What is Chapter 17 of The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen about?

Expert Answers
teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 17 regales us about Prince Jen's adventures as he makes his way to Chai-Sang. The chapter tells how he comes to give away the kite that was to be offered to Yuan Ming.

Accordingly, fighting in the southern districts have led to desertions; local soldiers are rumored to have thrown in their lot with the famed bandit, The Yellow Scarf King. In fact, the local people warn Prince Jen against going to Chai-Sang, as the city seems to have fallen under the bandit's power. Hearing of the bandit leader's fantastic exploits on the battlefield, Jen realizes that the special sword has made the Yellow Scarf King invincible. Burdened with guilt at his cowardice in surrendering such a fine sword, he berates himself; however, he realizes that he must still make his way to Chai-Sang.

His main aim is to find Voyaging Moon and then together, to look for Moxa and Mafoo. He comforts himself that he still has three gifts left, and with these, Yuan-Ming will not refuse to see him. On his travels, he stops to rest at a farmhouse, where Plum Blossom lives with her almost comatose young grand-daughter, Fragrance of Orchid. Plum Blossom worriedly confides to Prince Jen that her grand-daughter will soon die if her spirit cannot be quickened; the young girl needs something to live for.

Upon hearing that the girl loves birds, Prince Jen works to fashion the struts and rods of the kite into a bird-shaped kite for Fragrance of Orchid to play with. Before long, the child's curiosity is awakened, and she is roused from her strange stupor. Eventually, she is able to get up from her sick-bed and to fly the kite herself. Alas, Prince Jen has given away another one of his gift offerings, and this time, to a child! However, the author asks us to consider whether anyone with a heart would bid him to do otherwise.