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A Story of the Dog Hat

It is a folk custom in the countryside of China to have a kid wear a kind of hat which looks like a dog's face, especially in the provinces of the southeast of China.

Here is a story about the kind of hat. Long ago, there were two brothers in a family, both of whom were married and lived peacefully. The elder brother and the wife were honest and tolerant, but they did not have any children. And it was regarded as one of the biggest problems for a couple without children in China then. The elder brother and his wife were so upset about the matter that he decided that he would like to adopt one of his nephews. "Well, my nephew is the right person to be my heritor." he said to himself. But when he talked this to his younger brother and the wife, he was refused absolutely for no reason.

Not long after, anyhow, the younger brother fell ill and died. Eventually, the burden of supporting the two sons was laid on the younger brother's wife. In that case, the elder brother brought the request for adopting one of the sons from her again. But he was refused again and was given no reasons. That made the elder brother very puzzled.

Years later, to the elder brother's delight, his wife was finally pregnant at her middle age. The elder brother was a merchant and he sometimes had to go out on business. For fear that his wife would give birth when he was away, he had everything well prepared and a midwife was found in the village. However, things happened just as he did not wish to. His wife was brought to bed just when he was out doing business. The younger brother's wife went to eagerly help. She had been plotting against the elder brother's wife. She quickly brought the midwife, but to accomplish her plot, she had to buy off the midwife. She paid the midwife to do nothing. All along, the younger brother's wife, had been intending to get the properties from the elder brother. That was the reason why she denied the request of adopting a son from her. She wished the elder brother's family to come to an end due to having no descendants.

It was hard to give birth to a child for a woman of her age. The elder brother's wife was in great pain. The younger brother's wife comforted her phonily and she snickered at heart. The midwife replaced the baby with a dog whose skin she peeled off quickly and neatly before the elder brother's wife noticed. And then the younger brother's wife took the baby away and left the baby in the fields. No one knew about the matter but a brown dog standing by the whole time.

When the elder brother's wife regained consciousness, she was surprised at the strange thing which she was told was her baby. She was so disappointed that she cried as soon as she saw her husband who returned home later that day. He also felt so disappointed and puzzled that he fell down to the floor, and buried his head between the knees. Just then, the brown dog came to him and pulled him with one of its paws and led him out to the garden. To his astonishment, he found a tender baby in the dog's hut crying. Now everything had become clear to him. When the head of the county heard about the case, he got very angry. So an accusation was brought against the cruel younger brother's wife. She was punished severely, but she didn't know how on earth the baby she threw away could be brought back to the mother's arms, since she had never noticed the dog was following her. The dog was praised greatly. It was the dog that managed to bring the baby back home. And it was the dog that smashed the blackness and saved the family. So in memory of the dog's loyalty and its great honor, the baby's mother made a dog hat for her baby and named the baby "Dog Son". Dog hats became more and more popular among villagers not only because it was practical but also because it had a close relation with the faithful dog.


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