25 July 2014

Published July 23, 2014 by rochellewisoff


Friday Fictioneers Rules.

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Below is the PHOTO PROMPT. Where does it take you? Let your imagination run free, free from the confines of the box. 😉


Copyright - Marie Gail Stratford

PHOTO PROMPT Copyright – Marie Gail Stratford

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


            Like his imposing father, Qiu towered over most boys his age. Yet, unlike Shuliang He, he preferred serenity to battle.

            “Eat.” Zhenzai stroked her son’s cheek and tapped his crooked nose. “Your rice is getting cold.”  

            He rolled his chopsticks between his thumb and forefinger, his gentle eyes filled with pain and tears.

            “Mama, why am I so ugly?”

            She hugged him. “Not so.”

            “It is so.”

           “Listen to me.” She tightened her embrace. “Someday you will be a great teacher.”

            “No one will hear me. They will only see my face.”

            “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” 


To learn more about Zhenzai click the Chinese calligraphy below.

Kong Fuzi


**It seems that no two articles agreed on every point of the teacher’s life so all should be taken with an extra tablespoon of soy sauce and stirred with the proper chopsticks. 


“The honorable and upright man keeps well away from both the slaughterhouse and the kitchen. And he allows no knives on his table.” 

Kong Fuzi

105 comments on “25 July 2014

    • Dear Jessie,

      I think we tend to forget that people in the history books were just that, human beings with thoughts, aspirations and emotions. Glad my story worked for you.

      Thank you.




  • Dear Rochelle,

    I’m confused…

    No, really…

    Great story, and one that, like Confucius’ maxims, adages and quotes, will live on long after your bones fade away.

    Asian sub-continent, capitol of Peru, Sultan of Swat.




    • Dear Doug,

      Did the rose
      Ever open its heart

      And give to this world
      All its

      It felt the encouragement of light
      Against its

      We all remain



      (Lots of Lima beans to you.)




  • Mothers know best. I love the very last line and the inspirational quote attached 🙂 you have a gift for bringing characters to life Rochelle.


  • Confucius say that one very good story, Rochelle! You touched on exactly what I love most about history–the stories of the real people who lived during those times. We’re all at some point guilty of judging by looks. The real question is can we get passed that and look further.

    As for the knives, as I use one to eat, I’m doomed. 🙂



    • Dear Janet,

      Confucius notwithstanding, it’s difficult to cut a juicy steak with chopsticks. As always the proper tools for the job. As you know, I cannot eat Asian food with a fork. It just doesn’t feel right.

      I found the life of Confucious or Kong Fuzi fascinating. It’s so easy, particularly with the way he’s been parroted and satirized to forget he was a real person.

      It is hard to look beyond the surface to underlying beauty, particularly in our cosmetic society.

      Welcome back from your world travels. Thanks for swinging by.




    • Dear Honie,

      There was so little to be found about Zhengzai aside from the fact that Confucius loved her dearly and mourned her untimely loss for three years. At any rate her story sent my imagination reeling.

      Thank you.




  • Two thoughts came to me when I saw this picture, Rochelle. One was the seed of my eventual story, the other was our propensity as humans to judge each other and see ourselves as superior. I went with the first, but you – whether that’s where the story started or not – have nailed the second and taught me a lesson or two at the same time. Your historical fiction always teaches me … as does your writing.



    • Dear Jennifer,

      Actually I came back to your latter circuitously. I started my research trail with the history of chopsticks which led me to Confucius which led me to his mother and her rather sad story. Have I mentioned how much I love the process?

      Thank you.




      • The process in general and yours in particular are always fascinating to me. I had the feeling you hadn’t started with the judging, but it brings your story full circle with the prompt whether intentionally or not.


    • Dear Marie Gail,

      It’s a great photo and already I’m seeing that it inspired a wide range of stories.

      Of course I started with the history of chopsticks and came to Confucius, etc. I did find some valuable rules for chopstick etiquette in the process as well. Research time is never wasted. 😉

      Thank you.




  • This week is the first time I’ve done one of these. I took “100 words (more or less)” kind of liberally at 185 words, but as I read through all the others, nobody else seems to have colored outside the lines quite as much as that.

    How much on the more side of “more or less” is one allowed to stray? 😛


    • Dear Sarah

      Once I found Kong Fuzi and his story I was entranced. I knew my story had to be about him, I just wasn’t sure at the beginning how it would be. There’s a lot to the man who never heard the name “Confucius”…a Latin rendering. .

      Thank you.




      • Rachelle,

        One never really stops missing a loving mother. My died in 2000. I didn’t have a problem, she lived a good life. But there are time when it would be nice to still have her here.



  • So awesome. This is something new to me. Sometimes we imagine famous people as having lives filled with nothing but applause and appreciation. Most of the time that’s far from the truth. Your stories always provide wonder and education. I love that. Another great one, Rochelle. 🙂


    • Dear Eric,

      According to videos and articles, Confucius live a long life filled with victories and disappointments. In fact, he died believing he was a failure. Happy to pass on the education.

      Thank you.




  • “Confusion says: This is the END.” — Froggy from Our Gang.

    Kent says: Educational and very well-done.

    “They’re breaking into the fortune cookies.” –Radar O’Reilly


  • thank god for mothers. there will always be one person in this world who will always recognize the beauty and goodness in us. 🙂 a very lovely story, rochelle.


    • Dear Liz,

      Glad it clicked for you. I prefer that writers take some time to soak and let their ideas percolate. Some can do this in a half hour. Although I’ve had a few ideas drop into my head and materialize quickly it doesn’t happen often. This story took at least a day of research and five hours off and on of construction.

      Thank you.




  • This is beautiful, Rochelle. It reminds me a lot of my younger brother and dad, both of which have struggled with this exact issue for years. My brother was born with a number of congenital defects, and my dad suffered a disfiguring injury in a war.

    There is indeed a lot more to people than looks alone.


  • So engaging how you’ve gone back behind the story to consider the characters ‘before they were famous,’ and wonderful how you capture and portray a mother’s love. Love that quote too.


  • I’ve often been asked the same question, “Russell, how’d you get to be so ugly?” Just lucky I guess. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have poor taste in clothing.

    Lovely entry this week, Jillian. it gave me quite a workout. – Cap’n Girth


  • Thank you for the story of Confucius’ mother. I talk about him and sayings quite a bit, but know little of him or his mother. You’ve tweaked my interest to read more.



  • Dear Rochelle

    I’m a little late this week, but loved your story. I really like the way you combine history with a human face, makes for excellent reading. I know you like this genre and I think you have made it your own.

    Take care


    PS Understand we are having a ‘virtual tea party’ very soon…


    • Dear Dee,

      I really do love the genre and whenever a photo seems to lend itself I go for it. Sometimes it will take me by surprise.

      I’ve heard rumors about the virtual tea party. I think we need to set those wheels in motion. The challenge is finding the time off. Kent’s days off are different than mine.


  • That was fascinating indeed and very enlightening. I didn’t know Confucius was derived from the original name of Kong Fuzi. Makes sense now. That link about his mother was equally interesting and shows how crucial she was to his development. Wiki tells me that Confucius’s family, the Kongs, have the longest recorded extant pedigree in the world today. The father-to-son family tree, now in its 83rd generation.


    • Dear Subroto,

      One of my the things on my research path was a video documentary. Fascinating and informative. One of the people interviewed was a descendant. And as you may have read, Kong Fuzi never heard the Latinization of his name.

      Thank you for such affirming comments.




  • This was an interesting story made even moreso by the historical link. I had no idea of Confucius’ real name or anything about his early life. Thank you for the story and the history!


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