November 30, 2011

LI LUN LAD OF COURAGE by Carolyn Treffinger

Li Lun, a boy afraid of the sea waters. He lived on Blue Shark Island which was off the cost of the far away land of China. It was the day of his father's fishing trip in which he would have to join. It was almost time for his dad to call him into the boat. Li Lun would have to say no... This first quarter that I've read was a very absorbing one.

This is the basic story: Li Lun had to tell his dad that he didn't want to go. His father got very angry. He told him that he didn't allow cowards. Li Lun still refused to go. Finally his father gave him this job: to take seven grains of rice, go to the top of Lao Shan, the highest mountain on Blue Shark Island, and raise seven times as much grains of rice as he had. And only then would he be able to come back home. His purpose was to make him beg for the sea instead of being a coward. At the the end of this quarter of the book he finally gets to the top.

I like the way this author writes because she is very good at gluing your eyes to the pages of the book. She is very descriptive and she expresses feelings in the characters. I think the setting of this story is interesting because my family has adopted two children from China. I am not one of them. ;-) Just joking. China is interesting to me for that reason and because it has good food although some of it is really unappetizing, such as grubs, baby turtles and snakes. I've gone to China before and have even walked on the Great Wall.


Finding a spot that was deep enough was the hard part. He had to find a hole in the rocks that was deep enough to hold the amount of water needed for the rice to grow. He looked far and wide before figuring out that the hole in which he was sleeping in was good for planting his grains.

Here's the bacic story: Li Lun finally found the right spot,in his bed area,and planted his seeds. Every day he had to walk up and down the path to and from the water hole to cover his seeds. To protect the seeds from the sea-gulls, he had to throw his jacket over the hole. Soon the seeds grew into little sprouts and finally reached the top of the water level. Li Lun knew that he didn't need to cover all of the the plants, just the roots. Now the plants needed another way to be protected from the sea-gulls. After a while he decided on hanging his blue shirt on a bamboo pole that he had brought to flutter away in the wind to scare the gulls away.

In this part of the story the author wrote as if she were living with him experiencing every thing he did while writing a biography of Li Lun and what was happening to him. I like the part were Li Lun figures out his neat way of scaring the sea-gulls away by using his bright blue shirt. I don't like the part when he has to use gull droppings to help with the fertilizer. So far I like this book, although I wouldn't recommend it until I'm done with it. :P


Li Lun heard foot steps coming towards him. He wondered "Is my father coming back?". But no, after a few moments, Li Lun saw the black cap of a priest. The priest said "Are you in trouble... I've seen a flag waving now and again" Li Lun answered "No, I'm using my blue shirt to scare away the gulls so that they don't get to my rice that I am growing." After a little while of the priest being confused, Li Lun finally told the priest his story. The priest encouraged him by saying: "You have protected your rice from the sun and from the sea-gulls. You are not a coward, you are braver than if you had gone fishing."

Here's the basic story: After the priest came, great rain began to fall, bringing less work to Li Lun. Sometimes Li Lun was afraid that the gulls would destroy his rice. He could not go out of his cave until the rain stopped. But then he remembered that the rain would keep the gulls away. After a while, he got so tired of rain that he made a "clear weather girl", a doll that was supposed to sweep away the bad weather. Once he had made it out of a bag, he wrapped the mat that was hung over the entrance of the cave to keep the rain out, around himself and walked to find a place to hang the doll. He finally found a place over the gulls' nesting area. Somehow after telling the gulls that the doll could keep away the weather, the gulls did not seem interested in destroying it. Later, the sun seemed to be so hot that he almost wished that he had not put up the clear weather girl. The sun was now scorching his rice plants! And he was worried they would dry up and die. Finally he found a way of shading the rice. He hung the mat on a rock ledge above it, and it kept away the sun. If it got rainy he would take it down. A few days later, he woke up to find that the rats that lived up on the mountain had eaten two of his rice stalks. Li Lun was discouraged but he knew that he could still bring up the amount of rice needed.

I dislike the part of this story where he puts up the clear weather doll, because it is very superstitious. I also dislike the part where the rats eat the two stalks of rice. Someone told Li Lun that it would take 120 days for growing rice, and when the rats ate the stalks, Li Lun might have thought that he would have to wait more and would not get to see his family for an even longer time. I can imagine that he felt very disappointed.


Still, the sun was scorching hot and it would lap up the water quicker than the plants could drink it. Li Lun would have to travel farther and farther to get water for his plants. They were almost ripe by now. It had been about three and a half moon changes, and the time that it took to grow rice was four moon changes, so he was almost done. His food was almost out which meant he would have to harvest his rice six days early. He soon would bring the rice to the priest. A few days later, Li Lun was eating his last twelve grains of rice, and ready to come down the mountain.

Here's the basic story: As he was coming down the mountain he met some boys, some of which were the ones that had teased him when he had refused to go on the fishing trip. When the boys noticed him, they started teasing him again until he flushed red with anger. One of the boys mentioned throwing him into the sea. When Li Lun heard this, he dropped his bundles and picked up one of the bamboo poles that he had packed and started swinging up, down, side to side and all over, so that none of the boys could come near him. As they were making new plans, he picked up his bundles again and ran as fast as he could toward the temple where the priest would be. When the priest noticed him, he was glad. And when the boys noticed the priest, they were shocked and didn't dare to come through the gates. The priest ordered the boys to tell the rest of the town to come to the temple for a ceremony. He called for his servant, Chang, and told him to bring him tea and water for a bath. As Li Lun was bathing, Chang put down garments for him to wear and told him: "When you are ready, your food is in the portico." When he was done with his food, Chang came in and told him that the priest wanted him to count the number of grains of his rice so that he could use the number for a speech in the ceremony. He counted out ninety nine, almost one grain of rice for each of the days he was on Lao Shan. Finally, the villagers came and the priest gave his speech. He said: "You have been calling Li Lun a coward for he is afraid of the sea water, but the wise men of old said that the production of the single grain of rice is a great a work as creating a mountain. As a matter of fact, Li Lun raised ninety nine grains of rice." All the villagers sighed, knowing that it was Li Lun that had done this. A man and a woman came pushing through the crowds. It was his most honorable father and his most beautiful mother. They greeted him lovingly and they returned home happily together.

This time the author writes as if she knew what it was like for a son to be gone for a long time and then finally come back again. She explains this in her writing when Li Lun meets his mother and father. I like the part where he finally gets his rice and brings it to the priest, because the author explains how hard it was to raise ninety nine grains of rice. I dislike the part where the boys are teasing him just because he was afraid of the water. Everybody has a talent that they're great at, no matter what other things they are afraid of or not very smart at. The author expresses that also in the book. It is hard to condense these quarters into just three paragraphs, but I highly recommend this book and I hope that someday you can read it too.

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