A Daughter of Han

Ida Pruitt, Ning Lao Tai Tai

This is the life story of a Chinese peasant who lived from 1867 to 1938.

Born in Peng Lai, a city in Shantung, facing Manchuria she narrated her life stories to Ida Pruitt. They would meet three times a week over 2 years at Ida’s home in Peiping (now Peking) while Ida was having her breakfast.

As the story ended abruptly in 1938 with the Japanese invasion, I can estimate that they met when Ning Lao Tai-Tai was aged 69 to 71.

In this slim book of 250 pages, one can learn much of the sufferings and joys of Lao Tai-Tai (Old Mistress), and the customs and festivals celebrated by the Chinese then.

This is a heart-warming story of a matriarch who lived through such sufferings that are unimaginable to us nowadays. It’s only through reading such true stories that one can understand why the Chinese in China place stability and food above democratic rights like demonstrations and protests etc.

This book was published in 1945. We don’t know whether Lao Tai-Tai survived the Japanese invasion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *