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THE ROCK MAIDEN by Natasha Yim


A Chinese Tale of Love and Loyalty

by Natasha Yim ; illustrated by Pirkko Vainio

Pub Date: March 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-937786-65-6
Publisher: Wisdom Tales

A loving wife is turned to stone by a merciful goddess in this story spun from a Hong Kong legend.

Although that sounds the opposite of merciful, the goddess of fishermen, Tin Hau, is trying to help Ling Yee, a young and beautiful wife whose husband has disappeared in a terrible storm. Every day, Ling Yee, with her baby strapped to her back, climbs to a promontory where she can look out over the ocean and search for her husband’s sampan. For months, the young woman with the infant keeps watch and grows sadder. Her parents seek assistance from Tin Hau, also known as goddess of the sea, and the deity finally helps—in her own way. “One day, she decided that they should mourn no more.” The goddess turns the two into a rock formation, known in Hong Kong as Amah Rock, a tourist destination to this day. Amah usually means “nanny,” someone who takes care of children, but it can also mean “mother.” In this adaptation of the tale, Yim creates “a happier ending—where the husband finds his way home to his loyal wife and son,” and Tin Hau brings Ling Yee and her child back to life. Softly toned watercolors illustrate the sad story–turned-happy with grays and blues, modulating to warm yellow, orange, and red tones in the joyful moments.

Deftly written but not quite traditional, a pleasing romantic story.

(author’s note) (Picture book. 6-8)