Chinese Language Versions

In an effort to build a cultural bridge between the United States and China, this page offers Chinese Language translations of the story synopsis listed on the Tree of Tales. The tales written by Don Arthur Torgersen will be translated into Chinese and published in dual-language editions. These Chinese-English books will help young readers and students in China to gain knowledge and confidence in the English language and become familiar with the types of stories read by American children and Chinese children living in North America.


In the United States, children usually begin reading at five and six years of age. Phonetics are introduced in Kindergarten to five-year-old students. By the end of first grade, a student should be able to read an entire book independently from cover to cover. By fourth grade, students can read the daily newspapers. In fifth and sixth grades, students read full-length novels such as Jack London's Call of the Wild and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.


Reading at an early age is critical for one's intellectual development. It enables elementary students to gain fluency in language arts and knowledge in the natural sciences and social studies. In some schools, students compete to see how many different books they can read during the course of a school year. A few students are able to read more than fifty books in one year.


Many stories written by Don Torgersen for the Tree of Tales embody the standard literary elements of setting, character, ploy, and vocabulary to facilitate reading development and language comprehension. The texts can be read aloud by children who are seven to ten years of age.


There is an old saying in China. "After repeated readings of more than three hundred poems from the Tang Dynasty, you should be able to create your own poems easily, even though you do not know the rules of poetry." The same is true with Don Torgersen's tales. If Chinese students can read them aloud over and over again, and listen to them being read, then the experience will help them to speak, read and write in the way American students think and use the English language.


 

SYNOPSIS: THE SECRET OF CATHEDRAL LAKE

Saga the Storyteller takes a group of young gnomes to the Tree of Tales. She tells them a story about Sir Grogg the giant who lives in the mountains and protects wildlife. Sir Grogg used to be friends with the gnomes, sharing the secret of the lake, but felt betrayed when goblins came digging into the mountain for false treasure-trove. Saga leads Nefer and Duncan up the mountain trail, taking risks, to discover the secret of the lake. The gnomes confront the giant who now lives alone behind a great rock wall. They restore the old friendship and enjoy a marvelous experience at the mysterious lake.


SYNOPSIS: THE TROLL WHO LIVED IN THE LAKE

Trolls are troublesome creatures left over from the battles between the frost giants and the old Norse gods. They wandered the earth until settling in mountains, forests, and the lake country were they crossed paths with human beings. Ross, Buck and Danny want to catch the biggest fish in Grass Lake. They disturb a troll named Muddlepuddle who sits in the lotus pads where his flowing beard is groomed by sunfish. More young anglers come to the lake and soon catch all the fish, pollute the lake, and cause an environmental change. Muddlepuddle drives the kids away, but has to figure out a plan to recover the lake and make friends with the young fishermen.


SYNOPSIS: TORREK AND THE ELFIN GIRL

Torrek the gnome meets with trumpeter swans at Red Rock Lake. He sees an elfin girl named Ella-nor looking at the reflection of her wings in the water. She has lost her elfin friends, so Torrek invites her to a picnic with gnomes in Pepper Tree Forest. Saga the Storyteller tells about Gorlock the dragon and the power he has to grant wishes. The elfin girl flies to the Dark Mountains to meet the dragon to seek a vain wish and betray the gnomes. A battle at the lake causes the dragon to lose his most prized possession, and the elfin girl learns that some wishes are not worth having.


SYNOPSIS: THE SCARIEST NIGHT IN TROLL FOREST

A group of kids prepare for a hike in Troll Forest and are warned by the forest ranger about the hazards of the trail. At a fork in the trail, some return home, but others cross a dark ravine to explore the old troll trail. Strange bagpipe music draws them to a small cottage, the home of Tamtammy MacTroll, Laird O’ the Forest. MacTroll crafts precious objects to hang on the Tinkle Twinkle Trinket Tree that grows in his backyard. Ross steals a tinkling ornament from the tree, and this turns the whole forest into a nightmare filled with frightful creatures and three-headed trolls. MacTroll chases the three thieves through the night forest, while sitting in the antlers of a great reindeer, to reclaim the property that belongs to him.


SYNOPSIS: HUFF AND PUFF AND THE TROLL HOLE

Huff and Puff are two young gnomes who delight in causing mischief in Pepper Tree Forest. Three ugsome trolls named Grunt, Bellow and Roar have only one eye which is shared among them and slapped in the middle of their foreheads. The trolls dig a troll hole to capture the gnomes and demand their eyes. Huff and Puff brew a soup called Grandma’s Glugg to keep the trolls happy. The trolls lose their one and only eye in a drunken dance. Until the troll’s eye is returned, no one is happy in the forest.


