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Title: The Chinese Fairy Book
Author: Wilhelm, Richard, 1873-1930 [Editor]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Internet Archive)



                  THE
              CHINESE FAIRY
                  BOOK

               EDITED BY
             DR. R. WILHELM

  TRANSLATED AFTER ORIGINAL SOURCES BY
          FREDERICK H. MARTENS


             [Illustration]


   WITH SIX ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOR BY
             GEORGE W. HOOD


                NEW YORK
       FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
               PUBLISHERS



          _Copyright, 1921, by_
       FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

          _All Rights Reserved_



    BOOKS IN THE "FAIRY SERIES"

      _The English Fairy Book_
      _The Welsh Fairy Book_
      _The Irish Fairy Book_
      _The Scottish Fairy Book_
      _The Italian Fairy Book_
      _The Hungarian Fairy Book_
      _The Indian Fairy Book_
      _The Jewish Fairy Book_
      _The Swedish Fairy Book_
      _The Chinese Fairy Book_



  [Illustration: "THE CROWS COME FLYING AND FORM A BRIDGE OVER WHICH
    THE WEAVING MAIDEN CROSSES THE SILVER RIVER."
                                                  --_Page 40_]



PREFACE


The fairy tales and legends of olden China have in common with the
"Thousand and One Nights" an oriental glow and glitter of precious
stones and gold and multicolored silks, an oriental wealth of
fantastic and supernatural action. And yet they strike an exotic note
distinct in itself. The seventy-three stories here presented after
original sources, embracing "Nursery Fairy Tales," "Legends of the
Gods," "Tales of Saints and Magicians," "Nature and Animal Tales,"
"Ghost Stories," "Historic Fairy Tales," and "Literary Fairy Tales,"
probably represent the most comprehensive and varied collection of
oriental fairy tales ever made available for American readers. There
is no child who will not enjoy their novel color, their fantastic
beauty, their infinite variety of subject. Yet, like the "Arabian
Nights," they will amply repay the attention of the older reader as
well. Some are exquisitely poetic, such as "The Flower-Elves," "The
Lady of the Moon" or "The Herd Boy and the Weaving Maiden"; others
like "How Three Heroes Came By Their Deaths Because Of Two Peaches,"
carry us back dramatically and powerfully to the Chinese age of
Chivalry. The summits of fantasy are scaled in the quasi-religious
dramas of "The Ape Sun Wu Kung" and "Notscha," or the weird sorceries
unfolded in "The Kindly Magician." Delightful ghost stories, with
happy endings, such as "A Night on the Battlefield" and "The Ghost Who
Was Foiled," are paralleled with such idyllic love-tales as that of
"Rose of Evening," or such Lilliputian fancies as "The King of the
Ants" and "The Little Hunting Dog." It is quite safe to say that these
Chinese fairy tales will give equal pleasure to the old as well as the
young. They have been retold simply, with no changes in style or
expression beyond such details of presentation which differences
between oriental and occidental viewpoints at times compel. It is the
writer's hope that others may take as much pleasure in reading them as
he did in their translation.

    FREDRICK H. MARTENS.



CONTENTS


                                                                  PAGE

    PREFACE                                                          v


    NURSERY FAIRY TALES

    CHAPTER

          I WOMEN'S WORDS PART FLESH AND BLOOD                       1

         II THE THREE RHYMSTERS                                      4

        III HOW GREED FOR A TRIFLING THING LED A MAN TO LOSE A
              GREAT ONE                                              6

         IV WHO WAS THE SINNER?                                      9

          V THE MAGIC CASK                                          10

         VI THE FAVORITE OF FORTUNE AND THE CHILD OF ILL LUCK       11

        VII THE BIRD WITH NINE HEADS                                13

       VIII THE CAVE OF THE BEASTS                                  17

         IX THE PANTHER                                             20

          X THE GREAT FLOOD                                         24

         XI THE FOX AND THE TIGER                                   27

        XII THE TIGER'S DECOY                                       28

       XIII THE FOX AND THE RAVEN                                   29

        XIV WHY DOG AND CAT ARE ENEMIES                             30


    LEGENDS OF THE GODS

         XV HOW THE FIVE ANCIENTS BECAME MEN                        35

        XVI THE HERD BOY AND THE WEAVING MAIDEN                     37

       XVII YANG OERLANG                                            42

      XVIII NOTSCHA                                                 44

        XIX THE LADY OF THE MOON                                    53

         XX THE MORNING AND THE EVENING STAR                        55

        XXI THE GIRL WITH THE HORSE'S HEAD OR THE SILKWORM
              GODDESS                                               56

       XXII THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN                                     58

      XXIII THE FIRE-GOD                                            61

       XXIV THE THREE RULING GODS                                   62

        XXV A LEGEND OF CONFUCIUS                                   64

       XXVI THE GOD OF WAR                                          66


    TALES OF SAINTS AND MAGICIANS

      XXVII THE HALOS OF THE SAINTS                                 71

     XXVIII LAOTSZE                                                 73

       XXIX THE ANCIENT MAN                                         75

        XXX THE EIGHT IMMORTALS (I)                                 76

       XXXI THE EIGHT IMMORTALS (II)                                82

      XXXII THE TWO SCHOLARS                                        84

     XXXIII THE MISERLY FARMER                                      88

      XXXIV SKY O'DAWN                                              90

       XXXV KING MU OF DSCHOU                                       95

      XXXVI THE KING OF HUAI NAN                                    99

     XXXVII OLD DSCHANG                                            102

    XXXVIII THE KINDLY MAGICIAN                                    107


    NATURE AND ANIMAL TALES

      XXXIX THE FLOWER-ELVES                                       119

         XL THE SPIRIT OF THE WU-LIAN MOUNTAIN                     124

        XLI THE KING OF THE ANTS                                   125

       XLII THE LITTLE HUNTING DOG                                 127

      XLIII THE DRAGON AFTER HIS WINTER SLEEP                      130

       XLIV THE SPIRITS OF THE YELLOW RIVER                        131

        XLV THE DRAGON-PRINCESS                                    137

       XLVI HELP IN NEED                                           142

      XLVII THE DISOWNED PRINCESS                                  151

     XLVIII FOX-FIRE                                               161


    GHOST STORIES

       XLIX THE TALKING SILVER FOXES                               165

          L THE CONSTABLE                                          168

         LI THE DANGEROUS REWARD                                   174

        LII RETRIBUTION                                            177

       LIII THE GHOST WHO WAS FOILED                               180

        LIV THE PUNISHMENT OF GREED                                184

         LV THE NIGHT ON THE BATTLEFIELD                           186

        LVI THE KINGDOM OF THE OGRES                               189

       LVII THE MAIDEN WHO WAS STOLEN AWAY                         196

      LVIII THE FLYING OGRE                                        199

        LIX BLACK ARTS                                             201


    HISTORIC LEGENDS

         LX THE SORCERER OF THE WHITE LOTUS LODGE                  209

        LXI THE THREE EVILS                                        212

       LXII HOW THREE HEROES CAME BY THEIR DEATHS BECAUSE OF
              TWO PEACHES                                          215

      LXIII HOW THE RIVER GOD'S WEDDING WAS BROKEN OFF             218

       LXIV DSCHANG LIANG                                          220

        LXV OLD DRAGONBEARD                                        223

       LXVI HOW MOLO STOLE THE LOVELY ROSE-RED                     231

      LXVII THE GOLDEN CANISTER                                    235

     LXVIII YANG GUI FE                                            240

       LXIX THE MONK OF THE YANGTZE-KIANG                          243


    LITERARY FAIRY TALES

        LXX THE HEARTLESS HUSBAND                                  251

       LXXI GIAUNA THE BEAUTIFUL                                   261

      LXXII THE FROG PRINCESS                                      271

     LXXIII ROSE OF EVENING                                        280

      LXXIV THE APE SUN WU KUNG                                    288



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


    "The crows come flying and form a bridge over which the
      Weaving Maiden crosses the Silver River"          _Frontispiece_

                                                           FACING PAGE

    "Beside it stood a Cassia-tree"                                 54

    "'And I crossed the water on the shoe'"                         90

    "A fisherboy dived into the water and brought up a pearl
      from beneath the chin of a black dragon"                     138

    "Tsian Tang brought out a platter of red amber on which
      lay a carbuncle"                                             156

    "Then he took his master and Rose-Red upon his back and
      flew with them over the steep walls"                         234



NURSERY FAIRY TALES



THE CHINESE FAIRY BOOK



I

WOMEN'S WORDS PART FLESH AND BLOOD


Once upon a time there were two brothers, who lived in the same house.
And the big brother listened to his wife's words, and because of them
fell out with the little one. Summer had begun, and the time for
sowing the high-growing millet had come. The little brother had no
grain, and asked the big one to loan him some, and the big one ordered
his wife to give it to him. But she took the grain, put it in a large
pot and cooked it until it was done. Then she gave it to the little
fellow. He knew nothing about it, and went and sowed his field with
it. Yet, since the grain had been cooked, it did not sprout. Only a
single grain of seed had not been cooked; so only a single sprout shot
up. The little brother was hard-working and industrious by nature, and
hence he watered and hoed the sprout all day long. And the sprout grew
mightily, like a tree, and an ear of millet sprang up out of it like a
canopy, large enough to shade half an acre of ground. In the fall the
ear was ripe. Then the little brother took his ax and chopped it down.
But no sooner had the ear fallen to the ground, than an enormous Roc
came rushing down, took the ear in his beak and flew away. The little
brother ran after him as far as the shore of the sea.

Then the bird turned and spoke to him like a human being, as follows:
"You should not seek to harm me! What is this one ear worth to you?
East of the sea is the isle of gold and silver. I will carry you
across. There you may take whatever you want, and become very rich."

The little brother was satisfied, and climbed on the bird's back, and
the latter told him to close his eyes. So he only heard the air
whistling past his ears, as though he were driving through a strong
wind, and beneath him the roar and surge of flood and waves. Suddenly
the bird settled on a rock: "Here we are!" he said.

Then the little brother opened his eyes and looked about him: and on
all sides he saw nothing but the radiance and shimmer of all sorts of
white and yellow objects. He took about a dozen of the little things
and hid them in his breast.

"Have you enough?" asked the Roc.

"Yes, I have enough," he replied.

"That is well," answered the bird. "Moderation protects one from
harm."

Then he once more took him up, and carried him back again.

When the little brother reached home, he bought himself a good piece
of ground in the course of time, and became quite well to do.

But his brother was jealous of him, and said to him, harshly: "Where
did you manage to steal the money?"

So the little one told him the whole truth of the matter. Then the big
brother went home and took counsel with his wife.

"Nothing easier," said his wife. "I will just cook grain again and
keep back one seedling so that it is not done. Then you shall sow it,
and we will see what happens."

No sooner said than done. And sure enough, a single sprout shot up,
and sure enough, the sprout bore a single ear of millet, and when
harvest time came around, the Roc again appeared and carried it off in
his beak. The big brother was pleased, and ran after him, and the Roc
said the same thing he had said before, and carried the big brother to
the island. There the big brother saw the gold and silver heaped up
everywhere. The largest pieces were like hills, the small ones were
like bricks, and the real tiny ones were like grains of sand. They
blinded his eyes. He only regretted that he knew of no way by which he
could move mountains. So he bent down and picked up as many pieces as
possible.

The Roc said: "Now you have enough. You will overtax your strength."

"Have patience but a little while longer," said the big brother. "Do
not be in such a hurry! I must get a few more pieces!"

And thus time passed.

The Roc again urged him to make haste: "The sun will appear in a
moment," said he, "and the sun is so hot it burns human beings up."

"Wait just a little while longer," said the big brother. But that very
moment a red disk broke through the clouds with tremendous power. The
Roc flew into the sea, stretched out both his wings, and beat the
water with them in order to escape the heat. But the big brother was
shrivelled up by the sun.

    Note: This fairy-tale is traditionally narrated. The
    Roc is called _pong_ in Chinese, and the treasures on
    the island are spoken of as "all sorts of yellow and
    white objects" because the little fellow does not know
    that they are gold and silver.



II

THE THREE RHYMSTERS


Once there were three daughters in a family. The oldest one married a
physician, the second one married a magistrate; but the third, who was
more than usually intelligent and a clever talker, married a farmer.

Now it chanced, once upon a time, that their parents were celebrating
a birthday. So the three daughters came, together with their husbands,
to wish them long life and happiness. The parents-in-law prepared a
meal for their three sons-in-law, and put the birthday wine on the
table. But the oldest son-in-law, who knew that the third one had not
attended school, wanted to embarrass him.

"It is far too tiresome," said he, "just to sit here drinking: let us
have a drinking game. Each one of us must invent a verse, one that
rimes and makes sense, on the words: 'in the sky, on the earth, at the
table, in the room,' And whoever cannot do so, must empty three
glasses as a punishment."

All the company were satisfied. Only the third son-in-law felt
embarrassed and insisted on leaving. But the guests would not let him
go, and obliged him to keep his seat.

Then the oldest son-in-law began: "I will make a start with my verse.
Here it is:

    "In the sky the phenix proudly flies,
    On the earth the lambkin tamely lies,
    At the table through an ancient book I wade,
    In the room I softly call the maid."

The second one continued: "And I say:

    "In the sky the turtle-dove flies round,
    On the earth the ox paws up the ground,
    At the table one studies the deeds of yore,
    In the room the maid she sweeps the floor."

But the third son-in-law stuttered, and found nothing to say. And when
all of them insisted, he broke out in rough tones of voice:

    "In the sky--flies a leaden bullet,
    On the earth--stalks a tiger-beast,
    On the table--lies a pair of scissors,
    In the room--I call the stable-boy."

The other two sons-in-law clapped their hands and began to laugh
loudly.

"Why the four lines do not rime at all," said they, "and, besides
they do not make sense. A leaden bullet is no bird, the stable-boy
does his work outside, would you call him into the room? Nonsense,
nonsense! Drink!"

Yet before they had finished speaking, the third daughter raised the
curtain of the women's room, and stepped out. She was angry, yet she
could not suppress a smile.

"How so do our lines not make sense?" said she. "Listen a moment, and
I'll explain them to you: In the sky our leaden bullet will shoot your
phenix and your turtle-dove. On the earth our tiger-beast will devour
your sheep and your ox. On the table our pair of scissors will cut up
all your old books. And finally, in the room--well, the stable-boy can
marry your maid!"

Then the oldest son-in-law said: "Well scolded! Sister-in-law, you
know how to talk! If you were a man you would have had your degree
long ago. And, as a punishment, we will empty our three glasses."

    Note: This is also a fairy-tale traditionally handed
    down.



III

HOW GREED FOR A TRIFLING THING LED A MAN TO LOSE A GREAT ONE


Once upon a time there was an old woman, who had two sons. But her
older son did not love his parents, and left his mother and brother.
The younger one served her so faithfully, however, that all the people
spoke of his filial affection.

One day it happened that there was a theatrical performance given
outside the village. The younger son started to carry his mother there
on his back, so that she might look on. But there was a ravine before
the village, and he slipped and fell down in the middle of it. And his
mother was killed by the rolling stones, and her blood and flesh were
sprinkled about everywhere. The son stroked his mother's corpse, and
wept bitterly. He was about to kill himself when, suddenly, he saw a
priest standing before him.

The latter said: "Have no fear, for I can bring your mother back to
life again!" And as he said so, he stooped, gathered up her flesh and
bones, and laid them together as they should be. Then he breathed upon
them, and at once the mother was alive again. This made the son very
happy, and he thanked the priest on his knees. Yet on a sharp point of
rock he still saw a bit of his mother's flesh hanging, a bit about an
inch long.

"That should not be left hanging there either," said he, and hid it in
his breast.

"In truth, you love your mother as a son should," said the priest.
Then he bade the son give him the bit of flesh, kneaded a manikin out
of it, breathed upon it, and in a minute there it stood, a really
fine-looking little boy.

"His name is Small Profit," said he, turning to the son, "and you may
call him brother. You are poor and have not the wherewithal with which
to nourish your mother. If you need something, Small Profit can get it
for you."

The son thanked him once more, then took his mother on his back again,
and his new little brother by the hand, and went home. And when he
said to Small Profit: "Bring meat and wine!" then meat and wine were
at hand at once, and steaming rice was already cooking in the pot. And
when he said to Small Profit: "Bring money and cloth!" then his purse
filled itself with money, and the chests were heaped up with cloth to
the brim. Whatever he asked for that he received. Thus, in the course
of time, they came to be very well off indeed.

But his older brother envied him greatly. And when there was another
theatrical performance in the village, he took his mother on his
back--by force--and went to it. And when he reached the ravine, he
slipped purposely, and let his mother fall into the depths, only
intent to see that she really was shattered into fragments. And sure
enough his mother had such a bad fall that her limbs and trunk were
strewn around in all directions. He then climbed down, took his
mother's head in his hands, and pretended to weep.

And at once the priest was on hand again, and said: "I can wake the
dead to life again, and surround white bones with flesh and blood!"

Then he did as he had done before, and the mother came to life again.
But the older brother already had hidden one of her ribs on purpose.
He now pulled it out and said to the priest: "Here is a bone left.
What shall I do with it?"

The priest took the bone, enclosed it in lime and earth, breathed upon
it, as he had done the other time, and it became a little man,
resembling Small Profit, but larger in stature.

"His name is Great Duty," he told his older brother, "if you stick to
him he will always lend you a hand."

The son took his mother back again, and Great Duty walked beside him.

When he came to their courtyard door, he saw his younger brother
coming out, holding Small Profit in his arms.

"Where are you going?" he said to him.

His brother answered: "Small Profit is a divine being, who does not
wish to dwell for all time among men. He wants to fly back to the
heavens, and so I am escorting him."

"Give Small Profit to me! Don't let him get away!" cried the older
brother.

Yet, before he had ended his speech, Small Profit was rising in the
air. The older brother then quickly let his mother drop on the ground,
and stretched out his hand to catch Small Profit. But he did not
succeed, and now Great Duty, too, rose from the ground, took Small
Profit's hand, and together they ascended to the clouds and
disappeared.

Then the older brother stamped on the ground, and said with a sigh:
"Alas, I have lost my Great Duty because I was too greedy for that
Small Profit!"

    Note: In China--usually on festive days or because of
    some religious celebration--a provisional stage is
    erected before the village or temple, and a play given.
    Permanent theaters are to be found only in the large
    cities.



IV

WHO WAS THE SINNER?


Once upon a time there were ten farmers, who were crossing a field
together. They were surprised by a heavy thunder-storm, and took
refuge in a half-ruined temple. But the thunder drew ever nearer, and
so great was the tumult that the air trembled about them, while the
lightning flew around the temple in a continuous circle. The farmers
were greatly frightened, and thought that there must be a sinner among
them, whom the lightning would strike. In order to find out who it
might be, they agreed to hang their straw hats up before the door, and
he whose hat was blown away was to yield himself up to his fate.

No sooner were the hats outside, than one of them was blown away, and
the rest thrust its unfortunate owner out of doors without pity. But
as soon as he had left the temple the lightning ceased circling
around, and struck it with a crash.

The one whom the rest had thrust out, had been the only righteous one
among them, and for his sake the lightning had spared the temple. So
the other nine had to pay for their hard-heartedness with their lives.

    Note: A traditionally narrated fairy-tale.



V

THE MAGIC CASK


Once upon a time there was a man who dug up a big, earthenware cask in
his field. So he took it home with him and told his wife to clean it
out. But when his wife started brushing the inside of the cask, the
cask suddenly began to fill itself with brushes. No matter how many
were taken out, others kept on taking their place. So the man sold the
brushes, and the family managed to live quite comfortably.

Once a coin fell into the cask by mistake. At once the brushes
disappeared and the cask began to fill itself with money. So now the
family became rich; for they could take as much money out of the cask
as ever they wished.

Now the man had an old grandfather at home, who was weak and shaky.
Since there was nothing else he could do, his grandson set him to work
shoveling money out of the cask, and when the old grandfather grew
weary and could not keep on, he would fall into a rage, and shout at
him angrily, telling him he was lazy and did not want to work. One
day, however, the old man's strength gave out, and he fell into the
cask and died. At once the money disappeared, and the whole cask began
to fill itself with dead grandfathers. Then the man had to pull them
all out and have them buried, and for this purpose he had to use up
again all the money he had received. And when he was through, the cask
broke, and he was just as poor as before.

    Note: "The Magic Cask" is a traditionally narrated tale.
    In Northern China wooden casks or barrels are unknown.
    Large vessels, open at the top, of earth or stone are
    used to hold water and other liquids.



VI

THE FAVORITE OF FORTUNE AND THE CHILD OF ILL LUCK


Once upon a time there was a proud prince who had a daughter. But the
daughter was a child of ill luck. When it came time for her to marry,
she had all her suitors assemble before her father's palace. She was
going to throw down a ball of red silk among them, and whoever caught
it was to be her husband. Now there were many princes and counts
gathered before the castle, and in their midst there was also a
beggar. And the princess could see dragons crawling into his ears and
crawling out again from his nostrils, for he was a child of luck. So
she threw the ball to the beggar and he caught it.

Her father asked angrily: "Why did you throw the ball into the
beggar's hands?"

"He is a favorite of Fortune," said the princess, "I will marry him,
and then, perhaps, I will share in his good luck."

But her father would not hear of it, and since she insisted, he drove
her from the castle in his rage. So the princess had to go off with
the beggar. She dwelt with him in a little hut, and had to hunt for
herbs and roots, and cook them herself, so that they might have
something to eat; and often they both went hungry.

One day her husband said to her: "I will set out and seek my fortune.
And when I have found it, I will come back again and fetch you." The
princess was willing, and he went away, and was gone for eighteen
years. Meanwhile the princess lived in want and affliction, for her
father remained hard and merciless. If her mother had not secretly
given her food and money, no doubt she would have starved to death
during all that time.

But the beggar found his fortune, and at length became emperor. He
returned and stood before his wife. She however, no longer recognized
him: She only knew that he was the powerful emperor.

He asked her how she were getting along.

"Why do you ask me how I am getting along?" she replied. "I am too far
beneath your notice."

"And who may your husband be!"

"My husband was a beggar. He went away to seek his fortune. That was
eighteen years ago, and he has not yet returned."

"And what have you done during all those long years?"

"I have been waiting for him to return."

"Do you wish to marry some one else, seeing that he has been missing
so long?"

"No, I will remain his wife until I die."

When the emperor saw how faithful his wife was, he told her who he
was, had her clothed in magnificent garments, and took her with him to
his imperial palace. And there they lived in splendor and happiness.

After a few days the emperor said to his wife: "We spend every day in
festivities, as though every day were New Year."

"And why should we not celebrate," answered his wife, "since we have
now become emperor and empress?"

Yet his wife was a child of ill luck. When she had been empress no
more than eighteen days, she fell sick and died. But her husband lived
for many a long year.

    Note: "The Favorite of Fortune and the Child of Ill
    Luck" is a traditionally narrated fairy-tale. The dragon
    is the symbol of imperial rule, and the New Year's
    feasts, which old and young celebrate for weeks, is the
    greatest of Chinese festivals.



VII

THE BIRD WITH NINE HEADS


Long, long ago, there once lived a king and a queen who had a
daughter. One day, when the daughter went walking in the garden, a
tremendous storm suddenly came up and carried her away with it. Now
the storm had come from the bird with nine heads, who had robbed the
princess, and brought her to his cave. The king did not know whither
his daughter had disappeared, so he had proclaimed throughout the
land: "Whoever brings back the princess may have her for his bride!"

Now a youth had seen the bird as he was carrying the princess to his
cave. This cave, though, was in the middle of a sheer wall of rock.
One could not climb up to it from below, nor could one climb down to
it from above. And as the youth was walking around the rock, another
youth came along and asked him what he was doing there. So the first
youth told him that the bird with nine heads had carried off the
king's daughter, and had brought her up to his cave. The other chap
knew what he had to do. He called together his friends, and they
lowered the youth to the cave in a basket. And when he went into the
cave, he saw the king's daughter sitting there, and washing the wound
of the bird with nine heads; for the hound of heaven had bitten off
his tenth head, and his wound was still bleeding. The princess,
however, motioned to the youth to hide, and he did so. When the king's
daughter had washed his wound and bandaged it, the bird with nine
heads felt so comfortable, that one after another, all his nine heads
fell asleep. Then the youth stepped forth from his hiding-place, and
cut off his nine heads with a sword. But the king's daughter said: "It
would be best if you were hauled up first, and I came after."

"No," said the youth. "I will wait below here, until you are in
safety." At first the king's daughter was not willing; yet at last she
allowed herself to be persuaded, and climbed into the basket. But
before she did so, she took a long pin from her hair, broke it into
two halves and gave him one and kept the other. She also divided her
silken kerchief with him, and told him to take good care of both her
gifts. But when the other man had drawn up the king's daughter, he
took her along with him, and left the youth in the cave, in spite of
all his calling and pleading.

The youth now took a walk about the cave. There he saw a number of
maidens, all of whom had been carried off by the bird with nine heads,
and who had perished there of hunger. And on the wall hung a fish,
nailed against it with four nails. When he touched the fish, the
latter turned into a handsome youth, who thanked him for delivering
him, and they agreed to regard each other as brothers. Soon the first
youth grew very hungry. He stepped out in front of the cave to search
for food, but only stones were lying there. Then, suddenly, he saw a
great dragon, who was licking a stone. The youth imitated him, and
before long his hunger had disappeared. He next asked the dragon how
he could get away from the cave, and the dragon nodded his head in the
direction of his tail, as much as to say he should seat himself upon
it. So he climbed up, and in the twinkling of an eye he was down on
the ground, and the dragon had disappeared. He then went on until he
found a tortoise-shell full of beautiful pearls. But they were magic
pearls, for if you flung them into the fire, the fire ceased to burn
and if you flung them into the water, the water divided and you could
walk through the midst of it. The youth took the pearls out of the
tortoise-shell, and put them in his pocket. Not long after he reached
the sea-shore. Here he flung a pearl into the sea, and at once the
waters divided and he could see the sea-dragon. The sea-dragon cried:
"Who is disturbing me here in my own kingdom?" The youth answered: "I
found pearls in a tortoise-shell, and have flung one into the sea, and
now the waters have divided for me."

"If that is the case," said the dragon, "then come into the sea with
me and we will live there together." Then the youth recognized him for
the same dragon whom he had seen in the cave. And with him was the
youth with whom he had formed a bond of brotherhood: He was the
dragon's son.

"Since you have saved my son and become his brother, I am your
father," said the old dragon. And he entertained him hospitably with
food and wine.

One day his friend said to him: "My father is sure to want to reward
you. But accept no money, nor any jewels from him, but only the little
gourd flask over yonder. With it you can conjure up whatever you
wish."

And, sure enough, the old dragon asked him what he wanted by way of a
reward, and the youth answered: "I want no money, nor any jewels. All
I want is the little gourd flask over yonder."

At first the dragon did not wish to give it up, but at last he did let
him have it, after all. And then the youth left the dragon's castle.

When he set his foot on dry land again he felt hungry. At once a table
stood before him, covered with a fine and plenteous meal. He ate and
drank. After he had gone on a while, he felt weary. And there stood an
ass, waiting for him, on which he mounted. After he had ridden for a
while, the ass's gait seemed too uneven, and along came a wagon, into
which he climbed. But the wagon shook him up too, greatly, and he
thought: "If I only had a litter! That would suit me better." No more
had he thought so, than the litter came along, and he seated himself
in it. And the bearers carried him to the city in which dwelt the
king, the queen and their daughter.

When the other youth had brought back the king's daughter, it was
decided to hold the wedding. But the king's daughter was not willing,
and said: "He is not the right man. My deliverer will come and bring
with him half of the long pin for my hair, and half my silken kerchief
as a token." But when the youth did not appear for so long a time, and
the other one pressed the king, the king grew impatient and said: "The
wedding shall take place to-morrow!" Then the king's daughter went
sadly through the streets of the city, and searched and searched in
the hope of finding her deliverer. And this was on the very day that
the litter arrived. The king's daughter saw the half of her silken
handkerchief in the youth's hand, and filled with joy, she led him to
her father. There he had to show his half of the long pin, which
fitted the other exactly, and then the king was convinced that he was
the right, true deliverer. The false bridegroom was now punished, the
wedding celebrated, and they lived in peace and happiness till the end
of their days.

    Note: "The Bird With Nine Heads" is a traditionally
    narrated fairy-tale. The long hair needle is an example
    of the halved jewel used as a sign of recognition by
    lovers (see No. 68, "Yang Gui Fe"). The "Fish" in the
    cave is the dragon's son, for like East Indian
    _Nagaradjas_, the Chinese dragons are often sea-gods.
    Gourd flasks often occur as magic talismans in Chinese
    fairy-tales, and spirits who serve their owners are
    often imprisoned in them. See No. 81.



VIII

THE CAVE OF THE BEASTS


Once upon a time there was a family in which there were seven
daughters. One day when the father went out to gather wood, he found
seven wild duck eggs. He brought them home, but did not think of
giving any to his children, intending to eat them himself, with his
wife. In the evening the oldest daughter woke up, and asked her mother
what she was cooking. The mother said: "I am cooking wild duck eggs. I
will give you one, but you must not let your sisters know." And so she
gave her one. Then the second daughter woke up, and asked her mother
what she was cooking. She said: "Wild duck eggs. If you will not tell
your sisters, I'll give you one." And so it went. At last the
daughters had eaten all the eggs, and there were none left.

In the morning the father was very angry with the children, and said:
"Who wants to go along to grandmother?" But he intended to lead the
children into the mountains, and let the wolves devour them there. The
older daughters suspected this, and said: "We are not going along!"
But the two younger ones said: "We will go with you." And so they
drove off with their father. After they had driven a good ways, they
asked: "Will we soon get to grandmother's house?" "Right away," said
their father. And when they had reached the mountains he told them:
"Wait here. I will drive into the village ahead of you, and tell
grandmother that you are coming." And then he drove off with the
donkey-cart. They waited and waited, but their father did not come. At
last they decided that their father would not come back to fetch them,
and that he had left them alone in the mountains. So they went further
and further into the hills seeking a shelter for the night. Then they
spied a great stone. This they selected for a pillow, and rolled it
over to the place where they were going to lie down to sleep. And then
they saw that the stone was the door to a cave. There was a light in
the cave, and they went into it. The light they had seen came from the
many precious stones and jewels of every sort in the cave, which
belonged to a wolf and a fox. They had a number of jars of precious
stones and pearls that shone by night. The girls said: "What a lovely
cave this is! We will lie right down and go to bed." For there stood
two golden beds with gold-embroidered covers. So they lay down and
fell asleep. During the night the wolf and fox came home. And the
wolf said: "I smell human flesh!" But the fox replied: "Oh, nonsense!
There are no human beings who can enter our cave. We lock it up too
well for that." The wolf said: "Very well, then let us lie down in our
beds and sleep." But the fox answered: "Let us curl up in the kettles
on the hearth. They still hold a little warmth from the fire." The one
kettle was of gold and the other of silver, and they curled up in
them.

When the girls rose early in the morning, they saw the wolf and the
fox lying there, and were much frightened. And they put the covers on
the kettles and heaped a number of big stones on them, so that the
wolf and the fox could not get out again. Then they made a fire. The
wolf and the fox said: "Oh, how nice and warm it is this morning! How
does that happen?" But at length it grew too hot for them. Then they
noticed that the two girls had kindled a fire and they cried: "Let us
out! We will give you lots of precious stones, and lots of gold, and
will do you no harm!" But the girls would not listen to them, and kept
on making a bigger fire. So that was the end of the wolf and the fox
in the kettles.

Then the girls lived happily for a number of days in the cave. But
their father was seized with a longing for his daughters, and he went
into the mountains to look for them. And he sat right down on the
stone in front of the cave to rest, and tapped his pipe against it to
empty the ashes. Then the girls within called out: "Who is knocking at
our door?" And the father said: "Are those not my daughters' voices?"
While the daughters replied: "Is that not our father's voice?" Then
they pushed aside the stone and saw that it was their father, and
their father was glad to see them once more. He was much surprised to
think that they should have chanced on this cave full of precious
stones, and they told him the whole story. Then their father fetched
people to help him carry home the jewels. And when they got home, his
wife wondered where he had obtained all these treasures. So the father
and daughters told her everything, and they became a very wealthy
family, and lived happily to the end of their days.

    Note: "The Cave of the Beasts" is traditionally
    narrated.



IX

THE PANTHER


Once upon a time there was a widow who had two daughters and a little
son. And one day the mother said to her daughters: "Take good care of
the house, for I am going to see grandmother, together with your
little brother!" So the daughters promised her they would do so, and
their mother went off. On her way a panther met her, and asked where
she were going.

She said: "I am going with my child to see my mother."

"Will you not rest a bit?" asked the panther.

"No," said she, "it is already late, and it is a long road to where my
mother lives."

But the panther did not cease urging her, and finally she gave in and
sat down by the road side.

"I will comb your hair a bit," said the panther. And the woman allowed
the panther to comb her hair. But as he passed his claws through her
hair, he tore off a bit of her skin and devoured it.

"Stop!" cried the woman, "the way you comb my hair hurts!"

But the panther tore off a much larger piece of skin. Now the woman
wanted to call for help, but the panther seized and devoured her. Then
he turned on her little son and killed him too, put on the woman's
clothes, and laid the child's bones, which he had not yet devoured, in
her basket. After that he went to the woman's home, where her two
daughters were, and called in at the door: "Open the door, daughters!
Mother has come home!" But they looked out through a crack and said:
"Our mother's eyes are not so large as yours!"

Then the panther said: "I have been to grandmother's house, and saw
her hens laying eggs. That pleases me, and is the reason why my eyes
have grown so large."

"Our mother had no spots in her face such as you have."

"Grandmother had no spare bed, so I had to sleep on the peas, and they
pressed themselves into my face."

