Yin Chang and the Rain Kite

 Adrienne Potter

   

Art by author and other various sources.

Yin Chang was a poor boy who lived on a farm in China, long ago in the days before the smoke from the factories clouded the sky. 
Papa Chang and grandfather worked hard in the fields from sunrise to sunset, and his mother worked with them when she wasn’t cooking meals or washing clothes.  Yin Chang worked along with them, and it was a hard life.
When Yin Chang went with Papa Chang in their cart to the market in the town he could see the kites that the merchants flew above their stalls.
 From far away he saw them flying high in the sky with their bright colors gleaming proudly in the bright sun. 
Papa Chang saw the light in his son’s eyes when he looked at the brilliantly colored kites, and with a gleam in his eye he decided that his son should have one. Papa Chang told Mama Chang and Grandfather Chang of this wish, but they were poor country farmers and had no money for such a fine gift.   

But Grandfather remembered how kites were made.  He told Yin’s mother and father what was needed and they began gathering the things that could make a kite.  Papa Chang whittled tree branches down to fine, strong sticks and Mama Chang pieced together the finest rags she could find and scraps from the tailor who sewed for the rich merchants.  She sewed designs of the sun, moon, stars, and clouds and gave them to her husband to finish the kite.

     The kite was fine and strong and beautiful and had been built with great care.  When they gave Yin Chang the kite his mouth flew open and his eyes twinkled. 

Quickly he ran to the fields and began to fly his kite.  Higher and higher it went until the string was tight.  

    Yin Chang climbed a hill with his kite and stood there, surveying the trees and streams of nearby farms, and in the distance he could see the village and the fine kites of the merchants. He saw that their kites flew higher than his, much higher, because they had more string.

The colors were brighter than the colors on his poor country kite.  He turned away ashamed, and tried not to think of the kites of the merchants.  Instead he thought of the smiles of his father, his mother, and grandfather when they gave him his kite.   
 The next day a sudden storm flashed across the sky.  The wind blew, rain fell hard, and the sky turned dark.  Quickly Yin Chang and Papa Chang brought their animals into the small barn.  Throughout the day they sat in their tiny cottage, warm and dry, and listened to Grandfather tell stories of the days of the emperors and Samurai warriors. 
The next morning the sun rose bright and brave.  Yin Chang felt the soft grass under his feet as he ran up the hill with his kite catching the breeze.  He stood there admiring the green farms and the village in the distance.  Suddenly he saw that his kite was the only one in the sky!  He ran to tell his father, who was getting ready to go to market.
They sat together in their cart as they rode to the village and when they arrived Yin Chang saw the merchant’s kites lying on the ground. 

He went up close and saw that they had been damaged in the storm.  Their sticks were thin and broken and their bright designs were only thin paper which was now wet and faded.  He thought of his own fine, strong kite which could stand the cruelest storm, and he smiled proudly to himself.

     The next day after his chores were done Yin Chang went to the nearby hill to fly his kite.  It was still the only kite in the sky and it flew high above the fields of their farm.

Yin Chang was not the only person who watched his kite flying in the sky.  Later that day one of the merchants came to visit their farm.  He had seen the kite and he asked Yin Chang’s father if he could borrow it!  The merchants needed kites for market day because this was how the people would know it was time to go and buy their fruit and vegetables. 

Papa Chang asked Yin Chang if would loan his kite to the merchant.  Yin Chang wanted to help and he quickly said yes.  The merchant promised to return the kite as soon as he had a new one. 

        Then the merchant asked another question.  He wanted to know if  Yin Chang’s family would make new kites to replace the ones that were ruined.  He said that their kite was better than any he had ever seen because it was not hurt by the rain.  He promised to pay for the supplies and for their work. 

       The family thought this was a very good plan and so they all agreed.  The next day they began working on the new kites.   With the new supplies they were able to make very fine kites.

Soon the merchants’ new kites shared the sky with the kite of Yin Chang.  He watched all the kites flying high and big and beautiful in the sky, and he was proud and happy. 

It wasn’t long before the merchants in other towns heard of the rain kites—the kites that were not hurt by the rain.  Yin Chang’s family worked hard to make kites for all the merchants.  The merchants paid well for the kites and they made enough money to hire workers to help with the farm.  Soon Yin Chang’s family became known as the makers of the rain kites, and they were no longer poor, and life was much better for them.

The End

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