SYNOPSIS: LAST DAYS OF GORLOCK THE DRAGON

While Torrek the Gnome is playing riddle-me games with the young gnomes at the Red Rock Lake, Gorlock the Dragon returns. The dragon threatens the security of the gnomes who live in the mountain forest. Saga the Storyteller relates the treachery of the dragon . Torrek and the Gripper devise a plan to lure the dragon from the lake and fight him on shore. The plan works, but it causes a great change in the lives of the forest gnomes.


SYNOPSIS: THE GIRL WHO TRICKED THE TROLL

Farmer David McDavidsen lives with his wife Ingrid and their two children on a farm in Illinois where they raise crops, chickens, dairy cows and buffalo. The children, Karin and Erik, explore the moraine woods north of the farm to hunt for flint arrowheads, mushrooms and wild strawberries. They discover a patch of strawberries and a trollberry bush and take their pickings, although a sign says private property. The strawberry patch was claimed by a troll who lives in the woods. The troll, who has a mysterious name, rides a black horse into the barn and brings a nightmare of trouble with him. Uncle Hans, a world-famous troll tracker, comes to visit the family and tells Karin and Erik the ways to get rid of the troll. The first efforts fail, but then Karin asks the troll a question he cannot answer and cause a predicament from which he cannot escape.


SYNOPSIS: THE ANGRY GIANTS OF TROLL MOUNTAIN

Three young boys on the Rocky Mountain Extreme Team go skiing on Troll Mountain. They meet Uncle Hans who is on a mission to capture Bigfoot, and he warns them about the giant snow trolls who are sleeping under the snow. The boys spend hours skiing, jumping, and doing daredevil tricks on the mountain slopes, but wake up Frozenose and Snozenose, two giant snow trolls. One troll runs away and disappears into thin air, but the other rolls himself up into a gigantic snowball and tries to roll over the three boys. The boys are lucky to escape, but the angry snow troll is not so lucky.




SYNOPSIS: THE TROLL WHO WENT TO SCHOOL

Terrabulous Troll is a young troll who lives with his parents in Troll Forest. He has the gift of music and plays a violin that charms the forest animals and draws the gnomes from their rocky caves. He wants to become a scholar and play with the children at Grass Lake School. His classmates poke fun at his long nose and step on his tail, and that makes him feel unwanted. His father takes him to see Tamtammy MacTroll, Laird O’ the Forest, to have his spirits boosted, to learn the ways of trolls, and how to cast spells with a trollstone. The next time the students tease him, they are in for a rude awakening.




SYNOPSIS: THE WICKED WITCH OF TROLL CAVE

Ravencraven is a notorious witch who lives with a white panther in Trollcoven, a cave explored by miners and spelunkers near the old western town of Tumbleweed. She keeps a band of gnomes at work in the cave digging for gold nuggets and minting gold coins. The gnomes will be set free if they produce enough gold, but there is never enough to satisfy her greed. Ravencraven commits many deeds of mischief. Mayor Budge, the mayor of Tumbleweed, runs a campaign to be reelected. He promises to build a clubhouse in the trees and rid the town of witchcraft. Instead of keeping his promises, the mayor builds a statue of fame for himself, and that causes a series of fantastic happenings.




SYNOPSIS: THE GREAT DANCING TARANTULA : A ZUNI PUEBLO TALE

Each morning, Kaloona, a young man who lives at the Zuni Pueblo of Kwakima, circles the great mesa and gives prayers and offerings to the rain spirits. Old Crooked Legs, the great tarantula who lives in a den at the mesa, admires Kaloona’s garments and sacred headfeathers. He manages to trick the young man out of his clothing and disappears into his hole. Kaloona seeks help from the Bow Priests, Grandfather Kingfisher, and Little Falcon to regain his clothing. He climbs to the top of the mesa to seek Grandmother’s help who lives there in a beautiful white house. She makes deer and antelope forms lure the tarantula, a boastful hunter, from his den. The tarantula must face a war with the people of the pueblo, and a remarkable transformation takes place in the desert.


SYNOPSIS: THE WRECK OF THE SNOW GIANTS

Four young extreme-team skiers and snowboard riders travel from Chicago to Ishpeming on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for the Winter Games. The intend to ski a mystery mountain called Bigfoot. At the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame, they meet Magnanimus Quaal who fills their minds with tales of the giant skiers of old, snow trolls, the Indian trickster Menabozho, and Ish-Mesabi, the ten-foot-tall Indian skier, who still haunt the U.P. slopes in winter.

Scott Arvidsen dares to leap from the famed ski jump on Suicide Hill. His jump starts a series of incredible events that awaken the great ski ghosts of the past, wreck the ski slopes, and cause a top-gun dogsled team to race the boys to Copper Peak on Chippewa Hill where they witness the most fantastic ski jump ever seen. This tale merges Scandinavian and American Indian folklore and legend—and Yooper boasting—with the heritage of skiing.