"Our mother's feet are not so large as yours."

"Stupid things! That comes from walking such a distance. Come, open
the door quickly!"

Then the daughters said to each other: "It must be our mother," and
they opened the door. But when the panther came in, they saw it was
not really their mother after all.

At evening, when the daughters were already in bed, the panther was
still gnawing the bones he had brought with him.

Then the daughters asked: "Mother, what are you eating?"

"I'm eating beets," was the answer.

Then the daughters said: "Oh, mother, give us some of your beets,
too! We are so hungry!"

"No," was the reply, "I will not give you any. Now be quiet and go to
sleep."

But the daughters kept on begging until the false mother gave them a
little finger. And then they saw that it was their little brother's
finger, and they said to each other: "We must make haste to escape
else he will eat us as well." And with that they ran out of the door,
climbed up into a tree in the yard, and called down to the false
mother: "Come out! We can see our neighbor's son celebrating his
wedding!" But it was the middle of the night.

Then the mother came out, and when she saw that they were sitting in
the tree, she called out angrily: "Why, I'm not able to climb!"

The daughters said: "Get into a basket and throw us the rope and we
will draw you up!"

The mother did as they said. But when the basket was half-way up, they
began to swing it back and forth, and bump it against the tree. Then
the false mother had to turn into a panther again, lest she fall down.
And the panther leaped out of the basket, and ran away.

Gradually daylight came. The daughters climbed down, seated themselves
on the doorstep, and cried for their mother. And a needle-vender came
by and asked them why they were crying.

"A panther has devoured our mother and our brother," said the girls.
"He has gone now, but he is sure to return and devour us as well."

Then the needle-vender gave them a pair of needles, and said: "Stick
these needles in the cushion of the arm chair, with the points up."
The girls thanked him and went on crying.

Soon a scorpion-catcher came by; and he asked them why they were
crying. "A panther has devoured our mother and brother," said the
girls. "He has gone now, but he is sure to return and devour us as
well."

The man gave them a scorpion and said: "Put it behind the hearth in
the kitchen." The girls thanked him and went on crying.

Then an egg-seller came by and asked them why they were crying. "A
panther has devoured our mother and our brother," said the girls. "He
has gone now, but he is sure to return and devour us as well."

So he gave them an egg and said: "Lay it beneath the ashes in the
hearth." The girls thanked him and went on crying.

Then a dealer in turtles came by, and they told him their tale. He
gave them a turtle and said: "Put it in the water-barrel in the yard."
And then a man came by who sold wooden clubs. He asked them why they
were crying. And they told him the whole story. Then he gave them two
wooden clubs and said: "Hang them up over the door to the street." The
girls thanked him and did as the men had told them.

In the evening the panther came home. He sat down in the armchair in
the room. Then the needles in the cushion stuck into him. So he ran
into the kitchen to light the fire and see what had jabbed him so; and
then it was that the scorpion hooked his sting into his hand. And when
at last the fire was burning, the egg burst and spurted into one of
his eyes, which was blinded. So he ran out into the yard and dipped
his hand into the water-barrel, in order to cool it; and then the
turtle bit it off. And when in his pain he ran out through the door
into the street, the wooden clubs fell on his head and that was the
end of him.

    Note: "The Panther" in this tale is in reality the same
    beast as "the talking silver fox" in No. 49, and the
    fairy-tale is made up of motives to be found in "Little
    Red Riding-Hood," "The Wolf and the Seven Kids," and
    "The Vagabonds."



X

THE GREAT FLOOD


Once upon a time there was a widow, who had a child. And the child was
a kind-hearted boy of whom every one was fond. One day he said to his
mother: "All the other children have a grandmother, but I have none.
And that makes me feel very sad!"

"We will hunt up a grandmother for you," said his mother. Now it once
happened that an old beggar-woman came to the house, who was very old
and feeble. And when the child saw her, he said to her: "You shall be
my grandmother!" And he went to his mother and said: "There is a
beggar-woman outside, whom I want for my grandmother!" And his mother
was willing and called her into the house; though the old woman was
very dirty. So the boy said to his mother: "Come, let us wash
grandmother!" And they washed the woman. But she had a great many
burrs in her hair, so they picked them all out and put them in a jar,
and they filled the whole jar. Then the grandmother said: "Do not
throw them away, but bury them in the garden. And you must not dig
them up again before the great flood comes."

"When is the great flood coming?" asked the boy.

"When the eyes of the two stone lions in front of the prison grow red,
then the great flood will come," said the grandmother.

So the boy went to look at the lions, but their eyes were not yet
red. And the grandmother also said to him: "Make a little wooden ship
and keep it in a little box." And this the boy did. And he ran to the
prison every day and looked at the lions, much to the astonishment of
the people in the street.

One day, as he passed the chicken-butcher's shop, the butcher asked
him why he was always running to the lions. And the boy said: "When
the lions' eyes grow red then the great flood will come." But the
butcher laughed at him. And the following morning, quite early, he
took some chicken-blood and rubbed it on the lions' eyes. When the boy
saw that the lions' eyes were red he ran swiftly home, and told his
mother and grandmother. And then his grandmother said: "Dig up the jar
quickly, and take the little ship out of its box." And when they dug
up the jar, it was filled with the purest pearls and the little ship
grew larger and larger, like a real ship. Then the grandmother said:
"Take the jar with you and get into the ship. And when the great flood
comes, then you may save all the animals that are driven into it; but
human beings, with their black heads, you are not to save." So they
climbed into the ship, and the grandmother suddenly disappeared.

Now it began to rain, and the rain kept falling more and more heavily
from the heavens. Finally there were no longer any single drops
falling, but just one big sheet of water which flooded everything.

Then a dog came drifting along, and they saved him in their ship. Soon
after came a pair of mice, with their little ones, loudly squeaking in
their fear. And these they also saved. The water was already rising to
the roofs of the houses, and on one roof stood a cat, arching her back
and mewing pitifully. They took the cat into the ship, too. Yet the
flood increased and rose to the tops of the trees. And in one tree sat
a raven, beating his wings and cawing loudly. And him, too, they took
in. Finally a swarm of bees came flying their way. The little
creatures were quite wet, and could hardly fly. So they took in the
bees on their ship. At last a man with black hair floated by on the
waves. The boy said: "Mother, let us save him, too!" But the mother
did not want to do so. "Did not grandmother tell us that we must save
no black-headed human beings?" But the boy answered: "We will save the
man in spite of that. I feel sorry for him, and cannot bear to see him
drifting along in the water." So they also saved the man.

Gradually the water subsided. Then they got out of their ship, and
parted from the man and the beasts. And the ship grew small again and
they put it away in its box.

But the man was filled with a desire for the pearls. He went to the
judge and entered a complaint against the boy and his mother, and they
were both thrown into jail. Then the mice came, and dug a hole in the
wall. And the dog came through the hole and brought them meat, and the
cat brought them bread, so they did not have to hunger in their
prison. But the raven flew off and returned with a letter for the
judge. The letter had been written by a god, and it said: "I wandered
about in the world of men disguised as a beggar woman. And this boy
and his mother took me in. The boy treated me like his own
grandmother, and did not shrink from washing me when I was dirty.
Because of this I saved them out of the great flood by means of which
I destroyed the sinful city wherein they dwelt. Do you, O judge, free
them, or misfortune shall be your portion!"

So the judge had them brought before him, and asked what they had
done, and how they had made their way through the flood. Then they
told him everything, and what they said agreed with the god's letter.
So the judge punished their accuser, and set them both at liberty.

When the boy had grown up he came to a city of many people, and it was
said that the princess intended to take a husband. But in order to
find the right man, she had veiled herself, and seated herself in a
litter, and she had had the litter, together with many others, carried
into the market place. In every litter sat a veiled woman, and the
princess was in their midst. And whoever hit upon the right litter, he
was to get the princess for his bride. So the youth went there, too,
and when he reached the market place, he saw the bees whom he had
saved from the great flood, all swarming about a certain litter. Up he
stepped to it, and sure enough, the princess was sitting in it. And
then their wedding was celebrated, and they lived happily ever
afterward.

    Note: "The Great Flood" is traditionally narrated and a
    diluvian legend seems to underlie it. Compare with
    Grimm's fairy-tale (No. 73) "The Queen of the Bees."



XI

THE FOX AND THE TIGER


Once a fox met a tiger. The latter bared his teeth, stretched out his
claws, and was about to devour him. But the fox spoke and said: "My
dear sir, you must not think that you are the only king of beasts.
Your courage does not compare with my own. Let us walk together, and
do you keep behind me. And if men catch sight of me and do not fear
me, then you may devour me." The tiger was willing, and so the fox led
him along a broad highway. But the travelers, when they saw the tiger
in the distance, were all frightened and ran away.

Then the fox said: "How about it? I went in advance, and the men saw
me and had not as yet seen you."

And thereupon the tiger drew in his tail and ran away himself.

The tiger had remarked quite well that the men were afraid of the fox,
but he had not noticed that the fox had borrowed the terror he
inspired from him.

    Note: This universally known fable is traditionally
    narrated. Animal fables are very rare in China.



XII

THE TIGER'S DECOY


That the fox borrowed the terror he inspired from the tiger is more
than a simile; but that the tiger has his decoy is something we read
about in the story books, and grandfathers talk about a good deal,
too. So there must be some truth in it. It is said that when a tiger
devours a human being, the latter's spirit cannot free itself, and
that the tiger then uses it for a decoy. When he goes out to seek his
prey, the spirit of the man he has devoured must go before him, to
hide him, so that people cannot see him. And the spirit is apt to
change itself into a beautiful girl, or a lump of gold or a bolt of
silk. All sorts of deceptions are used to lure folk into the mountain
gorges. Then the tiger comes along and devours his victim, and the new
spirit must serve as his decoy. The old spirit's time of service is
over and it may go. And so it continues, turn by turn. Probably that
is why they say of people who are forced to yield themselves up to
cunning and powerful men, in order that others may be harmed: "They
are the tiger's decoys!"

    Note: This tale is traditionally narrated.



XIII

THE FOX AND THE RAVEN


The fox knows how to flatter, and how to play many cunning tricks.
Once upon a time he saw a raven, who alighted on a tree with a piece
of meat in his beak. The fox seated himself beneath the tree, looked
up at him, and began to praise him.

"Your color," he began, "is pure black. This proves to me that you
possess all the wisdom of Laotzse, who knows how to shroud his
learning in darkness. The manner in which you manage to feed your
mother shows that your filial affection equals that which the Master
Dsong had for his parents. Your voice is rough and strong. It proves
that you have the courage with which King Hiang once drove his foes to
flight by the mere sound of his voice. In truth, you are the king of
birds!"

The raven, hearing this, was filled with joy and said: "I thank you! I
thank you!"

And before he knew it, the meat fell to earth from his opened beak.

The fox caught it up, devoured it and then said, laughing: "Make note
of this, my dear sir: if some one praises you without occasion, he is
sure to have a reason for doing so."

    Note: Traditionally narrated, it may be taken for
    granted that this is simply Æsop's fable in Chinese
    dress. The manner of presentation is characteristically
    Chinese. For "the wisdom of Laotzse" compare, p. 30,
    "The Ancient's Book of Wisdom and Life": "Who sees his
    light, yet dwells in darkness." Master Dsong was King
    Dsi's most faithful pupil, renowned for his piety. The
    raven is known in China as "the bird of filial love,"
    for it is said that the young ravens bring forth the
    food they have eaten from their beaks again, in order to
    feed the old birds.



XIV

WHY DOG AND CAT ARE ENEMIES


Once upon a time there was a man and his wife and they had a ring of
gold. It was a lucky ring, and whoever owned it always had enough to
live on. But this they did not know, and hence sold the ring for a
small sum. But no sooner was the ring gone than they began to grow
poorer and poorer, and at last did not know when they would get their
next meal. They had a dog and a cat, and these had to go hungry as
well. Then the two animals took counsel together as to how they might
restore to their owners their former good fortune. At length the dog
hit upon an idea.

"They must have the ring back again," he said to the cat.

The cat answered: "The ring has been carefully locked up in the
chest, where no one can get at it."

"You must catch a mouse," said the dog, "and the mouse must gnaw a
hole in the chest and fetch out the ring. And if she does not want to,
say that you will bite her to death, and you will see that she will do
it."

This advice pleased the cat, and she caught a mouse. Then she wanted
to go to the house in which stood the chest, and the dog came after.
They came to a broad river. And since the cat could not swim, the dog
took her on his back and swam across with her. Then the cat carried
the mouse to the house in which the chest stood. The mouse gnawed a
hole in the chest, and fetched out the ring. The cat put the ring in
her mouth and went back to the river, where the dog was waiting for
her, and swam across with her. Then they started out together for
home, in order to bring the lucky ring to their master and mistress.
But the dog could only run along the ground; when there was a house in
the way he always had to go around it. The cat, however, quickly
climbed over the roof, and so she reached home long before the dog,
and brought the ring to her master.

Then her master said to his wife: "What a good creature the cat is! We
will always give her enough to eat and care for her as though she were
our own child!"

But when the dog came home they beat him and scolded him, because he
had not helped to bring home the ring again. And the cat sat by the
fireplace, purred and said never a word. Then the dog grew angry at
the cat, because she had robbed him of his reward, and when he saw her
he chased her and tried to seize her.

And ever since that day cat and dog are enemies.

    Note: "Why Dog and Cat are Enemies." This fairy-tale is
    given in the current popular version.



LEGENDS OF THE GODS



XV

HOW THE FIVE ANCIENTS BECAME MEN


Before the earth was separated from the heavens, all there was was a
great ball of watery vapor called chaos. And at that time the spirits
of the five elemental powers took shape, and became the five Ancients.
The first was called the Yellow Ancient, and he was the ruler of the
earth. The second was called the Red Lord, and he was the ruler of the
fire. The third was called the Dark Lord, and he was the ruler of the
water. The fourth was known as the Wood Prince, and he was the ruler
of the wood. The fifth was called the Mother of Metals, and ruled over
them. These five Ancients set all their primal spirit into motion, so
that water and earth sank down. The heavens floated upward, and the
earth grew firm in the depths. Then they allowed the waters to gather
into rivers and seas, and hills and plains made their appearance. So
the heavens opened and the earth was divided. And there were sun, moon
and all the stars, wind, clouds, rain, and dew. The Yellow Ancient set
earth's purest power spinning in a circle, and added the effect of
fire and water thereto. Then there came forth grasses and trees, birds
and beasts, and the tribes of the serpents and insects, fishes and
turtles. The Wood Prince and the Mother of Metals combined light and
darkness, and thus created the human race as men and women. And thus
the world gradually came to be.

At that time there was one who was known as the True Prince of the
Jasper Castle. He had acquired the art of sorcery through the
cultivation of magic. The five Ancients begged him to rule as the
supreme god. He dwelt above the three and thirty heavens, and the
Jasper Castle, of white jade with golden gates, was his. Before him
stood the stewards of the eight-and-twenty houses of the moon, and the
gods of the thunders and the Great Bear, and in addition a class of
baneful gods whose influence was evil and deadly. They all aided the
True Prince of the Jasper Castle to rule over the thousand tribes
under the heavens, and to deal out life and death, fortune and
misfortune. The Lord of the Jasper Castle is now known as the Great
God, the White Jade Ruler.

The five Ancients withdrew after they had done their work, and
thereafter lived in quiet purity. The Red Lord dwells in the South as
the god of fire. The Dark Lord dwells in the North, as the mighty
master of the somber polar skies. He lived in a castle of liquid
crystal. In later ages he sent Confucius down upon earth as a saint.
Hence this saint is known as the Son of Crystal. The Wood Prince
dwells in the East. He is honored as the Green Lord, and watches over
the coming into being of all creatures. In him lives the power of
spring and he is the god of love. The Mother of Metals dwells in the
West, by the sea of Jasper, and is also known as the Queen-Mother of
the West. She leads the rounds of the fairies, and watches over change
and growth. The Yellow Ancient dwells in the middle. He is always
going about in the world, in order to save and to help those in any
distress. The first time he came to earth he was the Yellow Lord, who
taught mankind all sorts of arts. In his later years he fathomed the
meaning of the world on the Ethereal Mount, and flew up to the radiant
sun. Under the rule of the Dschou dynasty he was born again as Li
Oerl, and when he was born his hair and beard were white, for which
reason he was called Laotsze, "Old Child." He wrote the book of
"Meaning and Life" and spread his teachings through the world. He is
honored as the head of Taoism. At the beginning of the reign of the
Han dynasty, he again appeared as the Old Man of the River, (Ho Schang
Gung). He spread the teachings of Tao abroad mightily, so that from
that time on Taoism flourished greatly. These doctrines are known to
this day as the teachings of the Yellow Ancient. There is also a
saying: "First Laotsze was, then the heavens were." And that must mean
that Laotsze was that very same Yellow Ancient of primal days.

    Note: "How the Five Ancients Became Men." This
    fairy-tale, the first of the legends of the gods, is
    given in the version current among the people. In it the
    five elemental spirits of earth, fire, water, wood and
    metal are brought into connection with a creation myth.
    "Prince of the Jasper Castle" or "The White Jade Ruler,"
    Yu Huang Di, is the popular Chinese synonym for "the
    good lord." The phrase "White Jade" serves merely to
    express his dignity. All in all, there are 32 other Yu
    Huangs, among whom he is the highest. He may be compared
    to Indra, who dwells in a heaven that also comprises 33
    halls. The astronomic relationship between the two is
    very evident.



XVI

THE HERD BOY AND THE WEAVING MAIDEN


The Herd Boy was the child of poor people. When he was twelve years
old, he took service with a farmer to herd his cow. After a few years
the cow had grown large and fat, and her hair shone like yellow gold.
She must have been a cow of the gods.

One day while he had her out at pasture in the mountains, she suddenly
began to speak to the Herd Boy in a human voice, as follows: "This is
the Seventh Day. Now the White Jade Ruler has nine daughters, who
bathe this day in the Sea of Heaven. The seventh daughter is beautiful
and wise beyond all measure. She spins the cloud-silk for the King and
Queen of Heaven, and presides over the weaving which maidens do on
earth. It is for this reason she is called the Weaving Maiden. And if
you go and take away her clothes while she bathes, you may become her
husband and gain immortality."

"But she is up in Heaven," said the Herd Boy, "and how can I get
there?"

"I will carry you there," answered the yellow cow.

So the Herd Boy climbed on the cow's back. In a moment clouds began to
stream out of her hoofs, and she rose into the air. About his ears
there was a whistling like the sound of the wind, and they flew along
as swiftly as lightning. Suddenly the cow stopped.

"Now we are here," said she.

Then round about him the Herd Boy saw forests of chrysophrase and
trees of jade. The grass was of jasper and the flowers of coral. In
the midst of all this splendor lay a great, four-square sea, covering
some five-hundred acres. Its green waves rose and fell, and fishes
with golden scales were swimming about in it. In addition there were
countless magic birds who winged above it and sang. Even in the
distance the Herd Boy could see the nine maidens in the water. They
had all laid down their clothes on the shore.

"Take the red clothes, quickly," said the cow, "and hide away with
them in the forest, and though she ask you for them never so sweetly
do not give them back to her until she has promised to become your
wife."

Then the Herd Boy hastily got down from the cow's back, seized the red
clothes and ran away. At the same moment the nine maidens noticed him
and were much frightened.

"O youth, whence do you come, that you dare to take our clothes?" they
cried. "Put them down again quickly!"

But the Herd Boy did not let what they said trouble him; but crouched
down behind one of the jade trees. Then eight of the maidens hastily
came ashore and drew on their clothes.

"Our seventh sister," said they, "whom Heaven has destined to be
yours, has come to you. We will leave her alone with you."

The Weaving Maiden was still crouching in the water.

But the Herd Boy stood before her and laughed.

"If you will promise to be my wife," said he, "then I will give you
your clothes."

But this did not suit the Weaving Maiden.

"I am a daughter of the Ruler of the Gods," said she, "and may not
marry without his command. Give back my clothes to me quickly, or else
my father will punish you!"

Then the yellow cow said: "You have been destined for each other by
fate, and I will be glad to arrange your marriage, and your father,
the Ruler of the Gods, will make no objection. Of that I am sure."

The Weaving Maiden replied: "You are an unreasoning animal! How could
you arrange our marriage?"

The cow said: "Do you see that old willow-tree there on the shore?
Just give it a trial and ask it. If the willow tree speaks, then
Heaven wishes your union."

And the Weaving Maiden asked the willow.

The willow replied in a human voice:

    "This is the Seventh day,
    The Herd Boy his court to the Weaver doth pay!"

and the Weaving Maiden was satisfied with the verdict. The Herd Boy
laid down her clothes, and went on ahead. The Weaving Maiden drew them
on and followed him. And thus they became man and wife.

But after seven days she took leave of him.

"The Ruler of Heaven has ordered me to look after my weaving," said
she. "If I delay too long I fear that he will punish me. Yet, although
we have to part now, we will meet again in spite of it."

When she had said these words she really went away. The Herd Boy ran
after her. But when he was quite near she took one of the long needles
from her hair and drew a line with it right across the sky, and this
line turned into the Silver River. And thus they now stand, separated
by the River, and watch for one another.

And since that time they meet once every year, on the eve of the
Seventh Day. When that time comes, then all the crows in the world of
men come flying and form a bridge over which the Weaving Maiden
crosses the Silver River. And on that day you will not see a single
crow in the trees, from morning to night, no doubt because of the
reason I have mentioned. And besides, a fine rain often falls on the
evening of the Seventh Day. Then the women and old grandmothers say to
one another: "Those are the tears which the Herd Boy and the Weaving
Maiden shed at parting!" And for this reason the Seventh Day is a rain
festival.

To the west of the Silver River is the constellation of the Weaving
Maiden, consisting of three stars. And directly in front of it are
three other stars in the form of a triangle. It is said that once the
Herd Boy was angry because the Weaving Maiden had not wished to cross
the Silver River, and had thrown his yoke at her, which fell down just
in front of her feet. East of the Silver River is the Herd Boy's
constellation, consisting of six stars. To one side of it are
countless little stars which form a constellation pointed at both ends
and somewhat broader in the middle. It is said that the Weaving Maiden
in turn threw her spindle at the Herd Boy; but that she did not hit
him, the spindle falling down to one side of him.

    Note: "The Herd Boy and the Weaving Maiden" is retold
    after an oral source. The Herd Boy is a constellation in
    Aquila, the Weaving Maiden one in Lyra. The Silver River
    which separates them is the Milky Way. The Seventh Day
    of the seventh month is the festival of their reunion.
    The Ruler of the Heavens has nine daughters in all, who
    dwell in the nine heavens. The oldest married Li Dsing
    (comp. "Notscha," No. 18); the second is the mother of
    Yang Oerlang (comp. No. 17); the third is the mother of
    the planet Jupiter (comp. "Sky O'Dawn," No. 34); and the
    fourth dwelt with a pious and industrious scholar, by
    name of Dung Yung, whom she aided to win riches and
    honor. The seventh is the Spinner, and the ninth had to
    dwell on earth as a slave because of some transgression
    of which she had been guilty. Of the fifth, the sixth
    and the eighth daughters nothing further is known.



XVII

YANG OERLANG


The second daughter of the Ruler of Heaven once came down upon the
earth and secretly became the wife of a mortal man named Yang. And
when she returned to Heaven she was blessed with a son. But the Ruler
of Heaven was very angry at this desecration of the heavenly halls. He
banished her to earth and covered her with the Wu-I hills. Her son,
however, Oerlang by name, the nephew of the Ruler of Heaven, was
extraordinarily gifted by nature. By the time he was full grown he had
learned the magic art of being able to control eight times nine
transformations. He could make himself invisible, or could assume the
shape of birds and beasts, grasses, flowers, snakes and fishes, as he
chose. He also knew how to empty out seas and remove mountains from
one place to another. So he went to the Wu-I hills and rescued his
mother, whom he took on his back and carried away. They stopped to
rest on a flat ledge of rock.

Then the mother said: "I am very thirsty!"

Oerlang climbed down into the valley in order to fetch her water, and
some time passed before he returned. When he did his mother was no
longer there. He searched eagerly, but on the rock lay only her skin
and bones, and a few blood-stains. Now you must know that at that time
there were still ten suns in the heavens, glowing and burning like
fire. The Daughter of Heaven, it is true, was divine by nature; yet
because she had incurred the anger of her father and had been banished
to earth, her magic powers had failed her. Then, too, she had been
imprisoned so long beneath the hills in the dark that, coming out
suddenly into the sunlight, she had been devoured by its blinding
radiance.

When Oerlang thought of his mother's sad end, his heart ached. He took
two mountains on his shoulders, pursued the suns and crushed them to
death between the mountains. And whenever he had crushed another
sun-disk, he picked up a fresh mountain. In this way he had already
slain nine of the ten suns, and there was but one left. And as Oerlang
pursued him relentlessly, he hid himself in his distress beneath the
leaves of the portulacca plant. But there was a rainworm close by who
betrayed his hiding-place, and kept repeating: "There he is! There he
is!"

Oerlang was about to seize him, when a messenger from the Ruler of the
Heaven suddenly descended from the skies with a command: "Sky, air and
earth need the sunshine. You must allow this one sun to live, so that
all created beings may live. Yet, because you rescued your mother, and
showed yourself to be a good son, you shall be a god, and be my
bodyguard in the Highest Heaven, and shall rule over good and evil in
the mortal world, and have power over devils and demons." When Oerlang
received this command he ascended to Heaven.

Then the sun-disk came out again from beneath the portulacca leaves,
and out of gratitude, since the plant had saved him, he bestowed upon
it the gift of a free-blooming nature, and ordained that it never need
fear the sunshine. To this very day one may see on the lower side of
the portulacca leaves quite delicate little white pearls. They are the
sunshine that remained hanging to the leaves when the sun hid under
them. But the sun pursues the rainworm, when he ventures forth out of
the ground, and dries him up as a punishment for his treachery.

Since that time Yang Oerlang has been honored as a god. He has
oblique, sharply marked eyebrows, and holds a double-bladed,
three-pointed sword in his hand. Two servants stand beside him, with a
falcon and a hound; for Yang Oerlang is a great hunter. The falcon is
the falcon of the gods, and the hound is the hound of the gods. When
brute creatures gain possession of magic powers or demons oppress men,
he subdues them by means of the falcon and hound.

    Note: Yang Oerlang is a huntsman, as is indicated by his
    falcon and hound. His Hound of the Heavens, literally
    "the divine, biting hound" recalls the hound of Indra.
    The myth that there were originally ten suns in the
    skies, of whom nine were shot down by an archer, is also
    placed in the period of the ruler Yau. In that story the
    archer is named Hou I, or I (comp. No. 19). Here,
    instead of the shooting down of the suns with arrows, we
    have the Titan motive of destruction with the mountains.



XVIII

NOTSCHA


The oldest daughter of the Ruler of Heaven had married the great
general Li Dsing. Her sons were named Gintscha, Mutscha and Notscha.
But when Notscha was given her, she dreamed at night that a Taoist
priest came into her chamber and said: "Swiftly receive the Heavenly
Son!" And straightway a radiant pearl glowed within her. And she was
so frightened at her dream that she awoke. And when Notscha came into
the world, it seemed as though a ball of flesh were turning in circles
like a wheel, and the whole room was filled with strange fragrances
and a crimson light.

Li Dsing was much frightened, and thought it was an apparition. He
clove the circling ball with his sword, and out of it leaped a small
boy whose whole body glowed with a crimson radiance. But his face was
delicately shaped and white as snow. About his right arm he wore a
golden armlet and around his thighs was wound a length of crimson
silk, whose glittering shine dazzled the eyes. When Li Dsing saw the
child he took pity on him and did not slay him, while his wife began
to love the boy dearly.

When three days had passed, all his friends came to wish him joy. They
were just sitting at the festival meal when a Taoist priest entered
and said: "I am the Great One. This boy is the bright Pearl of the
Beginning of Things, bestowed upon you as your son. Yet the boy is
wild and unruly, and will kill many men. Therefore I will take him as
my pupil to gentle his savage ways." Li Dsing bowed his thanks and the
Great One disappeared.

When Notscha was seven years old he once ran away from home. He came
to the river of nine bends, whose green waters flowed along between
two rows of weeping-willows. The day was hot, and Notscha entered the
water to cool himself. He unbound his crimson silk cloth and whisked
it about in the water to wash it. But while Notscha sat there and
whisked about his scarf in the water, it shook the castle of the
Dragon-King of the Eastern Sea to its very foundations. So the
Dragon-King sent out a Triton, terrible to look upon, who was to find
out what was the matter. When the Triton saw the boy he began to
scold. But the latter merely looked up and said: "What a
strange-looking beast you are, and you can actually talk!" Then the
Triton grew enraged, leaped up and struck at Notscha with his ax. But
the latter avoided the blow, and threw his golden armlet at him. The
armlet struck the Triton on the head and he sank down dead.

Notscha laughed and said: "And there he has gone and made my armlet
bloody!" And he once more sat down on a stone, in order to wash his
armlet. Then the crystal castle of the dragon began to tremble as
though it were about to fall apart. And a watchman also came and
reported that the Triton had been slain by a boy. So the Dragon-King
sent out his son to capture the boy. And the son seated himself on the
water-cleaving beast, and came up with a thunder of great waves of
water. Notscha straightened up and said: "That is a big wave!"
Suddenly he saw a creature rise out of the waves, on whose back sat an
armed man who cried in a loud voice: "Who has slain my Triton?"
Notscha answered: "The Triton wanted to slay me so I killed him. What
difference does it make?" Then the dragon assailed him with his
halberd. But Notscha said: "Tell me who you are before we fight." "I
am the son of the Dragon-King," was the reply. "And I am Notscha, the
son of General Li Dsing. You must not rouse my anger with your
violence, or I will skin you, together with that old mud-fish, your
father!" Then the dragon grew wild with rage, and came storming along
furiously. But Notscha cast his crimson cloth into the air, so that it
flashed like a ball of fire, and cast the dragon-youth from his
breast. Then Notscha took his golden armlet and struck him on the
forehead with it, so that he had to reveal himself in his true form as
a golden dragon, and fall down dead.

Notscha laughed and said: "I have heard tell that dragon-sinews make
good cords. I will draw one out and bring it to my father, and he can
tie his armor together with it." And with that he drew out the
dragon's back sinew and took it home.

In the meantime the Dragon-King, full of fury, had hastened to
Notscha's father Li Dsing and demanded that Notscha be delivered up to
him. But Li Dsing replied: "You must be mistaken, for my boy is only
seven years old and incapable of committing such misdeeds." While they
were still quarreling Notscha came running up and cried: "Father, I'm
bringing along a dragon's sinew for you, so that you may bind up your
armor with it!" Now the dragon broke out into tears and furious
scolding. He threatened to report Li Dsing to the Ruler of the Heaven,
and took himself off, snorting with rage.

Li Dsing grew very much excited, told his wife what had happened, and
both began to weep. Notscha, however, came to them and said: "Why do
you weep? I will just go to my master, the Great One, and he will know
what is to be done." And no sooner had he said the words than he had
disappeared. He came into his master's presence and told him the whole
tale. The latter said: "You must get ahead of the dragon, and prevent
him from accusing you in Heaven!" Then he did some magic, and Notscha
found himself set down by the gate of Heaven, where he waited for the
dragon. It was still early in the morning; the gate of Heaven had not
yet been opened, nor was the watchman at his post. But the dragon was
already climbing up. Notscha, whom his master's magic had rendered
invisible, threw the dragon to the ground with his armlet, and began
to pitch into him. The dragon scolded and screamed. "There the old
worm flounders about," said Notscha, "and does not care how hard he is
beaten! I will scratch off some of his scales." And with these words
he began to tear open the dragon's festal garments, and rip off some
of the scales beneath his left arm, so that the red blood dripped out.
Then the dragon could no longer stand the pain and begged for mercy.
But first he had to promise Notscha that he would not complain of
him, before the latter would let him go. And then the dragon had to
turn himself into a little green snake, which Notscha put into his
sleeve and took back home with him. But no sooner had he drawn the
little snake from his sleeve than it assumed human shape. The dragon
then swore that he would punish Li Dsing in a terrible manner, and
disappeared in a flash of lightning.

Li Dsing was now angry with his son in earnest. Therefore Notscha's
mother sent him to the rear of the house to keep out of his father's
sight. Notscha disappeared and went to his master, in order to ask him
what he should do when the dragon returned. His master advised him and
Notscha went back home. And all the Dragon Kings of the four seas were
assembled, and had bound his parents, with cries and tumult, in order
to punish them. Notscha ran up and cried with a loud voice: "I will
take the punishment for whatever I have done! My parents are
blameless! What is the punishment you wish to lay upon me?" "Life for
life!" said the dragon. "Very well then, I will destroy myself!" And
so he did and the dragons went off satisfied; while Notscha's mother
buried him with many tears.

But the spiritual part of Notscha, his soul, fluttered about in the
air, and was driven by the wind to the cave of the Great One. He took
it in and said to it: "You must appear to your mother! Forty miles
distant from your home rises a green mountain cliff. On this cliff she
must build a shrine for you. And after you have enjoyed the incense of
human adoration for three years, you shall once more have a human
body." Notscha appeared to his mother in a dream, and gave her the
whole message, and she awoke in tears. But Li Dsing grew angry when
she told him about it. "It serves the accursed boy right that he is
dead! It is because you are always thinking of him that he appears to
you in dreams. You must pay no attention to him." The woman said no
more, but thenceforward he appeared to her daily, as soon as she
closed her eyes, and grew more and more urgent in his demand. Finally
all that was left for her to do was to erect a temple for Notscha
without Li Dsing's knowledge.

And Notscha performed great miracles in his temple. All prayers made
in it were granted. And from far away people streamed to it to burn
incense in his honor.

