THE TERRIBLE NUNG GWAMA: A Chinese Folktale by Ed.--Adapt. Young


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A delicate, decorative presentation of a graphic, amusingly indelicate story. First, though, one has to accept the illogic of a poor young woman who, taking some cakes to her ""venerable"" parents, refuses to give them up to a dread, all-devouring Nung Gwama, despite his warning that he'll eat her later instead, ""a painful and also an undignified death."" Then, weeping, she stays put (venerable parents notwithstanding) while one after another passer-by offers her something to hold off the monster--needles to stick in the door and prick him, manure to dirty his hands, a snake to put in the washing pot (and bite him if he wants to wash his hands), and so on to the seller of millstones who leaves one (""It is very, very heavy"") for her to hang over her bed, with the (innocent) thought that she can lure him under it. (How she will hang it unaided we never do know.) All comes to pass as they hope, and with some lively, ear-splitting action--which the pictures interpret as shadowy blobs--the Nung Gwama meets his end, the woman is rewarded for his destruction, and everyone lives ""happily ever after."" In the hands of a more exuberant artist, this might have been rousing entertainment; here it's venerated into a vaporous never-never land.

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 1978
Publisher: Collins World