Mr. Chen sat under the money tree wondering about the little spirit fish, Shu, that kept nibbling at his feet but could never be caught on his fishing pole hook. He threw out the line on his long bamboo pole, and saw Shu swimming around in circles. “I wish there were more to life than fishing for spirits,” he mumbled. A spirit bird flew over and landed in the money tree above him, peering down at him with the wanting eyes. He knew it desired to peck his head, so he tightened his hat. “I wish that terrible bird would go away,” said he.
Right then Mr. Chen spotted something white coming down the river towards him. I wonder what that is… thought he. He noticed it was long, like a snake, but part of it was being held up by the sky. Mr. Chen jumped up, nearly losing his hat, so he could get a better look. That quickly, the spirit bird came down and pecked at some stray hairs on his bumpy head as the hat slipped off for a moment. “Get away you terrible bird!” he scorned as he quickly covered his head once again.
His eyes landed back on the long white thing floating partly in the water, and partly out of the water, toward him. He readied his cane pole so he could catch it out of the water; however, the bird flew to the object and snatched it out of the water and began flying away with it. “Nooooooo! Terrible bird!” cried Mr. Chen jumping up and down, “I wanted that!” He was very disgusted at this bird that never stopped causing him problems.
Just then a giant hand appeared out of the sky – HUGE! The clouds and haze that were in the distance covered the source of it, but there it was, a giant hand… a female hand. It was reaching down and held the long white thing, snapped it in the air, and scared the bird spirit, which flew away instantly. “Yay!” Mr. Chen yelled. But then the hand started reaching in his direction.
“What?” Mr. Chen said aghast. His jaw dropped nearly to his dirty bare feet. Mr. Chen became afraid, and trembled as he saw the ominous hand coming closer to him, with the white soggy long thing in its grasp. He wanted to run, but he simply couldn’t move. He realized then, since the long white object was a giant piece of cloth… a beautiful ribbon, satiny white. But Mr. Chen was afraid of the hand that was holding it… This must be the hand of the great sky goddess, he decided. He thought quickly.
Mr. Chen grabbed his cane pole and flicked the line and hook toward the giant hand as it came nearer to him. The hook went into the top of the hand’s skin, and then he pulled and pulled, and the skin began to rip and bleed. Blood from the hand rushed down over the white ribbon, dousing it completely in its red color. The goddess hand let go suddenly, dropping the ribbon by Mr. Chen’s feet before disappearing.
Mr. Chen looked around, and saw that the bird had returned, but it would not go near the red ribbon. “Aha!” said Mr. Chen, and he climbed the money tree and tied the red ribbon around it, and sat under it. The bird chirped and chattered and fluttered around, angry that Mr. Chen had put the red ribbon in its favorite tree. The bird spirit flew away.
“Aaahhhh,” said Mr. Chen, “now I have outsmarted that terrible bird!” So he sat once again, this time directly under the money tree, and enjoyed his bloody gift from the great goddess hand in the sky… the red ribbon that makes terrible birds go away. “I shall fish tomorrow from beside the money tree, but tonight I shall sleep under it so I will be safe from that bird,” … forever, thought he.
But just in case, Mr. Chen slept with his hat on.