Thursday, December 09, 2010

American wizards

Lew Chew, who grew up as a farm boy in near Canton in China during the 1860s, wrote the following:
I was about sixteen years of age when a man of our tribe came back from America and took ground as large as four city blocks and made a paradise of it. He put a large stone wall around and led some streams through and built a palace and summer house and about twenty other structures, with beautiful bridges over the streams and walks and roads. Trees and flowers, singing birds, water fowl and curious animals were within the walls.

...When his palace and grounds were completed he gave a dinner to all the people, who assembled to be his guests. One hundred pigs roasted whole were served on the tables, with chickens, ducks, geese and such an abundance of dainties that our villagers even now lick their fingers when they think of it. He had the best actors from Hong Kong performing, and every musician for miles around was playing and singing. At night the blaze of lanterns could be seen for miles.

The man had gone away from our village a poor boy. Now he returned with unlimited wealth, which he had obtained in the country of the American wizards. ...The wealth of this man filled my mind with the idea that I, too, would like to go to the country of the wizards and gain some of their wealth.
Excerpted from American Colossus.

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