Yugur Swan Qin Legend

According to the Yugur "Swan Qin" legend, long long ago there was a poor young fellow who herded animals for the chief of a tribe. The fellow was often hungry as most of the fruits of his labor went to the chief. The young fellow had a good singing voice and sang songs to the animals while out in the pastures. Local villagers liked his songs very much. Whenever they heard they felt relieved from daily pains and worries. Animals liked listening to his songs too. Every time he sang, many swans came to listen to him. They left until he finished. One day a white swan flapped its swings and danced to the song and refused to leave afterwards. For some period of time, the young fellow and the swan were always together. They became good friends. One morning, the young fellow came to the bank of the lake where he often saw the swan but the swan wasn't there. He thought that maybe the white swan was still sleeping, so he went to look for it in the reeds. But when he reached, a group of yellow-pointed birds flew up. Searching so more he found that this group of wicked birds had eaten the white swan. Only the skeleton, intestines and stomach were left. The young fellow was heartbroken. He threw himself on the skeleton and cried loudly from the morning right up to the night, until he became tired and fell asleep.


Photo from news.ifeng.com

The next day, when the young fellow woke up, he found that the skeleton of the swan had become a beautiful qin (a stringed musical instrument). He looked at it carefully and found that the qin was made with six strings made of the intestines of the swan. The head of the qin is exactly alike with the head the of swan, and the eyes were still sparkling. The young fellow strummed the first string, and swan qin sent out an unusually beautiful sound. Shortly after that, it suddenly thundered on a sunny day, and heavy rain came. When he plucked the second string, the rain stopped and the cloud scattered; when he touched the third string, it became sunny again, and a beautiful rainbow fell before his eyes; when he moved the fourth string, a burst of very beautiful sound of singing came to his ears; and when he moved the fifth string, he found a horse was walking towards him.

The young fellow rode on the horse and ran to the place where the sound of singing came, but he found nothing when he arrived there. The young fellow remembered that there was still one string that he had not touched. When he plucked the sixth string, a beautiful girl wearing a white skirt flew down from a cloud, smiled and bowed to him before his horse. The young fellow helped the girl up to the horse. They rode together, playing the swan qin, and covered all the pastures of the Yugur. The girl, it turned out, was a swan fairy. She touched by the young fellow and his hardships and songs, and so descended to the world and married him. It is said that later the girl returned to the heaven with the young fellow. Today the swan qin is a symbol of Yugur identity.

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