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The Spirit Festival (Excerpt)

A Children's Storybook

 

By James Pao

The seventh month of the lunar calendar

is the month of the spirits

Where spirits and ghouls roam the realm of men

And people pay their respects to those

who came before them

And on the fourteenth of this inauspicious month

is the bewitching day of the Spirit Festival


Yet little Sue did not understand

what all the muss and fuss was about

For during the Spirit Festival people put on

elaborate shows for empty seats

or offer food to gods and spirits alike

Homes are filled with the scent of burning incense

as the streets echo with the sound of firecrackers

But on this special night, Sue will soon come to learn

that this is a time where mystery and magic fill the air  


On the large dining room table 

there was a great banquet prepared

with rice, and dumplings, and duck, and pork

The smell of which was enough to make anyone drool

Hungry, Sue ignored her mother’s warnings

and took a bite of what must have been

the most delicious pork bun she had ever had

But with each bite, she grew more dizzy 

until she soon fell fast asleep

what she didn’t know was that

the food was supposed to be a respectful offering

to honor her ancestors that watch over her family


As she slept Sue felt a soft gentle breeze 

as if her body was floating down a lukewarm stream

she opened her eyes and to her surprise

she saw herself quietly sleeping

The world around her began to spin

as the walls and floors melt into each other

and shadowy blobs emerged from every which corner


Panicked and scared Sue ran for the exit

Across the twisting hallway and down the flight of stairs

she didn’t even notice as she ran straight through the door

In the busy bustling street outside

and under the tender light of the full moon

Brightly lit houses were lined with red paper lanterns