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Chinese Boy choosing Toys

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There are many curious customs regarding Chinese children. One takes place when a little boy is one year old. A great bamboo sieve, such as farmers use, is placed upon the table. Upon it are spread many articles—money-scales, shears, a measure, a mirror, a pencil, ink, paper, inkstone, books, the counting-board, objects of gold or silver, fruits, etc. The baby, all dressed in his best clothes, is then set in the midst of the objects, on the sieve. His parents and friends watch anxiously to see which of the articles he will grasp. They believe it will show what he will do when he is a man. If he takes the money-scales or the gold or silver, he will become a rich merchant; if he takes the book or pencil, he will be a great scholar, and so on.

Strange Peoples
by Frederick Starr
Published in 1901
Available as a free download from
Boy, Children, China, Toys