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Ching Ching, Chinaman

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Ching Ching, Chinaman

by Wilbur Steele

Genre: Drama
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


He had been growing feebler so long and so gradually that I had made nothing of it. Once, I remember, it struck me queer that he wasn’t working so hard as he had used to. Still earliest of all and latest of all, he would sometimes leave his iron cooling on the board now and stand for minutes of the precious day, dreaming out of the harbor window. When the sun was sinking, the shaft through the window bathed his head and his lean neck with a quality almost barbaric, and for a moment in the gloom made by the bright pencil, the new, raw things of Urkey faded out, leaving him alone in his ancient and ordered civilization, a little wistful, I think, and perhaps a little frightened, as a child waking from a long, dreaming sleep, to find his mother gone.

He had begun to talk about China, too, and the river where he was born. And I made nothing of it, it came on so gradually, day by day. Then I went away, as I have said, and came back again. I dropped in at the scow the second day after the packet brought me home.


Some unfortunate “speakee Chinee” dialect, but at the heart of this story lies a very interesting premise: a Chinese in early America, longing to get back to his homeland before he dies. You might need to invent some EVENTS, but the basic idea is sound.


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