Thus half a year passed. Then Li Dsing, on the occasion of a great
military drill, once came by the cliff in question, and saw the people
crowding thickly about the hill like a swarm of ants. Li Dsing
inquired what there were to see upon the hill. "It is a new god, who
performs so many miracles that people come from far and near to honor
him." "What sort of a god is he?" asked Li Dsing. They did not dare
conceal from him who the god was. Then Li Dsing grew angry. He spurred
his horse up the hill and, sure enough, over the door of the temple
was written: "Notscha's Shrine." And within it was the likeness of
Notscha, just as he had appeared while living. Li Dsing said: "While
you were alive you brought misfortune to your parents. Now that you
are dead you deceive the people. It is disgusting!" With these words
he drew forth his whip, beat Notscha's idolatrous likeness to pieces
with it, had the temple burned down, and the worshipers mildly
reproved. Then he returned home.

Now Notscha had been absent in the spirit upon that day. When he
returned he found his temple destroyed; and the spirit of the hill
gave him the details. Notscha hurried to his master and related with
tears what had befallen him. The latter was roused and said: "It is Li
Dsing's fault. After you had given back your body to your parents,
you were no further concern of his. Why should he withdraw from you
the enjoyment of the incense?" Then the Great One made a body of
lotus-plants, gave it the gift of life, and enclosed the soul of
Notscha within it. This done he called out in a loud voice: "Arise!" A
drawing of breath was heard, and Notscha leaped up once more in the
shape of a small boy. He flung himself down before his master and
thanked him. The latter bestowed upon him the magic of the fiery
lance, and Notscha thenceforward had two whirling wheels beneath his
feet: The wheel of the wind and the wheel of fire. With these he could
rise up and down in the air. The master also gave him a bag of
panther-skin in which to keep his armlet and his silken cloth.

Now Notscha had determined to punish Li Dsing. Taking advantage of a
moment when he was not watched, he went away, thundering along on his
rolling wheels to Li Dsing's dwelling. The latter was unable to
withstand him and fled. He was almost exhausted when his second son,
Mutscha, the disciple of the holy Pu Hain, came to his aid from the
Cave of the White Crane. A violent quarrel took place between the
brothers; they began to fight, and Mutscha was overcome; while Notscha
once more rushed in pursuit of Li Dsing. At the height of his
extremity, however, the holy Wen Dschu of the Hill of the Five
Dragons, the master of Gintscha, Li Dsing's oldest son, stepped forth
and hid Li Dsing in his cave. Notscha, in a rage, insisted that he be
delivered up to him; but Wen Dschu said: "Elsewhere you may indulge
your wild nature to your heart's content, but not in this place."

And when Notscha in the excess of his rage turned his fiery lance upon
him, Wen Dschu stepped back a pace, shook the seven-petaled lotus from
his sleeve, and threw it into the air. A whirlwind arose, clouds and
mists obscured the sight, and sand and earth were flung up from the
ground. Then the whirlwind collapsed with a great crash. Notscha
fainted, and when he regained consciousness found himself bound to a
golden column with three thongs of gold, so that he could no longer
move. Wen Dschu now called Gintscha to him and ordered him to give his
unruly brother a good thrashing. And this he did, while Notscha,
obliged to stand it, stood grinding his teeth. In his extremity he saw
the Great One floating by, and called out to him: "Save me, O Master!"
But the latter did not notice him; instead he entered the cave and
thanked Wen Dschu for the severe lesson which he had given Notscha.
Finally they called Notscha in to them and ordered him to be
reconciled to his father. Then they dismissed them both and seated
themselves to play chess. But no sooner was Notscha free than he again
fell into a rage, and renewed his pursuit of his father. He had again
overtaken Li Dsing when still another saint came forward to defend the
latter. This time it was the old Buddha of the Radiance of the Light.
When Notscha attempted to battle with him he raised his arm, and a
pagoda shaped itself out of red, whirling clouds and closed around
Notscha. Then Radiance of Light placed both his hands on the pagoda
and a fire arose within it which burned Notscha so that he cried
loudly for mercy. Then he had to promise to beg his father's
forgiveness and always to obey him in the future. Not till he had
promised all this did the Buddha let him out of the pagoda again. And
he gave the pagoda to Li Dsing; and taught him a magic saying which
would give him the mastery over Notscha. It is for this reason that Li
Dsing is called the Pagoda-bearing King of Heaven.

Later on Li Dsing and his three sons, Gintscha, Mutscha and Notscha,
aided King Wu of the Dschou dynasty to destroy the tyrant Dschou-Sin.

None could withstand their might. Only once did a sorcerer succeed in
wounding Notscha in the left arm. Any other would have died of the
wound. But the Great One carried him into his cave, healed his wound
and gave him three goblets of the wine of the gods to drink, and three
fire-dates to eat. When Notscha had eaten and drunk he suddenly heard
a crash at his left side and another arm grew out from it. He could
not speak and his eyes stood out from their sockets with horror. But
it went on as it had begun: six more arms grew out of his body and two
more heads, so that finally he had three heads and eight arms. He
called out to his Master: "What does all this mean?" But the latter
only laughed and said: "All is as it should be. Thus equipped you will
really be strong!" Then he taught him a magic incantation by means of
which he could make his arms and heads visible or invisible as he
chose. When the tyrant Dschou-Sin had been destroyed, Li Dsing and his
three sons, while still on earth, were taken up into heaven and seated
among the gods.

    Note: Li Dsing, the Pagoda-bearing King of Heaven, may
    be traced back to Indra, the Hindoo god of thunder and
    lightning. The Pagoda might be an erroneous variant of
    the thunderbolt Vadjra. In such case Notscha would be a
    personification of the thunder. The Great One (Tai I),
    is the condition of things before their separation into
    the active and passive principles. There is a whole
    genealogy of mythical saints and holy men who took part
    in the battles between King Wu of Dschou and the tyrant
    Dschou-Sin. These saints are, for the most part,
    Buddhist-Brahminic figures which have been reshaped. The
    Dragon-King of the Eastern Sea also occurs in the tale
    of Sun Wu Kung (No. 74). "Dragon sinew" means the spinal
    cord, the distinction between nerves and sinews not
    being carefully observed. "Three spirits and seven
    souls": man has three spirits, usually above his head,
    and seven animal souls. "Notscha had been absent in the
    spirit upon that day": the idol is only the seat of the
    godhead, which the latter leaves or inhabits as he
    chooses. Therefore the godhead must be summoned when
    prayers are offered, by means of bells and incense. When
    the god is not present, his idol is merely a block of
    wood or stone. Pu Hain, the Buddha of the Lion, is the
    Indian Samantabharda, one of the four great Boddhisatvas
    of the Tantra School. Wen Dschu, the Buddha on the
    Golden-haired Mountain Lion, (Hou), is the Indian
    Mandjusri. The old Buddha of the Radiance of the Light,
    Jan Dong Go Fu, is the Indian Dipamkara.



XIX

THE LADY OF THE MOON


In the days of the Emperor Yau lived a prince by the name of Hou I,
who was a mighty hero and a good archer. Once ten suns rose together
in the sky, and shone so brightly and burned so fiercely that the
people on earth could not endure them. So the Emperor ordered Hou I to
shoot at them. And Hou I shot nine of them down from the sky. Besides
his bow, Hou I also had a horse which ran so swiftly that even the
wind could not catch up with it. He mounted it to go a-hunting, and
the horse ran away and could not be stopped. So Hou I came to Kunlun
Mountain and met the Queen-Mother of the Jasper Sea. And she gave him
the herb of immortality. He took it home with him and hid it in his
room. But his wife who was named Tschang O, once ate some of it on the
sly when he was not at home, and she immediately floated up to the
clouds. When she reached the moon, she ran into the castle there, and
has lived there ever since as the Lady of the Moon.

On a night in mid-autumn, an emperor of the Tang dynasty once sat at
wine with two sorcerers. And one of them took his bamboo staff and
cast it into the air, where it turned into a heavenly bridge, on which
the three climbed up to the moon together. There they saw a great
castle on which was inscribed: "The Spreading Halls of Crystal Cold."
Beside it stood a cassia tree which blossomed and gave forth a
fragrance filling all the air. And in the tree sat a man who was
chopping off the smaller boughs with an ax. One of the sorcerers said:
"That is the man in the moon. The cassia tree grows so luxuriantly
that in the course of time it would overshadow all the moon's
radiance. Therefore it has to be cut down once in every thousand
years." Then they entered the spreading halls. The silver stories of
the castle towered one above the other, and its walls and columns were
all formed of liquid crystal. In the walls were cages and ponds, where
fishes and birds moved as though alive. The whole moon-world seemed
made of glass. While they were still looking about them on all sides
the Lady of the Moon stepped up to them, clad in a white mantle and a
rainbow-colored gown. She smiled and said to the emperor: "You are a
prince of the mundane world of dust. Great is your fortune, since you
have been able to find your way here!" And she called for her
attendants, who came flying up on white birds, and sang and danced
beneath the cassia tree. A pure clear music floated through the air.
Beside the tree stood a mortar made of white marble, in which a jasper
rabbit ground up herbs. That was the dark half of the moon. When the
dance had ended, the emperor returned to earth again with the
sorcerers. And he had the songs which he had heard on the moon written
down and sung to the accompaniment of flutes of jasper in his
pear-tree garden.

    Note: This fairy-tale is traditional. The archer Hou I
    (or Count I, the Archer-Prince, comp. Dschuang Dsi), is
    placed by legend in different epochs. He also occurs in
    connection with the myths regarding the moon, for one
    tale recounts how he saved the moon during an eclipse by
    means of his arrows. The Queen-Mother is Si Wang Mu
    (comp. with No. 15). The Tang dynasty reigned 618-906
    A.D. "The Spreading Halls of Crystal Cold": The goddess
    of the ice also has her habitation in the moon. The hare
    in the moon is a favorite figure. He grinds the grains
    of maturity or the herbs that make the elixir of life.
    The rain-toad Tschan, who has three legs, is also placed
    on the moon. According to one version of the story,
    Tschang O took the shape of this toad.

  [Illustration: "BESIDE IT STOOD A CASSIA-TREE."
                                                  --_Page 54_]



XX

THE MORNING AND THE EVENING STAR


Once upon a time there were two stars, sons of the Golden King of the
Heavens. The one was named Tschen and the other Shen. One day they
quarreled, and Tschen struck Shen a terrible blow. Thereupon both
stars made a vow that they would never again look upon each other. So
Tschen only appears in the evening, and Shen only appears in the
morning, and not until Tschen has disappeared is Shen again to be
seen. And that is why people say: "When two brothers do not live
peaceably with one another they are like Tschen and Shen."

    Note: Tschen and Shen are Hesperus and Lucifer, the
    morning and evening stars. The tale is told in its
    traditional form.



XXI

THE GIRL WITH THE HORSE'S HEAD OR THE SILKWORM GODDESS


In the dim ages of the past there once was an old man who went on a
journey. No one remained at home save his only daughter and a white
stallion. The daughter fed the horse day by day, but she was lonely
and yearned for her father.

So it happened that one day she said in jest to the horse: "If you
will bring back my father to me then I will marry you!"

No sooner had the horse heard her say this, than he broke loose and
ran away. He ran until he came to the place where her father was. When
her father saw the horse, he was pleasantly surprised, caught him and
seated himself on his back. And the horse turned back the way he had
come, neighing without a pause.

"What can be the matter with the horse?" thought the father.
"Something must have surely gone wrong at home!" So he dropped the
reins and rode back. And he fed the horse liberally because he had
been so intelligent; but the horse ate nothing, and when he saw the
girl, he struck out at her with his hoofs and tried to bite her. This
surprised the father; he questioned his daughter, and she told him the
truth, just as it had occurred.

"You must not say a word about it to any one," spoke her father, "or
else people will talk about us."

And he took down his crossbow, shot the horse, and hung up his skin in
the yard to dry. Then he went on his travels again.

One day his daughter went out walking with the daughter of a
neighbor. When they entered the yard, she pushed the horse-hide with
her foot and said: "What an unreasonable animal you were--wanting to
marry a human being! What happened to you served you right!"

But before she had finished her speech, the horse-hide moved, rose up,
wrapped itself about the girl and ran off.

Horrified, her companion ran home to her father and told him what had
happened. The neighbors looked for the girl everywhere, but she could
not be found.

At last, some days afterward, they saw the girl hanging from the
branches of a tree, still wrapped in the horse-hide; and gradually she
turned into a silkworm and wove a cocoon. And the threads which she
spun were strong and thick. Her girl friend then took down the cocoon
and let her slip out of it; and then she spun the silk and sold it at
a large profit.

But the girl's relatives longed for her greatly. So one day the girl
appeared riding in the clouds on her horse, followed by a great
company and said: "In heaven I have been assigned to the task of
watching over the growing of silkworms. You must yearn for me no
longer!" And thereupon they built temples to her in her native land,
and every year, at the silkworm season, sacrifices are offered to her
and her protection is implored. And the Silkworm Goddess is also known
as the girl with the Horse's Head.

    Note: This tale is placed in the times of the Emperor
    Hau, and the legend seems to have originated in
    Setchuan. The stallion is the sign of the zodiac which
    rules the springtime, the season when the silkworms are
    cultivated. Hence she is called the Goddess with the
    Horse's Head. The legend itself tells a different tale.
    In addition to this goddess, the spouse of Schen Nung,
    the "Divine Husbandman," is also worshiped as the
    goddess of silkworm culture. The Goddess with the
    Horse's Head is more of a totemic representation of the
    silkworm as such; while the wife of Schen Nung is
    regarded as the protecting goddess of silk culture, and
    is supposed to have been the first to teach women its
    details. The spouse of the Yellow Lord is mentioned in
    the same connection. The popular belief distinguishes
    three goddesses who protect the silkworm culture in
    turn. The second is the best of the three, and when it
    is her year the silk turns out well.



XXII

THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN


The Queen of Heaven, who is also known as the Holy Mother, was in
mortal life a maiden of Fukien, named Lin. She was pure, reverential
and pious in her ways and died at the age of seventeen. She shows her
power on the seas and for this reason the seamen worship her. When
they are unexpectedly attacked by wind and waves, they call on her and
she is always ready to hear their pleas.

There are many seamen in Fukien, and every year people are lost at
sea. And because of this, most likely, the Queen of Heaven took pity
on the distress of her people during her lifetime on earth. And since
her thoughts are uninterruptedly turned toward aiding the drowning in
their distress, she now appears frequently on the seas.

In every ship that sails a picture of the Queen of Heaven hangs in the
cabin, and three paper talismans are also kept on shipboard. On the
first she is painted with crown and scepter, on the second as a maiden
in ordinary dress, and on the third she is pictured with flowing hair,
barefoot, standing with a sword in her hand. When the ship is in
danger the first talisman is burnt, and help comes. But if this is of
no avail, then the second and finally the third picture is burned. And
if no help comes then there is nothing more to be done.

When seamen lose their course among wind and waves and darkling
clouds, they pray devoutly to the Queen of Heaven. Then a red lantern
appears on the face of the waters. And if they follow the lantern they
will win safe out of all danger. The Queen of Heaven may often be seen
standing in the skies, dividing the wind with her sword. When she does
this the wind departs for the North and South, and the waves grow
smooth.

A wooden wand is always kept before her holy picture in the cabin. It
often happens that the fish-dragons play in the seas. They are two
giant fish who spout up water against one another till the sun in the
sky is obscured, and the seas are shrouded in profound darkness. And
often, in the distance, one may see a bright opening in the darkness.
If the ship holds a course straight for this opening it will win
through, and is suddenly floating in calm waters again. Looking back,
one may see the two fishes still spouting water, and the ship will
have passed directly beneath their jaws. But a storm is always near
when the fish dragons swim; therefore it is well to burn paper or wool
so that the dragons do not draw the ship down into the depths. Or the
Master of the Wand may burn incense before the wand in the cabin. Then
he must take the wand and swing it over the water three times, in a
circle. If he does so the dragons will draw in their tails and
disappear.

When the ashes in the censer fly up into the air without any cause,
and are scattered about, it is a sign that great danger is
threatening.

Nearly two-hundred years ago an army was fitted out to subdue the
island of Formosa. The captain's banner had been dedicated with the
blood of a white horse. Suddenly the Queen of Heaven appeared at the
tip of the banner-staff. In another moment she had disappeared, but
the invasion was successful.

On another occasion, in the days of Kien Lung, the minister Dschou
Ling was ordered to install a new king in the Liu-Kiu Islands. When
the fleet was sailing by south of Korea, a storm arose, and his ship
was driven toward the Black Whirlpool. The water had the color of ink,
sun and moon lost their radiance, and the word was passed about that
the ship had been caught in the Black Whirlpool, from which no living
man had ever returned. The seaman and travelers awaited their end with
lamentations. Suddenly an untold number of lights, like red lanterns,
appeared on the surface of the water. Then the seamen were overjoyed
and prayed in the cabins. "Our lives are saved!" they cried, "the Holy
Mother has come to our aid!" And truly, a beautiful maiden with golden
earrings appeared. She waved her hand in the air and the winds became
still and the waves grew even. And it seemed as though the ship were
being drawn along by a mighty hand. It moved plashing through the
waves, and suddenly it was beyond the limits of the Black Whirlpool.

Dschou Ling on his return told of this happening, and begged that
temples be erected in honor of the Queen of Heaven, and that she be
included in the list of the gods. And the emperor granted his prayer.

Since then temples of the Queen of Heaven are to be found in all
sea-port towns, and her birthday is celebrated on the eighth day of
the fourth month with spectacles and sacrifices.

    Note: "The Queen of Heaven," whose name is Tian Hou, or
    more exactly, Tian Fe Niang Niang, is a Taoist goddess
    of seamen, generally worshiped in all coast towns. Her
    story is principally made up of local legends of Fukien
    province, and a variation of the Indian Maritschi (who
    as Dschunti with the eight arms, is the object of quite
    a special cult). Tian Hou, since the establishment of
    the Manchu dynasty, is one of the officially recognized
    godheads.



XXIII

THE FIRE-GOD


Long before the time of Fu Hi, Dschu Yung, the Magic Welder, was the
ruler of men. He discovered the use of fire, and succeeding
generations learned from him to cook their food. Hence his descendants
were intrusted with the preservation of fire, while he himself was
made the Fire-God. He is a personification of the Red Lord, who showed
himself at the beginning of the world as one of the Five Ancients. The
Fire-God is worshiped as the Lord of the Holy Southern Mountain. In
the skies the Fiery Star, the southern quarter of the heavens and the
Red Bird belong to his domain. When there is danger of fire the Fiery
Star glows with a peculiar radiance. When countless numbers of
fire-crows fly into a house, a fire is sure to break out in it.

In the land of the four rivers there dwelt a man who was very rich.
One day he got into his wagon and set out on a long journey. And he
met a girl, dressed in red, who begged him to take her with him. He
allowed her to get into the wagon, and drove along for half-a-day
without even looking in her direction. Then the girl got out again and
said in farewell: "You are truly a good and honest man, and for that
reason I must tell you the truth. I am the Fire-God. To-morrow a fire
will break out in your house. Hurry home at once to arrange your
affairs and save what you can!" Frightened, the man faced his horses
about and drove home as fast as he could. All that he possessed in the
way of treasures, clothes and jewels, he removed from the house. And,
when he was about to lie down to sleep, a fire broke out on the hearth
which could not be quenched until the whole building had collapsed in
dust and ashes. Yet, thanks to the Fire-God, the man had saved all his
movable belongings.

    Note: "The Fire-God" (comp. with No. 15). The Holy
    Southern Mountain is Sung-Schan in Huan. The Fiery Star
    is Mars. The constellations of the southern quarter of
    the heavens are grouped by the Chinese as under the name
    of the "Red Bird." The "land of the four rivers" is
    Setchuan, in the western part of present-day China.



XXIV

THE THREE RULING GODS


There are three lords: in heaven, and on the earth and in the waters,
and they are known as the Three Ruling Gods. They are all brothers,
and are descended from the father of the Monk of the Yangtze-kiang.
When the latter was sailing on the river he was cast into the water by
a robber. But he did not drown, for a Triton came his way who took him
along with him to the dragon-castle. And when the Dragon-King saw him
he realized at once that there was something extraordinary about the
Monk, and he married him to his daughter.

From their early youth his three sons showed a preference for the
hidden wisdom. And together they went to an island in the sea. There
they seated themselves and began to meditate. They heard nothing, they
saw nothing, they spoke not a word and they did not move. The birds
came and nested in their hair; the spiders came and wove webs across
their faces; worms and insects came and crawled in and out of their
noses and ears. But they paid no attention to any of them.

After they had meditated thus for a number of years, they obtained the
hidden wisdom and became gods. And the Lord made them the Three Ruling
Gods. The heavens make things, the earth completes things, and the
waters create things. The Three Ruling Gods sent out the current of
their primal power to aid in ordering all to this end. Therefore they
are also known as the primal gods, and temples are erected to them all
over the earth.

If you go into a temple you will find the Three Ruling Gods all seated
on one pedestal. They wear women's hats upon their heads, and hold
scepters in their hands, like kings. But he who sits on the last
place, to the right, has glaring eyes and wears a look of rage. If you
ask why this is you are told: "These three were brothers and the Lord
made them the Ruling Gods. So they talked about the order in which
they were to sit. And the youngest said: 'To-morrow morning, before
sunrise, we will meet here. Whoever gets here first shall have the
seat of honor in the middle; the second one to arrive shall have the
second place, and the third the third.' The two older brothers were
satisfied. The next morning, very early, the youngest came first,
seated himself in the middle place, and became the god of the waters.
The middle brother came next, sat down on the left, and became the god
of the heavens. Last of all came the oldest brother. When he saw that
his brothers were already sitting in their places, he was disgusted
and yet he could not say a word. His face grew red with rage, his
eyeballs stood forth from their sockets like bullets, and his veins
swelled like bladders. And he seated himself on the right and became
god of the earth." The artisans who make the images of the gods
noticed this, so they always represent him thus.

    Note: "The Three Ruling Gods" is set down as told by the
    people. It is undoubtedly a version of the Indian
    Trimurti. The meaning of the terrible appearance of the
    third godhead, evidently no longer understood by the
    people, points to Siva, and has given rise to the
    fairy-tale here told. As regards the Monk of the
    Yangtze-kiang, comp. with No. 69.



XXV

A LEGEND OF CONFUCIUS


When Confucius came to the earth, the Kilin, that strange beast which
is the prince of all four-footed animals, and only appears when there
is a great man on earth, sought the child and spat out a jade whereon
was written: "Son of the Watercrystal you are destined to become an
uncrowned king!" And Confucius grew up, studied diligently, learned
wisdom and came to be a saint. He did much good on earth, and ever
since his death has been reverenced as the greatest of teachers and
masters. He had foreknowledge of many things. And even after he had
died he gave evidence of this.

Once, when the wicked Emperor Tsin Schi Huang had conquered all the
other kingdoms, and was traveling through the entire empire, he came
to the homeland of Confucius. And he found his grave. And, finding his
grave, he wished to have it opened and see what was in it. All his
officials advised him not to do so, but he would not listen to them.
So a passage was dug into the grave, and in its main chamber they
found a coffin, whose wood appeared to be quite fresh. When struck it
sounded like metal. To the left of the coffin was a door, which led
into an inner chamber. In this chamber stood a bed, and a table with
books and clothing, all as though meant for the use of a living
person. Tsin Schi Huang seated himself on the bed and looked down. And
there on the floor stood two shoes of red silk, whose tips were
adorned with a woven pattern of clouds. A bamboo staff leaned against
the wall. The Emperor, in jest, put on the shoes, took the staff and
left the grave. But as he did so a tablet suddenly appeared before his
eyes on which stood the following lines:

    O'er kingdoms six Tsin Schi Huang his army led,
    To ope my grave and find my humble bed;
    He steals my shoes and takes my staff away
    To reach Schakiu--and his last earthly day!

Tsin Schi Huang was much alarmed, and had the grave closed again. But
when he reached Schakiu he fell ill of a hasty fever of which he died.

    Note: The Kilin is an okapi-like legendary beast of the
    most perfected kindness, prince of all the four-footed
    animals. The "Watercrystal" is the dark Lord of the
    North, whose element is water and wisdom, for which last
    reason Confucius is termed his son. Tsin Schi Huang
    (B.C. 200) is the burner of books and reorganizer of
    China famed in history. Schakiu (Sandhill) was a city in
    the western part of the China of that day.



XXVI

THE GOD OF WAR


The God of War, Guan Di, was really named Guan Yu. At the time when
the rebellion of the Yellow Turbans was raging throughout the empire,
he, together with two others whom he met by the wayside, and who were
inspired with the same love of country which possessed him, made a
pact of friendship. One of the two was Liu Be, afterward emperor, the
other was named Dschang Fe. The three met in a peach-orchard and swore
to be brothers one to the other, although they were of different
families. They sacrificed a white steed and vowed to be true to each
other to the death.

Guan Yu was faithful, honest, upright and brave beyond all measure. He
loved to read Confucius's "Annals of Lu," which tell of the rise and
fall of empires. He aided his friend Liu Be to subdue the Yellow Turbans
and to conquer the land of the four rivers. The horse he rode was known
as the Red Hare, and could run a thousand miles in a day. Guan Yu had a
knife shaped like a half-moon which was called the Green Dragon. His
eyebrows were beautiful like those of the silk-butterflies, and his eyes
were long-slitted like the eyes of the Phenix. His face was scarlet-red
in color, and his beard so long that it hung down over his stomach.
Once, when he appeared before the emperor, the latter called him Duke
Fairbeard, and presented him with a silken pocket in which to place his
beard. He wore a garment of green brocade. Whenever he went into battle
he showed invincible bravery. Whether he were opposed by a thousand
armies or by ten thousand horsemen--he attacked them as though they were
merely air.

Once the evil Tsau Tsau had incited the enemies of his master, the
Emperor, to take the city by treachery. When Guan Yu heard of it he
hastened up with an army to relieve the town. But he fell into an
ambush, and, together with his son, was brought a captive to the
capital of the enemy's land. The prince of that country would have
been glad to have had him go over to his side; but Guan Yu swore that
he would not yield to death himself. Thereupon father and son were
slain. When he was dead, his horse Red Hare ceased to eat and died. A
faithful captain of his, by name of Dschou Dsang, who was
black-visaged and wore a great knife, had just invested a fortress
when the news of the sad end of the duke reached him. And he, as well
as other faithful followers would not survive their master, and
perished.

At the time a monk, who was an old compatriot and acquaintance of Duke
Guan was living in the Hills of the Jade Fountains. He used to walk at
night in the moonlight.

Suddenly he heard a loud voice cry down out of the air: "I want my
head back again!"

The monk looked up and saw Duke Guan, sword in hand, seated on his
horse, just as he appeared while living. And at his right and left
hand, shadowy figures in the clouds, stood his son Guan Ping and his
captain, Dschou Dsang.

The monk folded his hands and said: "While you lived you were upright
and faithful, and in death you have become a wise god; and yet you do
not understand fate! If you insist on having your head back again, to
whom shall the many thousands of your enemies who lost their lives
through you appeal, in order to have life restored to them?"

When he heard this the Duke Guan bowed and disappeared. Since that
time he has been without interruption spiritually active. Whenever a
new dynasty is founded, his holy form may be seen. For this reason
temples and sacrifices have been instituted for him, and he has been
made one of the gods of the empire. Like Confucius, he received the
great sacrifice of oxen, sheep and pigs. His rank increases with the
passing of centuries. First he was worshiped as Prince Guan, later as
King Guan, and then as the great god who conquers the demons. The last
dynasty, finally, worships him as the great, divine Helper of the
Heavens. He is also called the God of War, and is a strong deliverer
in all need, when men are plagued by devils and foxes. Together with
Confucius, the Master of Peace, he is often worshiped as the Master of
War.

    Note: The Chinese God of War is a historical personality
    from the epoch of the three empires, which later joined
    the Han dynasty, about 250 A.D. Liu Be founded the
    "Little Han dynasty" in Setchuan, with the aid of Guan
    Yu and Dschang Fe. Guan Yu or Guan Di, i.e., "God
    Yuan," has become one of the most popular figures in
    Chinese legend in the course of time, God of War and
    deliverer in one and the same person. The talk of the
    monk with the God Guan Di in the clouds is based on the
    Buddhist law of Karma. Because Guan Di--even though his
    motives might be good--had slain other men, he must
    endure like treatment at their hands, even while he is a
    god.



TALES OF SAINTS AND MAGICIANS



XXVII

THE HALOS OF THE SAINTS


The true gods all have halos around their heads. When the lesser gods
and demons see these halos, they hide and dare not move. The Master of
the Heavens on the Dragon-Tiger Mountain meets the gods at all times.
One day the God of War came down to the mountain while the mandarin of
the neighboring district was visiting the Master of the Heavens. The
latter advised the mandarin to withdraw and hide himself in an inner
chamber. Then he went out to receive the God of War. But the mandarin
peeped through a slit in the door, and he saw the red face and green
garment of the God of War as he stood there, terrible and
awe-inspiring. Suddenly a red halo flashed up above his head, whose
beams penetrated into the inner chamber so that the mandarin grew
blind in one eye. After a time the God of War went away again, and the
Master of the Heavens accompanied him. Suddenly Guan Di said, with
alarm: "Confucius is coming! The halo he wears illumines the whole
world. I cannot endure its radiance even a thousand miles away, so I
must hurry and get out of the way!" And with that he stepped into a
cloud and disappeared. The Master of the Heavens then told the
mandarin what had happened, and added: "Fortunately you did not see
the God of War face to face! Whoever does not possess the greatest
virtue and the greatest wisdom, would be melted by the red glow of
his halo." So saying he gave him a pill of the elixir of life to eat,
and his blind eye gradually regained its sight.

It is also said that scholars wear a red halo around their heads which
devils, foxes and ghosts fear when they see it.

There was once a scholar who had a fox for a friend. The fox came to
see him at night, and went walking with him in the villages. They
could enter the houses, and see all that was going on, without people
being any the wiser. But when at a distance the fox saw a red halo
hanging above a house he would not enter it. The scholar asked him why
not.

"Those are all celebrated scholars," answered the fox. "The greater
the halo, the more extensive is their knowledge. I dread them and do
not dare enter their houses."

Then the man said: "But I am a scholar, too! Have I no halo which
makes you fear me, instead of going walking with me?"

"There is only a black mist about your head," answered the fox. "I
have never yet seen it surrounded by a halo."

The scholar was mortified and began to scold him; but the fox
disappeared with a horse-laugh.

    Note: This tale is told as traditionally handed down.
    The Master of the Heavens, Tian Schi, who dwells on the
    Lung Hu Schan, is the so-called Taoist pope.



XXVIII

LAOTSZE


Laotsze is really older than heaven and earth put together. He is the
Yellow Lord or Ancient, who created this world together with the other
four. At various times he has appeared on earth, under various names.
His most celebrated incarnation, however, is that of Laotsze, "The Old
Child," which name he was given because he made his appearance on
earth with white hair.

He acquired all sorts of magic powers by means of which he extended
his life-span. Once he hired a servant to do his bidding. He agreed to
give him a hundred pieces of copper daily; yet he did not pay him, and
finally he owed him seven million, two hundred thousand pieces of
copper. Then he mounted a black steer and rode to the West. He wanted
to take his servant along. But when they reached the Han-Gu pass, the
servant refused to go further, and insisted on being paid. Yet Laotsze
gave him nothing.

When they came to the house of the guardian of the pass, red clouds
appeared in the sky. The guardian understood this sign and knew that a
holy man was drawing near. So he went out to meet him and took him
into his house. He questioned him with regard to hidden knowledge, but
Laotsze only stuck out his tongue at him and would not say a word.
Nevertheless, the guardian of the pass treated him with the greatest
respect in his home. Laotsze's servant told the servant of the
guardian that his master owed him a great deal of money, and begged
the latter to put in a good word for him. When the guardian's servant
heard how large a sum it was, he was tempted to win so wealthy a man
for a son-in-law, and he married him to his daughter. Finally the
guardian heard of the matter and came to Laotsze together with the
servant. Then Laotsze said to his servant: "You rascally servant. You
really should have been dead long ago. I hired you, and since I was
poor and could give you no money, I gave you a life-giving talisman to
eat. That is how you still happen to be alive. I said to you: 'If you
will follow me into the West, the land of Blessed Repose, I will pay
you your wages in yellow gold. But you did not wish to do this.'" And
with that he patted his servant's neck. Thereupon the latter opened
his mouth, and spat out the life-giving talisman. The magic signs
written on it with cinnabar, quite fresh and well-preserved, might
still be seen. But the servant suddenly collapsed and turned into a
heap of dry bones. Then the guardian of the pass cast himself to earth
and pleaded for him. He promised to pay the servant for Laotsze and
begged the latter to restore him to life. So Laotsze placed the
talisman among the bones and at once the servant came to life again.
The guardian of the pass paid him his wages and dismissed him. Then he
adored Laotsze as his master, and the latter taught him the art of
eternal life, and left him his teachings, in five thousand words,
which the guardian wrote down. The book which thus came into being is
the Tao Teh King, "The Book of the Way and Life." Laotsze then
disappeared from the eyes of men. The guardian of the pass however,
followed his teachings, and was given a place among the immortals.

    Note: The Taoists like to assert that Laotsze's journey
    to the West was undertaken before the birth of Buddha,
    who, according to many, is only a reincarnation of
    Laotsze. The guardian of the Han-Gu pass is mentioned
    by the name of Guan Yin Hi, in the Lia Dsi and the
    Dschuang Dsi.



