Song of a barbarian reed pipe
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Another insane character is the village crazy woman in China. Like her future daughter, Brave Orchid is compassionate when it comes to insanity. She tells the villagers that the woman is not really trying to signal planes, no matter what she may say. Still, the villagers stone her to death. In “A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe,” the narrator describes “half a dozen crazy women [who] are girls” who live in her neighborhood. The foremost is Crazy Mary, whose prescription accidentally gets delivered to Brave Orchid. Crazy Mary is the only one of her siblings born in China. Her parents emigrated without her. By the time they sent for her, she had gone mad.