Children's Fiction




Rogers, Sandi. (1989). The Silver Box. Hong Kong: Longman.

This is a story about five teenage brothers who move to Hong Kong from China as young children.  The eldest brother is called Long Legs, second eldest Fat One, middle brother Short One, next brother Skinny, and youngest Tiny.  One day, Long Legs meets an old man in Kowloon who shows him pictures of a house and asks for the location.  The next day, Fat One meets the same old man in Wan Chai.  When the brothers discuss this, Tiny tells them he saw the house in a dream.  At first, the brothers think Tiny lying but when Tiny has more dreams about the house and a beautiful woman holding a silver box, the brothers begin to believe him. Tiny visits Aunt Jane the next day and tells her about the dream of the beautiful woman and the silver box, which reminds Aunt Jane of her mother’s silver box.  The brothers go and look for the old man the next day. 

That night, Tiny has another dream.  He sees a handsome man talking to an old woman who leads him to a garden at the back of a large house to see the beautiful woman.  She is from Britain and the man, Yan San, is from Canton.  Suddenly, the woman’s father, who is wearing an English military uniform, runs into the garden holding a gun, threatening to shoot Yan San, and Yan San runs away.  Aunt Jane lends the silver box to Tiny and tells him the story about the box.  The box belonged to an English woman named Marilyn Bush.  Marilyn gave the box to her friend Chu-yin who knew about magic and she could make people disappear.  When Chu-yin died, she gave the box to Tiny’s grandmother.  The brothers try to open the silver box, and they find some old letters and a small piece of yellow paper inside.  On one side of the paper is written “TO GO,” and on the other side are the words “TO GO BACK.”  Tiny’s brothers find the old man Yan San, and bring him home. 

Yan San was born in 1818 in Canton, China.  He was a merchant.  He came to Hong Kong when he was 22 years old and met Marilyn.  Marilyn’s father wanted to kill Yan San because it was considered bad for foreigners to marry Chinese.  Chu-yin used magic to help Yan San to go to the future by asking him to read some magic words.  Yan San waited on an island in the Pacific Ocean for 50 years for Marilyn to join him.  Tiny suggests that Yan San should go back to the past to find Marilyn.  Yan San reads the magic words on the yellow paper, and he disappears.  In Tiny’s dream that night, he sees Yan San in England getting married to Marilyn. (FC)

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