An Old Story of Gold Mining 金礦古事

Abstract

This story was narrated by an old Chinese miner from Queensland, Australia. The story is mainly about the conflict between the white and Chinese gold miners, with the former showing jealousy and supremacy after the latter having successfully found a large gold nugget. The white diggers lost the first fight due to underestimating their Chinese counterparts while immediately set up another plan to fight back. Nevertheless, a constable steps in in order to maintain the social stability, letting out the white miners' plan so that the Chinese can escape without a trace.

Translation

Yesterday, an old miner from Queensland shared some stories about the gold mine in the past, which made the listeners fail to hide their laughter. According to him, forty years ago, there was a gold mine in the land of the Glengarry, Victoria, that contained gold dust as small as dust particles and gold nuggets as big as fists. The largest nugget weighed about ten pounds, and people called the mine "Jewelry Shop" because its gold shone like the windows of a jewelry shop. One worker once found a lump of yellow clay containing 60 ounces of gold, but unfortunately, the vein did not extend further. However, many people still made a fortune from this mine, which soon became famous far and wide and attracted many Chinese people. When the Chinese first saw the guards at the entrance to the mine, they asked, "Are you here to dig gold?" and the answer was yes. However, when they entered the mine, the white men became jealous and claimed that they were the first to discover and occupy this lucky place, so why should they let the yellow-faced people from heaven come and share the wealth? The listener replied, "There's no room for mercy. Let's unite and attack the Chinese tomorrow morning, drive them away and scatter them in all directions." After careful consideration, everyone agreed. Some suggested that fighting the Chinese didn't require weapons such as knives or guns, but only sticks of various sizes, long or short, which were more than enough to avoid greedy and ambitious officials. One man who returned from a foreign liquor store and was known for his bravery said that if the Chinese dared to fight back, he would kill six of them. Others said that not far away, there were people riding fat horses, carrying long sticks, and holding rocks. Soon, the Chinese and the white people met. It seemed that the Chinese knew the information beforehand and stood on the back of a tree behind a rock, waiting for them to approach. The white people shouted and lifted long sticks in the air to scare them like mad dogs. They threw rocks, and the riders from behind came running like war horses. However, the Chinese were more cunning and used sharp sticks, causing both the riders and horses to be terrified.

It was because the Chinese hid in the woods, and no one saw them, only heard their voice, which was like that of a lion or a tiger, calling and howling like a windstorm. The leader of the white group, who called himself a “general”, stood like his horse that stood on two hind hooves like two pillars, causing everyone to feel fear. After a brief moment, the yellow people rushed out of the woods. At this point, the white realized they had not brought their weapons, and it was as difficult as trying to catch a tiger in the mountains. Seeing that the Chinese had sharp and pointed sticks, the white were frightened and scattered. They thought that this was a minor matter, and they had not underestimated the fight and then failed to plan properly. It turned out to be as easy as using a small stick to scare away a ghost. After the confusion, everyone ran away. They were afraid that the Chinese had cannons, which made them even more frightened. At this time, the horses clenched the iron in their mouths, ignoring whether their masters had taken the reins, galloping as fast as they could. “The Chinese knew that we had lost the battle and chased after us. Some of us lost our sticks or horses, and some of us ran far away before stopping to look for our horses. We English people were defeated by the yellow race. This is a true story. At that time, I had no other thoughts and only knew that I could not go back without a face. Some of the younger people who were waiting laughed at us, which was very embarrassing.” The Chinese stood by the roadside and laughed for a while, but the general was angry and could not accept the fact that the whites lost to the yellows. He was forced to leave. When he turned around, he immediately set up another plan, and the leaders discussed the matter together. It was not like the previous time, where we stepped on a rotten box. Now our bodies and bones were in pain, and our faces were injured. The general sat on a wine box and said to everyone, "The English are heroes in the world, but we have lost face this time. We must swear to seek revenge together." The decision had been made. Each leader was in charge of long guns and short cannons, preparing gunpowder and bullets. An onlooker was horrified and sarcastically said, “if the bullet were missed, the Chinese would be fortunate; if they do get shot, they would be regretting not escaping away.” However, those who were hurt did not need to say much, and revenge must be taken. Soon after, a constable heard of this and was afraid that there would be more trouble in the future. Therefore, they contacted the Chinese privately and, the next day, the general and his men came with guns and cannons, but the enemy had already left without a trace. It became a laughing matter.

