“He read a legend of a girl whose father took pains as she should never go out into the world. But one day she wandered through a gap in the wall before her father found her. ‘What is that creature with fluffy hair that goes baa?’ ‘It is a sheep, my daughter.’ ‘And what is that creature with big dangly things that goes moo?’ ‘It is a cow, my daughter.’ ‘And what is that tall, two-legged, bearded, thrillingly handsome creature that is staring at me?’ ‘It is a tiger, my daughter. If you go close, it will devour you.’ And the girl replied, ‘I have a strange longing to be devoured.’”

-From The Beijing of Possibilities by Jonathan Tel, a collection of stories spanning every genre from magical realism to historical fiction, all taking place within or around Beijing. Read more fiction.


We need your help to get to 5,000 Longreads Members.

Join Longreads now and help us keep going.