Stubborn Witch hates travelling most. With her lips tightened, she usually snaps, “I just stay in this village. I don’t go anywhere!”
When she is asked to travel together with other witches, there is always the same answer, no, definitely not!
One day, however, some witch, who had been around, claimed that, she had travelled to a place where there were no hills or trees. There was only a huge desert, on which rolled yellow sand and grew no grass.
Stubborn Witch didn’t believe this at all. She became increasingly doubtful as she listened. “Impossible! Impossible! How can it be possible that there should be such a grassless place? Sheer nonsense! Nonsense!” Moreover, Stubborn Witch was to set it right, and for the first time she stepped out of the village. She was to travel around the world, see the world for herself, and then come back with the truth that there is no such thing as a desert on earth.
Stubborn Witch walked on and on and on…Though almost worn out, she wouldn’t stop. Certainly this is the way that is Stubborn Witch.
With such a strong will as hers, Stubborn Witch eventually came upon the desert.
What yellow sand, rolling and roaring! What a desolate place, indeed! Stubborn Witch was disappointed and annoyed. She wouldn’t stay for another moment and turned to go.
“But why not turn the desert into lush green land?” She paused. “It won’t be too late to go back when it turns green.”
So Stubborn Witch started to plant trees. Even though planting trees on the desert was difficult, Stubborn Witch kept on. She had made up her mind. She worked on and on and on…With the sun burning overhead, there gradually appeared the shade of green trees.
Alas! Stubborn Witch was too exhausted to go on. Her flesh was baked by the sun. Though dead, Stubborn Witch wouldn’t give up. She rooted herself in the earth and grew to be Stubborn Tree.
Stubborn Tree grew taller and taller. Her thick leaves spreading out all over covering the entire desert. To whoever wanted to pull her up or dig her up there would be the same answer, no, definitely not!
Now Stubborn Tree has forgotten the village of witches. If one reminds her of it, she is sure to say, “Impossible! Impossible! How can it be possible that there should be a village of witches? Sheer nonsense! Nonsense!”
(translated by Zhao Jinji from Wang Wei’s fable)