XXIX

THE ANCIENT MAN


Once upon a time there was a man named Huang An. He must have been
well over eighty and yet he looked like a youth. He lived on cinnabar
and wore no clothing. Even in winter he went about without garments.
He sat on a tortoise three feet long. Once he was asked: "About how
old might this tortoise be?" He answered: "When Fu Hi first invented
fish-nets and eel-pots he caught this tortoise and gave it to me. And
since then I have worn its shield quite flat sitting on it. The
creature dreads the radiance of the sun and moon, so it only sticks
its head out of its shell once in two thousand years. Since I have had
the beast, it has already stuck its head out five times." With these
words he took his tortoise on his back and went off. And the legend
arose that this man was ten thousand years old.

    Note: Cinnabar is frequently used in the preparation of
    the elixir of life (comp. No. 30). Fu Hi is "the
    life-breeding breath." Tortoises live to a great age.



XXX

THE EIGHT IMMORTALS (I)


There is a legend which declares that Eight Immortals dwell in the
heavens. The first is named Dschung Li Kuan. He lived in the time of
the Han dynasty, and discovered the wonderful magic of golden
cinnabar, the philosopher's stone. He could melt quicksilver and burn
lead and turn them into yellow gold and white silver. And he could fly
through the air in his human form. He is the chief of the Eight
Immortals.

The second is named Dschang Go. In primal times he gained hidden
knowledge. It is said that he was really a white bat, who turned into
a man. In the first days of the Tang dynasty an ancient with a white
beard and a bamboo drum on his back, was seen riding backward on a
black ass in the town of Tschang An. He beat the drum and sang, and
called himself old Dschang Go. Another legend says that he always had
a white mule with him which could cover a thousand miles in a single
day. When he had reached his destination he would fold up the animal
and put it in his trunk. When he needed it again, he would sprinkle
water on it with his mouth, and the beast would regain its first
shape.

The third is named Lu Yuan or Lu Dung Bin (The Mountain Guest). His
real name was Li, and he belonged to the ruling Tang dynasty. But when
the Empress Wu seized the throne and destroyed the Li family to almost
the last man, he fled with his wife into the heart of the mountains.
They changed their names to Lu, and, since they lived in hiding in the
caverns in the rocks, he called himself the Mountain Guest or the
Guest of the Rocks. He lived on air and ate no bread. Yet he was fond
of flowers. And in the course of time he acquired the hidden wisdom.

In Lo Yang, the capital city, the peonies bloomed with special
luxuriance. And there dwelt a flower fairy, who changed herself into a
lovely maiden with whom Guest of the Rocks, when he came to Lo Yang,
was wont to converse. Suddenly along came the Yellow Dragon, who had
taken the form of a handsome youth. He mocked the flower fairy. Guest
of the Rocks grew furious and cast his flying sword at him, cutting
off his head. From that time onward he fell back again into the world
of mundane pleasure and death. He sank down into the dust of the
diurnal, and was no longer able to wing his way to the upper regions.
Later he met Dschung Li Kuan, who delivered him, and then he was taken
up in the ranks of the Immortals.

Willowelf was his disciple. This was an old willow-tree which had
drawn into itself the most ethereal powers of the sunrays and the
moonbeams, and had thus been able to assume the shape of a human
being. His face is blue and he has red hair. Guest of the Rocks
received him as a disciple. Emperors and kings of future times honor
Guest of the Rocks as the ancestor and master of the pure sun. The
people call him Grandfather Lu. He is very wise and powerful. And
therefore the people still stream into Grandfather Lu's temples to
obtain oracles and pray for good luck. If you want to know whether you
will be successful or not in an undertaking, go to the temple, light
incense and bow your head to earth. On the altar is a bamboo goblet,
in which are some dozens of little lottery sticks. You must shake them
while kneeling, until one of the sticks flies out. On the
lottery-stick is inscribed a number. This number must then be looked
up in the Book of Oracles, where it is accompanied by a four-line
stanza. It is said that fortune and misfortune, strange to think,
occur to one just as foretold by the oracle.

The fourth Immortal is Tsau Guo Gui (Tsau the Uncle of the State). He
was the younger brother of the Empress Tsau, who for a time ruled the
land. For this reason he was called the Uncle of the State. From his
earliest youth he had been a lover of the hidden wisdom. Riches and
honors were no more to him than dust. It was Dschung Li Kuan who aided
him to become immortal.

The fifth is called Lan Tsai Ho. Nothing is known of his true name,
his time nor his family. He was often seen in the market-place, clad
in a torn blue robe and wearing only a single shoe, beating a block of
wood and singing the nothingness of life.

The sixth Immortal is known as Li Tia Guai (Li with the iron crutch).
He lost his parents in early youth and was brought up in his older
brother's home. His sister-in-law treated him badly and never gave him
enough to eat. Because of this he fled into the hills, and there
learned the hidden wisdom.

Once he returned in order to see his brother, and said to his
sister-in-law: "Give me something to eat!" She answered: "There is no
kindling wood on hand!" He replied: "You need only to prepare the
rice. I can use my leg for kindling wood, only you must not say that
the fire might injure me, and if you do not no harm will be done."

His sister-in-law wished to see his art, so she poured the rice into
the pot. Li stretched one of his legs out under it and lit it. The
flames leaped high and the leg burned like coal.

When the rice was nearly boiled his sister-in-law said: "Won't your
leg be injured?"

And Li replied angrily: "Did I not warn you not to say anything! Then
no harm would have been done. Now one of my legs is lamed." With these
words he took an iron poker and fashioned it into a crutch for
himself. Then he hung a bottle-gourd on his back, and went into the
hills to gather medicinal herbs. And that is why he is known as Li
with the Iron Crutch.

It is also told of him that he often was in the habit of ascending
into the heavens in the spirit to visit his master Laotsze. Before he
left he would order a disciple to watch his body and soul within it,
so that the latter did not escape. Should seven days have gone by
without his spirit returning, then he would allow his soul to leave
the empty tenement. Unfortunately, after six days had passed, the
disciple was called to the death-bed of his mother, and when the
master's spirit returned on the evening of the seventh day, the life
had gone out of its body. Since there was no place for his spirit in
his own body, in his despair he seized upon the first handy body from
which the vital essence had not yet dispersed. It was the body of a
neighbor, a lame cripple, who had just died, so that from that time on
the master appeared in his form.

The seventh Immortal is called Hang Siang Dsi. He was the nephew of
the famous Confucian scholar Han Yu, of the Tang dynasty. From his
earliest youth he cultivated the arts of the deathless gods, left his
home and became a Taoist. Grandfather Lu awakened him and raised him
to the heavenly world. Once he saved his uncle's life. The latter had
been driven from court, because he had objected when the emperor sent
for a bone of Buddha with great pomp. When he reached the Blue Pass in
his flight, a deep snowfall had made the road impassable. His horse
had floundered in a snow-drift, and he himself was well-nigh frozen.
Then Hang Siang Dsi suddenly appeared, helped him and his horse out of
the drift, and brought them safely to the nearest inn along the Blue
Pass. Han Yu sang a verse, in which the lines occurred:

    Tsin Ling Hill 'mid clouds doth lie,
      And home is far, beyond my sight!
    Round the Blue Pass snow towers high,
      And who will lead the horse aright?

Suddenly it occurred to him that several years before, Hang Siang Dsi
had come to his house to congratulate him on his birthday. Before he
had left, he had written these words on a slip of paper, and his uncle
had read them, without grasping their meaning. And now he was
unconsciously singing the very lines of that song that his nephew had
written. So he said to Hang Siang Dsi, with a sigh: "You must be one
of the Immortals, since you were able thus to foretell the future!"

And thrice Hang Siang Dsi sought to deliver his wife from the bonds of
earth. For when he left his home to seek the hidden wisdom, she sat
all day long yearning for his presence. Hang Siang Dsi wished to
release her into immortality, but he feared she was not capable of
translation. So he appeared to her in various forms, in order to try
her, once as a beggar, another time as a wandering monk. But his wife
did not grasp her opportunities. At last he took the shape of a lame
Taoist, who sat on a mat, beat a block of wood and read sutras before
the house.

His wife said: "My husband is not at home. I can give you nothing."

The Taoist answered: "I do not want your gold and silver, I want you.
Sit down beside me on the mat, and we will fly up into the air and you
shall find your husband again!"

Hereupon the woman grew angry and struck at him with a cudgel.

Then Hang Siang Dsi changed himself into his true form, stepped on a
shining cloud and was carried aloft. His wife looked after him and
wept loudly; but he had disappeared and was not seen again.

The eighth Immortal is a girl and was called Ho Sian Gu. She was a
peasant's daughter, and though her step-mother treated her harshly she
remained respectful and industrious. She loved to give alms, though
her step-mother tried to prevent her. Yet she was never angry, even
when her step-mother beat her. She had sworn not to marry, and at last
her step-mother did not know what to do with her. One day, while she
was cooking rice, Grandfather Du came and delivered her. She was still
holding the rice-spoon in her hand as she ascended into the air. In
the heavens she was appointed to sweep up the fallen flowers at the
Southern Gate of Heaven.

    Note: The legends of the Eight Immortals, regarded as
    one group, do not go back further than the Manchu
    dynasty, though individual ones among them were known
    before. Some of the Immortals, like Han Siang Dsi, are
    historic personages, others purely mythical. In the
    present day they play an important part in art and in
    the art-crafts. Their emblems also occur frequently:
    Dschung Li Kuan is represented with a fan. Dschang Go
    has a bamboo drum with two drum-sticks (and his donkey).
    Lu Dung Bin has a sword and a flower-basket on his
    back. Tsau Guo Gui has two small boards, (Yin Yang Ban),
    which he can throw into the air. Li Tia Guai has the
    bottle-gourd, out of which emerges a bat, the emblem of
    good fortune. Lan Tsai Ho, who is also pictured as a woman,
    has a flute. Han Siang Dsi has a flower-basket and a
    dibble. Ho Sian Gu has a spoon, usually formed in the
    shape of a lotus-flower.



XXXI

THE EIGHT IMMORTALS (II)


Once upon a time there was a poor man, who at last had no roof to
shelter him and not a bite to eat. So, weary and worn, he lay down
beside a little temple of the field-god that stood by the roadside and
fell asleep. And he dreamed that the old, white-bearded field-god came
out of his little shrine and said to him: "I know of a means to help
you! To-morrow the Eight Immortals will pass along this road. Cast
yourself down before them and plead to them!"

When the man awoke he seated himself beneath the great tree beside the
field-god's little temple, and waited all day long for his dream to
come true. At last, when the sun had nearly sunk, eight figures came
down the road, which the beggar clearly recognized as those of the
Eight Immortals. Seven of them were hurrying as fast as they could,
but one among them, who had a lame leg, limped along after the rest.
Before him--it was Li Tia Guai--the man cast himself to earth. But the
lame Immortal did not want to bother with him, and told him to go
away. Yet the poor man would not give over pleading with him, begging
that he might go with them and be one of the Immortals, too. That
would be impossible, said the cripple. Yet, as the poor man did not
cease his prayers and would not leave him, he at last said: "Very
well, then, take hold of my coat!" This the man did and off they went
in flying haste over paths and fields, on and on, and even further on.
Suddenly they stood together high up on the tower of Pong-lai-schan,
the ghost mountain by the Eastern Sea. And, lo, there stood the rest
of the Immortals as well! But they were very discontented with the
companion whom Li Tia Guai had brought along. Yet since the poor man
pleaded so earnestly, they too allowed themselves to be moved, and
said to him: "Very well! We will now leap down into the sea. If you
follow us you may also become an Immortal!" And one after another the
seven leaped down into the sea. But when it came to the man's turn he
was frightened, and would not dare the leap. Then the cripple said to
him: "If you are afraid, then you cannot become an Immortal!"

"But what shall I do now?" wailed the man, "I am far from my home and
have no money!" The cripple broke off a fragment of the battlement of
the tower, and thrust it into the man's hand; then he also leaped from
the tower and disappeared into the sea like his seven companions.

When the man examined the stone in his hand more closely, he saw that
it was the purest silver. It provided him with traveling money during
the many weeks it took him to reach his home. But by that time the
silver was completely used up, and he found himself just as poor as he
had been before.

    Note: Little field-god temples, Tu Di Miau, are
    miniature stone chapels which stand before every
    village. As regards the field-god, see No. 51.



XXXII

THE TWO SCHOLARS


Once upon a time there were two scholars. One was named Liu Tschen and
the other Yuan Dschau. Both were young and handsome. One spring day
they went together into the hills of Tian Tai to gather curative
herbs. There they came to a little valley where peach-trees blossomed
luxuriantly on either side. In the middle of the valley was a cave,
where two maidens stood under the blossoming trees, one of them clad
in red garments, the other in green. And they were beautiful beyond
all telling. They beckoned to the scholars with their hands.

"And have you come?" they asked. "We have been waiting for you
overlong!"

Then they led them into the cave and served them with tea and wine.

"I have been destined for the lord Liu," said the maiden in the red
gown; "and my sister is for the lord Yuan!"

And so they were married. Every day the two scholars gazed at the
flowers or played chess so that they forgot the mundane world
completely. They only noticed that at times the peach-blossoms on the
trees before the cave opened, and at others that they fell from the
boughs. And, at times, unexpectedly, they felt cold or warm, and had
to change the clothing they were wearing. And they marveled within
themselves that it should be so.

Then, one day, they were suddenly overcome by homesickness. Both
maidens were already aware of it.

"When our lords have once been seized with homesickness, then we may
hold them no longer," said they.

On the following day they prepared a farewell banquet, gave the
scholars magic wine to take along with them and said:

"We will see one another again. Now go your way!"

And the scholars bade them farewell with tears.

When they reached home the gates and doors had long since vanished,
and the people of the village were all strangers to them. They crowded
about the scholars and asked who they might be.

"We are Liu Tschen and Yuan Dschau. Only a few days ago we went into
the hills to pick herbs!"

With that a servant came hastening up and looked at them. At last he
fell at Liu Tschen's feet with great joy and cried: "Yes, you are
really my master! Since you went away, and we had no news of any kind
regarding you some seventy years or more have passed."

Thereupon he drew the scholar Liu through a high gateway, ornamented
with bosses and a ring in a lion's mouth, as is the custom in the
dwellings of those of high estate.

And when he entered the hall, an old lady with white hair and bent
back, leaning on a cane, came forward and asked: "What man is this?"

"Our master has returned again," replied the servant. And then,
turning to Liu he added: "That is the mistress. She is nearly a
hundred years old, but fortunately is still strong and in good
health."

Tears of joy and sadness filled the old lady's eyes.

"Since you went away among the immortals, I had thought that we should
never see each other again in this life," said she. "What great good
fortune that you should have returned after all!"

And before she had ended the whole family, men and women, came
streaming up and welcomed him in a great throng outside the hall.

And his wife pointed out this one and that and said: "That is so and
so, and this is so and so!"

At the time the scholar had disappeared there had been only a tiny boy
in his home, but a few years old. And he was now an old man of eighty.
He had served the empire in a high office, and had already retired to
enjoy his old age in the ancestral gardens. There were three
grand-children, all celebrated ministers; there were more than ten
great-grand-children, of whom five had already passed their examinations
for the doctorate; there were some twenty great-great-grand-children, of
whom the oldest had just returned home after having passed his induction
examinations for the magistracy with honor. And the little ones, who
were carried in their parents' arms, were not to be counted. The
grand-children, who were away, busy with their duties, all asked for
leave and returned home when they heard that their ancestor had
returned. And the girl grand-children, who had married into other
families, also came. This filled Liu with joy, and he had a family
banquet prepared in the hall, and all his descendants, with their wives
and husbands sat about him in a circle. He himself and his wife, a
white-haired, wrinkled old lady, sat in their midst at the upper end.
The scholar himself still looked like a youth of twenty years, so that
all the young people in the circle looked around and laughed.

Then the scholar said: "I have a means of driving away old age!"

And he drew out his magic wine and gave his wife some of it to drink.
And when she had taken three glasses, her white hair gradually turned
black again, her wrinkles disappeared, and she sat beside her husband,
a handsome young woman. Then his son and the older grand-children
came up and all asked for a drink of the wine. And whichever of them
drank only so much as a drop of it was turned from an old man into a
youth. The tale was bruited abroad and came to the emperor's ears. The
emperor wanted to call Liu to his court, but he declined with many
thanks. Yet he sent the emperor some of his magic wine as a gift. This
pleased the emperor greatly, and he gave Liu a tablet of honor, with
the inscription:

    "The Common Home of Five Generations"

Besides this he sent him three signs which he had written with his own
imperial brush signifying:

    "Joy in longevity"

As to the other of the two scholars, Yuan Dschau, he was not so
fortunate. When he came home he found that his wife and child had long
since died, and his grand-children and great-grand-children were
mostly useless people. So he did not remain long, but returned to the
hills. Yet Liu Tschen remained for some years with his family, then
taking his wife with him, went again to the Tai Hills and was seen no
more.

    Note: This tale is placed in the reign of the Emperor
    Ming Di (A.D. 58-75). Its motive is that of the legend
    of the Seven Sleepers, and is often found in Chinese
    fairy tales.



XXXIII

THE MISERLY FARMER


Once upon a time there was a farmer who had carted pears to market.
Since they were very sweet and fragrant, he hoped to get a good price
for them. A bonze with a torn cap and tattered robe stepped up to his
cart and asked for one. The farmer repulsed him, but the bonze did not
go. Then the farmer grew angry and began to call him names. The bonze
said: "You have pears by the hundred in your cart. I only ask for one.
Surely that does you no great injury. Why suddenly grow so angry about
it?"

The bystanders told the farmer that he ought to give the bonze one of
the smaller pears and let him go. But the farmer would not and did
not. An artisan saw the whole affair from his shop, and since the
noise annoyed him, he took some money, bought a pear and gave it to
the bonze.

The bonze thanked him and said: "One like myself, who has given up the
world, must not be miserly. I have beautiful pears myself, and I
invite you all to eat them with me." Then some one asked: "If you have
pears then why do you not eat your own?" He answered: "I first must
have a seed to plant."

And with that he began to eat the pear with gusto. When he had
finished, he held the pit in his hand, took his pick-ax from his
shoulder; and dug a hole a couple of inches deep. Into this he thrust
the pit, and covered it with earth. Then he asked the folk in the
market place for water, with which to water it. A pair of curiosity
seekers brought him hot water from the hostelry in the street, and
with it the bonze watered the pit. Thousands of eyes were turned on
the spot. And the pit could already be seen to sprout. The sprout grew
and in a moment it had turned into a tree. Branches and leaves
burgeoned out from it. It began to blossom and soon the fruit had
ripened: large, fragrant pears, which hung in thick clusters from the
boughs. The bonze climbed into the tree and handed down the pears to
the bystanders. In a moment all the pears had been eaten up. Then the
bonze took his pick-ax and cut down the tree. Crash, crash! so it went
for a while, and the tree was felled. Then he took the tree on his
shoulder and walked away at an easy gait.

When the bonze had begun to make his magic, the farmer, too, had
mingled with the crowd. With neck outstretched and staring eyes he had
stood there and had entirely forgotten the business he hoped to do
with his pears. When the bonze had gone off he turned around to look
after his cart. His pears had all disappeared. Then he realized that
the pears the bonze had divided had been his own. He looked more
closely, and the axle of his cart had disappeared. It was plainly
evident that it had been chopped off quite recently. The farmer fell
into a rage and hastened after the bonze as fast as ever he could. And
when he turned the corner, there lay the missing piece from the axle
by the city wall. And then he realized that the pear-tree which the
bonze had chopped down must have been his axle. The bonze, however,
was nowhere to be found. And the whole crowd in the market burst out
into loud laughter.

    Note: The axle in China is really a handle, for the
    little Chinese carts are one-wheel push-carts with two
    handles or shafts.



XXXIV

SKY O'DAWN


Once upon a time there was a man who took a child to a woman in a
certain village, and told her to take care of him. Then he
disappeared. And because the dawn was just breaking in the sky when
the woman took the child into her home, she called him Sky O'Dawn.
When the child was three years old, he would often look up to the
heavens and talk with the stars. One day he ran away and many months
passed before he came home again. The woman gave him a whipping. But
he ran away again, and did not return for a year. His foster-mother
was frightened, and asked: "Where have you been all year long?" The
boy answered: "I only made a quick trip to the Purple Sea. There the
water stained my clothes red. So I went to the spring at which the sun
turns in, and washed them. I went away in the morning and I came back
at noon. Why do you speak about my having been gone a year?"

Then the woman asked: "And where did you pass on your way?"

The boy answered: "When I had washed my clothes, I rested for a while
in the City of the Dead and fell asleep. And the King-Father of the
East gave me red chestnuts and rosy dawn-juice to eat, and my hunger
was stilled. Then I went to the dark skies and drank the yellow dew,
and my thirst was quenched. And I met a black tiger and wanted to ride
home on his back. But I whipped him too hard, and he bit me in the
leg. And so I came back to tell you about it."

  [Illustration: "'AND I CROSSED THE WATER ON THE SHOE.'"
                                                  --_Page 91_]

Once more the boy ran away from home, thousands of miles, until he
came to the swamp where dwelt the Primal Mist. There he met an old man
with yellow eyebrows and asked him how old he might be. The old man
said: "I have given up the habit of eating, and live on air. The
pupils of my eyes have gradually acquired a green glow, which enables
me to see all hidden things. Whenever a thousand years have passed I
turn around my bones and wash the marrow. And every two thousand years
I scrape my skin to get rid of the hair. I have already washed my
bones thrice and scraped my skin five times."

Afterward Sky O'Dawn served the Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty. The
Emperor, who was fond of the magic arts, was much attached to him. One
day he said to him: "I wish that the empress might not grow old. Can
you prevent it?"

Sky O'Dawn answered: "I know of only one means to keep from growing
old."

The Emperor asked what herbs one had to eat. Sky O'Dawn replied: "In
the North-East grow the mushrooms of life. There is a three-legged
crow in the sun who always wants to get down and eat them. But the
Sun-God holds his eyes shut and does not let him get away. If human
beings eat them they become immortal, when animals eat them they grow
stupefied."

"And how do you know this?" asked the Emperor.

"When I was a boy I once fell into a deep well, from which I could not
get out for many decades. And down there was an immortal who led me to
this herb. But one has to pass through a red river whose water is so
light that not even a feather can swim on it. Everything that touches
its surface sinks to the depths. But the man pulled off one of his
shoes and gave it to me. And I crossed the water on the shoe, picked
the herb and ate it. Those who dwell in that place weave mats of
pearls and precious stones. They led me to a spot before which hung a
curtain of delicate, colored skin. And they gave me a pillow carved of
black jade, on which were graven sun and moon, clouds and thunder.
They covered me with a dainty coverlet spun of the hair of a hundred
gnats. A cover of that kind is very cool and refreshing in summer. I
felt of it with my hands, and it seemed to be formed of water; but
when I looked at it more closely, it was pure light."

Once the Emperor called together all his magicians in order to talk
with them about the fields of the blessed spirits. Sky O'Dawn was
there, too, and said: "Once I was wandering about the North Pole and I
came to the Fire-Mirror Mountain. There neither sun nor moon shines.
But there is a dragon who holds a fiery mirror in his jaws in order to
light up the darkness. On the mountain is a park, and in the park is a
lake. By the lake grows the glimmer-stalk grass, which shines like a
lamp of gold. If you pluck it and use it for a candle, you can see all
things visible, and the shapes of the spirits as well. It even
illuminates the interior of a human being."

Once Sky O'Dawn went to the East, into the country of the fortunate
clouds. And he brought back with him from that land a steed of the
gods, nine feet high. The Emperor asked him how he had come to find
it.

So he told him: "The Queen-Mother of the West had him harnessed to her
wagon when she went to visit the King-Father of the East. The steed
was staked out in the field of the mushrooms of life. But he trampled
down several hundred of them. This made the King-Father angry, and he
drove the steed away to the heavenly river. There I found him and rode
him home. I rode three times around the sun, because I had fallen
asleep on the steed's back. And then, before I knew it, I was here.
This steed can catch up with the sun's shadow. When I found him he was
quite thin and as sad as an aged donkey. So I mowed the grass of the
country of the fortunate clouds, which grows once every two-thousand
years on the Mountain of the Nine Springs and fed it to the horse; and
that made him lively again."

The Emperor asked what sort of a place the country of the fortunate
clouds might be. Sky O'Dawn answered: "There is a great swamp there.
The people prophesy fortune and misfortune by the air and the clouds.
If good fortune is to befall a house, clouds of five colors form in
the rooms, which alight on the grass and trees and turn into a colored
dew. This dew tastes as sweet as cider."

The Emperor asked whether he could obtain any of this dew. Sky O'Dawn
replied: "My steed could take me to the place where it falls four
times in the course of a single day!"

And sure enough he came back by evening, and brought along dew of
every color in a crystal flask. The Emperor drank it and his hair grew
black again. He gave it to his highest officials to drink, and the old
grew young again and the sick became well.

Once, when a comet appeared in the heavens, Sky O'Dawn gave the
Emperor the astrologer's wand. The Emperor pointed it at the comet and
the comet was quenched.

Sky O'Dawn was an excellent whistler. And whenever he whistled in full
tones, long drawn out, the motes in the sunbeams danced to his music.

Once he said to a friend: "There is not a soul on earth who knows who
I am with the exception of the astrologer!"

When Sky O'Dawn had died, the Emperor called the astrologer to him
and asked: "Did you know Sky O'Dawn?"

He replied: "No!"

The Emperor said: "What do you know?"

The astrologer answered: "I know how to gaze on the stars."

"Are all the stars in their places?" asked the Emperor.

"Yes, but for eighteen years I have not seen the Star of the Great
Year. Now it is visible once more."

Then the Emperor looked up towards the skies and sighed: "For eighteen
years Sky O'Dawn kept me company, and I did not know that he was the
Star of the Great Year!"

    Note: The mother of Sky O'Dawn, (Dung Fang So) who makes
    so mysterious an appearance on earth, according to one
    tradition, is the third daughter of the Lord of the
    Heavens. (Comp. Note to No. 16). Dung Fang So is an
    incarnation of the Wood Star or Star of the Great Year
    (Jupiter). The King-Father of the East, one of the Five
    Ancients, is the representative of wood (comp. No. 15).
    Red chestnuts, like fire-dates, are fruits of the gods,
    and bestow immortality. Sky O'Dawn was an excellent
    whistler. Whistling is a famous means of magic among the
    Taoists. The Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty, was a prince
    who is reputed to have devoted much attention to the
    magic arts. He reigned from 140 to 86 B.C. The
    three-legged crow in the sun is the counterpart of the
    three-legged ram-toad in the moon. The Red River recalls
    the Weak River by the Castle of the Queen-Mother of the
    West.



XXXV

KING MU OF DSCHOU


In the days of King Mu of Dschou a magician came out of the uttermost
West, who could walk through water and fire, and pass through metal
and stone. He could make mountains and rivers change place, shift
about cities and castles, rise into emptiness without falling, strike
against solid matter without finding it an obstruction; and he knew a
thousand transformations in all their inexhaustible variety. And he
could not only change the shape of things but he could change men's
thoughts. The King honored him like a god, and served him as he would
a master. He resigned his own apartments that the magician might be
lodged in them, had beasts of sacrifice brought to offer him, and
selected sweet singers to give him pleasure. But the rooms in the
King's palace were too humble--the magician could not dwell in them;
and the King's singers were not musical enough to be allowed to be
near him. So King Mu had a new palace built for him. The work of
bricklayers and carpenters, of painters and stainers left nothing to
be desired with regard to skill. The King's treasury was empty when
the tower had reached its full height. It was a thousand fathoms high,
and rose above the top of the mountain before the capital. The King
selected maidens, the loveliest and most dainty, gave them fragrant
essences, had their eyebrows curved in lines of beauty, and adorned
their hair and ears with jewels. He garbed them in fine cloth, and
with white silks fluttering about them, and had their faces painted
white and their eyebrows stained black. He had them put on armlets of
precious stones and mix sweet-smelling herbs. They filled the palace
and sang the songs of the ancient kings in order to please the
magician. Every month the most costly garments were brought him, and
every morning the most delicate food. The magician allowed them to do
so, and since he had no choice, made the best of it.

Not long afterward the magician invited the King to go traveling with
him. The King grasped the magician's sleeve, and thus they flew up
through the air to the middle of the skies. When they stopped they
found they had reached the palace of the magician. It was built of
gold and silver, and adorned with pearls and precious stones. It
towered high over the clouds and rain; and none could say whereon it
rested. To the eye it had the appearance of heaped-up clouds. All that
it offered the senses was different from the things of the world of
men. It seemed to the King as though he were bodily present in the
midst of the purple depths of the city of the air, of the divine
harmony of the spheres, where the Great God dwells. The King looked
down, and his castles and pleasure-houses appeared to him like hills
of earth and heaps of straw. And there the King remained for some
decades and thought no more of his kingdom.

Then the magician again invited the King to go traveling with him once
more. And in the place to which they came there was to be seen neither
sun nor moon above, nor rivers or sea below. The King's dazzled eyes
could not see the radiant shapes which showed themselves; the King's
dulled ears could not hear the sounds which played about them. It
seemed as though his body were dissolving in confusion; his thoughts
began to stray, and consciousness threatened to leave him. So he
begged the magician to return. The magician put his spell upon him,
and it seemed to the King as though he were falling into empty space.

When he regained consciousness, he was sitting at the same place where
he had been sitting when the magician had asked him to travel with him
for the first time. The servants waiting on him were the same, and
when he looked down, his goblet was not yet empty, and his food had
not yet grown cold.

The King asked what had happened. And the servants answered, "The King
sat for a space in silence." Whereupon the King was quite bereft of
reason, and it was three months before he regained his right mind.
Then he questioned the magician. The magician said: "I was traveling
with you in the spirit, O King! What need was there for the body to go
along? And the place in which we stayed at that time was no less real
than your own castle and your own gardens. But you are used only to
permanent conditions, therefore visions which dissolve so suddenly
appear strange to you."

The King was content with the explanation. He gave no further thought
to the business of government and took no more interest in his
servants, but resolved to travel afar. So he had the eight famous
steeds harnessed, and accompanied by a few faithful retainers, drove a
thousand miles away. There he came to the country of the great
hunters. The great hunters brought the King the blood of the white
brant to drink, and washed his feet in the milk of mares and cows.
When the King and his followers had quenched their thirst, they drove
on and camped for the night on the slope of the Kunlun Mountain, south
of the Red River. The next day they climbed to the peak of Kunlun
Mountain and gazed at the castle of the Lord of the Yellow Earth.
Then they traveled on to the Queen-Mother of the West. Before they got
there they had to pass the Weak River. This is a river whose waters
will bear neither floats nor ships. All that attempts to float over it
sinks into its depths. When the King reached the shore, fish and
turtles, crabs and salamanders came swimming up and formed a bridge,
so that he could drive across with the wagon.

It is said of the Queen-Mother of the West that she goes about with
hair unkempt, with a bird's beak and tiger's teeth, and that she is
skilled in playing the flute. Yet this is not her true figure, but
that of a spirit who serves her, and rules over the Western sky. The
Queen-Mother entertained King Mu in her castle by the Springs of Jade.
And she gave him rock-marrow to drink and fed him with the fruit of
the jade-trees. Then she sang him a song and taught him a magic
formula by means of which one could obtain long life. The Queen-Mother
of the West gathers the immortals around her, and gives them to eat of
the peaches of long life; and then they come to her with wagons with
purple canopies, drawn by flying dragons. Ordinary mortals sink in the
Weak River when they try to cross. But she was kindly disposed to King
Mu.

When he took leave of her, he also went on to the spot where the sun
turns in after running three thousand miles a day. Then he returned
again to his kingdom.

When King Mu was a hundred years old, the Queen-Mother of the West
drew near his palace and led him away with her into the clouds.

And from that day on he was seen no more.

    Note: King Mu of Dschou reigned from 1001 to 946 B.C.
    With his name are associated the stories of the
    marvelous travels into the land of the far West, and
    especially to the Queen-Mother (who is identified by
    some with Juno). The peaches of immortality suggest the
    apples of the Hesperides. (Comp. with the story of "The
    Ape Sun Wu Kung.")



XXXVI

THE KING OF HUAI NAN


The King of Huai Nan was a learned man of the Han dynasty. Since he
was of the blood royal the emperor had given him a kingdom in fee. He
cultivated the society of scholars, could interpret signs and foretell
the future. Together with his scholars he had compiled the book which
bears his name.

One day eight aged men came to see him. They all had white beards and
white hair. The gate-keeper announced them to the King. The King
wished to try them, so he sent back the gate-keeper to put
difficulties in the way of their entrance. The latter said to them:
"Our King is striving to learn the art of immortal life. You gentlemen
are old and feeble. How can you be of aid to him? It is unnecessary
for you to pay him a visit."

The eight old men smiled and said: "Oh, and are we too old to suit
you? Well, then we will make ourselves young!" And before they had
finished speaking they had turned themselves into boys of fourteen and
fifteen, with hair-knots as black as silk and faces like
peach-blossoms. The gate-keeper was frightened, and at once informed
the King of what had happened. When the King heard it, he did not even
take time to slip into his shoes, but hurried out barefoot to receive
them. He led them into his palace, had rugs of brocade spread for
them, and beds of ivory set up, fragrant herbs burned and tables of
gold and precious stones set in front of them. Then he bowed before
them as pupils do before a teacher, and told them how glad he was that
they had come.

The eight boys changed into old men again and said: "Do you wish to go
to school to us, O King? Each one of us is master of a particular art.
One of us can call up wind and rain, cause clouds and mists to gather,
rivers to flow and mountains to heave themselves up, if he wills it
so. The second can cause high mountains to split asunder and check
great streams in their course. He can tame tigers and panthers and
soothe serpents and dragons. Spirits and gods do his bidding. The
third can send out doubles, transform himself into other shapes, make
himself invisible, cause whole armies to disappear, and turn day into
night. The fourth can walk through the air and clouds, can stroll on
the surface of the waves, pass through walls and rocks and cover a
thousand miles in a single breath. The fifth can enter fire without
burning, and water without drowning. The winter frost cannot chill
him, nor the summer heat burn him. The sixth can create and transform
living creatures if he feel inclined. He can form birds and beasts,
grasses and trees. He can transplace houses and castles. The seventh
can bake lime so that it turns to gold, and cook lead so that it turns
to silver; he can mingle water and stone so that the bubbles
effervesce and turn into pearls. The eighth can ride on dragons and
cranes to the eight poles of the world, converse with the immortals,
and stand in the presence of the Great Pure One."

