The Dwarves of Tao-Chou
In the land of Tao-chou
Many of the people are dwarfs;
The tallest of them never grow to more than three feet.
They were sold in the market as dwarf slaves and yearly sent to Court;
Described as “an offering of natural products from the land of Tao-chou.”
A strange “offering of natural products “; I never heard of one yet
That parted men from those they loved, never to meet again!
Old men—weeping for their grandsons; mothers for their children!
One day—Yang Ch’ëng came to govern the land;
He refused to send up dwarf slaves in spite of incessant mandates.
He replied to the Emperor “Your servant finds in the Six Canonical Books
‘In offering products, one must offer what is there, and not what isn’t there’
On the waters and lands of Tao-chou, among all the things that live
I only find dwarfish people; no dwarfish slaves.”
The Emperor’s heart was deeply moved and he sealed and sent a scroll
“The yearly tribute of dwarfish slaves is henceforth annulled.’’
The people of Tao-chou,
Old ones and young ones, how great their joy!
Father with son and brother with brother henceforward kept together;
From that day for ever more they lived as free men.
The people of Tao-chou
Still enjoy this gift.
And even now when they speak of the Governor
Tears start to their eyes.
And lest their children and their children’s children should forget the Governor’s name,
When boys are born the syllable “Yang” is often used in their forename.
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