Visitors to China brought back many wonderful and exciting stories. Some of these stories were true, but others were not.
Imagine that you heard the following stories about China. Would you believe them? Why or why not?
1. Chinese people traveled in wagons that were pushed along by sails, instead of pulled by horses.
2. Flying tortoises live in China.
3. The Chinese secret ingredients for making beautiful porcelain dishes included grinding up eggs and lobster shells, and then burying the dishes in the ground for up to 100 years to allow them to harden.
None of these three stories are true. However, a European engineer was so inspired by stories about wagons with sails that he designed one that could be raced on long, flat beaches near the seashore. The stories about flying tortoises were based on a mistake in translation; sometimes sea tortoises had algae grow on their backs, and the Chinese called them "green haired tortoises" because the algae looked like hair. "Hair" was mistakenly translated as "wings." Finally, the recipe for porcelain was a closely guarded secret for many years, but it does not include eggs or lobster shells.