The King kept them beside him from morning to night, entertained them
and had them show him what they could do. And, true enough, they could
do everything just as they had said. And now the King began to distil
the elixir of life with their aid. He had finished, but not yet
imbibed it when a misfortune overtook his family. His son had been
playing with a courtier and the latter had heedlessly wounded him.
Fearing that the prince might punish him, he joined other discontented
persons and excited a revolt. And the emperor, when he heard of it,
sent one of his captains to judge between the King and the rebels.

The eight aged men spoke: "It is now time to go. This misfortune has
been sent you from heaven, O King! Had it not befallen you, you would
not have been able to resolve to leave the splendors and glories of
this world!"

They led him on to a mountain. There they offered sacrifices to
heaven, and buried gold in the earth. Then they ascended into the
skies in bright daylight. The footprints of the eight aged men and of
the king were imprinted in the rock of the mountain, and may be seen
there to this very day. Before they had left the castle, however, they
had set what was left of the elixir of life out in the courtyard. Hens
and hounds picked and licked it up, and all flew up into the skies. In
Huai Nan to this very day the crowing of cocks and the barking of
hounds may be heard up in the skies, and it is said that these are the
creatures who followed the King at the time.

One of the King's servants, however, followed him to an island in the
sea, whence he sent him back. He told that the King himself had not
yet ascended to the skies, but had only become immortal and was
wandering about the world. When the emperor heard of the matter he
regretted greatly that he had sent soldiers into the King's land and
thus driven him out. He called in magicians to aid him, in hope of
meeting the eight old men himself. Yet, for all that he spent great
sums, he was not successful. The magicians only cheated him.

    Note: The King of Huai Nan was named Liu An. He belonged
    to the Han dynasty. He dabbled largely in magic, and
    drew to his court many magicians whose labors are
    collected in the philosophical work which bears his
    name. Liu An lived at the time of the Emperor Wu (see
    No. 34). The latter having no heirs, Liu An entered into
    a conspiracy which, however, was discovered. As a
    consequence he killed himself, 122 B.C. Our fairy-tale
    presents these events in their legendary transformation.



XXXVII

OLD DSCHANG


Once upon a time there was a man who went by the name of Old Dschang.
He lived in the country, near Yangdschou, as a gardener. His neighbor,
named Sir We, held an official position in Yangdschou. Sir We had
decided that it was time for his daughter to marry, so he sent for a
match-maker and commissioned her to find a suitable husband. Old
Dschang heard this, and was pleased. He prepared food and drink,
entertained the match-maker, and told her to recommend him as a
husband. But the old match-maker went off scolding.

The next day he invited her to dinner again and gave her money. Then
the old match-maker said: "You do not know what you wish! Why should a
gentleman's beautiful daughter condescend to marry a poor old gardener
like yourself? Even though you had money to burn, your white hair
would not match her black locks. Such a marriage is out of the
question!"

But Old Dschang did not cease to entreat her: "Make an attempt, just
one attempt, to mention me! If they will not listen to you, then I
must resign myself to my fate!"

The old match-maker had taken his money, so she could not well refuse,
and though she feared being scolded, she mentioned him to Sir We. He
grew angry and wanted to throw her out of the house.

"I knew you would not thank me," said she, "but the old man urged it
so that I could not refuse to mention his intention."

"Tell the old man that if this very day he brings me two white
jade-stones, and four hundred ounces of yellow gold, then I will give
him my daughter's hand in marriage."

But he only wished to mock the old man's folly, for he knew that the
latter could not give him anything of the kind. The match-maker went
to Old Dschang and delivered the message. And he made no objection;
but at once brought the exact quantity of gold and jewels to Sir We's
house. The latter was very much frightened and when his wife heard of
it, she began to weep and wail loudly. But the girl encouraged her
mother: "My father has given his word now and cannot break it. I will
know how to bear my fate."

So Sir We's daughter was married to Old Dschang. But even after the
wedding the latter did not give up his work as a gardener. He spaded
the field and sold vegetables as usual, and his wife had to fetch
water and build the kitchen fire herself. But she did her work without
false shame and, though her relatives reproached her, she continued to
do so.

Once an aristocratic relative visited Sir We and said: "If you had
really been poor, were there not enough young gentlemen in the
neighborhood for your daughter? Why did you have to marry her to such
a wrinkled old gardener? Now that you have thrown her away, so to
speak, it would be better if both of them left this part of the
country."

Then Sir We prepared a banquet and invited his daughter and Old
Dschang to visit him. When they had had sufficient to eat and drink he
allowed them to get an inkling of what was in his mind.

Said Old Dschang: "I have only remained here because I thought you
would long for your daughter. But since you are tired of us, I will be
glad to go. I have a little country house back in the hills, and we
will set out for it early to-morrow morning."

The following morning, at break of dawn, Old Dschang came with his
wife to say farewell. Sir We said: "Should we long to see you at some
later time, my son can make inquiries." Old Dschang placed his wife on
a donkey and gave her a straw hat to wear. He himself took his staff
and walked after.

A few years passed without any news from either of them. Then Sir We
and his wife felt quite a longing to see their daughter and sent their
son to make inquiries. When the latter got back in the hills he met a
plow-boy who was plowing with two yellow steers. He asked him: "Where
is Old Dschang's country house?" The plow-boy left the plow in the
harrow, bowed and answered: "You have been a long time coming, sir!
The village is not far from here: I will show you the way."

They crossed a hill. At the foot of the hill flowed a brook, and when
they had crossed the brook they had to climb another hill. Gradually
the landscape changed. From the top of the hill could be seen a
valley, level in the middle, surrounded by abrupt crags and shaded by
green trees, among which houses and towers peeped forth. This was the
country house of Old Dschang. Before the village flowed a deep brook
full of clear, blue water. They passed over a stone bridge and reached
the gate. Here flowers and trees grew in luxurious profusion, and
peacocks and cranes flew about. From the distance could be heard the
sound of flutes and of stringed instruments. Crystal-clear tones rose
to the clouds. A messenger in a purple robe received the guest at the
gate and led him into a hall of surpassing splendor. Strange
fragrances filled the air, and there was a ringing of little bells of
pearl. Two maid-servants came forth to greet him, followed by two rows
of beautiful girls in a long processional. After them a man in a
flowing turban, clad in scarlet silk, with red slippers, came floating
along. The guest saluted him. He was serious and dignified, and at the
same time seemed youthfully fresh. At first We's son did not recognize
him, but when he looked more closely, why it was Old Dschang! The
latter said with a smile: "I am pleased that the long road to travel
has not prevented your coming. Your sister is just combing her hair.
She will welcome you in a moment." Then he had him sit down and drink
tea.

After a short time a maid-servant came and led him to the inner rooms,
to his sister. The beams of her room were of sandalwood, the doors of
tortoise-shell and the windows inlaid with blue jade; her curtains
were formed of strings of pearls and the steps leading into the room
of green nephrite. His sister was magnificently gowned, and far more
beautiful than before. She asked him carelessly how he was getting
along, and what her parents were doing; but was not very cordial.
After a splendid meal she had an apartment prepared for him.

"My sister wishes to make an excursion to the Mountain of the
Fairies," said Old Dschang to him. "We will be back about sunset, and
you can rest until we return."

Then many-colored clouds rose in the courtyard, and dulcet music
sounded on the air. Old Dschang mounted a dragon, while his wife and
sister rode on phenixes and their attendants on cranes. So they rose
into the air and disappeared in an easterly direction. They did not
return until after sunset.

Old Dschang and his wife then said to him: "This is an abode of the
blessed. You cannot remain here overlong. To-morrow we will escort you
back."

On the following day, when taking leave, Old Dschang gave him eighty
ounces of gold and an old straw hat. "Should you need money," said he,
"you can go to Yangdschou and inquire in the northern suburb for old
Wang's drug-shop. There you can collect ten million pieces of copper.
This hat is the order for them." Then he ordered his plow-boy to take
him home again.

Quite a few of the folks at home, to whom he described his adventures,
thought that Old Dschang must be a holy man, while others regarded the
whole thing a magic vision.

After five or six years Sir We's money came to an end. So his son took
the straw hat to Yangdschou and there asked for old Wang. The latter
just happened to be standing in his drug-shop, mixing herbs. When the
son explained his errand he said: "The money is ready. But is your hat
genuine?" And he took the hat and examined it. A young girl came from
an inner room and said: "I wove the hat for Old Dschang myself. There
must be a red thread in it." And sure enough, there was. Then old Wang
gave young We the ten million pieces of copper, and the latter now
believed that Old Dschang was really a saint. So he once more went
over the hills to look for him. He asked the forest-keepers, but they
could tell him naught. Sadly he retraced his steps and decided to
inquire of old Wang, but he had also disappeared.

When several years had passed he once more came to Yangdschou, and was
walking in the meadow before the city gate. There he met Old Dschang's
plow-boy. The latter cried out: "How are you? How are you?" and drew
out ten pounds of gold, which he gave to him, saying: "My mistress
told me to give you this. My master is this very moment drinking tea
with old Wang in the inn." Young We followed the plow-boy, intending
to greet his brother-in-law. But when he reached the inn there was no
one in sight. And when he turned around the plow-boy had disappeared
as well. And since that time no one ever heard from Old Dschang again.

    Note: The match-maker, according to Chinese custom--and
    the custom of other oriental peoples--is an absolutely
    necessary mediator between the two families. There are
    old women who make their living at this profession.



XXXVIII

THE KINDLY MAGICIAN


Once upon a time there was a man named Du Dsi Tschun. In his youth he
was a spendthrift and paid no heed to his property. He was given to
drink and idling. When he had run through all his money, his relatives
cast him out. One winter day he was walking barefoot about the city,
with an empty stomach and torn clothes. Evening came on and still he
had not found any food. Without end or aim he wandered about the
market place. He was hungry, and the cold seemed well nigh
unendurable. So he turned his eyes upward and began to lament aloud.

Suddenly an ancient man stood before him, leaning on a staff, who
said: "What do you lack since you complain so?"

"I am dying of hunger," replied Du Dsi Tschun, "and not a soul will
take pity on me!"

The ancient man said: "How much money would you need in order to live
in all comfort?"

"If I had fifty thousand pieces of copper it would answer my purpose,"
replied Du Dsi Tschun.

The ancient said: "That would not answer."

"Well, then, a million!"

"That is still too little!"

"Well, then, three million!"

The ancient man said: "That is well spoken!" He fetched a thousand
pieces of copper out of his sleeve and said: "That is for this
evening. Expect me to-morrow by noon, at the Persian Bazaar!"

At the time set Du Dsi Tschun went there, and, sure enough, there was
the ancient, who gave him three million pieces of copper. Then he
disappeared, without giving his name.

When Du Dsi Tschun held the money in his hand, his love for
prodigality once more awoke. He rode pampered steeds, clothed himself
in the finest furs, went back to his wine, and led such an extravagant
life that the money gradually came to an end. Instead of wearing
brocade he had to wear cotton, and instead of riding horseback he went
to the dogs. Finally he was again running about barefoot and in rags
as before, and did not know how to satisfy his hunger. Once more he
stood in the market-place and sighed. But the ancient was already
there, took him by the hand and said: "Are you back already to where
you were? That is strange! However, I will aid you once more!"

But Du Dsi Tschun was ashamed and did not want to accept his help. Yet
the ancient insisted, and led him along to the Persian Bazaar. This
time he gave him ten million pieces of copper, and Du Dsi Tschun
thanked him with shame in his heart.

With money in hand, he tried to give time to adding to it, and saving
in order to gain great wealth. But, as is always the case, it is hard
to overcome ingrown faults. Gradually he began to fling his money away
again, and gave free rein to all his desires. And once more his purse
grew empty. In a couple of years he was as poor as ever he had been.

Then he met the ancient the third time, but was so ashamed of himself
that he hid his face when he passed him.

The ancient seized his arm and said: "Where are you going? I will help
you once more. I will give you thirty million. But if then you do not
improve you are past all aid!"

Full of gratitude, Du Dsi Tschun bowed before him and said: "In the
days of my poverty my wealthy relatives did not seek me out. You alone
have thrice aided me. The money you give me to-day shall not be
squandered, that I swear; but I will devote it to good works in order
to repay your great kindness. And when I have done this I will follow
you, if needs be through fire and through water."

The ancient replied: "That is right! When you have ordered these
things ask for me in the temple of Laotsze beneath the two mulberry
trees!"

Du Dsi Tschun took the money and went to Yangdschou. There he bought a
hundred acres of the best land, and built a lofty house with many
hundreds of rooms on the highway. And there he allowed widows and
orphans to live. Then he bought a burial-place for his ancestors, and
supported his needy relations. Countless people were indebted to him
for their livelihood.

When all was finished, he went to inquire after the ancient in the
temple of Laotsze. The ancient was sitting in the shade of the
mulberry trees blowing the flute. He took Du Dsi Tschun along with him
to the cloudy peaks of the holy mountains of the West. When they had
gone some forty miles into the mountains, he saw a dwelling, fair and
clean. It was surrounded by many-colored clouds, and peacocks and
cranes were flying about it. Within the house was a herb-oven nine
feet high. The fire burned with a purple flame, and its glow leaped
along the walls. Nine fairies stood at the oven, and a green dragon
and a white tiger crouched beside it. Evening came. The ancient was no
longer clad like an ordinary man; but wore a yellow cap and wide,
flowing garments. He took three pellets of the White Stone, put them
into a flagon of wine, and gave them to Du Dsi Tschun to drink. He
spread out a tiger-skin against the western wall of the inner chamber,
and bade Du Dsi Tschun sit down on it, with his face turned toward the
East. Then he said to him: "Now beware of speaking a single word--no
matter what happens to you, whether you encounter powerful gods or
terrible demons, wild beasts or ogres, or all the tortures of the
nether world, or even if you see your own relatives suffer--for all
these things are only deceitful images! They cannot harm you. Think
only of what I have said, and let your soul be at rest!" And when he
had said this the ancient disappeared.

Then Du Dsi Tschun saw only a large stone jug full of clear water
standing before him. Fairies, dragon and tiger had all vanished.
Suddenly he heard a tremendous crash, which made heaven and earth
tremble. A man towering more than ten feet in height appeared. He
called himself the great captain, and he and his horse were covered
with golden armor. He was surrounded by more than a hundred soldiers,
who drew their bows and swung their swords, and halted in the
courtyard.

The giant called out harshly: "Who are you? Get out of my way!"

Du Dsi Tschun did not move. And he returned no answer to his
questions.

Then the giant flew into a passion and cried with a thundering voice:
"Chop off his head!"

But Du Dsi Tschun remained unmoved, so the giant went off raging.

Then a furious tiger and a poisonous serpent came up roaring and
hissing. They made as though to bite him and leaped over him. But Du
Dsi Tschun remained unperturbed in spirit, and after a time they
dissolved and vanished.

Suddenly a great rain began to fall in streams. It thundered and
lightninged incessantly, so that his ears rang and his eyes were
blinded. It seemed as though the house would fall. The water rose to a
flood in a few moments' time, and streamed up to the place where he
was sitting. But Du Dsi Tschun remained motionless and paid no
attention to it. And after a time the water receded.

Then came a great demon with the head of an ox. He set up a kettle in
the middle of the courtyard, in which bubbled boiling oil. He caught
Du Dsi Tschun by the neck with an iron fork and said: "If you will
tell me who you are I will let you go!"

Du Dsi Tschun shut his eyes and kept silent. Then the demon picked
him up with the fork and flung him into the kettle. He withstood the
pain, and the boiling oil did not harm him. Finally the demon dragged
him out again, and drew him down the steps of the house before a man
with red hair and a blue face, who looked like the prince of the
nether world. The latter cried: "Drag in his wife!"

After a time Du Dsi Tschun's wife was brought on in chains. Her hair
was torn and she wept bitterly.

The demon pointed to Du Dsi Tschun and said: "If you will speak your
name we will let her go!"

But he answered not a word.

Then the prince of evil had the woman tormented in all sorts of ways.
And she pleaded with Du Dsi Tschun: "I have been your wife now for ten
years. Will you not speak one little word to save me? I can endure no
more!" And the tears ran in streams from her eyes. She screamed and
scolded. Yet he spoke not a word.

Thereupon the prince of evil shouted: "Chop her into bits!" And there,
before his eyes, it seemed as though she were really being chopped to
pieces. But Du Dsi Tschun did not move.

"The scoundrel's measure is full!" cried the prince of evil. "He shall
dwell no longer among the living! Off with his head!" And so they
killed him, and it seemed to him that his soul fled his body. The
ox-headed demon dragged him down into the nether regions, where he
tasted all the tortures in turn. But Du Dsi Tschun remembered the
words of the ancient. And the tortures, too, seemed bearable. So he
did not scream and said not a word.

Now he was once more dragged before the prince of evil. The latter
said: "As punishment for his obstinacy this man shall come to earth
again in the shape of a woman!"

The demon dragged him to the wheel of life and he returned to earth
in the shape of a girl. He was often ill, had to take medicine
continually, and was pricked and burned with hot needles. Yet he never
uttered a sound. Gradually he grew into a beautiful maiden. But since
he never spoke, he was known as the dumb maid. A scholar finally took
him for his bride, and they lived in peace and good fellowship. And a
son came to them who, in the course of two years was already beyond
measure wise and intelligent. One day the father was carrying the son
on his arm. He spoke jestingly to his wife and said: "When I look at
you it seems to me that you are not really dumb. Won't you say one
little word to me? How delightful it would be if you were to become my
speaking rose!"

The woman remained silent. No matter how he might coax and try to make
her smile, she would return no answer.

Then his features changed: "If you will not speak to me, it is a sign
that you scorn me; and in that case your son is nothing to me,
either!" And with that he seized the boy and flung him against the
wall.

But since Du Dsi Tschun loved this little boy so dearly, he forgot the
ancient's warning, and cried out: "Oh, oh!"

And before the cry had died away Du Dsi Tschun awoke as though from a
dream and found himself seated in his former place. The ancient was
there as well. It must have been about the fifth hour of the night.
Purple flames rose wildly from the oven, and flared up to the sky. The
whole house caught fire and burned like a torch.

"You have deceived me!" cried the ancient. Then he seized him by the
hair and thrust him into the jug of water. And in a minute the fire
went out. The ancient spoke: "You overcame joy and rage, grief and
fear, hate and desire, it is true; but love you had not driven from
your soul. Had you not cried out when the child was flung against the
wall, then my elixir would have taken shape and you would have
attained immortality. But in the last moment you failed me. Now it is
too late. Now I can begin brewing my elixir of life once more from the
beginning and you will remain a mere mortal man!"

Du Dsi Tschun saw that the oven had burst, and that instead of the
philosopher's stone it held only a lump of iron. The ancient man cast
aside his garments and chopped it up with a magic knife. Du Dsi Tschun
took leave of him and returned to Yangdschou, where he lived in great
affluence. In his old age he regretted that he had not completed his
task. He once more went to the mountain to look for the ancient. But
the ancient had vanished without leaving a trace.

    Note: The "pieces of copper" are the ancient Chinese
    copper coins, with a hole in the middle, usually hung on
    strings to the number of 500 or 1000. Money had a
    greater purchasing value in ancient China, however, than
    in the China of to-day. The "Persian Bazaar": During the
    reign of the Tang dynasty China maintained an active
    intercourse with the West, traces of which are at
    present being investigated in Central Asia. At that time
    Persian bazaars were no novelty in the city of Si-An-Fu,
    then the capital. "Herb-oven": a tripod kettle used for
    brewing the elixir of life, with which the fairies,
    dragon and tiger (both the last-mentioned
    star-incarnations) are connected. In order to prepare
    the elixir the master must have absolute endurance. It
    is for this reason that he had placed Du Dsi Tschun in
    his debt by means of kindness. The yellow cap which the
    master wears is connected with the teachings of the
    Yellow Ancient (comp. w. No. 15). The "prince of the
    nether world," Yan Wang, or Yan Lo Wang, is the Indian
    god Yama. There are in all ten princes of the nether
    world, of whom the fifth is the highest and most feared.
    "Obstinacy," literally; his real offense is reticence,
    or the keeping secret of a thing. This quality belongs
    to the Yin, the dark or feminine principle, and
    determines Du Dsi Tschun's reappearance on earth as a
    woman. "Purple flames rose wildly from the oven": Though
    Du Dsi Tschun had overcome his other emotions, so that
    fear and terror did not affect him, love, and love in
    its highest form, mother-love, still remained in him.
    This love created the flames which threatened to destroy
    the building. The highest point in Taoism--as in
    Buddhism--is, however, the absolute negation of all
    feeling.



NATURE AND ANIMAL TALES



XXXIX

THE FLOWER-ELVES


Once upon a time there was a scholar who lived retired from the world
in order to gain hidden wisdom. He lived alone and in a secret place.
And all about the little house in which he dwelt he had planted every
kind of flower, and bamboos and other trees. There it lay, quite
concealed in its thick grove of flowers. With him he had only a boy
servant, who dwelt in a separate hut, and who carried out his orders.
He was not allowed to appear before his master unless summoned. The
scholar loved his flowers as he did himself. Never did he set his foot
beyond the boundaries of his garden.

It chanced that once there came a lovely spring evening. Flowers and
trees stood in full bloom, a fresh breeze was blowing, the moon shone
clearly. And the scholar sat over his goblet and was grateful for the
gift of life.

Suddenly he saw a maiden in dark garments come tripping up in the
moonlight. She made a deep courtesy, greeted him and said: "I am your
neighbor. We are a company of young maids who are on our way to visit
the eighteen aunts. We should like to rest in this court for awhile,
and therefore ask your permission to do so."

The scholar saw that this was something quite out of the common, and
gladly gave his consent. The maiden thanked him and went away.

In a short time she brought back a whole crowd of maids carrying
flowers and willow branches. All greeted the scholar. They were
charming, with delicate features, and slender, graceful figures. When
they moved their sleeves, a delightful fragrance was exhaled. There is
no fragrance known to the human world which could be compared with it.

The scholar invited them to sit down for a time in his room. Then he
asked them: "Whom have I really the honor of entertaining? Have you
come from the castle of the Lady in the Moon, or the Jade Spring of
the Queen-Mother of the West?"

"How could we claim such high descent?" said a maiden in a green gown,
with a smile. "My name is Salix." Then she presented another, clad in
white, and said: "This is Mistress Prunophora"; then one in rose, "and
this is Persica"; and finally one in a dark-red gown, "and this is
Punica. We are all sisters and we want to visit the eighteen
zephyr-aunts to-day. The moon shines so beautifully this evening and
it is so charming here in the garden. We are most grateful to you for
taking pity on us."

"Yes, yes," said the scholar.

Then the sober-clad servant suddenly announced: "The zephyr-aunts have
already arrived!"

At once the girls rose and went to the door to meet them.

"We were just about to visit you, aunts," they said, smiling. "This
gentleman here had just invited us to sit for a moment. What a
pleasant coincidence that you aunts have come here, too. This is such
a lovely night that we must drink a goblet of nectar in honor of you
aunts!"

Thereon they ordered the servant to bring what was needed.

"May one sit down here?" asked the aunts.

"The master of the house is most kind," replied the maids, "and the
spot is quiet and hidden."

And then they presented the aunts to the scholar. He spoke a few
kindly words to the eighteen aunts. They had a somewhat irresponsible
and airy manner. Their words fairly gushed out, and in their
neighborhood one felt a frosty chill.

Meanwhile the servant had already brought in table and chairs. The
eighteen aunts sat at the upper end of the board, the maids followed,
and the scholar sat down with them at the lowest place. Soon the
entire table was covered with the most delicious foods and most
magnificent fruits, and the goblets were filled with a fragrant
nectar. They were delights such as the world of men does not know! The
moon shone brightly and the flowers exhaled intoxicating odors. After
they had partaken of food and drink the maids rose, danced and sung.
Sweetly the sound of their singing echoed through the falling gloam,
and their dance was like that of butterflies fluttering about the
flowers. The scholar was so overpowered with delight that he no longer
knew whether he were in heaven or on earth.

When the dance had ended, the girls sat down again at the table, and
drank the health of the aunts in flowing nectar. The scholar, too, was
remembered with a toast, to which he replied with well-turned phrases.

But the eighteen aunts were somewhat irresponsible in their ways. One
of them, raising her goblet, by accident poured some nectar on
Punica's dress. Punica, who was young and fiery, and very neat, stood
up angrily when she saw the spot on her red dress.

"You are really very careless," said she, in her anger. "My other
sisters may be afraid of you, but I am not!"

Then the aunts grew angry as well and said: "How dare this young chit
insult us in such a manner!"

And with that they gathered up their garments and rose.

All the maids then crowded about them and said: "Punica is so young
and inexperienced! You must not bear her any ill-will! To-morrow she
shall go to you switch in hand, and receive her punishment!"

But the eighteen aunts would not listen to them and went off.
Thereupon the maids also said farewell, scattered among the
flower-beds and disappeared. The scholar sat for a long time lost in
dreamy yearning.

On the following evening the maids all came back again.

"We all live in your garden," they told him. "Every year we are
tormented by naughty winds, and therefore we have always asked the
eighteen aunts to protect us. But yesterday Punica insulted them, and
now we fear they will help us no more. But we know that you have
always been well disposed toward us, for which we are heartily
grateful. And now we have a great favor to ask, that every New Year's
day you make a small scarlet flag, paint the sun, moon and five
planets on it, and set it up in the eastern part of the garden. Then
we sisters will be left in peace and will be protected from all evil.
But since New Year's day has passed for this year, we beg that you
will set up the flag on the twenty-first of this month. For the East
Wind is coming and the flag will protect us against him!"

The scholar readily promised to do as they wished, and the maids all
said with a single voice: "We thank you for your great kindness and
will repay it!" Then they departed and a sweet fragrance filled the
entire garden.

The scholar, however, made a red flag as described, and when early in
the morning of the day in question the East Wind really did begin to
blow, he quickly set it up in the garden.

Suddenly a wild storm broke out, one that caused the forests to bend,
and broke the trees. The flowers in the garden alone did not move.

Then the scholar noticed that Salix was the willow; Prunophora the
plum; Persica the peach, and the saucy Punica the Pomegranate, whose
powerful blossoms the wind cannot tear. The eighteen zephyr-aunts,
however, were the spirits of the winds.

In the evening the flower-elves all came and brought the scholar
radiant flowers as a gift of thanks.

"You have saved us," they said, "and we have nothing else we can give
you. If you eat these flowers you will live long and avoid old age.
And if you, in turn, will protect us every year, then we sisters, too,
will live long."

The scholar did as they told him and ate the flowers. And his figure
changed and he grew young again like a youth of twenty. And in the
course of time he attained the hidden wisdom and was placed among the
Immortals.

    Note. Salix: the names of the "Flower Elves" are given
    in the Chinese as family names, whose sound suggests the
    flower-names without exactly using them. In the
    translation the play on words is indicated by the Latin
    names. "Zephyr-aunts": In Chinese the name given the
    aunt is "Fong," which in another stylization means
    "wind."



XL

THE SPIRIT OF THE WU-LIAN MOUNTAIN


To the west of the gulf of Kiautschou is the Wu-Lian Mountain, where
there are many spirits. Once upon a time a scholar who lived there was
sitting up late at night, reading. And, as he stepped out before the
house, a storm rose up suddenly, and a monster stretched out his claws
and seized him by the hair. And he lifted him up in the air and
carried him away. They passed by the tower which looks out to sea, a
Buddhist temple in the hills. And in the distance, in the clouds, the
scholar saw the figure of a god in golden armor. The figure looked
exactly like the image of Weto which was in the tower. In its right
hand it held an iron mace, while its left pointed toward the monster,
and it looked at it with anger. Then the monster let the scholar fall,
right on top of the tower, and disappeared. No doubt the saint in the
tower had come to the scholar's aid, because his whole family
worshiped Buddha dutifully.

When the sun rose the priest came and saw the scholar on his tower. He
piled up hay and straw on the ground; so that he could jump down
without hurting himself. Then he took the scholar home, yet there
where the monster had seized his hair, the hair remained stiff and
unyielding. It did not improve until half a year had gone by.

    Note: This legend comes from Dschungschong, west of the
    gulf of Kiautschou. "The tower which looks out to sea,"
    a celebrated tower which gives a view of the ocean. At
    present the people give this name to the Tsingtau Signal
    Station. Weto (Sanscrit, Veda), a legendary Boddhisatva,
    leader of the hosts of the four kings of heaven. His
    picture, with drawn sword, may be found at the entrance
    of every Buddhist temple. In China, he is often
    represented with a mace (symbolizing a thunderbolt)
    instead of a sword. When this is the case he has
    probably been confused with Vaisramana.



XLI

THE KING OF THE ANTS


Once upon a time there was a scholar, who wandered away from his home
and went to Emmet village. There stood a house which was said to be
haunted. Yet it was beautifully situated and surrounded by a lovely
garden. So the scholar hired it. One evening he was sitting over his
books, when several hundred knights suddenly came galloping into the
room. They were quite tiny, and their horses were about the size of
flies. They had hunting falcons and dogs about as large as gnats and
fleas.

They came to his bed in the corner of the room, and there they held a
great hunt, with bows and arrows: one could see it all quite plainly.
They caught a tremendous quantity of birds and game, and all this game
was no larger than little grains of rice.

When the hunt was over, in came a long procession with banners and
standards. They wore swords at their side and bore spears in their
hands, and came to a halt in the north-west corner of the room. They
were followed by several hundred serving-men. These brought with them
curtains and covers, tents and tent-poles, pots and kettles, cups and
plates, tables and chairs. And after them some hundreds of other
servants carried in all sorts of fine dishes, the best that land and
water had to offer. And several hundred more ran to and fro without
stopping, in order to guard the roads and carry messages.

The scholar gradually accustomed himself to the sight. Although the
men were so very small he could distinguish everything quite clearly.

Before long, a bright colored banner appeared. Behind it rode a
personage wearing a scarlet hat and garments of purple. He was
surrounded by an escort of several thousands. Before him went runners
with whips and rods to clear the way.

Then a man wearing an iron helmet and with a golden ax in his hand
cried out in a loud voice: "His Highness is graciously pleased to look
at the fish in the Purple Lake!" Whereupon the one who wore the
scarlet hat got down from his horse, and, followed by a retinue of
several hundred men, approached the saucer which the scholar used for
his writing-ink. Tents were put up on the edge of the saucer and a
banquet was prepared. A great number of guests sat down to the table.
Musicians and dancers stood ready. There was a bright confusion of
mingled garments of purple and scarlet, crimson and green. Pipes and
flutes, fiddles and cymbals sounded, and the dancers moved in the
dance. The music was very faint, and yet its melodies could be clearly
distinguished. All that was said, too, the table-talk and orders,
questions and calls, could be quite distinctly heard.

After three courses, he who wore the scarlet hat said: "Quick! Make
ready the nets and lines for fishing!"

And at once nets were thrown out into the saucer which held the water
in which the scholar dipped his brush. And they caught hundreds of
thousands of fishes. The one with the scarlet hat contented himself
with casting a line in the shallow waters of the saucer, and caught a
baker's dozen of red carp.

Then he ordered the head cook to cook the fish, and the most varied
dishes were prepared with them. The odor of roasting fat and spices
filled the whole room.

And then the wearer of the scarlet hat in his arrogance, decided to
amuse himself at the scholar's expense. So he pointed to him and said:
"I know nothing at all about the writings and customs of the saints
and wise men, and still I am a king who is highly honored! Yonder
scholar spends his whole life toiling over his books and yet he
remains poor and gets nowhere. If he could make up his mind to serve
me faithfully as one of my officials, I might allow him to partake of
our meal."

This angered the scholar, and he took his book and struck at them. And
they all scattered, wriggling and crawling out of the door. He
followed them and dug up the earth in the place where they had
disappeared. And there he found an ants' nest as large as a barrel, in
which countless green ants were wriggling around. So he built a large
fire and smoked them out.

    Note: This charming tale is taken from the Tang Dai
    Tsung Schu.



XLII

THE LITTLE HUNTING DOG


Once upon a time, in the city of Shansi, there lived a scholar who
found the company of others too noisy for him. So he made his home in
a Buddhist temple. Yet he suffered because there were always so many
gnats and fleas in his room that he could not sleep at night.

Once he was resting on his bed after dinner, when suddenly two little
knights with plumes in their helmets rode into the room. They might
have been two inches high, and rode horses about the size of
grasshoppers. On their gauntleted hands they held hunting falcons as
large as flies. They rode about the room with great rapidity. The
scholar had no more than set eyes on them when a third entered, clad
like the others, but carrying a bow and arrows and leading a little
hunting dog the size of an ant with him. After him came a great throng
of footmen and horsemen, several hundred in all. And they had hunting
falcons and hunting dogs by the hundred, too. Then the fleas and gnats
began to rise in the air; but were all slain by the falcons. And the
hunting dogs climbed on the bed, and sniffed along the walls trailing
the fleas, and ate them up. They followed the trace of whatever hid in
the cracks, and nosed it out, so that in a short space of time they
had killed nearly all the vermin.

The scholar pretended to be asleep and watched them. And the falcons
settled down on him, and the dogs crawled along his body. Shortly
after came a man clad in yellow, wearing a king's crown, who climbed
on an empty couch and seated himself there. And at once all the
horsemen rode up, descended from their horses and brought him all the
birds and game. They then gathered beside him in a great throng, and
conversed with him in a strange tongue.

