The seven Chinese sisters
Once upon a time there were seven Chinese sisters who lived together and
took care of each other.
Each sister had shining black hair and sparkling eyes. Each stood straight and
tall, except for Seventh Sister, who was just a baby.
But the sisters were very different.
First Sister could ride a scooter fast as the wind.
Second Sister knew karate — kick, chop, hi-yah!
Third Sister could count — to five hundred and beyond.
Fourth Sister could talk to dogs.
Fifth Sister could catch any ball, no matter how fast and high it was thrown.
Sixth Sister could cook the most delicious noodle soup in the world.
And Seventh Sister? No one was really sure yet what she could do, as she was
so little she had never spoken even one word.
Far away, across the bridge, through a forest, and up a mountain, lived a
terrible dragon. One day he woke up very hungry. He took a big sniff,
sniff, sniff and smelled something wonderful. It was Sixth Sister’s noodle soup!
Down the mountain, over the forest, and across the bridge flew the dragon,
straight to the seven sisters’ house. The sisters were so busy they didn’t see him
First Sister was polishing her scooter. Second Sister was practicing for her black
belt. Third Sister was counting grains of rice. Fourth Sister was talking to a strayF
beagle. Fifth Sister was throwing a ball up a mile or so and catching it. Sixth Sister
had just stepped into the pantry to get some more noodles. And Seventh Sister was
crawling around on the kitchen floor.
When the dragon peeked in the kitchen door and saw plump little Seventh
Sister, he forgot all about the soup. Instead, he snatched up the baby!
Then he flew back over the bridge and forest, up the mountain, and into his cave.
But as soon as the dragon set Seventh Sister down — he was just going to get
some salt — she said her first word ever. And it was an excellent word — it was HELP!
The six sisters had just started to look for Seventh Sister when they heard her call. Right away, they knew her voice.
“Seven Sister’s in trouble!” cried Sister, leaping on scooter. “We must save her!”
The other sisters hung on behind. Pulled by First Sister, who was strong as well
as fast, the sisters sped across the bridge.
Beyond was the deep forest, filled with many trees — so many Third Sister counted them by twos!
Now Seventh Sister’s cries were louder. The sisters headed up the mountain and soon reached the dragon’s cave.
They could smell smoke and hear the most awful roars.
Fourth Sister listened carefully. Dragons do not talk exactly like dogs, but still
she could understand a little. The dragon was roaring, “There’s no use calling for
help — you’re going to be my supper!” and suddenly Seventh Sister shouted her
second word ever, which was NO!
“If you don’t bring her out, sir, you will regret it!” called Fourth Sister in the
best dog language she could manage.
The dragon stopped roaring. What was that girl yelling? All he could
understand was, “Bring her out, sir!” But no one had ever tried to talk to him
before, and he was so curious he picked up Seventh Sister and rushed outside.
Second Sister stepped forward. Then, fast as
lightning, she leaped into the air, slapped the
dragon on the chin, and shouted, “Hi-yah!”
The dragon was so surprised that
WHOOOP! — Seventh Sister flew out of his mouth.
Back, back, back ran Fifth Sister... back,
back, back and reaching up, up, up ... she caught Seventh Sister neatly, like a fly ball.
When the dragon saw that his dinner was
gone, he fell to the ground, sobbing. “Hungry,
hungry,” he whimpered, and Fourth Sister
understood him perfectly, because the word
hungry is exactly the same for dragons as it is for dogs.
“He’s starving,” she explained, and now all the sisters could see he was quite skinny and sort of sad.
“Tomorrow Sixth Sister can bring him some soup,” First Sister said. “But we’ve
got to get Seventh Sister home. She’s all worn out, and she needs her diaper changed.”
“Sisters go home!” cried baby Seventh Sister, who was learning to talk very quickly now.
First Sister put Seventh Sister on her back and hopped on her scooter. The other
sisters hung on behind, and they whizzed fast as the wind down the mountain. But
when they reached the forest, First Sister stopped. Now that they didn’t have
Seventh Sister’s cries to guide them, how could they find their way through all these trees?
“Don’t worry,” said Third Sister, “I counted the trees when we came. We must go past five hundred.”
And so, when Third Sister had counted five hundred trees (by twos), the seven sisters came to the bridge.
They scooted across and back to their house, where they had a wonderful meal of Sixth Sister’s delicious noodle soup.
And what did Seventh Sister do when she grew tall?
She became the best storyteller in the world, and she always told this story first.
The seven Chinese sisters
Chicago, Albert Whitman, 2003