinese language and literature at Oberlin College and Indiana University, and directing language programs in Taipei, Shanghai, Kunming and Beijing. She is the author of many books, including The Field of Chinese Language Education in the U.S.: A Retrospective of the 20th Century. She has also co-authored several books with Wang Peng, including Essential Chinese Grammar, Chinese Stories for Language Learners, A Bilingual Treasury of Chinese Folktales and The Twelve Animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

Wang Peng has been on the faculty at Georgetown University since 2002, teaching Chinese language courses at many levels. Formerly, she was chief instructor at the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies of Tsinghua University, and taught Chinese at Oberlin College and Brown University. This is the fifth book she has co-authored with Vivian Ling.

Yang Xi is an art teacher at Qingdao Huanghai University. Her distinctive style incorporates classical and contemporary Chinese and Western influences. She holds an MA degree from the College of Fine Arts at Nanjing Art Institute.

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