Not long after the king got into a small chariot and his bodyguards
saddled their horses with the greatest rapidity. Then they galloped
out with great cries of homage, till it looked as though some one were
scattering beans and a heavy cloud of dust rose behind them.

They had nearly all of them disappeared, while the scholar's eyes
were still fixed on them full of terror and astonishment, and he could
not imagine whence they had come. He slipped on his shoes and looked;
but they had vanished without a trace. Then he returned and looked all
about his room; but there was nothing to be seen. Only, on a brick
against the wall, they had forgotten a little hunting dog. The scholar
quickly caught it and found it quite tame. He put it in his paint-box
and examined it closely. It had a very smooth, fine coat, and wore a
little collar around its neck. He tried to feed it a few bread-crumbs,
but the little dog only sniffed at them and let them lie. Then it
leaped into the bed and hunted up some nits and gnats in the folds of
the linen, which it devoured. Then it returned and lay down. When the
night had passed the scholar feared it might have run away; but there
it lay, curled up as before. Whenever the scholar went to bed, the dog
climbed into it and bit to death any vermin it could find. Not a fly
or gnat dared alight while it was around. The scholar loved it like a
jewel of price.

But once he took a nap in the daytime, and the little dog crawled into
bed beside him. The scholar woke and turned around, supporting himself
on his side. As he did so he felt something, and feared it might be
his little dog. He quickly rose and looked, but it was already
dead--pressed flat, as though cut out of paper!

But at any rate none of the vermin had survived it.

    Note: This tale is taken from the Liau Dschai ("Strange
    Stories") of P'u Sung Lang (b. 1622). It is a parallel
    of the preceding one and shows how the same material
    returns in a different working-out.



XLIII

THE DRAGON AFTER HIS WINTER SLEEP


Once there was a scholar who was reading in the upper story of his
house. It was a rainy, cloudy day and the weather was gloomy. Suddenly
he saw a little thing which shone like a fire-fly. It crawled upon the
table, and wherever it went it left traces of burns, curved like the
tracks of a rainworm. Gradually it wound itself about the scholar's
book and the book, too, grew black. Then it occurred to him that it
might be a dragon. So he carried it out of doors on the book. There he
stood for quite some time; but it sat uncurled, without moving in the
least.

Then the scholar said: "It shall not be said of me that I was lacking
in respect." With these words he carried back the book and once more
laid it on the table. Then he put on his robes of ceremony, made a
deep bow and escorted the dragon out on it again.

No sooner had he left the door, than he noticed that the dragon raised
his head and stretched himself. Then he flew up from the book with a
hissing sound, like a radiant streak. Once more he turned around
toward the scholar, and his head had already grown to the size of a
barrel, while his body must have been a full fathom in length. He gave
one more snaky twist, and then there was a terrible crash of thunder
and the dragon went sailing through the air.

The scholar then returned and looked to see which way the little
creature had come. And he could follow his tracks hither and thither,
to his chest of books.

    Note: This tale is also from the "Strange Stories." The
    dragon, head of all scaled creatures and insects,
    hibernates during the winter according to the Chinese
    belief. At the time he is quite small. When the first
    spring storm comes he flies up to the clouds on the
    lightning. Here the dragon's nature as an atmospheric
    apparition is expressed.



XLIV

THE SPIRITS OF THE YELLOW RIVER


The spirits of the Yellow River are called Dai Wang--Great King. For
many hundreds of years past the river inspectors had continued to
report that all sorts of monsters show themselves in the waves of the
stream, at times in the shape of dragons, at others in that of cattle
and horses, and whenever such a creature makes an appearance a great
flood follows. Hence temples are built along the river banks. The
higher spirits of the river are honored as kings, the lower ones as
captains, and hardly a day goes by without their being honored with
sacrifices or theatrical performances. Whenever, after a dam has been
broken, the leak is closed again, the emperor sends officials with
sacrifices and ten great bars of Tibetan incense. This incense is
burned in a great sacrificial censer in the temple court, and the
river inspectors and their subordinates all go to the temple to thank
the gods for their aid. These river gods, it is said, are good and
faithful servants of former rulers, who died in consequence of their
toil in keeping the dams unbroken. After they died their spirits
became river-kings; in their physical bodies, however, they appear as
lizards, snakes and frogs.

The mightiest of all the river-kings is the Golden Dragon-King. He
frequently appears in the shape of a small golden snake with a square
head, low forehead and four red dots over his eyes. He can make
himself large or small at will, and cause the waters to rise and fall.
He appears and vanishes unexpectedly, and lives in the mouths of the
Yellow River and the Imperial Canal. But in addition to the Golden
Dragon-King there are dozens of river-kings and captains, each of whom
has his own place. The sailors of the Yellow River all have exact
lists in which the lives and deeds of the river-spirits are described
in detail.

The river-spirits love to see theatrical performances. Opposite every
temple is a stage. In the hall stands the little spirit-tablet of the
river-king, and on the altar in front of it a small bowl of golden
lacquer filled with clean sand. When a little snake appears in it, the
river-king has arrived. Then the priests strike the gong and beat the
drum and read from the holy books. The official is at once informed
and he sends for a company of actors. Before they begin to perform the
actors go up to the temple, kneel, and beg the king to let them know
which play they are to give. And the river-god picks one out and
points to it with his head; or else he writes signs in the sand with
his tail. The actors then at once begin to perform the desired play.

The river-god cares naught for the fortunes or misfortunes of human
beings. He appears suddenly and disappears in the same way, as best
suits him.

Between the outer and the inner dam of the Yellow River are a number
of settlements. Now it often happens that the yellow water moves to
the very edge of the inner walls. Rising perpendicularly, like a wall,
it gradually advances. When people see it coming they hastily burn
incense, bow in prayer before the waters, and promise the river-god a
theatrical performance. Then the water retires and the word goes
round: "The river-god has asked for a play again!"

In a village in that section there once dwelt a wealthy man. He built
a stone wall, twenty feet high, around the village, to keep away the
water. He did not believe in the spirits of the river, but trusted in
his strong wall and was quite unconcerned.

One evening the yellow water suddenly rose and towered in a straight
line before the village. The rich man had them shoot cannon at it.
Then the water grew stormy, and surrounded the wall to such a height
that it reached the openings in the battlements. The water foamed and
hissed, and seemed about to pour over the wall. Then every one in the
village was very much frightened. They dragged up the rich man and he
had to kneel and beg for pardon. They promised the river-god a
theatrical performance, but in vain; but when they promised to build
him a temple in the middle of the village and give regular
performances, the water sank more and more and gradually returned to
its bed. And the village fields suffered no damage, for the earth,
fertilized by the yellow slime, yielded a double crop.

Once a scholar was crossing the fields with a friend in order to visit
a relative. On their way they passed a temple of the river-god where a
new play was just being performed. The friend asked the scholar to go
in with him and look on. When they entered the temple court they saw
two great snakes upon the front pillars, who had wound themselves
about the columns, and were thrusting out their heads as though
watching the performance. In the hall of the temple stood the altar
with the bowl of sand. In it lay a small snake with a golden body, a
green head and red dots above his eyes. His neck was thrust up and his
glittering little eyes never left the stage. The friend bowed and the
scholar followed his example.

Softly he said to his friend: "What are the three river-gods called?"

"The one in the temple," was the reply, "is the Golden Dragon-King.
The two on the columns are two captains. They do not dare to sit in
the temple together with the king."

This surprised the scholar, and in his heart he thought: "Such a tiny
snake! How can it possess a god's power? It would have to show me its
might before I would worship it."

He had not yet expressed these secret thoughts before the little snake
suddenly stretched forth his head from the bowl, above the altar.
Before the altar burned two enormous candles. They weighed more than
ten pounds and were as thick as small trees. Their flame burned like
the flare of a torch. The snake now thrust his head into the middle of
the candle-flame. The flame must have been at least an inch broad, and
was burning red. Suddenly its radiance turned blue, and was split into
two tongues. The candle was so enormous and its fire so hot that even
copper and iron would have melted in it; but it did not harm the
snake.

Then the snake crawled into the censer. The censer was made of iron,
and was so large one could not clasp it with both arms. Its cover
showed a dragon design in open-work. The snake crawled in and out of
the holes in this cover, and wound his way through all of them, so
that he looked like an embroidery in threads of gold. Finally all the
openings of the cover, large and small, were filled by the snake. In
order to do so, he must have made himself several dozen feet long.
Then he stretched out his head at the top of the censer and once more
watched the play.

Thereupon the scholar was frightened, he bowed twice, and prayed:
"Great King, you have taken this trouble on my account! I honor you
from my heart!"

No sooner had he spoken these words than, in a moment, the little
snake was back in his bowl, and just as small as he had been before.

In Dsiningdschou they were celebrating the river god's birthday in his
temple. They were giving him a theatrical performance for a birthday
present. The spectators crowded around as thick as a wall, when who
should pass but a simple peasant from the country, who said in a loud
voice: "Why, that is nothing but a tiny worm! It is a great piece of
folly to honor it like a king!"

Before ever he had finished speaking the snake flew out of the temple.
He grew and grew, and wound himself three times around the stage. He
became as thick around as a small pail, and his head seemed like that
of a dragon. His eyes sparkled like golden lamps, and he spat out red
flame with his tongue. When he coiled and uncoiled the whole stage
trembled and it seemed as though it would break down. The actors
stopped their music and fell down on the stage in prayer. The whole
multitude was seized with terror and bowed to the ground. Then some of
the old men came along, cast the peasant on the ground, and gave him a
good thrashing. So he had to cast himself on his knees before the
snake and worship him. Then all heard a noise as though a great many
firecrackers were being shot off. This lasted for some time, and then
the snake disappeared.

East of Shantung lies the city of Dongschou. There rises an
observation-tower with a great temple. At its feet lies the
water-city, with a sea-gate at the North, through which the flood-tide
rises up to the city. A camp of the boundary guard is established at
this gate.

Once upon a time there was an officer who had been transferred to
this camp as captain. He had formerly belonged to the land forces, and
had not yet been long at his new post. He gave some friends of his a
banquet, and before the pavilion in which they feasted lay a great
stone shaped somewhat like a table. Suddenly a little snake was seen
crawling on this stone. It was spotted with green, and had red dots on
its square head. The soldiers were about to kill the little creature,
when the captain went out to look into the matter. When he had looked
he laughed and said: "You must not harm him! He is the river-king of
Dsiningdschou. When I was stationed in Dsiningdschou he sometimes
visited me, and then I always gave sacrifices and performances in his
honor. Now he has come here expressly in order to wish his old friend
luck, and to see him once more."

There was a band in camp; the bandsmen could dance and play like a
real theatrical troupe. The captain quickly had them begin a
performance, had another banquet with wine and delicate foods
prepared, and invited the river-god to sit down to the table.

Gradually evening came and yet the river-god made no move to go.

So the captain stepped up to him with a bow and said: "Here we are far
removed from the Yellow River, and these people have never yet heard
your name spoken. Your visit has been a great honor for me. But the
women and fools who have crowded together chattering outside, are
afraid of hearing about you. Now you have visited your old friend, and
I am sure you wish to get back home again."

With these words he had a litter brought up; cymbals were beaten and
fire-works set off, and finally a salute of nine guns was fired to
escort him on his way. Then the little snake crawled into the litter,
and the captain followed after. In this order they reached the port,
and just when it was about time to say farewell, the snake was already
swimming in the water. He had grown much larger, nodded to the captain
with his head, and disappeared.

Then there were doubts and questionings: "But the river-god lives a
thousand miles away from here, how does he get to this place?"

Said the captain: "He is so powerful that he can get to any place, and
besides, from where he dwells a waterway leads to the sea. To come
down that way and swim to sea is something he can do in a moment's
time!"

    Note: "The Spirits of the Yellow River." The place of
    the old river-god Ho Be (Count of the Stream), also
    mentioned in No. 63, has to-day been taken by the Dai
    Wang in the popular belief. These spirits are thought to
    have placed many hindrances in the way of the erection
    of the railroad bridge across the Yellow River. The
    "spirit-tablet": images of the gods were first
    introduced in China by the Buddhists. The old custom,
    which Confucianism and ancestor-worship still follow,
    holds that the seat of the gods is a small wooden tablet
    on which the name of the god to be honored is written.
    Theatrical performances as religious services are as
    general in China as they were in ancient Greece.
    Dsiningdschou is a district capital on the Imperial
    Canal, near the Yellow River.



XLV

THE DRAGON-PRINCESS


In the Sea of Dungting there is a hill, and in that hill there is a
hole, and this hole is so deep that it has no bottom.

Once a fisherman was passing there who slipped and fell into the hole.
He came to a country full of winding ways which led over hill and dale
for several miles. Finally he reached a dragon-castle lying in a great
plain. There grew a green slime which reached to his knees. He went
to the gate of the castle. It was guarded by a dragon who spouted
water which dispersed in a fine mist. Within the gate lay a small
hornless dragon who raised his head, showed his claws, and would not
let him in.

The fisherman spent several days in the cave, satisfying his hunger
with the green slime, which he found edible and which tasted like
rice-mush. At last he found a way out again. He told the district
mandarin what had happened to him, and the latter reported the matter
to the emperor. The emperor sent for a wise man and questioned him
concerning it.

The wise man said: "There are four paths in this cave. One path leads
to the south-west shore of the Sea of Dungting, the second path leads
to a valley in the land of the four rivers, the third path ends in a
cave on the mountain of Lo-Fu and the fourth in an island of the
Eastern Sea. In this cave dwells the seventh daughter of the
Dragon-King of the Eastern Sea, who guards his pearls and his
treasure. It happened once in the ancient days, that a fisherboy dived
into the water and brought up a pearl from beneath the chin of a black
dragon. The dragon was asleep, which was the reason the fisherboy
brought the pearl to the surface without being harmed. The treasure
which the daughter of the Dragon-King has in charge is made up of
thousands and millions of such jewels. Several thousands of small
dragons watch over them in her service. Dragons have the peculiarity
of fighting shy of wax. But they are fond of beautiful jade-stones,
and of kung-tsing, the hollowgreen wood, and like to eat swallows. If
one were to send a messenger with a letter, it would be possible to
obtain precious pearls."

  [Illustration: "A FISHERBOY DIVED INTO THE WATER AND BROUGHT UP A
    PEARL FROM BENEATH THE CHIN OF A BLACK DRAGON."
                                                  --_Page 138_]

The emperor was greatly pleased, and announced a large reward for
the man who was competent to go to the dragon-castle as his messenger.

The first man to come forward was named So Pi-Lo. But the wise man
said: "A great-great-great-great-grandfather of yours once slew more
than a hundred of the dragons of the Eastern Sea, and was finally
himself slain by the dragons. The dragons are the enemies of your
family and you cannot go."

Then came a man from Canton, Lo-Dsi-Tschun, with his two brothers, who
said that his ancestors had been related to the Dragon-King. Hence
they were well liked by the dragons and well known to them. They
begged to be entrusted with the message.

The wise man asked: "And have you still in your possession the stone
which compels the dragons to do your will?"

"Yes," said they, "we have brought it along with us."

The wise man had them show him the stone; then he spoke: "This stone
is only obeyed by the dragons who make clouds and send down the rain.
It will not do for the dragons who guard the pearls of the sea-king."
Then he questioned them further: "Have you the dragon-brain vapor?"

When they admitted that they had not, the wise man said: "How then
will you compel the dragons to yield their treasure?"

And the emperor said: "What shall we do?"

The wise man replied: "On the Western Ocean sail foreign merchants who
deal in dragon-brain vapor. Some one must go to them and seek it from
them. I also know a holy man who is an adept in the art of taming
dragons, and who has prepared ten pounds of the dragon-stone. Some one
should be sent for that as well."

The emperor sent out his messengers. They met one of the holy man's
disciples and obtained two fragments of dragon-stone from him.

Said the wise man: "That is what we want!"

Several more months went by, and at last a pill of dragon-brain vapor
had also been secured. The emperor felt much pleased and had his
jewelers carve two little boxes of the finest jade. These were
polished with the ashes of the Wutung-tree. And he had an essence
prepared of the very best hollowgreen wood, pasted with sea-fish lime,
and hardened in the fire. Of this two vases were made. Then the bodies
and the clothing of the messengers were rubbed with tree-wax, and they
were given five hundred roasted swallows to take along with them.

They went into the cave. When they reached the dragon-castle, the
little dragon who guarded the gate smelled the tree-wax, so he
crouched down and did them no harm. They gave him a hundred roasted
swallows as a bribe to announce them to the daughter of the
Dragon-King. They were admitted to her presence and offered her the
jade caskets, the vases and the four hundred roasted swallows as
gifts. The dragon's daughter received them graciously, and they
unfolded the emperor's letter.

In the castle there was a dragon who was over a thousand years old. He
could turn himself into a human being, and could interpret the
language of human beings. Through him the dragon's daughter learned
that the emperor was sending her the gifts, and she returned them with
a gift of three great pearls, seven smaller pearls and a whole bushel
of ordinary pearls. The messengers took leave, rode off with their
pearls on a dragon's back, and in a moment they had reached the banks
of the Yangtze-kiang. They made their way to Nanking, the imperial
capital, and there handed over their treasure of gems.

The emperor was much pleased and showed them to the wise man. He said:
"Of the three great pearls one is a divine wishing-pearl of the third
class, and two are black dragon-pearls of medium quality. Of the seven
smaller pearls two are serpent-pearls, and five are mussel-pearls. The
remaining pearls are in part sea-crane pearls, in part snail and
oyster-pearls. They do not approach the great pearls in value, and yet
few will be found to equal them on earth."

The emperor also showed them to all his servants. They, however,
thought the wise man's words all talk, and did not believe what he
said.

Then the wise man said: "The radiance of wishing-pearls of the first
class is visible for forty miles, that of the second class for twenty
miles, and that of the third for ten miles. As far as their radiance
carries, neither wind nor rain, thunder nor lightning, water, fire nor
weapons may reach. The pearls of the black dragon are nine-colored and
glow by night. Within the circle of their light the poison of serpents
and worms is powerless. The serpent-pearls are seven-colored, the
mussel-pearls five-colored. Both shine by night. Those most free from
spots are the best. They grow within the mussel, and increase and
decrease in size as the moon waxes and wanes."

Some one asked how the serpent and sea-crane pearls could be told
apart, and the wise man answered: "The animals themselves recognize
them."

Then the emperor selected a serpent-pearl and a sea-crane pearl, put
them together with a whole bushel of ordinary pearls, and poured the
lot out in the courtyard. Then a large yellow serpent and a black
crane were fetched and placed among the pearls. At once the crane
took up a sea-crane pearl in his bill and began to dance and sing and
flutter around. But the serpent snatched at the serpent-pearl, and
wound himself about it in many coils. And when the people saw this
they acknowledged the truth of the wise man's words. As regards the
radiance of the larger and smaller pearls it turned out, too, just as
the wise man had said.

In the dragon-castle the messengers had enjoyed dainty fare, which
tasted like flowers, herbs, ointment and sugar. They had brought a
remnant of it with them to the capital; yet exposed to the air it had
become as hard as stone. The emperor commanded that these fragments be
preserved in the treasury. Then he bestowed high rank and titles on
the three brothers, and made each one of them a present of a thousand
rolls of fine silk stuff. He also had investigated why it was that the
fisherman, when he chanced upon the cave, had not been destroyed by
the dragons. And it turned out that his fishing clothes had been
soaked in oil and tree-wax. The dragons had dreaded the odor.

    Note: As regards the Dragon-King of the Eastern Sea, see
    Nos. 18 and 74. The pearl under the dragon's chin comes
    from Dschuang Dsi. With regard to So Pi-Lo and
    Lo-Dsi-Tschun, see No. 46.



XLVI

HELP IN NEED


Some twenty miles east of Gingdschou lies the Lake of the Maidens. It
is several miles square and surrounded on all sides by thick green
thickets and tall forests. Its waters are clear and dark-blue. Often
all kinds of wondrous creatures show themselves in the lake. The
people of the vicinity have erected a temple there for the Dragon
Princess. And in times of drought all make pilgrimage there to offer
up prayers.

West of Gingdschou, two hundred miles away, is another lake, whose god
is named Tschauna, and who performs many miracles. During the time of
the Tang dynasty there lived in Gingdschou a mandarin by name of
Dschou Bau. While he was in office it chanced that in the fifth month
clouds suddenly arose in the sky, piling themselves up like mountains,
among which wriggled dragons and serpents; they rolled up and down
between the two seas. Tempest and rain, thunder and lightning arose so
that houses fell to pieces, trees were torn up by the roots, and much
damage was done the crops. Dschou Bau took the blame upon himself, and
prayed to the heavens that his people might be pardoned.

On the fifth day of the sixth month he sat in his hall of audience and
gave judgment; and suddenly he felt quite weary and sleepy. He took
off his hat and laid down on the cushions. No sooner had he closed his
eyes than he saw a warrior in helmet and armor, with a halberd in his
hand, standing on the steps leading to the hall, who announced: "A
lady is waiting outside who wishes to enter!" Dschou Bau asked him:
"Who are you?" The answer was: "I am your door-keeper. In the
invisible world I already have been performing this duty for many
years." Meanwhile two figures clad in green came up the steps, knelt
before him and said: "Our mistress has come to visit you!" Dschou Bau
rose. He beheld lovely clouds, from which fell a fine rain, and
strange fragrances enchanted him. Suddenly he saw a lady clad in a
simple gown, but of surpassing beauty, float down from on high, with a
retinue of many female servants. These were all neat and clean in
appearance, and waited upon the lady as though she were a princess.
When the latter entered the hall she raised her arms in greeting.
Dschou Bau came forward to meet her and invited her to be seated. From
all sides bright-colored clouds came floating in, and the courtyard
was filled with a purple ether. Dschou Bau had wine and food brought
and entertained them all in the most splendid way. But the goddess sat
staring straight before her with wrinkled brows, and seemed to feel
very sad. Then she rose and said with a blush: "I have been living in
this neighborhood for many years. A wrong which has been done me,
permits me to pass the bounds of what is fitting, and encourages me to
ask a favor of you. Yet I do not know whether you wish to save me!"

"May I hear what it is all about," answered Dschou Bau. "If I can help
you, I will be glad to place myself at your disposal."

The goddess said: "For hundreds of years my family has been living in
the depth of the Eastern Sea. But we were unfortunate in that our
treasures excited the jealousy of men. The ancestor of Pi-Lo nearly
destroyed our entire clan by fire. My ancestors had to fly and hide
themselves. And not long ago, our enemy Pi-Lo himself wanted to
deliver an imperial letter in the cave of the Sea of Dungting. Under
the pretext of begging for pearls and treasures, he wished to enter
the dragon-castle and destroy our family. Fortunately a wise man saw
through his treacherous purpose, and Lo-Dsi-Tschun and his brothers
were sent in his stead. Yet my people did not feel safe from future
attacks. For this reason they withdrew to the distant West. My father
has done much good to mankind and hence is highly honored there. I am
his ninth daughter. When I was sixteen I was wedded to the youngest
son of the Rock-Dragon. But my good husband had a fiery temper, which
often caused him to offend against the laws of courtesy, and in less
than a year's time the punishment of heaven was his portion. I was
left alone and returned to the home of my parents. My father wished me
to marry again; but I had promised to remain true to the memory of my
husband, and made a vow not to comply with my father's wish. My
parents grew angry, and I was obliged to retire to this place in view
of their anger. That was three years ago. Who could imagine that the
contemptible dragon Tschauna, who was seeking a wife for his youngest
brother, would try to force the wedding-gift upon me? I refused to
accept it; but Tschauna knew how to gain his point with my father, and
was determined to carry out his intention. My father, regardless of my
wishes, promised me to him. And then the dragon Tschauna appeared with
his youngest brother and wanted to carry me off by sheer force of
arms. I encountered him with fifty faithful followers, and we fought
on the meadow before the city. We were defeated, and I am more than
ever afraid that Tschauna will attempt to drag me off. So I have
plucked up courage to beg you to lend me your mercenaries so that I
may beat off my foes and remain as I am. If you will help me I will be
grateful to you till the end of my days."

Dschou Bau answered: "You come from a noble family. Have you no
kinsfolk who will hasten to help you in your need, that you are
compelled to turn to a mortal man?"

"It is true that my kinsfolk are far-famed and numerous. If I were to
send out letters and they came to my aid, they would rub out that
scaly scoundrel Tschauna as one might rub garlic. But my deceased
husband offended the high heavens and he has not yet been pardoned.
And my parents' will, too, is opposed to mine, so that I dare not call
upon my kinsfolk for help. You will understand my need." Then Dschou
Bau promised to help her, and the princess thanked him and departed.

When he awoke, he sighed long thinking over his strange experience.
And the following day he sent off fifteen hundred soldiers to stand
guard by the Lake of the Maidens.

On the seventh day of the sixth month Dschou Bau rose early. Darkness
still lay before the windows, yet it seemed to him as though he could
glimpse a man before the curtain. He asked who it might be. The man
said: "I am the princess's adviser. Yesterday you were kind enough to
send soldiers to aid us in our distress. But they were all living men,
and such cannot fight against invisible spirits. You will have to send
us soldiers of yours who have died, if you wish to aid us."

Dschou Bau reflected for a time, and then it occurred to him that of
course such must be the case. So he had his field-secretary examine
the roster to see how many of his soldiers had fallen in battle. And
the latter counted up to some two thousand foot-soldiers and
five-hundred horsemen. Dschou Bau appointed his deceased officer Mong
Yuan as their leader, and wrote his commands on a paper which he
burned, in order thus to place them at the princess's disposal. The
living soldiers he recalled. When they were being reviewed in the
courtyard after their return, a soldier suddenly fell unconscious. It
was not until early the following morning that he came to his senses
again. He was questioned and replied: "I saw a man clad in red who
approached me and said: 'Our princess is grateful for the aid your
master has so kindly given her. Yet she still has a request to make
and has asked me to call you.' I followed him to the temple. The
princess bade me come forward and said to me: 'I thank your master
from my heart for sending me the ghost soldiers, but Mong Yuan, their
leader is incapable. Yesterday the robbers came with three thousand
men, and Mong Yuan was beaten by them. When you return and again see
your master, say that I earnestly beg him to send me a good general.
Perhaps that will save me in my need.' Then she had me led back again
and I regained consciousness."

When Dschou Bau had heard these words, which seemed to fit strangely
well with what he had dreamed, he thought he would try to see if this
were really the case. Therefore he chose his victorious general
Dschong Tschong-Fu to take the place of Mong Yuan. That evening he
burned incense, offered wine and handed over to the princess this
captain's soul.

On the twenty-sixth of the month news came from the general's camp
that he had suddenly died at midnight on the thirteenth. Dschou Bau
was frightened, and sent a man to bring him a report. The latter
informed him that the general's heart had hardly ceased to beat, and
that, in spite of the hot summer weather, his body was free from any
trace of decay. So the order was given not to bury him.

Then one night an icy, spectral wind arose, which whirled up sand and
stones, broke trees and tore down houses. The standing corn in the
fields was blown down. The storm lasted all day. Finally, the crash of
a terrific thunderbolt was heard, and then the skies cleared and the
clouds scattered. That very hour the dead general began to breathe
painfully on his couch, and when his attendants came to him, he had
returned to life again.

They questioned him and he told them: "First I saw a man in a purple
gown riding a black horse, who came up with a great retinue. He
dismounted before the door. In his hand he held a decree of
appointment which he gave me, saying: 'Our princess begs you most
respectfully to become her general. I hope that you will not refuse.'
Then he brought forth gifts and heaped them up before the steps.
Jade-stones, brocades, and silken garments, saddles, horses, helmets
and suits of mail--he heaped them all up in the courtyard. I wished to
decline, but this he would not allow, and urged me to enter his
chariot with him. We drove a hundred miles and met a train of
three-hundred armored horsemen who had ridden out to escort me. They
led me to a great city, and before the city a tent had been erected in
which played a band of musicians. A high official welcomed me. When I
entered the city the onlookers were crowded together like walls.
Servants ran to and fro bearing orders. We passed through more than a
dozen gates before we reached the princess. There I was requested to
dismount and change my clothes in order to enter the presence of the
princess, for she wished to receive me as her guest. But I thought
this too great an honor and greeted her below, on the steps. She,
however, invited me to seat myself near her in the hall. She sat
upright in all her incomparable beauty, surrounded by female
attendants adorned with the richest jewels. These plucked lute-strings
and played flutes. A throng of servitors stood about in golden girdles
with purple tassels, ready to carry out her commands. Countless crowds
were assembled before the palace. Five or six visitors sat in a circle
about the princess, and a general led me to my place. The princess
said to me: 'I have begged you to come here in order to entrust the
command of my army to you. If you will break the power of my foe I
will reward you richly.' I promised to obey her. Then wine was
brought in, and the banquet was served to the sound of music. While we
were at table a messenger entered: 'The robber Tschauna has invaded
our land with ten thousand footmen and horsemen, and is approaching
our city by various roads. His way is marked by columns of fire and
smoke!' The guests all grew pale with terror when they heard the news.
And the princess said: 'This is the foe because of whom I have sought
your aid. Save me in my hour of need!' Then she gave me two chargers,
a suit of golden armor, and the insignia of a commander-in-chief, and
bowed to me. I thanked her and went, called together the captains, had
the army mustered and rode out before the city. At several decisive
points I placed troops in ambush. The enemy was already approaching in
great force, careless and unconcerned, intoxicated by his former
victories. I sent out my most untrustworthy soldiers in advance, who
allowed themselves to be beaten in order to lure him on. Light-armed
men then went out against him, and retreated in skirmish order. And
thus he fell into my ambush. Drums and kettledrums sounded together,
the ring closed around them on all sides and the robber army suffered
a grievous defeat. The dead lay about like hemp-stalks, but little
Tschauna succeeded in breaking through the circle. I sent out the
light horsemen after him, and they seized him before the tent of the
enemy's commanding general. Hastily I sent word to the princess, and
she reviewed the prisoners before the palace. All the people, high and
low, streamed together, to acclaim her. Little Tschauna was about to
be executed in the market place when a messenger came spurring up with
a command from the princess's father to pardon him. The princess did
not dare to disobey. So he was dismissed to his home after he had
sworn to give up all thought of realizing his traitorous plans. I was
loaded with benefits as a reward for my victory. I was invested with
an estate with three thousand peasants, and was given a palace, horses
and wagons, all sorts of jewels, men-servants and women-servants,
gardens and forests, banners and suits of mail. And my subordinate
officers, too, were duly rewarded. On the following day a banquet was
held, and the princess herself filled a goblet, sent it to me by one
of her attendants, and said: 'Widowed early in life, I opposed the
wishes of my stern father and fled to this spot. Here the infamous
Tschauna harassed me and well-nigh put me to shame. Had not your
master's great kindness and your own courage come to my assistance,
hard would have been my lot!' Then she began to thank me and her tears
of emotion flowed like a stream. I bowed and begged her to grant me
leave of absence, so that I might look after my family. I was given a
month's leave and the following day she dismissed me with a splendid
retinue. Before the city a pavilion had been erected in which I drank
the stirrup-cup. Then I rode away and when I arrived before our own
gate a thunder-peal crashed and I awoke."

Thereupon the general wrote an account of what had happened to Dschou
Bau, in which he conveyed the princess's thanks. Then he paid no
further heed to worldly matters, but set his house in order and turned
it over to his wife and son. When a month had passed, he died without
any sign of illness.

That same day one of his officers was out walking. Suddenly he saw a
heavy cloud of dust rising along the highway, while flags and banners
darkened the sun. A thousand knights were escorting a man who sat his
horse proudly and like a hero. And when the officer looked at his
face, it was the general Dschong Tschong-Fu. Hastily he stepped to the
edge of the road, in order to allow the cavalcade to pass, and
watched it ride by. The horsemen took the way to the Lake of the
Maidens, where they disappeared.

    Note: The expression: "Dschou Bau took the blame upon
    himself" is explained by the fact that the territorial
    mandarin is responsible for his district, just as the
    emperor is for the whole empire. Since extraordinary
    natural phenomena are the punishment of heaven, their
    occurrence supposed the guilt of man. This train of
    thought is in accord with the idea, as in this case,
    that differences occurring among the spirits of the air
    lead to misfortune, since where virtue is in the
    ascendant in the mortal world, the spirits are prevented
    from giving way to such demonstrations. "Drums and
    kettledrums sounded together": the kettledrums sounded
    the attack, and the drums the retreat. The simultaneous
    sounding of both signals was intended to throw the
    enemy's army into disorder.



XLVII

THE DISOWNED PRINCESS


At the time that the Tang dynasty was reigning there lived a man named
Liu I, who had failed to pass his examinations for the doctorate. So
he traveled home again. He had gone six or seven miles when a bird
flew up in a field, and his horse shied and ran ten miles before he
could stop him. There he saw a woman who was herding sheep on a
hillside. He looked at her and she was lovely to look upon, yet her
face bore traces of hidden grief. Astonished, he asked her what was
the matter.

The woman began to sob and said: "Fortune has forsaken me, and I am in
need and ashamed. Since you are kind enough to ask I will tell you
all. I am the youngest daughter of the Dragon-King of the Sea of
Dungting, and was married to the second son of the Dragon-King of Ging
Dschou. Yet my husband ill-treated and disowned me. I complained to my
step-parents, but they loved their son blindly and did nothing. And
when I grew insistent they both became angry, and I was sent out here
to herd sheep." When she had done, the woman burst into tears and lost
all control of herself. Then she continued: "The Sea of Dungting is
far from here; yet I know that you will have to pass it on your
homeward journey. I should like to give you a letter to my father, but
I do not know whether you would take it."

