In ancient China there once was a monster name Nianshou (年快). Most of the time he lived deep in the sea and bothered no one until each New Year’s Eve.
At midnight on that one night, Nianshou crept on shore to destroyed nearby villages and eat all the villagers and livestock. Fearing for their lives, the people fled to the mountains for safety.
One year, all the people in the village were packing up to leave. An old beggar with long silver hair and beard, sharp black eyes, and a long walking stick limped into town.
“Where are you going?” he asked a man shuttering his doors and window. The man didn’t answer so the stranger moved on.
Farther down the street, the beggar met a young mother and her children carrying bundles to a cart. “Why are you packing to leave here?” he asked. But they were too busy to chat, so he moved on once more.
The silver-haired man stopped in front of a tidy little cottage.
The granny came out the front door and saw the man in the middle of the street with a smile on his face. “Why are you standing there and not leaving town?” she asked.
He looking around and shrugged his shoulders.
“Aren’t you afraid of Nianshou’s sharp fangs and horns?”
The stranger stroked his long white beard, chuckled, and shook his head. “No, I’m not afraid,” he said. “Leave me a bowl of rice, let me stay in your home for one night, and in exchange I will protect your all property from destruction.”
The granny argued with him. “It’s foolish to stay, come with me.” She pleaded and begged but he wouldn’t change his mind.
Near sunset, the woman gave up and left for the mountains alone.
When midnight came and the new year arrived, Nianshou attacked the village, roaring and slashing with his horn. The horrible beast was having a grand time until he arrived at the grandmother home. Instead of being boarded up, a hundred candles burned in all the window.
Someone is home, fresh meat. Nianshou giggled and licked his lips while spittle ran down his chin.
The monster charged the door, then froze in place. Red paper flags in all the doors and windows flapped and fluttered in the wind.
Nianshou stared at the strange sight, and a low growl rose from his throat.
Bang. The door burst open, and the dressed in a dressed all in read and banging a gone, the beggar jumped out. He picked up a firecracker, lit it on a candle and threw it. The projectile exploded in the monster’s face. Nianshou jumped back into a crouch.
The stranger roared with laughter and holding another firecracker slowly raised his arm.
The monster Nianshou screamed and fled into the night.
In the morning, the villagers returned. They saw the old woman’s cottage undamaged and realized red decorations, loud noises, and bright lights must have scared the monster away. The next year they did the same and Nianshou was never seen again.
That story is one Chinese New Year legend. Another is manic house cleaning, red flags, bright light, and explosives ward off plague spirits and keep the family from becoming ill. In the time of Covid, I’m ready to try anything.
新年快乐 my Friends!
Today is the official release of Takakush – Genus Magica Book One. Check it out @ http://tiny.cc/TakakushNovel
Photo by Eva Elijas from Pexels
Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Her vivid, flowing prose takes readers of dark fantasy into a world that looks and feels real, while still evoking the enticing paranormal creativity shared by authors such as Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson. Follow Raine on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Check out Pinterest to see the world of Takakush.