The white swan and swan qin of Yugur Ethnic Group
The folk stories and legends of the Yuku nationality have abundant contents and vivid language, and are full of national styles. “Swan qin” is one among them.
According to legend, long long ago, there was a poor young fellow who lived the life of herding for the head of tribe and having no enough foods every day. The young fellow had a good singing voice, and sang songs when he herded every day. The people liked his songs very much. Whenever they heard his songs, they felt that it relieved a lot of pains and worries for them. Not only man but also animals liked listening to his songs. Every time when he sang, many swans came to listen to him. And other swans left after listening to the songs, but only one white swan flapped swings and danced, and was not willing to leave for a long time. After a considerable period of time, the young fellow was always together with this white swan, and they became good friends. On one morning, the young fellow came to the bank of the lake again, but he did not meet the white swan. He thought that maybe the white swan was still sleeping, so he went in a hurry to look for it in the reeds. Unexpectedly, when he reached the reeds, a group of yellow-pointed birds flied up. Then he found that this group of poison birds had eaten the white swan, only the skeleton, intestines and stomach were left. The young fellow threw himself on the skeleton and cried loudly from the morning right up to the night, he became tired and fell asleep.
On the next day, when the young fellow woke up, he found that the skeleton of the swan had become a beautiful qin. He looked at it carefully and found that the qin was installed with six strings that were totally made of the intestines of the swan. The head of the qin is exactly alike with that of swan, and the eyes were still sparkling. The young fellow surprisingly moved the first string, the swan qin sent out an unusually beautiful sound. Shortly after that, it suddenly thundered even on a sunny day, and heavy rain came. When he moved the second string, the rain stopped and the cloud scattered; when he moved the third string, it became sunny again, and a beautiful rainbow fell before his eyes; when he moved the fourth string, a burst of very beautiful sound of singing came to his ears; and when he moved the fifth string, he found a horse was walking towards him. He rode on the horse and ran to the place where the sound of singing came, but he found nothing when he arrived there. The young fellow remembered that there was still one string that he had not moved, when he moved the sixth string, a beautiful girl wearing white skirt flied down from the cloud, smiled and bowed to him before his horse. The young fellow helped the girl up to the horse at once, they rode the horse, played the swan qin, and covered all the places on the pasture of the Yuku nationality. As a matter of fact, the girl was a swan fairy, she sympathized the young fellow, and so descended to the world and married him. It was said that the girl returned back to the heaven with the young fellow later. Since then, the Yuku nationality had the instrument of their own nationality—swan qin.