Liu I answered: "Your words have moved my heart. Would that I had
wings and could fly away with you. I will be glad to deliver the
letter to your father. Yet the Sea of Dungting is long and broad, and
how am I to find him?"

"On the southern shore of the Sea stands an orange-tree," answered the
woman, "which people call the tree of sacrifice. When you get there
you must loosen your girdle and strike the tree with it three times in
succession. Then some one will appear whom you must follow. When you
see my father, tell him in what need you found me, and that I long
greatly for his help."

Then she fetched out a letter from her breast and gave it to Liu I.
She bowed to him, looked toward the east and sighed, and, unexpectedly,
the sudden tears rolled from the eyes of Liu I as well. He took the
letter and thrust it in his bag.

Then he asked her: "I cannot understand why you have to herd sheep. Do
the gods slaughter cattle like men?"

"These are not ordinary sheep," answered the woman; "these are
rain-sheep."

"But what are rain-sheep?"

"They are the thunder-rams," replied the woman.

And when he looked more closely he noticed that these sheep walked
around in proud, savage fashion, quite different from ordinary sheep.

Liu I added: "But if I deliver the letter for you, and you succeed in
getting back to the Sea of Dungting in safety, then you must not use
me like a stranger."

The woman answered: "How could I use you as a stranger? You shall be
my dearest friend."

And with these words they parted.

In course of a month Liu I reached the Sea of Dungting, asked for the
orange-tree and, sure enough, found it. He loosened his girdle, and
struck the tree with it three times. At once a warrior emerged from
the waves of the sea, and asked: "Whence come you, honored guest?"

Liu I said: "I have come on an important mission and want to see the
King."

The warrior made a gesture in the direction of the water, and the
waves turned into a solid street along which he led Liu I. The
dragon-castle rose before them with its thousand gates, and magic
flowers and rare grasses bloomed in luxurious profusion. The warrior
bade him wait at the side of a great hall.

Liu I asked: "What is this place called?"

"It is the Hall of the Spirits," was the reply.

Liu I looked about him: all the jewels known to earth were there in
abundance. The columns were of white quartz, inlaid with green jade;
the seats were made of coral, the curtains of mountain crystal as
clear as water, the windows of burnished glass, adorned with rich
lattice-work. The beams of the ceiling, ornamented with amber, rose in
wide arches. An exotic fragrance filled the hall, whose outlines were
lost in darkness.

Liu I had waited for the king a long time. To all his questions the
warrior replied: "Our master is pleased at this moment to talk with
the priest of the sun up on the coral-tower about the sacred book of
the fire. He will, no doubt, soon be through."

Liu I went on to ask: "Why is he interested in the sacred book of the
fire?"

The reply was: "Our master is a dragon. The dragons are powerful
through the power of water. They can cover hill and dale with a single
wave. The priest is a human being. Human beings are powerful through
fire. They can burn the greatest palaces by means of a torch. Fire and
water fight each other, being different in their nature. For that
reason our master is now talking with the priest, in order to find a
way in which fire and water may complete each other."

Before they had quite finished there appeared a man in a purple robe,
bearing a scepter of jade in his hand.

The warrior said: "This is my master!"

Liu I bowed before him.

The king asked: "Are you not a living human being? What has brought
you here?"

Liu I gave his name and explained: "I have been to the capital and
there failed to pass my examination. When I was passing by the Ging
Dschou River, I saw your daughter, whom you love, herding sheep in the
wilderness. The winds tousled her hair, and the rain drenched her. I
could not bear to see her trouble and spoke to her. She complained
that her husband had cast her out and wept bitterly. Then she gave me
a letter for you. And that is why I have come to visit you, O King!"

With these words he fetched out his letter and handed it to the king.
When the latter had read it, he hid his face in his sleeve and said
with a sigh: "It is my own fault. I picked out a worthless husband
for her. Instead of securing her happiness I have brought her to shame
in a distant land. You are a stranger and yet you have been willing to
help her in her distress, for which I am very grateful to you." Then
he once more began to sob, and all those about him shed tears.
Thereupon the monarch gave the letter to a servant who took it into
the interior of the palace; and soon the sound of loud lamentations
rose from the inner rooms.

The king was alarmed and turned to an official: "Go and tell them
within not to weep so loudly! I am afraid that Tsian Tang may hear
them."

"Who is Tsian Tang?" asked Liu I.

"He is my beloved brother," answered the king. "Formerly he was the
ruler of the Tsian-Tang River, but now he has been deposed."

Liu I asked: "Why should the matter be kept from him?"

"He is so wild and uncontrollable," was the reply, "that I fear he
would cause great damage. The deluge which covered the earth for nine
long years in the time of the Emperor Yau was the work of his anger.
Because he fell out with one of the kings of heaven, he caused a great
deluge that rose and covered the tops of five high mountains. Then the
king of heaven grew angry with him, and gave him to me to guard. I had
to chain him to a column in my palace."

Before he had finished speaking a tremendous turmoil arose, which
split the skies and made the earth tremble, so that the whole palace
began to rock, and smoke and clouds rose hissing and puffing. A red
dragon, a thousand feet long, with flashing eyes, blood-red tongue,
scarlet scales and a fiery beard came surging up. He was dragging
along through the air the column to which he had been bound, together
with its chain. Thunders and lightnings roared and darted around his
body; sleet and snow, rain and hail-stones whirled about him in
confusion. There was a crash of thunder, and he flew up to the skies
and disappeared.

Liu I fell to earth in terror. The king helped him up with his own
hand and said: "Do not be afraid! That is my brother, who is hastening
to Ging Dschou in his rage. We will soon have good news!"

Then he had food and drink brought in for his guest. When the goblet
had thrice made the rounds, a gentle breeze began to murmur and a fine
rain fell. A youth clad in a purple gown and wearing a lofty hat
entered. A sword hung at his side. His appearance was manly and
heroic. Behind him walked a girl radiantly beautiful, wearing a robe
of misty fragrance. And when Liu I looked at her, lo, it was the
dragon-princess whom he had met on his way! A throng of maidens in
rosy garments received her, laughing and giggling, and led her into
the interior of the palace. The king, however, presented Liu I to the
youth and said: "This is Tsian Tang, my brother!"

Tsian Tang thanked him for having brought the message. Then he turned
to his brother and said: "I have fought against the accursed dragons
and have utterly defeated them!"

"How many did you slay?"

"Six hundred thousand."

"Were any fields damaged?"

"The fields were damaged for eight hundred miles around."

"And where is the heartless husband?"

"I ate him alive!"

  [Illustration: "TSIAN TANG BROUGHT OUT A PLATTER OF RED AMBER ON
    WHICH LAY A CARBUNCLE."
                                                  --_Page 157_]

Then the king was alarmed and said: "What the fickle boy did was not
to be endured, it is true. But still you were a little too rough
with him; in future you must not do anything of the sort again." And
Tsian Tang promised not to.

That evening Liu I was feasted at the castle. Music and dancing lent
charm to the banquet. A thousand warriors with banners and spears in
their hands stood at attention. Trombones and trumpets resounded, and
drums and kettledrums thundered and rattled as the warriors danced a
war-dance. The music expressed how Tsian Tang had broken through the
ranks of the enemy, and the hair of the guest who listened to it rose
on his head in terror. Then, again, there was heard the music of
strings, flutes and little golden bells. A thousand maidens in
crimson and green silk danced around. The return of the princess was
also told in tones. The music sounded like a song of sadness and
plaining, and all who heard it were moved to tears. The King of the
Sea of Dungting was filled with joy. He raised his goblet and drank
to the health of his guest, and all sorrow departed from them. Both
rulers thanked Liu I in verses, and Liu I answered them in a rimed
toast. The crowd of courtiers in the palace-hall applauded. Then the
King of the Sea of Dungting drew forth a blue cloud-casket in which
was the horn of a rhinoceros, which divides the water. Tsian Tang
brought out a platter of red amber on which lay a carbuncle. These
they presented to their guest, and the other inmates of the palace
also heaped up embroideries, brocades and pearls by his side.
Surrounded by shimmer and light Liu I sat there, smiling, and bowed
his thanks to all sides. When the banquet was ended he slept in the
Palace of Frozen Radiance.

On the following day another banquet was held. Tsian Tang, who was not
quite himself, sat carelessly on his seat and said: "The Princess of
the Dungting Sea is handsome and delicately fashioned. She has had
the misfortune to be disowned by her husband, and to-day her marriage
is annulled. I should like to find another husband for her. If you
were agreeable it would be to your advantage. But if you were not
willing to marry her, you may go your way, and should we ever meet
again we will not know each other."

Liu I was angered by the careless way in which Tsian Tang spoke to
him. The blood rose to his head and he replied: "I served as a
messenger, because I felt sorry for the princess, but not in order to
gain an advantage for myself. To kill a husband and carry off a wife
is something an honest man does not do. And since I am only an
ordinary man, I prefer to die rather than do as you say."

Tsian Tang rose, apologized and said: "My words were over-hasty. I
hope you will not take them ill!" And the King of the Dungting Sea
also spoke kindly to him, and censured Tsian Tang because of his rude
speech. So there was no more said about marriage.

On the following day Liu I took his leave, and the Queen of the
Dungting Sea gave a farewell banquet in his honor.

With tears the queen said to Liu I: "My daughter owes you a great debt
of gratitude, and we have not had an opportunity to make it up to you.
Now you are going away and we see you go with heavy hearts!"

Then she ordered the princess to thank Liu I.

The princess stood there, blushing, bowed to him and said: "We will
probably never see each other again!" Then tears choked her voice.

It is true that Liu I had resisted the stormy urging of her uncle, but
when he saw the princess standing before him in all the charm of her
loveliness, he felt sad at heart; yet he controlled himself and went
his way. The treasures which he took with him were incalculable. The
king and his brother themselves escorted him as far as the river.

When, on his return home, he sold no more than a hundredth part of
what he had received, his fortune already ran into the millions, and
he was wealthier than all his neighbors. He decided to take a wife,
and heard of a widow who lived in the North with her daughter. Her
father had become a Taoist in his later years and had vanished in the
clouds without ever returning. The mother lived in poverty with the
daughter; yet since the girl was beautiful beyond measure she was
seeking a distinguished husband for her.

Liu I was content to take her, and the day of the wedding was set. And
when he saw his bride unveiled on the evening of her wedding day, she
looked just like the dragon-princess. He asked her about it, but she
merely smiled and said nothing.

After a time heaven sent them a son. Then she told her husband:
"To-day I will confess to you that I am truly the Princess of Dungting
Sea. When you had rejected my uncle's proposal and gone away, I fell
ill of longing, and was near death. My parents wanted to send for you,
but they feared you might take exception to my family. And so it was
that I married you disguised as a human maiden. I had not ventured to
tell you until now, but since heaven has sent us a son, I hope that
you will love his mother as well."

Then Liu I awoke as though from a deep sleep, and from that time on
both were very fond of each other.

One day his wife said: "If you wish to stay with me eternally, then we
cannot continue to dwell in the world of men. We dragons live ten
thousand years, and you shall share our longevity. Come back with me
to the Sea of Dungting!"

Ten years passed and no one knew where Liu I, who had disappeared,
might be. Then, by accident, a relative went sailing across the Sea of
Dungting. Suddenly a blue mountain rose up out of the water.

The seamen cried in alarm: "There is no mountain on this spot! It must
be a water-demon!"

While they were still pointing to it and talking, the mountain drew
near the ship, and a gaily-colored boat slid from its summit into the
water. A man sat in the middle, and fairies stood at either side of
him. The man was Liu I. He beckoned to his cousin, and the latter drew
up his garments and stepped into the boat with him. But when he had
entered the boat it turned into a mountain. On the mountain stood a
splendid castle, and in the castle stood Liu I, surrounded with
radiance, and with the music of stringed instruments floating about
him.

They greeted each other, and Liu I said to his cousin: "We have been
parted no more than a moment, and your hair is already gray!"

His cousin answered: "You are a god and blessed: I have only a mortal
body. Thus fate has decreed."

Then Liu I gave him fifty pills and said: "Each pill will extend your
life for the space of a year. When you have lived the tale of these
years, come to me and dwell no longer in the earthly world of dust,
where there is nothing but toil and trouble."

Then he took him back across the sea and disappeared.

His cousin, however, retired from the world, and fifty years later,
and when he had taken all the pills, he disappeared and was never seen
again.

    Note: The outcast princess is represented as "herding
    sheep." In Chinese the word sheep is often used as an
    image for clouds. (Sheep and goats are designated by the
    same word in Chinese.) Tsian Tang is the name of a
    place used for the name of the god of that place. The
    deluge is the flood which the great Yu regulated as
    minister of the Emperor Yau. It is here represented in
    an exaggerated sense, as a deluge.



XLVIII

FOX-FIRE


Once upon a time there was a strong young farmer who came home late
one evening from market. His way led him past the gardens of a wealthy
gentleman, in which stood a number of tall buildings. Suddenly he saw
something shining floating in the air inside the gardens, something
which glowed like a ball of crystal. He was astonished, and climbed
the wall around the gardens, but there was not a human being in sight;
all he saw was, at a distance, something which appeared to be a dog,
looking up at the moon. And whenever it blew its breath out a ball of
fire came out of its mouth, and rose to the moon. And whenever it drew
its breath in the ball sank down again, and it caught it in its jaws.
And so it went on without a stop. Then the farmer realized that it was
a fox, who was preparing the elixir of life. He hid in the grass and
waited until the ball of fire came down again, at about the height of
his own head. Then he stepped hastily from his hiding-place, took it
away and at once swallowed it. And he could feel it glow as it passed
down his throat into his stomach. When the fox saw what had happened
he grew angry. He looked furiously at the farmer, but feared his
strength. For this reason he did not dare attack him, but went angrily
on his way.

From that time on the farmer-boy could make himself invisible, was
able to see ghosts and devils, and had intercourse with the
spirit-world. In cases of sickness, when people lay unconscious, he
could call back their souls, and if some one had committed a sin he
could plead for them. He earned much money owing to these gifts.

When he reached his fiftieth year, he withdrew from all things and
would no longer exercise his arts. One summer evening he was sitting
in his courtyard, enjoying the cool air. While there he drank a number
of goblets of wine, and by midnight had fallen fast asleep. Suddenly
he awoke, feeling ill. It seemed as though some one were patting him
on the back, and before he knew it, the ball of fire had leaped out
from his throat. At once a hand reached for it and a voice said: "For
thirty long years you kept my treasure from me, and from a poor
farmer-lad you have grown to be a wealthy man. Now you have enough,
and I would like to have my fire-ball back again!"

Then the man knew what had happened, but the fox was gone.

    Note: The thought underlying the story is the belief
    that the fox prepares the elixir of life out of his own
    breath, which he allows to rise to the moon. If a thief
    can rob him of the elixir he gains supernatural powers.



GHOST STORIES



XLIX

THE TALKING SILVER FOXES


The silver foxes resemble other foxes, but are yellow, fire-red or
white in color. They know how to influence human beings, too. There is
a kind of silver fox which can learn to speak like a man in a year's
time. These foxes are called "Talking Foxes."

South-west of the bay of Kaiutschou there is a mountain by the edge of
the sea, shaped like a tower, and hence known as Tower Mountain. On
the mountain there is an old temple with the image of a goddess, who
is known as the Old Mother of Tower Mountain. When children fall ill
in the surrounding villages, the magicians often give orders that
paper figures of them be burned at her altar, or little lime images of
them be placed around it. And for this reason the altar and its
surroundings are covered with hundreds of figures of children made in
lime. Paper flowers, shoes and clothing are also brought to the Old
Mother, and lie in a confusion of colors. The pilgrimage festivals
take place on the third day of the third month, and the ninth day of
the ninth month, and then there are theatrical performances, and the
holy writings are read. And there is also an annual fair. The girls
and women of the neighborhood burn incense and pray to the goddess.
Parents who have no children go there and pick out one of the little
children made of lime, and tie a red thread around its neck, or even
secretly break off a small bit of its body, dissolve it in water and
drink it. Then they pray quietly that a child may be sent them.

Behind the temple is a great cave where, in former times, some talking
foxes used to live. They would even come out and seat themselves on
the point of a steep rock by the wayside. When a wanderer came by they
would begin to talk to him in this fashion: "Wait a bit, neighbor;
first smoke a pipe!" The traveler would look around in astonishment,
to see where the voice came from, and would become very much
frightened. If he did not happen to be exceptionally brave, he would
begin to perspire with terror, and run away. Then the fox would laugh:
"Hi hi!"

Once a farmer was plowing on the side of the mountain. When he looked
up he saw a man with a straw hat, wearing a mantle of woven grass and
carrying a pick across his shoulder coming along the way.

"Neighbor Wang," said he, "first smoke a pipeful and take a little
rest! Then I will help you plow."

Then he called out "Hu!" the way farmers do when they talk to their
cattle.

The farmer looked at him more closely and saw then that he was a
talking fox. He waited for a favorable opportunity, and when it came
gave him a lusty blow with his ox-whip. He struck home, for the fox
screamed, leaped into the air and ran away. His straw hat, his mantle
of woven grass and the rest he left lying on the ground. Then the
farmer saw that the straw hat was just woven out of potato-leaves; he
had cut it in two with his whip. The mantle was made of oak-leaves,
tied together with little blades of grass. And the pick was only the
stem of a kau-ling plant, to which a bit of brick had been fastened.

Not long after, a woman in a neighboring village became possessed. A
picture of the head priest of the Taoists was hung up in her room,
but the evil spirit did not depart. Since there were none who could
exorcise devils in the neighborhood, and the trouble she gave was
unendurable, the woman's relatives decided to send to the temple of
the God of War and beg for aid.

But when the fox heard of it he said: "I am not afraid of your Taoist
high-priest nor of your God of War; the only person I fear is your
neighbor Wang in the Eastern village, who once struck me cruelly with
his whip."

This suited the people to a T. They sent to the Eastern village, and
found out who Wang was. And Wang took his ox-whip and entered the
house of the possessed woman.

Then he said in a deep voice: "Where are you? Where are you? I have
been on your trail for a long time. And now, at last, I have caught
you!"

With that he snapped his whip.

The fox hissed and spat and flew out of the window.

They had been telling stories about the talking fox of Tower Mountain
for more than a hundred years when one fine day, a skilful archer came
to that part of the country who saw a creature like a fox, with a
fiery-red pelt, whose back was striped with gray. It was lying under a
tree. The archer aimed and shot off its hind foot.

At once it said in a human voice: "I brought myself into this danger
because of my love for sleep; but none may escape their fate! If you
capture me you will get at the most no more than five thousand pieces
of copper for my pelt. Why not let me go instead? I will reward you
richly, so that all your poverty will come to an end."

But the archer would not listen to him. He killed him, skinned him
and sold his pelt; and, sure enough, he received five thousand pieces
of copper for it.

From that time on the fox-spirit ceased to show itself.

    Note: The silver fox is known in Chinese as "Pi," the
    same word also being used for "panthers," since this
    legendary beast partakes of the nature of both animals.
    "The Old Mother" is really the mother-goddess of the
    Taischan. But in other localities she is chiefly honored
    as a child-giving goddess. "A picture of the head priest
    of the Taoists": Talismans painted by the head priest of
    the Taoists or the Taoist pope, the so-called "Master of
    the Heavens," (Tian Schi) have special virtues against
    all kinds of sorcery and enchantment. The war god Guan
    Di also is appealed to as a savior in all sorts of
    emergencies.



L

THE CONSTABLE


In a city in the neighborhood of Kaiutschou there once lived a
constable by the name of Dung. One day when he returned from a hunt
after thieves the twilight had already begun to fall. So before he
waded through the stream that flowed through the city he sat down on
the bank, lit a pipe and took off his shoes. When he looked up, he
suddenly saw a man in a red hat dressed as a constable crouching
beside him.

Astonished, he inquired: "Who are you? Your clothes indicate that you
are a member of our profession, but I have never yet seen you among
the men of our local force. Tell me, pray, whence you come?"

The other answered: "I am weary, having come a long journey, and would
like to enjoy a pipeful of tobacco in your company. I am sure you will
not object to that."

Dung handed him a pipe and tobacco.

But the other constable said: "I do not need them. Just you keep on
smoking. It is enough for me to enjoy the odor."

So they chatted awhile together, and together waded through the
stream. And gradually they became quite confidential and the stranger
said: "I will be quite frank with you. I am the head constable of the
Nether World, and am subject to the Lord of the Great Mountain. You
yourself are a constable of reputation here in the upper world. And,
because of my skill, I have standing in the world below. Since we are
so well suited to each other, I should like to enter into a bond of
brotherhood with you."

Dung was agreeable and asked: "But what really brings you here?"

Said the other: "In your district there lives a certain Wang, who was
formerly superintendent of the granaries, and at that time caused the
death of an officer. This man has now accused him in the Nether World.
The King of the Nether World cannot come to a decision in the case,
and therefore has asked the Lord of the Great Mountain to settle it.
The Lord of the Great Mountain has ordered that Wang's property and
life be shortened. First his property is to be sequestered here in the
upper world, and then his soul is to be dragged to the nether one. I
have been sent out by the Judge of the Dead to fetch him. Yet the
established custom is, when some one is sent for, that the constable
has first to report to the god of the city. The god of the city then
issues a summons, and sends one of his own spirit constables to seize
the soul and deliver it over to me. Only then may I take it away with
me."

Dung asked him further particulars; but the other merely said: "Later
on you will see it all for yourself."

When they reached the city Dung invited his colleague to stay at his
home, and entertained him with wine and food. But the other only
talked and touched neither the goblet nor the chop-sticks.

Said Dung: "In my haste I could not find any better meal for you. I am
afraid it is not good enough."

But his guest replied: "Oh no, I am already surfeited and satisfied! We
spirits feed only on odors; in which respect we differ from men."

It was late at night before he set out to visit the temple of the city
god.

No sooner did morning dawn than he reappeared to take farewell and
said: "Now all is in order: I am off! In two years' time you will go
to Taianfu, the city near the Great Mountain, and there we will meet
again."

Dung began to feel ill at ease. A few days later, in fact, came the
news that Wang had died. The district mandarin journeyed to the dead
man's natal village in order to express his sympathy. Among his
followers was Dung. The inn-keeper there was a tenant of Wang's.

Dung asked him: "Did anything out of the ordinary happen when Sir Wang
died?"

"It was all very strange," answered the inn-keeper, "and my mother who
had been very busy in his house, came home and fell into a violent
fever. She was unconscious for a day and a night, and could hardly
breathe. She came to on the very day when the news of Sir Wang's death
was made public, and said: 'I have been to the Nether World and I met
him there. He had chains about his neck and several devils were
dragging him along. I asked him what he had done, but he said: "I have
no time to tell you now. When you return ask my wife and she will tell
you all!"' And yesterday my mother went there and asked her. And
Wang's wife told her with tears: 'My master was an official, but for a
long time he did not make any head-way. He was superintendent of the
granaries in Nanking, and in the same city was a high officer, with
whom my master became very intimate. He always came to visit at our
house and he and my master would talk and drink together. One day my
master said to him: "We administrative mandarins have a large salary
and a good income besides. You are an officer, and have even reached
the second step in rank, yet your salary is so small that you cannot
possibly make it do. Have you any other income aside from it?" The
officer replied: "We are such good friends that I know I can speak
openly to you. We officers are compelled to find some additional
sources of revenue in order that our pockets may not be altogether
empty. When we pay our men we make a small percentage of gains on the
exchange; and we also carry more soldiers on our rosters than there
actually are present. If we had to live on our salaries we would die
of hunger!"

"'When my husband heard him say this he could not rid himself of the
idea that by disclosing these criminal proceedings the State would be
indebted to him, and that it would surely aid his plans for
advancement. On the other hand, he reflected that it would not be
right to abuse his friend's confidence. With these ideas in his mind
he retired to his inner rooms. In the courtyard stood a round
pavilion. Lost in heavy thought, he crossed his hands behind his back,
and for a long time walked round and round the pavilion. Finally he
said with a sigh: "Charity begins at home; I will sacrifice my
friend!" Then he drew up his report, in which the officer was
indicted. An imperial order was issued, the matter was investigated,
and the officer was condemned to death. My husband, however, was at
once increased in rank, and from that time on advanced rapidly. And
with the exception of myself no one ever knew anything of the matter.'
When my mother told them of her encounter with Wang in the Nether
World, the whole family burst into loud weeping. Four tents full of
Buddhist and Taoist priests were sent for, who fasted and read masses
for thirty-five days in order that Wang might be delivered. Whole
mountains of paper money, silk and straw figures were burned, and the
ceremonies have not as yet come to an end."

When Dung heard this he was very much frightened.

Two years later he received an order to journey to Taianfu in order to
arrest some robbers there. He thought to himself: "My friend, the
spirit, must be very powerful indeed, to have known about this trip so
far in advance. I must inquire for him. Perhaps I will see him again."

When he reached Taianfu he sought out an inn.

The inn-keeper received him with the words: "Are you Master Dung, and
have you come from the bay of Kaiutschou?"

"I am the man," answered Dung, alarmed, "how do you happen to know
me?"

The inn-keeper replied: "The constable of the temple of the Great
Mountain appeared to me last night and said: 'To-morrow a man by the
name of Dung who is a good friend of mine is coming from the bay of
Kaiutschou!' And then he described your appearance and your clothes to
me exactly, and told me to make careful note of them, and when you
came to treat you with the greatest consideration, and to take no pay
from you, since he would repay me lavishly. So when I saw you coming
everything was exactly as my dreams had foretold, and I knew you at
once. I have already prepared a quiet room for you, and beg that you
will condescend to make yourself at ease."

Joyfully Dung followed him, and the inn-keeper waited on him with the
greatest consideration, and saw that he had great plenty to eat and to
drink.

At midnight the spirit arrived. Without having opened the door, he
stood by Dung's bedside, gave him his hand, and asked how things had
gone with him since he had last seen him.

Dung answered all his questions and thanked him into the bargain for
appearing to the inn-keeper in a dream.

He continued to live for some days at the inn. During the day he went
walking on the Great Mountain and at night his friend came to visit
him and talked with him, and at the same time asked him what had
happened to Sir Wang.

"His sentence has already been spoken," answered the other. "This man
pretended to be conscientious, and traitorously brought about the
death of his friend. Of all sins there is no greater sin than this. As
a punishment he will be sent forth again into the world as an animal."
Then he added: "When you reach home you must take constant care of
your health. Fate has allowed you seventy-eight years of mortal life.
When your time is up I will come to fetch you myself. Then I will see
that you obtain a place as constable in the Nether World, where we can
always be together."

When he had said this, he disappeared.

    Note: "The Constable" is a tale of modern origin. The
    Lord of the Great Mountain (Taischan) is even greater
    than Yan Wang, the God of Death. His Temple of the
    Easterly Holy Mountain (Dung Yuo Miau), is to be found
    in every district capital. These temples play an
    important part in the care of the dead before interment.



LI

THE DANGEROUS REWARD


Once upon a time a man named Hu-Wu-Bau, who lived near the Great
Mountain, went walking there one day. And there, under a tree, he met
a messenger in a red robe who called out to him: "The Lord of the
Great Mountain would like to see you!" The man was much frightened,
but dared offer no objection. The messenger bade him shut his eyes,
and when he was allowed to open them again after a short time, he
found himself standing before a lofty palace. He entered it to see the
god. The latter had a meal prepared for him and said: "I only sent for
you to-day because I had heard you intended traveling to the West. And
in that case I should like to give you a letter to take to my
daughter."

"But where is your daughter?" asked the man.

"She is married to the river-god," was the reply. "All you need to do
is to take along the letter lying there. When you reach the middle of
the Yellow River, beat against the side of the ship and call out:
'Greencoat!' Then some one will appear and take the letter from you."

And with these words he handed Hu-Wu-Bau the letter, and he was taken
back again to the upper world.

When he came to the Yellow River on his journey, he did what the Lord
of the Great Mountain had told him, and cried: "Greencoat!" And sure
enough, a girl in green garments rose from the water, took him by the
hand and told him to close his eyes. Then she led him into the palace
of the river-god and he delivered the letter. The river-god
entertained him splendidly, and thanked him as best he knew how. At
parting he said: "I am grateful that you have made this long journey
to see me. I have nothing to give you, however, save this pair of
green silk shoes. While you are wearing them you can keep on walking
as long as you like and never grow weary. And they will give you the
second sight, so that you will be able to see the spirits and gods."

The man thanked him for the gift and returned to his ship. He
continued on his journey to the West, and after a year had passed,
came back again. When he reached the Great Mountain, he thought it
would be fit and proper to report to the god. So he once more knocked
against the tree and gave his name. In a moment the red-clad messenger
appeared and led him to the Lord of the Mountain. So he reported that
he had delivered the letter to the river-god, and how all things were
there, and the Lord of the Mountain thanked him. During the meal which
the god had prepared for him, he withdrew for a few moments to a quiet
spot. Suddenly he saw his deceased father, bound and loaded with
chains, who together with several hundred other criminals, was doing
menial labor.

Moved to tears, he asked: "O my father, why are you here?"

His father replied: "During my life on earth I happened to tread on
bread, hence I was condemned to hard labor at this spot. I have passed
two years in this manner, yet their bitterness has been unspeakable.
Since you are acquainted with the Lord of the Mountain, you might
plead for me, and beg him to excuse me from this task and make me the
field-god in our village."

His son promised to do so, and went back and pleaded with the Lord of
the Mountain as he had agreed. The latter seemed inclined to listen to
his prayer, yet said warningly: "The quick and the dead tread
different paths. It is not well for the dead and the living to abide
near one another permanently."

The man returned home. Yet, in about a year's time nearly all his
children had died. In the terror of his heart he turned to the Lord of
the Great Mountain. He beat on the tree; the red-coat came and led him
into the palace. There he told of his misfortune and begged the god to
protect him. The Lord of the Mountain smiled: "Did I not tell you in
the start that the quick and the dead tread different paths, and that
it is not well if they abide near each other permanently? Now you see
what has happened!" Yet he sent his messenger to fetch the man's
father. The father came and the god spake to him as follows: "I
forgave you your offense and sent you back to your home as a
field-god. It was your duty to bring happiness to your family.
Instead, nearly all of your grand-children have died off. Why is
this?"

And the father said: "I had been away from home so long that I was
overjoyed to return. Besides I had meat and drink in overflowing
measure. So I thought of my little grand-children and called them to
me."

Then the Lord of the Great Mountain appointed another field-god for
that village, and also gave the father another place. And from that
time no further misfortune happened to the family of Hu-Wu-Bau.

    Note: The Lord of the Great Mountain was originally
    Huang Fe-Hu, a faithful servant of the tyrant
    Dschou-Sin. Because of an insult offered him, he joined
    King Wu, and when the latter overcame the tyrant, was
    made Lord of the Mountain, and overlord of the ten
    princes of the nether world.



LII

RETRIBUTION


Once upon a time there was a boy named Ma, whose father taught him
himself, at home. The window of the upper story looked out on the rear
upon a terrace belonging to old Wang, who had a garden of
chrysanthemums there. One day Ma rose early, and stood leaning against
the window, watching the day dawn. And out came old Wang from his
terrace and watered his chrysanthemums. When he had just finished and
was going in again, along came a water-carrier, bearing two pails on
his shoulders, who seemed to want to help him. But the old man grew
annoyed and motioned him off. Yet the water-carrier insisted on
mounting the terrace. So they pulled each other about on the
terrace-edge. It had been raining, the terrace was slippery, its
border high and narrow, and when the old man thrust back the
water-carrier with his hand, the latter lost his balance, slipped and
tumbled down the slope. Then the old man hastened down to pick him up;
but the two pails had fallen on his chest and he lay there with feet
outstretched. The old man was extremely frightened. Without uttering a
sound, he took hold of the water-carrier's feet, and dragged him
through the back door to the bank of the stream which flowed by the
garden. Then he fetched the pails and set them down beside the corpse.
After that he went home, locked the door and went to bed again.

Little Ma, in spite of his youth, thought it would be better to say
nothing about an affair of this kind, in which a human life was
involved. He shut the window and withdrew. The sun rose higher, and
soon he heard a clamor without: "A dead man is lying on the
river-bank!" The constable gave notice, and in the afternoon the judge
came up to the beating of gongs, and the inspector of the dead knelt
down and uncovered the corpse; yet the body showed no wound. So it was
said: "He slipped and fell to his death!" The judge questioned the
neighbors, but the neighbors all insisted that they knew nothing of
the matter. Thereupon the judge had the body placed in a coffin,
sealed it with his seal, and ordered that the relatives of the
deceased be found. And then he went his way.

Nine years passed by, and young Ma had reached the age of twenty-one
and become a baccalaureate. His father had died, and the family was
poor. So it came about that in the same room in which he had formerly
studied his lessons, he now gathered a few pupils about him, to
instruct them.

The time for examinations drew near. Ma had risen early, in order to
work. He opened the window and there, in the distant alley, he saw a
man with two pails gradually drawing nearer. When he looked more
closely, it was the water-carrier. Greatly frightened, he thought that
he had returned to repay old Wang. Yet he passed the old man's door
without entering it. Then he went a few steps further to the house of
the Lis; and there went in. The Lis were wealthy people, and since
they were near neighbors the Mas and they were on a visiting footing.
The matter seemed very questionable to Ma, and he got up and followed
the water-carrier.

At the door of Li's house he met an old servant who was just coming
out and who said: "Heaven is about to send a child to our mistress! I
must go buy incense to burn to the gods in order to show our
gratitude!"

Ma asked: "Did not a man with two pails of water on his shoulder just
go in?"

The servant said there had not, but before he had finished speaking a
maid came from the house and said: "You need not go to buy incense,
for I have found some. And, through the favor of heaven, the child has
already come to us." Then Ma began to realize that the water-carrier
had returned to be born again into the life of earth, and not to exact
retribution. He wondered, though, for what merit of his the former
water-carrier happened to be re-born into so wealthy a family. So he
kept the matter in mind, and from time to time inquired as to the
child's well-being.

