The Hunchback and His Banana Boy---An Interesting Story Of the Miao Who Have Silver Jewels

By: Clare Liu


The Miao minority group living in southwestern China are well known for their beautiful handmade silver earrings, and interesting folktales. Here is a story about a boy born from a banana.
An old, hunchbacked man was a banana farmer. Everyday he sold his bananas in the market at a good price. He led a comfortable life. But without any children, he felt lonely sometimes. Seeing children of his neighbors playing outside, he often said to himself: " Hope I have a child. That would be great! " Watching the bananas he grew, he comforted himself: " I have so many bananas. They are in fact my children. "
One year the hunchbacked man was sad to discover that a heavy snowstorm had destroyed all his banana plants. The next spring, only one plant grew a new bud. So he watered and fertilized this plant carefully, hoping that the harvest would still be good. But three months later the plant only grew one banana. The old man was greatly puzzled by this. As the banana grew bigger and bigger every day, it became more and more like a big barrel.
One day a beautiful peacock flied to give the banana a peck. So the peel of the banana ruptured, and a baby jumped out of the banana. He ran to the hunchbacked man and called, Dad, Dad!
The old man was surprised at what was happening. He held the baby in his arms, and lovely kissed his chubby face. The old man named the baby: Banana Boy.
Year by year, the banana boy grew up. He helped his father grow more banana plants, and every year they had an abundant harvest.
The hunchback on the old man's back became bigger and bigger, so he felt it's getting harder to work. Feeling sorry for his dad, the banana boy decided to look for some special medication to cure dad's back. On the way to look for this medication, the banana boy asked lots of people, but nobody knows where to get it.
One day, the banana boy came to a mountain where he saw a lady with glistening silver earrings combing her long hair. The banana boy asked her, Madam, do you know where to find a medication to cure hunchback? The lady answered, To the east of the mountain, there is a cave where you can find a pearl inset onto a stone. Eat the pearl, and hunchback will disappear."
So the boy went to the cave and took the pearl. On his way home, he saw a child lying on the ground, crying, his hands full of blood. What happened? he asked. I saw two bulls fighting with each other, tried to stop them, but got myself hurt the child said. Thinking that his pearl could heal the wounds on the child's hands, he let him eat the pearl. After eating it, his wounds disappeared.
The banana boy returned to the mountain and asked the lady again where to find another medicine to cure his father's hunchback. The lady said, On the top of the west mountain, there is a red fungus. Eat the fungus, and a hunchback can soon walk straight. So the banana boy went to pick up this red fungus. On his way home, he came upon an old man lying on the ground groaning. The man got hurt by a fallen tree. The banana boy put the red fungus into the man's mouth. In no time, the old man stood up, holding his long white beard and smiling at the banana boy.
Without the red fungus, the banana boy had to go to the mountain again to ask the lady for medication. The lady said, " At the foot of the south mountain, there is a pond with a golden stone. Eat this stone, and your father will get a straight back. But remember that this is the last medication I know for the hunchback. Don't come back to me anymore."
The banana boy took the golden stone and started to go home. On the way, he saw a woman and a baby lying under a bridge. The woman told him that she fell from the bridge and got terribly hurt. The banana boy said to himself, " My golden stone may cure her. But if I give her, how about my dad? If I leave her alone, she and the baby probably won't survive. " Finally the boy gave the women his stone. After eating it, the woman recovered in no time. She said to the boy, " Thank you so much. I want to give you my peacock as gift. "
The boy brought the peacock home and told his father what happened. My son, what you did was right! said the old, hunchbacked man after hearing the whole story. And they decided to keep the peacock at home. With beautiful plumage, the peacock liked to sing sweet songs everyday.
One day the old man took off his clothes to check the swelling on his back. Suddenly the peacock came to him and gave him a peck on the back. The old man fell over onto the ground. The banana boy tried to beat the bird with a stick. But the peacock jumped and surprisingly became a lovely girl.
The girl then went to hold a handful of water from a river close by, and let the old man drink it. The old man immediately stood up straight, and the swelling on his back was gone.
This website has more interesting things about Miao culture and their silver necklaces. Click it to enjoy.

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Clare Liu is an expert on Chinese jewelry. She specializes in rare Miao silver necklaces. Click over to her website to view some silver sets, handmade Miao silver earrings, and learn more.

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