ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The story of Chopsticks

Updated on September 21, 2011

When the first English Seaman set his foot on the beach of the Yangtze River near Shanghai, he saw some Chinese fisherman having their lunch. Those fishermen invited him to join in, and gave him a bowl of boiled rice and a pair of bamboo sticks, and they shared a pot of chicken stew.

When the English seaman was watching interestingly how those Chinese fishermen shovelled rice from the bowl into their mouth and pick up chicken from the pot using a pair of bamboo sticks. Those fishermen waved their chopsticks, saying: "Chop, Chop. "(Eat, eat!) Then they showed him how to pluck chicken meat off the bone by the chopsticks. What they meant actually was to encourage the seaman to start eating, but the English seaman mistook it as the name of bamboo sticks. So he wrote in his sea diary: Chinese don't eat with forks and knives, they use chopsticks instead!

That's how this English word chopsticks has been invented. Actually, the Chinese word for Chopsticks was "Zhu", which sounds similar to the word "stop", so it became a taboo among the superstitious fishermen on the ship. They wish their boat sailing quickly, so they call chopsticks "Kuai", which means "quick". As such "Kuai zi" eventually replaced the original word "zhu".

Ying C Compestine invented a story for the origin of chopsticks in her book, and said "all Chinese people ate with their hands", and she gives credit for the invention of chopsticks to a hungry boy named "Kuai zi", who "pulled two sticks from the kindling pile and used them to spear chunks of hot food."

I wonder why Mrs. Compestine invents this story which is neither witty nor humorous, nor lacks of culture meaning. Actually, why do we need a human brain to use a stick to fish out food from a hot pot? The world’s foremost authority on chimpanzees, Dr. Goodall observed that even a chimpanzee can use thin sticks to fish termites out of a termite mound, and they even use sticks to measure the depth of water and as "walking sticks" to support their posture when crossing.

Western people don't know how to use chopsticks, because they have been evolved too far away from their ancestor, and totally forgot how Adam and Eve ate with a pair of sticks, for there is no records in the Bible. But Chinese people continue to use chopsticks generation after generation, and they decorate the chopsticks with delicate calligraphy, pictures of dragons and phoenixes, and images of Chinese opera and landscapes. We make chopsticks out of different materials such as wood, bamboo, silver, gold and ivory. We turn chopsticks into wonderful artworks, a pair of chopsticks are not only just eating tools, but also collectible art which bears five thousand years of culture and history.

It's said that the tyrant King Chou of Shang dynasty first ordered his craftsman to make chopsticks out of ivory, but we now know that there are no elephants around the Yellow River basin in the North China. Archeologists develops a theory of climate change on Central Kingdom, where once was a very warm area such as India. But most of the historians believe that the ivories which King Chou used had been tributed by nations from the south.

Ancient forensic also used silver needle to detect poisons such as arsenic, so it's wide spread belief that that silver chopsticks can detect poison for they may turn their silver colour into black when they came in contact with poisonous food. The fact was that the arsenic was not pure due to poor refinery technology, which contains traces of sulphur or sulphide which can produce a layer of silver suphide by chemical reaction, so that change the colour of silver.

Kungfu Chopsticks

Chopsticks is also a lethal weapon as deadly as knives and forks in the hands of Chinese kungfu master. I am not kidding, and it's one of real hidden weapons, and even more difficult to defend because the kungfu master don't have to take out flying darts, he simply shoots out his chopsticks while he's feasting with his enemy, and the talks break down. A normal bamboo chopstick can penetrate a metal washing basin, you can imagine how it may happen when it hit human flesh!

Unity is strength

We all know that you can easily break one chopsticks, but it's quite difficult to break a bunch of chopsticks. This is so called "unity is strength", and this story has been handed down generation after generation. Once upon a time, an ancient King who had twenty sons, every one of them has one merit or another, but they always fought against each other. One day, the King was lying in his deathbed, he summoned all his sons to his room, and gave one chopstick each, and ordered them to break it. The sons did easily. Then he gave them each a bunch of chopsticks, and again asked them to break it. But the sons found it was very difficult to do so, almost impossible. The King looked at them meaningfully, and breathed his last. The princes understood what their father was trying to teach them, and they stopped fighting each other, and worked together to create a powerful dynasty.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)