Monday, April 1, 2019

A is for the Apricot Fairy (A to Z Challenge 2019: Fruit Folktales)

Here we go! Happy A to Z!

Surprise! This year, A is not for apples. It's for apricots.

In a story from the shores of West Lake in Hangzhou, China, everything pretty much revolves around apricots: Our heroine, Beautiful Apricot, lives in Apricot Blossom Village, near a forest of apricot trees. One day, while taking her cow out to graze in the apricot forest, she encounters the Apricot Fairy, who kindly gifts her a golden hairpin, telling her to knock it three times if she ever needs help.

Beautiful Apricot eventually marries the ninth son of the Song family, and gains eight sisters-in-law. She lives happily with her new family, helping her in-laws and running the household. Of course eventually her capable nature starts to annoy the other eight women, so they try to trick her by burning and salting the food she's preparing. Beautiful Apricot, not to be outwitted, makes a good meal from bad food, and she wins the respect of the whole family.

Eventually, news of the beautiful and clever woman reach the emperor. He first sends her a test (feed the entire family from one almond), and when she passes it, he decides to send soldiers for her and force her into his harem. When the soldiers appear, Beautiful Apricot finally pulls out the golden hairpin, and summons the Apricot Fairy, asking for help. The Apricot Fairy moves the entire household into West Lake, where they can live under the water safely and happily.

Legend claims people used to be able to go to the lake and borrow household instruments from Beautiful Apricot and the Song family. But one day, someone didn't return what they borrowed, and the neighborly friendship was broken forever.

(Jan & Yvonne Walls: West Lake, a collection of folktales. Joint Publishing Co., 1980.)


How do you imagine an apricot fairy?
What are your favorite foods made of apricot? I love crepes with apricot jam!

32 comments:

  1. I love apricot jam on hot toast in the morning. Home made if possible!

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  2. I imagine the Apricot Fairy would be sickeningly sweet. Not sure I would like her.

    I teach in China. I will have to ask my students if they are familiar with this story.

    I am at Transformed Nonconformist. I usually write humor pieces, but I am getting serious this month. I'm writing about people who have deeply impacted my life.

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  3. I'm so excited that you are doing the A to Z Challenge again this year. Your blog was one of my favorites last year. I love apricots, especially jam. I like it swirled in vanilla ice cream, too. Asking for Help to Avoid Burnout

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  4. I'm not really a fan of apricots, though I like this little folktale though. Happy A to Z!

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  5. By pure chance, I was eating an apricot yogurt this morning before I read this! I love this story, I've never heard it before. Great start to the A to Z Challenge.

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  6. Ooh, I love this story! I learn so much from your blog every time I visit it :-)
    I think the apricot fairy is small and nimble, has glittering wings and can change her appearance at will.
    I love eating fresh apricots direct from the tree :-)

    Ronel visiting from the A-Z Challenge with Music and Writing All the A's

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  7. I remember visiting your blog many years ago on an A-Z challenge. Good to see you doing it again!
    Apricots are one of those heavenly fruits for me; absolutely delicious and not consumed so often.

    Sorry, I don't have a handy link as I'm on my ipad tonight doing some visits. But you can copy and paste this into your browser:

    https://seal-of-melchizedek.blogspot.com/2019/04/atlanta-georgia-temple.html

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  8. Apples are always the go-to fruit in mythology, I'm so glad you did something else. I really love this tale - wish I had a golden hairpin (fairy not necessarily required!) I can't wait to come back for more fruity folklore a-z!

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  9. I love dried apricots, as well as apricot jam. I think the fairy would be one of those super-pretty flower-fairy types - with dishevelled hair, since she gave away her hairpin.
    Black and White: A is for Amphiptere

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  10. Love your first post! Fresh apricots have such the taste of Mediterranean sunshine, and apricot jam is delicious on scones and toast, in tartlets and just about anything else. But I like the story from Hangzhou best. I also like the idea, sad though it is, that there was a neighborly relationship between Apricot and the local people which was broken by their own unneighborliness.

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  11. I'lI always rmeremem this when I look at an apricot now.
    Dropping in, check my entry for A at:
    https://thedreamgirlwrites.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/annoying-friends/

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  12. I love this story! I also like how some of its themes sounds familiar to a Western reader - a helpful fairy, the emperor's test, and so on, but at the same time, it's unique and somewhat exotic.
    Looking forward to your next posts!

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  13. I'm so glad you're participating in the A-Z again. Your posts were among my favorites last year.
    I love apricots, fresh or in jam. I picture pretty much any fairy the same as another! Fluffy white dress with sequins and ribbons!

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  14. What a lovely story. And yes I love fresh apricots! Unfortunately we don't get it where I live but I still remember the taste from the first time I had it so many moons ago far far away... Visiting from the A2Z challenge.

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  15. what a great story! never really thought of what an apricot fairy would look like but i do love dried apricots.

    Joy at www.thejoyousliving.com

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  16. Good way to start! Happy A to Z!

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  17. That is one of my favorite fruits and there is nothing better than delicious apricot preserves. Best of luck with a-z challenge.
    Astrology is my A-Z ⒾⓃⓉⓇⓄⓈⓅⒺⒸⓉⒾⓋⒺ ⓅⓇⒺⓈⓈ
    https://introspectivepress.blogspot.com/

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  18. Mmmmm, I love apricots! First the color (I'm a quilter who love bright colors!), then the soft skin (like a sweet fabric;)), and of course, the taste! I prefer them row, when done

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  19. Apricots are probably on the low end of my fruit scale. Apricot jam from time to time on rye toast with some Earl Grey tea sounds really good to me roght about now.

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  20. What a beautiful tale - and a delicious fruit with great varieties.

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  21. Fantastic! I love that Beautiful Apricot resorts to ask the help fo the fairy only when she really has no other option and after having fend for herself multiple times.

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  22. I love that I always learn something new in folktales. This is going to be fun.

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  23. Apricots are one of my favorites. I had no idea there would be folk tales about 26 different fruits, but why not? Your blog has a really different look, quite interesting.

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  24. What a beautiful legend. I´ve always loved folktales, they are so full of magic. Thanks for sharing it. :)
    Hannie

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  25. I love apricots! I even have a character named Apricot. Apricot jam is great.

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  26. How awesome! I do love a good apricot. The story/legend of the apricot fairy is pretty cool.

    ~Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle
    Literary Gold

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  27. What a delightful fairy tale. Apricot spiced cake is my favourite recipe, but I'm quite happy with just the plain fruit.

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  28. What a lovely story, and I'll be looking forward to enjoying something apricot today. I'm rather partial to cookies with apricot jam filling.

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  29. There's always gotta be someone who ruins everything. lol Dropping in the AtoZ
    Stephanie Finnell
    @randallbychance from
    Katy Trail Creations

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  30. I have to admit to not being overly fond of Apricots - although I do like Anthon Berg Apricots in Brandy chocolates :D It's a shame someone was thoughtless and spoiled the borrowing for everyone!
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - Ghost Stories

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  31. It's almost worth going into a convent to eat as many redcurrants as one likes!

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