This story is by Xi Yuan Hua and was part of our 2022 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The god of war, Mars, was commanding his warriors in a field training exercise. Their laser knives cut the dark sky, leaving bright traces. The war drums knocked madly, shaking Mount Olympus. On Earth, humans heard thunder rolling and saw lights flashing in the sky.
Eileithyia was the daughter of Zeus, the Goddess of childbirth. She was on a mission to deliver babies to the Earth. Unfortunately, the schedule conflicted with her party. She had a beautiful peach garden, growing big, sweet, juicy peaches. Every July, she held a party, inviting her sisters and friends to taste the peaches, celebrating the season. Although she had hired a management company to handle it and had told the guests that she would be back a little later, she was absent-minded about her mission. Due to Mars’ field training exercise, the space above the earth-sky was in a big mass. When the delivery group reached the up-sky of China, some debris from bullets accidentally hit the carrier of the babies. A baby girl fell right into the wrong mother’s belly underneath in a country town. The baby girl should be delivered to a household living in the Long Island town of NYC of America. Eileithyia woke up from her party and gave orders to make up for her mistake. First, she replaced the girl’s original position with a boy. Then, she informed Janus, the god of change, who will plan the steps to make up for the mistake. Because the type of mistakes did not happen in one case, Janus set up a special division to deal with.
The Green Dragon Bridge Town of Wu Xi city was located south of the Yangtze River, China. It was a famous Fish and Rice land. Family Hua’s mansion was at the end of the Bridge. Mr. Hua was a rich landlord; he had 200 Mu* of good land, mainly planting water-rice. Most of the lands were rented to the peasants. The family was looking forward to having a grandchild. Since the daughter-in-law had a miscarriage twice, the baby girl’s arrival brought big happiness to the whole family; no matter boy or girl. Because she was the first grandchild in the family, the attention that she obtained was more than a boy in other families. Grandpa paid a fortune-teller who was blind and had a good reputation in the neighborhood. The old man said, “she will bring wealth to both Hua’s family and her future husband’s family because she was born on the right day and at the right time.”
The family members did a lot of research on her name. Finally decided to name her “Xi Bao”, meaning a treasure from the western land. Old Chinese people worshiped Buddha, who lives in the “Western Happiest Land.”
Janus, the god of change, had an office to make a correction plan for the wrong delivered babies. A designated angel monitored their life in the “foster” family periodically. If there was anything off the track, the angel would report to Janus.
The angel saw the scene of the baby’s very early life as follows.
The Family Hua’s great hall was decorated with red and golden colors all around. About 50 tables with expensive wines and delicious food were ready. The maids and helpers worked busily. Mr. Hua, the grandfather, stood at the door, welcoming the guests.
At the beginning of the party, the young Mrs. Hua held the baby showing up, accompanied by Mr. Hua Jr. and the grandmother. All guests said lucky words to express their blessing.
Mr. Hua gave the address as, “We are greatly happy to welcome Xi Bao to join our family. Thank you for coming on this special day, the third day of her birth. Let us enjoy the wine and food. We’ll have Peking opera in our back yard after the wine-food party.”
The angel was glad to see that the baby was born into a rich family, although it was not originally planned.
When Xi Bao was 9 years old, the National Party’s army lost the war to Red Army. The Communist Party became the ruler of China. Their political slogan was “Overthrow the Riches.” Mr. Hua will be a target soon. Fortunately, Xi Bao’s uncle worked in Northern China. Because Communist Party had occupied there for a year, the “revolutionary” temperature had cooled down; the policy was less harsh. He invited Mr. Hua to live with him for a while. Grandpa left home three days before the Red Army occupied the town. Xi Boa sadly said goodbye to her lovely grandpa.
The landlords in the town were either taken to prison or hanged in public. Mr. Hua’s cousin died in the prison after a week. The blood-like red slogans were written on the walls of the streets. The new officers used rascals to threaten the landlord’s families. They knocked on their doors every midnight, forcing them to buy government bonds. Xi Bao was shocked to wake up; her heart pounded like a drum in her chest.
Up Mount Olympus, the angel saw Xi Bao’s suffering. She immediately reported it to her boss. Janus checked on Xi Bao in his manual. He said, “Xi Bao’s destiny is to be happy and wealthy. She will return to her American family on her 22nd birthday.” The angel said, “Right now, everything in so-called New China is upside down. The uneducated and poor people became up-class. The landlords became the oppressed class, the lowest class. The new ruler created one political crisis with another; many people were killed or tortured during the Land Reformation. Another so-called “political movement”, Anti-rightists, was announced in newspapers yesterday. Mr. Hua Jr. is a high school teacher; he will be one of the targets in his school.” Janus said, “You can do whatever help is needed to ensure Xi Bao lives happily, safely, and comfortably.” He added, “We own her at her birth; she deserves great compensation during her life.”
The new mayor of Green Dragon Town took the lands, possessions, and houses from the landlords. However, he allowed Mrs. Hua to leave the town. The people were surprised by his kindness to the “escaped landlord’s wife.” Fortunately, Xi Bao’s father was a high school teacher in the city. Grandma can move to the city, where the city residents had nothing related to Land Reformation.
The steamboat harbor was located west of the town. Xi Bao and her grandma had to walk across the town. While they were walking in the street, many neighbors and Xi Bao’s friends gave them black eyes, pointing at them and saying, “landlord”, a shaming name. Previously, they called grandma Madam and called grandpa Sir. Also, Xi Bao’s friend, Feng, hesitated to approach her. Xi Bao’s pink chicks turned pale. She bit her lips to hold the tears from falling down. Seeing this, the angel flew around in the low sky. Feng suddenly raised her courage and moved forward to Xi Bao, saying, “Xi, we are friends forever. Take care of yourself and your grandma.” They said goodbye.
This was the first time that Xi Bao experienced cruelty in the human world. Grandma said to Xi Bao, “They can’t rob our self-respect and the memory of the happy years in our beautiful house. We will stand up again and build another mansion on a faraway land. This country has been cursed. Forget it forever.”
When Xi Bao was 16 years old, Mr. Hua Jr. got a chance to work in Hong Kong. The family moved there. Then, they applied for refugee visas to the United States, a safe harbor. Grandma’s foreseeing became true. It is a faraway land.
Xi Bao was accepted by Columbia University when she was 18 years old. Since Central Park is in the neighborhood, she went there very often, especially during winter for ice skating. One day, when she was flying freely like a little bird on the ice, a crack under her foot made her almost fall. Fortunately, a young man next to her held her up. At this moment, her angel directed Cupid to fire his arrow. One arrow struck both of them.
Up Mount Olympus, the Goddess of childbirth, Eileithyia, Janus, and the angel were watching Xi Bao’s wedding ceremony and 22nd birthday. It was in Family Walton’s garden located in Long Island county of NYC. She wore a flower crown decorated with many rare pearls (the pearl of Allah) and a royal-like bridal wedding gown. She and her bridegroom, David Walton, were walking slowly on a red carpet.
Eileithyia said, “Xi Bao has returned to her American family as the daughter-in-law. Our mission is successful! You did a good job. Here is your reward.” She took over a basket filled with the peaches, as big as a newborn’s head, as lovely as her pink, tender face.
* A Mu equals 666.5 square meters.