Metadata

Date
1908-05-16
Transcription
昨有老年礦工。自將堅士蘭省金礦古事言談。令聞者莫能隱笑。據云。四十年前。哥倫加利地土。有一金礦。其金砂有幼如微塵者。亦有大如拳頭。其最大團之金。約重十磅。人皆呼此礦為首飾店。因其金礦真如首飾店窗門之光輝。有一工人。鋤得黃坭一通。內載粗幼金六十安士。惜其金苗不長。然藉此礦而發大財者。亦非不多。由是遠近揚名。不久引動華人而至。初見金礦把路者。則聞曰。何來鋤金否耶。答曰可也。是故進步。不料入至礦中。白人即生妒忌。比若豎旗為頭目者。企在貨箱面。對眾宣言。乃謂我等先至。佔此吉地,何肯准天上之黃面人到來,同分其肥。聞者答曰。寸不容情。相約次早聯力攻擊黃人。驅逐各散東西。參詳既畢。眾口同聲。又有說。與華人相戰。無勞刀鎗。獨用長短大小棍條。足以有餘。免動貪功差役。有一從洋酒店而囘者。素稱膽勇之夫。謂華人稍敢囘手。必殺六人。又有說。今隔不遠。有騎肥馬。有携長棍。有執石頭。不久黃白相遇。似為華人早知消息。立於石岩。樹背。等候兩相近身。白人高聲喝打。有舉長棍於空中。如嚇狂犬。有擲石頭。騎馬者。從後被成黨奔走而來。果似戰場馬將之威。豈料華人計較更高。皆用尖嘴長棍。人馬皆發大驚。 乃因華人私在樹林中藏匿。不見其人。衹聞其聲。如獅似虎。呼嘯楊威。黨內頭目自稱為將軍者。所騎之馬用兩後蹄企立如柱。皆覺震懼。越半息間。黃人從林中奔出。此時方知未携軍器。真如入山擒虎之難。看見華人長棍。削至尖利。白人則發驚散陣。乃因將事看小。未先預立章程。真如手持小棍打鬼之易而已。既亂陣後。各自奔走。且恐華人有炮。更令心驚。此時將馬口含之鐵咬實。不理主人收韁與否。盡勢奔騰。華人知我敗陣。揚聲追來我等或失所携之棍。或失其馬。或走甚遠而後停止。尋馬。我大英人。敗於黃種者。此次乃真實之事也。該時心無別意。獨知無面囘歸。有等少年。果覺令人嘲笑。爾我同立路邊。亦笑片時。獨是將軍。胸面滿怒。此次白受黃敗。自不心甘。亦逼於勉強而走。及至囘頭時在路邊即設政局。合眾參詳。不比前次之足踏爛箱。今時身骨已痛。頭面亦傷。將軍坐於毡酒箱上。對眾說曰。英人乃世間之豪雄。今失體面。誓必協力報仇。參議已定。各司長鎗短炮。預備火藥彈丸。旁觀者代為驚懼。冷言諷曰。倘彈丸不中。更為有幸。若擊斃人時。不免於自投羅網矣。但各受痛者。無勞多言。務必報仇。不久巡差聞此。驚恐他日是非迭生。是故。私自通情於華人。一概別往。次早將軍及人馬炮火齊來。仇敵已去。無踪可尋。徒發一笑而已。
Subject
Category
Author
Anomynous
Current holder
Link
Access rights
Digitised
Country of origin
Language
Physical format
Newspapers
Related resources
Place of Publication
Chinese Australian Herald