“Kan,” she said. “Laohu.” She put her hands down on the table and let go.
A little paper tiger stood on the table, the size of two fists placed together. The skin of the tiger was the pattern on the wrapping paper, white background with red candy canes and green Christmas trees.
I reached out to Mom’s creation. Its tail twitched, and it pounced playfully at my finger. “Rawrr-sa,” it growled, the sound somewhere between a cat and rustling newspapers.
I laughed, startled, and stroked its back with an index finger. The paper tiger vibrated under my finger, purring.
“Zhe jiao zhezhi,” Mom said. This is called origami.
I didn’t know this at the time, but Mom’s kind was special. She breathed into them so that they shared her breath, and thus moved with her life. This was her magic.From the Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu
A wonderful short story. I almost hate to link to Gizmodo, which allows one to read it for free in its entirety because it’s so ad-ridden. But it’s worth a a read.
As Gizmodo says at the beginning of it’s article:
Ken Liu’s incredible story “Paper Menagerie” just became the first work of fiction to win all three of SF’s major awards: the Hugo, the Nebula and the World Fantasy Award.Gizmodo