Once upon a time there was a girl, who had hair as gold as the sun, and her name was Yang Xiao Long. She lived with her father and her step-sister in a little cottage in a village. One day her sister went out to deliver flowers to her mother’s grave. The hours stretched on until Yang became quite worried that something had happened to her sister. So she went out into the wood to find her.
Yang called and called for her sister, but heard no reply. Instead her cries disturbed the creatures in the wood, among which were two sleepy bears. One was a great, huge bear, and the other a middle-sized bear, and neither were happy to have been woken from their slumber. So they went out to find the girl who had awoken them.
Yang heard rustling in the brush, and, thinking it might be her sister, went to look. Instead she came across the two angry bears. In her shock she leapt back, but she was prepared. Upon her wrists she wore magical gauntlets, making her fists strong as steel and her blows strong as a hammer’s. She knocked the two bears down with two mighty blows, and they did not get up again.
By this time Yang was quite tired. After walking a while more she came across a little cottage in the wood. First she looked in at the window, and then she peeped in at the keyhole; and seeing nobody in the house, she picked the lock and lifted the latch. She did not know that the cottage belonged to a man named Hei Xiong. So Yang opened the door, and went in; and well pleased she was when she saw some porridge on the table. If she had been a good girl, she would have waited till Hei Xiong came home, and then, perhaps, he would have asked her to breakfast; for he was good – a little rough or so, as the manner of his was, but for all that very good-natured and hospitable. But Yang was an impudent girl, and set about helping herself.
She went to the porridge of Hei Xiong, and tasted that; and that was neither too hot nor too cold, but just right; and she liked it so well that she ate it all up: but she said a bad word about the little porridge-pot, because it did not hold enough for her.
Yang sat down in the chair of Hei Xiong and that was neither too hard, nor too soft, but just right. So she seated herself in it, and there she sate till the bottom of the chair came out, and down she came, plump upon the ground. And Yang said a wicked word about that, too.
She went upstairs into the bed-chamber in which Hei Xiong slept. And she lay down upon his bed, and that was neither too high at the head nor at the foot, but just right. So she covered herself up comfortably, and lay there till she fell fast asleep.
By this time Hei Xiong thought his porridge would be cool enough, so he came home to breakfast. “Somebody has been at my porridge, and has eaten it all up!” said Hei Xiong.
Upon this, seeing that someone had entered their house, and eaten up the his breakfast, Hei Xiong began to look about him. “Somebody has been sitting in my chair and sat the bottom out of it!” said Hei Xiong.
Then he thought it necessary that he should make further search; so he went upstairs into his bed-chamber. And when Hei Xiong came to look at his bed, there was the bolster in its right place, and the pillow in its place upon the bolster; and upon the pillow was Yang’s head – which was not in its place, for she had no business there.
“Somebody has been lying in my bed – and here she is!” said Hei Xiong.
When Yang heard the voice of Hei Xiong it awakened her at once. Up she started; and when she saw Hei Xiong on one side of the bed, she tumbled herself out at the other, and stood up at once. Now the window was open, because Hei Xiong, like the good, tidy man as he was, always opened their bed-chamber window when he got up in the morning. But he was not pleased to find a stranger in his house, and so he took hold of the club he kept and swung it at Yang.
Yang’s first blow broke the club in half, and with the second she knocked Hei Xiong out through the window. She jumped out after him. He lay on the ground and did not move, but he groaned and Yang knew he was alive.
And then out of the wood came Yang’s sister, who looked surprised to see her there. “What are you doing here?” her sister asked. “Were you not at home today?”
“I was looking for you!” Yang said. “Come, let us go home. Father must be worried.”
And the two made their way through the wood back to the village, and Hei Xiong never saw anything more of Yang Xiao Long.