YellowBridge Chinese Language & Culture
Chinese Language Center

Chinese Literature Classic Short Stories and Folk Tales

  Title Mini Review
A Tower for the Summer Heat
Written by Li Yu, 1657
Translated  by Patrick Hanan
Columbia University Press, 1998
256 pages
Rating: ★★★★★

A translation of half the stories of Shi'er Lou, a book of short stories by the author of The Carnal Prayer May. The translation takes its title from the first story, in which a scholar uses a new technology from the West, a telescope, to spy on his neighbors. With his new found knowledge he proceeds to woo the girl and convince the girl's father of that the marriage is predestined. The other stories are equally unconventional and fun.
Chinese Fairy Tales and Fantasies

Multiple authors
Translated and edited by Moss Roberts
Random House, 1980
260 pages
Rating: ★★★★★

A collection of short stories, tales of magic, and fables. Many, such as the story titled The Lost Horse, offer a poignant lesson. Others, such as those written by Pu Sung-ling, the 18th century master fantasy storyteller, are enigmatic. Other stories were taken from Taoist writers Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu. Completing the selection is the lead (and best) story in The Scholars.
Butterfly Lovers

Written by Fan Dai
Homa and Sekey Books, 2000
251 pages
Rating: ★★★

The story of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai is well known in Chinese popular culture. At a time when women were not supposed to get an education, Zhu Yingtai tricks her parents into agreeing to send her to boarding school, disguised as a man. There she falls in love with Liang Shanbo, her best friend and classmate. Unfortunately, by the time Liang Shanbo finds out about the girl's true gender, she has already been betrothed to another man. This book is not a translation but a retelling of the story based on Chinese sources. The story has been adapted to theatre, movies, and inspired the writing of the "Butterfly Lovers" violin concerto by Chinese composers in 1958.
Chinese Ghost Stories for Adults: Sex, Love, and
Murder between Spirits and Mortals

Written by Pu Sung-Ling (1640-1715)
Translated by Tom Ma
Barricade Books, 2000
214 pages
This is a translation of selected stories from the Liaozhai Zhiyi, a classic from 18th century containing over 400 short stories.
Chinese Fables and Wisdom
Translated by Tom Ma
Barricade Books, 1997
144 pages