Monday, September 24, 2012

The Dragon Prince A Chinese Beauty and the Beast

The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty & the Beast Taleis Laurence Yep's adaptation of Beauty and the Beast melded with Chinese mythology.

In this version, a poor farmer has seven daughters, each one known only by the number of their birth. The seventh is a kind hard working girl with amazing needle skills. As is often the case the other daughters do not appreciate her skills nearly as much, especially number three. Right from the beginning, we can see there will be conflict between Three and Seven.

While working in the fields, Three raises her hoe to kill a golden serpent only to be stopped by her sister Seven. We quickly discover the serpent is a dragon who has set his sights on marrying one of the farmer's daughters. Returning to his dragon form he captures the farmer and tells him in order to live one of his daughters must marry him. As is predictable, all but seven refuse to marry the dragon to save the father.

Seven heads off with the dragon, but finds she is not scared of him. He takes her to a sea palace and he changes shape into a handsome prince. She enjoys life with her Prince and is even give a loom to continue the work she loves. However, in keeping with the Beauty and the Beast story, she misses her family and wants to visit them. Her Prince sends her home, but her sister Three's envy has only grown with Seven's good fortune.

Three attempts to kill Seven and returns to the palace in her place telling the Prince she has been ill and does not look the way he remembered. Seven is not dead and is taken in by an old woman. The Prince does not believe Three can be the woman he loves and he tells her he is going hunting and he heads off to look for Seven. Seven convinced that her husband could not love her if he was fooled by her sister's charade makes silk items to help the old woman who sells them in the market. The Prince seeing the shoes in the market hopes he has found Seven, buys a pair and follows the woman home to find his wife.

They are reunited and her sister is sent home in shame. The old woman goes to live with the Prince and Seven as a reward for her kindness.

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