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Once upon a time, a long time ago, it was the custom in China to give firstborn sons great, long, important names. Second sons were given only little, short names.




In a small village there lived a mother with two sons. The first son was called Tikki tikki tembo nosa rembo chari bari ruchi pip pen pembo, which means “the most wonderful boy in the whole world” The younger son was called Chang, which means “little or nothing.”

Their mother said to them, “Do not play near the well, or you will fall in.” But the boys did not heed her. Tikki tikki tembo nosa rembo chari bari ruchi pip peri pembo ran to his mother and said, “Oh, honoured mother, Chang has fallen into the well.”
The mother said,”What a foolish boy. Run to the Old Man With the Ladder and he will get him out.” The Old Man rescues Chang and soon the little boy was back normal.

When Tikki tikki tembo nosa rembo chari bari ruchi pip pen pembo falls into the well, it takes a long time to get help because of his long name. It takes months for the boy to recover. Nowadays people in China give all their children little, short names instead of great, long, important ones.

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