Children's Fiction




Smallwood, Ian. (1990). The Bones of Lo Tai. Hong Kong: Longman.

This is a two-part story about a young boy, Tony Cheung’s discovery of a cave that once belonged to pirates.  The first part details the exploration of the cave; the second part is the prequel which uncovers the cave’s secret that dates back to two hundred years ago.

“The Treasure Cave”

Tony is a Form Two student at a school in Yuen Long, and lives in a small fishing village.  There is a quarry near his house, and it is busy everyday except Sunday. Tony and his friend Sam go to look around the empty quarry every Sunday, and one time, they find a gold ring with jewels on a little rocky slope.  They also find a large hole in the side of the cliff.  Tony goes back home and brings a torch and a long rope, and both of them go down the cave.  They walk across a man-made room full of human skeletons towards a small opening in the rock.  Inside is a big pile of gold and silver and jewels, and sitting atop the pile is another skeleton wrapped in chains.  There are three other skeletons behind--two men and one large animal.  Tony and Sam put the best pieces of treasure in their pockets and decide to go home and fetch some large bags to take the rest.  As soon as they reach the entrance, large rocks crash down the passage and block the cave.  Tony hears an evil laughter that seems to be coming from the treasure room.  The boys follow bats and find a way out.  A helicopter from the rescue services rescues them from the cave mouth, and they do not tell the police about the treasure. The families of the two boys become rich, but they stay in the village.  People sometimes ask them why they stay in the village instead of moving to a nicer part of Hong Kong, they just say they are waiting, without telling anybody what they are waiting for.

“The Pirate Brothers”

Chek Lap Kok, off the north coast of Lantau Island, used to be ruled by three very fierce brothers--Lo Tai, and his two younger brothers Ah Biu and Ah Wai.  They virtually enslave the villagers.  Tang Ka Yung, who used to be the village chief, has a beautiful daughter Sau Lan and a son Chi Keung.  The chief pirate Lo Tai wants to forcibly marry Sau Lan and the family decides to flee. Lo Tai learns about the plan and decides to kill Ka Yung.  The pirates take Ka Yung to the place where their treasures are hidden.  Chi Keung, Sau Lan and their two dogs Ah Choi and Ah Wong follow the pirates.  They find lots of dead bodies and skeletons in the pirates’ cave.  These are the bodies of villagers who helped put the treasure in the cave for Lo Tai.  Chi Keung shoots Lo Tai and the two dogs kill Ah Biu and Ah Wai, though Ah Wong dies in the fight.  Lo Tai is left in the cave cursing the treasure, saying that he will make the rocks fall down and kill anybody who tries to take one piece of it out of the cave.  The family use gunpowder to make the rocks block the cave’s entrance, and the treasure is hidden.  They return to the village, and Ka Yung is chief of the village again.  The pirates leave Chek Lap Kok because they cannot get to the treasure anymore.

All entries and data copyright © The Hong Kong English Literature Database