Seven more years went by, and the boy gradually grew up. He did not
show much taste for learning, but he loved to keep birds. Old Wang was
still strong and healthy. And though he was by this time more than
eighty years old, his love for his chrysanthemums had only increased
with age.

One day Ma once more rose early, and stood leaning against his window.
And he saw old Wang come out upon his terrace and begin to water his
chrysanthemums. Little Li sat in the upper story of his house flying
his pigeons. Suddenly some of the pigeons flew down on the railing of
the flower-garden. The boy was afraid they might fly off and called
them, but the pigeons did not move. The boy did not know what to do:
he picked up stones and threw them at the birds. By mistake one of
them struck old Wang. The old man started, slipped, and fell down over
the terrace. Time passed and he did not rise. He lay there with his
feet outstretched. The boy was very much frightened. Without uttering
a sound he softly closed his window and went away. The sun gradually
rose higher, and the old man's sons and grandsons all came out to look
for him. They found him and said: "He slipped and fell to his death!"
And they buried him as was the custom.

    Note: This little tale, from the "Sin Tsi Hia," is a
    literary masterpiece because of the exactness with which
    the punishment follows upon the act, long after the
    latter has been forgiven, and all chance of mishap
    seemed to have passed.



LIII

THE GHOST WHO WAS FOILED


There are ghosts of many kinds, but the ghosts of those who have hung
themselves are the worst. Such ghosts are always coaxing other living
people to hang themselves from the beams of the roof. If they succeed
in persuading some one to hang himself, then the road to the Nether
World is open to them, and they can once more enter into the wheel of
transformation. The following story of such a ghost is told by persons
worthy of belief.

Once upon a time there lived a man in Tsing Tschoufu who had passed
his military examination, and had been ordered to Tsinanfu to report
for duty. It was at the season of rains. So it happened that evening
came on before he could reach the town-inn where he had expected to
pass the night. Just as the sun was setting he reached a small village
and asked for a night's lodging. But there were only poor families in
the village who had no room for him in their huts. So they directed
him to an old temple which stood outside the village, and said he
could spend the night there.

The images of the gods in the temple were all decayed, so that one
could not distinguish one from the other. Thick spider-webs covered
the entrance, and the dust lay inches high everywhere. So the soldier
went out into the open, where he found an old flight of steps. He
spread out his knapsack on a stone step, tied his horse to an old
tree, took his flask from his pocket and drank--for it had been a hot
day. There had been a heavy rain, but it had just cleared again. The
new moon was on the decline. The soldier closed his eyes and tried to
sleep.

Suddenly he heard a rustling sound in the temple, and a cool wind
passed over his face and made him shudder. And he saw a woman come out
of the temple, dressed in an old dirty red gown, and with a face as
white as a chalk wall. She stole past quietly as though she were
afraid of being seen. The soldier knew no fear. So he pretended to be
asleep and did not move, but watched her with half-shut eyes. And he
saw her draw a rope from her sleeve and disappear. Then he knew that
she was the ghost of one who had hung herself. He got up softly and
followed her, and, sure enough, she went into the village.

When she came to a certain house she slipped into the court through a
crack in the door. The soldier leaped over the wall after her. It was
a house with three rooms. In the rear room a lamp was burning dimly.
The soldier looked through the window into the room, and there was a
young woman of about twenty sitting on the bed, sighing deeply, and
her kerchief was wet through with tears. Beside her lay a little
child, asleep. The woman looked up toward the beam of the ceiling. One
moment she would weep and the next she would stroke the child. When
the soldier looked more closely, there was the ghost sitting up on the
beam. She had passed the rope around her neck and was hanging herself
in dumb show. And whenever she beckoned with her hand the woman looked
up toward her. This went on for some time.

Finally the woman said: "You say it would be best for me to die. Very
well, then, I will die; but I cannot part from my child!"

And once more she burst into tears. But the ghost merely laughed and
coaxed her again.

So the woman said determinedly: "It is enough. I will die!"

With these words she opened her chest of clothes, put on new garments,
and painted her face before the mirror. Then she drew up a bench and
climbed up on it. She undid her girdle and knotted it to the beam. She
had already stretched forth her neck and was about to leap from the
bench, when the child suddenly awoke and began to cry. The woman
climbed down again and soothed and quieted her child, and while she
was petting it she wept, so that the tears fell from her eyes like a
string of pearls. The ghost frowned and hissed, for it feared to lose
its prey. In a short time the child had fallen asleep again, and the
woman once more began to look aloft. Then she rose, again climbed on
the bench, and was about to lay the noose about her neck when the
soldier began to call out loudly and drum on the window-pane. Then he
broke it and climbed into the room. The woman fell to the ground and
the ghost disappeared. The soldier recalled the woman to
consciousness, and then he saw something hanging down from the beam,
like a cord without an end. Knowing that it belonged to the ghost of
the hanged woman he took and kept it.

Then he said to the woman: "Take good care of your child! You have
but one life to lose in this world!"

And with that he went out.

Then it occurred to him that his horse and his baggage were still in
the temple. And he went there to get them. When he came out of the
village there was the ghost, waiting for him in the road.

The ghost bowed and said: "I have been looking for a substitute for
many years, and to-day, when it seemed as though I should really get
one, you came along and spoiled my chances. So there is nothing more
for me to do. Yet there is something which I left behind me in my
hurry. You surely must have found it, and I will ask you to return it
to me. If I only have this one thing, my not having found a substitute
will not worry me."

Then the soldier showed her the rope and said with a laugh: "Is this
the thing you mean? Why, if I were to give it back to you then some
one is sure to hang themselves. And that I could not allow."

With these words he wound the rope around his arm, drove her off and
said: "Now be off with you!"

But then the ghost grew angry. Her face turned greenish-black, her
hair fell in wild disorder down her neck, her eyes grew bloodshot, and
her tongue hung far out of her mouth. She stretched forth both hands
and tried to seize the soldier, but he struck out at her with his
clenched fist. By mistake he hit himself in the nose and it began to
bleed. Then he sprinkled a few drops of blood in her direction and,
since the ghosts cannot endure human blood, she ceased her attack,
moved off a few paces and began to abuse him. This she did for some
time, until the cock in the village began to crow. Then the ghost
disappeared.

In the meantime the farmer-folk of the village had come to thank the
soldier. It seems that after he had left the woman her husband had
come home, and asked his wife what had happened. And then for the
first time he had learned what had occurred. So they all set out
together along the road in order to look for the soldier outside the
village. When they found him he was still beating the air with his
fists and talking wildly. So they called out to him and he told them
what had taken place. The rope could still be seen on his bare arm;
yet it had grown fast to it, and surrounded it in the shape of a red
ring of flesh.

The day was just dawning, so the soldier swung himself into his saddle
and rode away.

    Note: This tale has been handed down traditionally, and
    is given as told among the people.



LIV

THE PUNISHMENT OF GREED


Once upon a time there lived a man south of the Yangtze-kiang. He had
taken a position as a teacher in Sutschoufu, on the border of
Shantung. But when he got there he found that the schoolhouse had not
yet been completed. Yet a two-story building in the neighborhood had
been rented, in which the teacher was to live and hold school in the
meantime. This house stood outside the village, not far from the river
bank. A broad plain, overgrown with tangled brush, stretched out from
it on every side. The teacher was pleased with the view.

Well, one evening he was standing in the door of his house watching
the sun go down. The smoke that rose from the village chimneys
gradually merged with the twilight shadows. All the noises of the day
had died away. Suddenly, off in the distance, along the river bank, he
beheld a fiery gleam. He hurried away at once in order to see what it
might be. And there, on the bank, he found a wooden coffin, from which
came the radiance he had noticed. Thought the teacher to himself: "The
jewels with which they adorn the dead on their journey shine by night.
Perhaps there are gems in the coffin!" And greed awoke in his heart,
and he forgot that a coffin is a resting-place of the dead and should
be respected. He took up a large stone, broke the cover of the coffin,
and bent over to look more closely. And there in the coffin lay a
youth. His face was as white as paper, he wore a mourning turban on
his head, his body was wrapped in hempen garments, and he wore straw
sandals on his feet. The teacher was greatly frightened and turned to
go away. But the corpse had already raised itself to a sitting
posture. Then the teacher's fear got the better of him, and he began
to run. And the corpse climbed out of its coffin and ran after him.
Fortunately the house was not far away. The teacher ran as fast as he
could, flew up the steps and locked the door after him. Gradually he
caught his breath again. Outside there was not a sound to be heard. So
he thought that perhaps the corpse had not followed him all the way.
He opened the window and peered down. The corpse was leaning against
the wall of the house. Suddenly it saw that the window had been
opened, and with one leap it bounded up and in through it. Overcome by
terror, the teacher fell down the stairs of the house, and rolled
unconscious to the bottom of the flight. And when he did so the
corpse fell down on the floor of the room above.

At the time the school children had all long since gone home. And the
owner of the house lived in another dwelling, so that no one knew
anything about what had happened. On the following morning the
children came to school as usual. They found the door locked, and when
they called no one answered. Then they broke down the door and found
their teacher lying unconscious on the ground. They sprinkled him with
ginger, but it took a long time before he woke from his coma. When
they asked he told them all that had occurred. Then they all went
upstairs and took away the corpse. It was taken outside the village
limits and burned, and the bones which remained were once more laid in
the coffin. But the teacher said, with a sigh: "Because of a moment's
greed, I nearly lost my life!" He resigned his position, returned home
and never, through all the days of his life, did he speak of gain
again.

    Note: The corpse wears a mourning turban and is dressed
    in mourning. According to local tradition, young people
    who die before their parents, are laid in their coffins
    clad in mourning, so that even in death they may do
    their duty and be able to mourn their parents when the
    latter shall have died. The tale is taken from the Su
    Tsi Hia.



LV

THE NIGHT ON THE BATTLEFIELD


Once upon a time there was a merchant, who was wandering toward
Shantung with his wares, along the road from the South. At about the
second watch of the night, a heavy storm blew up from the North. And
he chanced to see an inn at one side of the road, whose lights were
just being lit. He went in to get something to drink and order
lodgings for the night, but the folk at the inn raised objections. Yet
an old man among them took pity on his unhappy situation and said: "We
have just prepared a meal for warriors who have come a long distance,
and we have no wine left to serve you. But there is a little side room
here which is still free, and there you may stay overnight." With
these words he led him into it. But the merchant could not sleep
because of his hunger and thirst. Outside he could hear the noise of
men and horses. And since all these proceedings did not seem quite
natural to him, he got up and looked through a crack in the door. And
he saw that the whole inn was filled with soldiers, who were sitting
on the ground, eating and drinking, and talking about campaigns of
which he had never heard. After a time they began calling to each
other: "The general is coming!" And far off in the distance could be
heard the cries of his bodyguard. All the soldiers hurried out to
receive him. Then the merchant saw a procession with many paper
lanterns, and riding in their midst a man of martial appearance with a
long beard. He dismounted, entered the inn, and took his place at the
head of the board. The soldiers mounted guard at the door, awaiting
his commands, and the inn-keeper served food and drink, to which the
general did full justice.

When he had finished his officers entered, and he said to them: "You
have now been underway for some time. Go back to your men. I shall
rest a little myself. It will be time enough to beat the assembly when
the order to advance is given."

The officers received his commands and withdrew. Then the general
called out: "Send Asti in!" and a young officer entered from the left
side of the house. The people of the inn locked the gates and withdrew
for the night, while Asti conducted the long-haired general to a door
at the left, through a crack of which shone the light of a lamp. The
merchant stole from his room and looked through the crack in the door.
Within the room was a bed of bamboo, without covers or pillows. The
lamp stood on the ground. The long-bearded general took hold of his
head. It came off and he placed it on the bed. Then Asti took hold of
his arms. These also came off and were carefully placed beside the
head. Then the old general threw himself down on the bed crosswise,
and Asti took hold of his body, which came apart below the thighs, and
the two legs fell to the ground. Then the lamp went out. Overcome by
terror the merchant hurried back to his room as fast as he could,
holding his sleeves before his eyes, and laid down on his bed, where
he tossed about sleepless all night.

At last he heard a cock crow in the distance. He was shivering. He
took his sleeves from his face and saw that dawn was stealing along
the sky. And when he looked about him, there he was lying in the
middle of a thick clump of brush. Round about him was a wilderness,
not a house, not even a grave was to be seen anywhere. In spite of
being chilled, he ran about three miles till he came to the nearest
inn. The inn-keeper opened the door and asked him with astonishment
where he came from at that early hour. So the merchant told him his
experiences and inquired as to the sort of place at which he had spent
the night. The inn-keeper shook his head: "The whole neighborhood is
covered with old battlefields," was his reply, "and all sorts of
supernatural things take place on them after dark."

    Note: This tale is taken from the Sin Tsi Hia.



LVI

THE KINGDOM OF THE OGRES


In the land of Annam there once dwelt a man named Su, who sailed the
seas as a merchant. Once his ship was suddenly driven on a distant
shore by a great storm. It was a land of hills broken by ravines and
green with luxuriant foliage, yet he could see something along the
hills which looked like human dwellings. So he took some food with him
and went ashore. No sooner had he entered the hills than he could see
at either hand the entrances to caves, one close beside the other,
like a row of beehives. So he stopped and looked into one of the
openings. And in it sat two ogres, with teeth like spears and eyes
like fiery lamps. They were just devouring a deer. The merchant was
terrified by this sight and turned to flee; but the ogres had already
noticed him and they caught him and dragged him into their cave. Then
they talked to each other with animal sounds, and were about to tear
his clothes from his body and devour him. But the merchant hurriedly
took a bag of bread and dried meat out and offered it to them. They
divided it, ate it up and it seemed to taste good to them. Then they
once more went through the bag; but he gestured with his hand to show
them that he had no more.

Then he said: "Let me go! Aboard my ship I have frying-pans and
cooking-pots, vinegar and spices. With these I could prepare your
food."

The ogres did not understand what he was saying, however, and were
still ferocious. So he tried to make them understand in dumb show, and
finally they seemed to get an idea of his meaning. So they went to the
ship with him, and he brought his cooking gear to the cave, collected
brush-wood, made a fire and cooked the remains of the deer. When it
was done to a turn he gave them some of it to eat, and the two
creatures devoured it with the greatest satisfaction. Then they left
the cave and closed the opening with a great rock. In a short space of
time they returned with another deer they had caught. The merchant
skinned it, fetched fresh water, washed the meat and cooked several
kettles full of it. Suddenly in came a whole herd of ogres, who
devoured all he had cooked, and became quite animated over their
eating. They all kept pointing to the kettle which seemed too small to
them. When three or four days had passed, one of the ogres dragged in
an enormous cooking-pot on his back, which was thenceforth used
exclusively.

Now the ogres crowded about the merchant, bringing him wolves and deer
and antelopes, which he had to cook for them, and when the meat was
done they would call him to eat it with them.

Thus a few weeks passed and they gradually came to have such
confidence in him that they let him run about freely. And the merchant
listened to the sounds which they uttered, and learned to understand
them. In fact, before very long he was able to speak the language of
the ogres himself. This pleased the latter greatly, and they brought
him a young ogre girl and made her his wife. She gave him valuables
and fruit to win his confidence, and in course of time they grew much
attached to each other.

One day the ogres all rose very early, and each one of them hung a
string of radiant pearls about his neck. They ordered the merchant to
be sure and cook a great quantity of meat. The merchant asked his wife
what it all meant.

"This will be a day of high festival," answered she, "we have invited
the great king to a banquet."

But to the other ogres she said: "The merchant has no string of
pearls!"

Then each of the ogres gave him five pearls and his wife added ten, so
that he had fifty pearls in all. These his wife threaded and hung the
pearl necklace about his neck, and there was not one of the pearls
which was not worth at least several hundred ounces of silver.

Then the merchant cooked the meat, and having done so left the cave
with the whole herd in order to receive the great king. They came to a
broad cave, in the middle of which stood a huge block of stone, as
smooth and even as a table. Round it were stone seats. The place of
honor was covered with a leopard-skin, and the rest of the seats with
deerskins. Several dozen ogres were sitting around the cave in rank
and file.

Suddenly a tremendous storm blew up, whirling around the dust in
columns, and a monster appeared who had the figure of an ogre. The
ogres all crowded out of the cave in a high state of excitement to
receive him. The great king ran into the cave, sat down with his legs
outstretched, and glanced about him with eyes as round as an eagle's.
The whole herd followed him into the cave, and stood at either hand of
him, looking up to him and folding their arms across their breasts in
the form of a cross in order to do him honor.

The great king nodded, looked around and asked: "Are all the folk of
the Wo-Me hills present?"

The entire herd declared that they were.

Then he saw the merchant and asked: "From whence does he hail?"

His wife answered for him, and all spoke with praise of his art as a
cook. A couple of ogres brought in the cooked meat and spread it out
on the table. Then the great king ate of it till he could eat no more,
praised it with his mouth full, and said that in the future they were
always to furnish him with food of this kind.

Then he looked at the merchant and asked: "Why is your necklace so
short?"

With these words he took ten pearls from his own necklace, pearls as
large and round as bullets of a blunderbuss. The merchant's wife
quickly took them on his behalf and hung them around his neck; and the
merchant crossed his arms like the ogres and spoke his thanks. Then
the great king went off again, flying away like lightning on the
storm.

In the course of time heaven sent the merchant children, two boys and
a girl. They all had a human form and did not resemble their mother.
Gradually the children learned to speak and their father taught them
the language of men. They grew up, and were soon so strong that they
could run across the hills as though on level ground.

One day the merchant's wife had gone out with one of the boys and the
girl and had been absent for half-a-day. The north wind was blowing
briskly, and in the merchant's heart there awoke a longing for his old
home. He took his son by the hand and went down to the sea-shore.
There his old ship was still lying, so he climbed into it with his
boy, and in a day and a night was back in Annam again.

When he reached home he loosened two of his pearls from his chain,
and sold them for a great quantity of gold, so that he could keep
house in handsome style. He gave his son the name of Panther, and when
the boy was fourteen years of age he could lift thirty hundred weight
with ease. Yet he was rough by nature and fond of fighting. The
general of Annam, astonished at his bravery, appointed him a colonel,
and in putting down a revolt his services were so meritorious that he
was already a general of the second rank when but eighteen.

At about this time another merchant was also driven ashore by a storm
on the island of Wo-Me. When he reached land he saw a youth who asked
him with astonishment: "Are you not from the Middle Kingdom?"

The merchant told him how he had come to be driven ashore on the
island, and the youth led him to a little cave in a secret valley.
Then he brought deer-flesh for him to eat, and talked with him. He
told him that his father had also come from Annam, and it turned out
that his father was an old acquaintance of the man to whom he was
talking.

"We will have to wait until the wind blows from the North," said the
youth, "then I will come and escort you. And I will give you a message
of greeting to take to my father and brother."

"Why do you not go along yourself and hunt up your father?" asked the
merchant.

"My mother does not come from the Middle Kingdom," replied the youth.
"She is different in speech and appearance, so it cannot well be."

One day the wind blew strongly from the North, and the youth came and
escorted the merchant to his ship, and ordered him, at parting, not to
forget a single one of his words.

When the merchant returned to Annam, he went to the palace of
Panther, the general, and told him all that had happened. When Panther
listened to him telling about his brother, he sobbed with bitter
grief. Then he secured leave of absence and sailed out to sea with two
soldiers. Suddenly a typhoon arose, which lashed the waves until they
spurted sky-high. The ship turned turtle, and Panther fell into the
sea. He was seized by a creature and flung up on a strand where there
seemed to be dwellings. The creature who had seized him looked like an
ogre, so Panther addressed him in the ogre tongue. The ogre,
surprised, asked him who he was, and Panther told him his whole story.

The ogre was pleased and said: "Wo-Me is my old home, but it lies
about eight thousand miles away from here. This is the kingdom of the
poison dragons."

Then the ogre fetched a ship and had Panther seat himself in it, while
he himself pushed the ship before him through the water so that it
clove the waves like an arrow. It took a whole night, but in the
morning a shoreline appeared to the North, and there on the strand
stood a youth on look-out. Panther recognized his brother. He stepped
ashore and they clasped hands and wept. Then Panther turned around to
thank the ogre, but the latter had already disappeared.

Panther now asked after his mother and sister and was told that both
were well and happy, so he wanted to go to them with his brother. But
the latter told him to wait, and went off alone. Not long after he
came back with their mother and sister. And when they saw Panther,
both wept with emotion. Panther now begged them to return with him to
Annam.

But his mother replied: "I fear that if I went, people would mock me
because of my figure."

"I am a high officer," replied Panther, "and people would not dare to
insult you."

So they all went down to the ship together with him. A favorable wind
filled their sails and they sped home swiftly as an arrow flies. On
the third day they reached land. But the people whom they encountered
were all seized with terror and ran away. Then Panther took off his
mantle and divided it among the three so that they could dress
themselves.

When they reached home and the mother saw her husband again, she at
once began to scold him violently because he had said not a word to
her when he went away. The members of his family, who all came to
greet the wife of the master of the house, did so with fear and
trembling. But Panther advised his mother to learn the language of the
Middle Kingdom, dress in silks, and accustom herself to human food.
This she agreed to do; yet she and her daughter had men's clothing
made for them. The brother and sister gradually grew more fair of
complexion, and looked like the people of the Middle Kingdom.
Panther's brother was named Leopard, and his sister Ogrechild. Both
possessed great bodily strength.

But Panther was not pleased to think that his brother was so
uneducated, so he had him study. Leopard was highly gifted; he
understood a book at first reading; yet he felt no inclination to
become a man of learning. To shoot and to ride was what he best loved
to do. So he rose to high rank as a professional soldier, and finally
married the daughter of a distinguished official.

It was long before Ogrechild found a husband, because all suitors were
afraid of their mother-in-law to be. But Ogrechild finally married one
of her brother's subordinates. She could draw the strongest bow, and
strike the tiniest bird at a distance of a hundred paces. Her arrow
never fell to earth without having scored a hit. When her husband went
out to battle she always accompanied him, and that he finally became a
general was largely due to her. Leopard was already a field marshal at
the age of thirty, and his mother accompanied him on his campaigns.
When a dangerous enemy drew near, she buckled on armor, and took a
knife in her hand to meet him in place of her son. And among the
enemies who encountered her there was not a single one who did not
flee from her in terror. Because of her courage the emperor bestowed
upon her the title of "The Superwoman."

    Note: The ogres here mentioned are the primitive
    inhabitants of the Island of Ceylon, also called
    Rakshas, who appear in legend as man-devouring monsters.



LVII

THE MAIDEN WHO WAS STOLEN AWAY


In the western portion of the old capital city of Lo Yang there was a
ruined cloister, in which stood an enormous pagoda, several hundred
stories high. Three or four people could still find room to stand on
its very top.

Not far from it there lived a beautiful maiden, and one very hot
summer's day she was sitting in the courtyard of her home, trying to
keep cool. And as she sat there a sudden cyclone came up and carried
her off. When she opened her eyes, there she was on top of the pagoda,
and beside her stood a young man in the dress of a student.

He was very polite and affable, and said to her: "It seems as though
heaven had meant to bring us together, and if you promise to marry me,
we will be very happy." But to this the maiden would not agree. So the
student said that until she changed her mind she would have to remain
on the pagoda-top. Then he produced bread and wine for her to satisfy
her hunger and thirst, and disappeared.

Thereafter he appeared each day and asked her whether she had changed
her mind, and each day she told him she had not. When he went away he
always carefully closed the openings in the pagoda-top with stones,
and he had also removed some of the steps of the stairs, so that she
could not climb down. And when he came to the pagoda-top he always
brought her food and drink, and he also presented her with rouge and
powder, dresses and mandarin-coats and all sorts of jewelry. He told
her he had bought them in the market place. And he also hung up a
great carbuncle-stone so that the pagoda-top was bright by night as
well as by day. The maiden had all that heart could wish, and yet she
was not happy.

But one day when he went away he forgot to lock the window. The maiden
spied on him without his knowing it, and saw that from a youth he
turned himself into an ogre, with hair as red as madder and a face as
black as coal. His eyeballs bulged out of their sockets, and his mouth
looked like a dish full of blood. Crooked white fangs thrust
themselves from his lips, and two wings grew from his shoulders.
Spreading them, he flew down to earth and at once turned into a man
again.

The maiden was seized with terror and burst into tears. Looking down
from her pagoda she saw a wanderer passing below. She called out, but
the pagoda was so high that her voice did not carry down to him. She
beckoned with her hand, but the wanderer did not look up. Then she
could think of nothing else to do but to throw down the old clothes
she had formerly worn. They fluttered through the air to the ground.

The wanderer picked up the clothes. Then he looked up at the pagoda,
and quite up at the very top he saw a tiny figure which looked like
that of a girl; yet he could not make out her features. For a long
time he wondered who it might be, but in vain. Then he saw a light.

"My neighbor's daughter," said he to himself, "was carried away by a
magic storm. Is it possible that she may be up there?"

So he took the clothes with him and showed them to the maiden's
parents, and when they saw them they burst into tears.

But the maiden had a brother, who was stronger and braver than any one
for miles around. When the tale had been told him he took a heavy ax
and went to the pagoda. There he hid himself in the tall grass and
waited for what would happen. When the sun was just going down, along
came a youth, tramping the hill. Suddenly he turned into an ogre,
spread his wings and was about to fly. But the brother flung his ax at
him and struck him on the arm. He began to roar loudly, and then fled
to the western hills. But when the brother saw that it was impossible
to climb the pagoda, he went back and enlisted the aid of several
neighbors. With them he returned the following morning and they
climbed up into the pagoda. Most of the steps of the stairway were in
good condition for the ogre had only destroyed those at the top. But
they were able to get up with a ladder, and then the brother fetched
down his sister and brought her safely home again.

And that was the end of the enchantment.

    Note: In this tale the ogre is a Yakscha or a Fe Tian Ya
    Tscha.



LVIII

THE FLYING OGRE


There once lived in Sianfu an old Buddhist monk, who loved to wander
in lonely places. In the course of his wanderings he once came to the
Kuku-Nor, and there he saw a tree which was a thousand feet high and
many cords in breadth. It was hollow inside and one could see the sky
shining down into it from above.

When he had gone on a few miles, he saw in the distance a girl in a
red coat, barefoot, and with unbound hair, who was running as fast as
the wind. In a moment she stood before him.

"Take pity on me and save my life!" said she to him.

When the monk asked her what was the trouble, she replied: "A man is
pursuing me. If you will tell him you have not seen me, I will be
grateful to you all my life long!"

With that she ran up to the hollow tree and crawled into it.

When the monk had gone a little further, he met one who rode an
armored steed. He wore a garment of gold, a bow was slung across his
shoulders, and a sword hung at his side. His horse ran with the speed
of lightning, and covered a couple of miles with every step. Whether
it ran in the air or on the ground, its speed was the same.

"Have you seen the girl in the red coat?" asked the stranger. And when
the monk replied that he had seen nothing, the other continued:
"Bonze, you should not lie! This girl is not a human being, but a
flying ogre. Of flying ogres there are thousands of varieties, who
bring ruin to people everywhere. I have already slain a countless
number of them, and have pretty well done away with them. But this one
is the worst of all. Last night the Lord of the Heavens gave me a
triple command, and that is the reason I have hurried down from the
skies. There are eight thousand of us under way in all directions to
catch this monster. If you do not tell the truth, monk, then you are
sinning against heaven itself!"

Upon that the monk did not dare deceive him, but pointed to the hollow
tree. The messenger of the skies dismounted, stepped into the tree and
looked about him. Then he once more mounted his horse, which carried
him up the hollow trunk and out at the end of the tree. The monk
looked up and could see a small, red flame come out of the tree-top.
It was followed by the messenger of the skies. Both rose up to the
clouds and disappeared. After a time there fell a rain of blood. The
ogre had probably been hit by an arrow or captured.

Afterward the monk told the tale to the scholar who wrote it down.

    Note: This flying ogre is also of the Yakscha tribe.



LIX

BLACK ARTS


The wild people who dwell in the South-West are masters of many black
arts. They often lure men of the Middle Kingdom to their country by
promising them their daughters in marriage, but their promises are not
to be trusted. Once there was the son of a poor family, who agreed to
labor for three years for one of the wild men in order to become his
son-in-law. At the end of that time the wedding was celebrated, and
the couple were given a little house for a home. But no sooner had
they entered it than the wife warned her husband to be on his guard,
since her parents did not like him, and would seek to do him harm. In
accordance with the custom she entered the house first with a lighted
lantern, but when the bridegroom followed her she had disappeared. And
thus it went, day by day. During the daytime she was there, but when
evening came she disappeared.

And one day, not long after they had been married, his wife said to
him: "To-morrow morning my mother celebrates her birthday, and you
must go to congratulate her. They will offer you tea and food. The tea
you may drink, but be sure not to touch any of the food. Keep this in
mind!"

So the following day the wife and husband went to her mother's home
and offered their congratulations. Her parents seemed highly pleased,
and served them with tea and sweets. The son-in-law drank, but ate
nothing, though his wife's parents, with kind words and friendly
gestures, kept urging him to help himself. At last the son-in-law did
not know what to do, and thought that surely they could mean him no
ill. And seeing the fresh caught eels and crabs on the plate before
him, he ate a little of them. His wife gave him a reproachful glance,
and he offered some excuse for taking his leave.

But his mother-in-law said: "This is my birthday. You simply must
taste my birthday noodles!"

With that she placed a great dish before him, filled with noodles that
looked like threads of silver, mingled with fat meat, and spiced with
fragrant mushrooms. During all the time he had been living in the
country the son-in-law had never yet seen such an appetizing dish. Its
pleasant odor rose temptingly to his nostrils, and he could not resist
raising his chop-sticks. His wife glanced over at him, but he
pretended that he did not see her.

She coughed significantly, but he acted as though he did not hear.
Finally she trod on his foot under the table; and then he regained
control of himself.

He had not as yet eaten half of the food and said: "My hunger is
satisfied."

Then he took leave, and went off with his wife.

"This is a serious matter," said the latter. "You would not listen to
my words, and now you will surely have to die!"

But still he did not believe her, until he suddenly felt terrible
pains, which soon grew unbearable, so that he fell to the ground
unconscious. His wife at once hung him up by the feet from the beam of
the roof, and put a panful of glowing charcoal under his body, and a
great jar of water, into which she had poured sesame oil, in front of
the fire, directly below his mouth. And when the fire had heated him
thoroughly, he suddenly opened his mouth--and can you imagine what
came out of it? A squirming, crawling mass of poisonous worms,
centipedes, toads and tadpoles, who all fell into the jar of water.
Then his wife untied him, carried him to bed, and gave him wine
mingled with realgar to drink. Then he recovered.

"What you ate in the belief that they were eels and crabs," said his
wife, "were nothing but toads and tadpoles, and the birthday noodles
were poisonous worms and centipedes. But you must continue to be
careful. My parents know that you have not died, and they will think
up other evil plans."

A few days later his father-in-law said to him: "There is a large tree
growing on the precipice which juts over the cave. In it is the nest
of the phenix. You are still young and able to climb, so go there
quickly and fetch me the eggs!"

His son-in-law went home and told his wife.

"Take long bamboo poles," said she, "and tie them together, and fasten
a curved sword at the top. And take these nine loaves of bread and
these hens' eggs, there are seven times seven of them. Carry them
along with you in a basket. When you come to the spot you will see a
large nest up in the branches. Do not climb the tree, but chop it down
with the curved sword. Then throw away your poles, and run for dear
life. Should a monster appear and follow you, throw him the loaves of
bread, three loaves at a time, and finally throw down the eggs on the
ground and make for home as quickly as you can. In this way you may
escape the danger which threatens you."

The man noted all she said exactly and went. And sure enough he saw
the bird's nest--it was as large as a round pavilion. Then he tied his
curved sword to the poles, chopped at the tree with all his strength,
laid down his poles on the ground and never looked around but ran for
dear life. Suddenly he heard the roaring of a thunder-storm rising
above him. When he looked up he saw a great dragon, many fathoms long
and some ten feet across. His eyes gleamed like two lamps and he was
spitting fire and flame from his maw. He had stretched out two feelers
and was feeling along the ground. Then the man swiftly flung the
loaves into the air. The dragon caught them, and it took a little time
before he had devoured them. But no sooner had the man gained a few
steps than the dragon once more came flying after him. Then he flung
him more loaves and when the loaves came to an end, he turned over his
basket so that the eggs rolled over the ground. The dragon had not yet
satisfied his hunger and opened his greedy jaws wide. When he suddenly
caught sight of the eggs, he descended from the air, and since the
eggs were scattered round about, it took some time before he had
sucked them all. In the meantime the man succeeded in escaping to his
home.

When he entered the door and saw his wife, he said to her, amid sobs:
"It was all I could do to escape, and I am lucky not to be in the
dragon's stomach! If this sort of thing keeps up much longer I am
bound to die!"

With these words he kneeled and begged his wife pitifully to save his
life.

"Where is your home?" asked his wife.

"My home is about a hundred miles away from here, in the Middle
Kingdom, and my old mother is still living. The only thing that
worries me is that we are so poor."

His wife said: "I will flee with you, and we will find your mother.
And waste no regrets on your poverty."

With that she gathered up all the house held in the way of pearls and
precious stones, put them in a bag and had her husband tie it around
his waist. Then she also gave him an umbrella, and in the middle of
the night they climbed the wall with the aid of a ladder, and stole
away.

His wife had also said to him: "Take the umbrella on your back and run
as fast as ever you can! Do not open it, and do not look around! I
will follow you in secret."

So he turned North and ran with all his might and main. He had been
running for a day and a night, had covered nearly a hundred miles, and
passed the boundaries of the wild people's country, when his legs gave
out and he grew hungry. Before him lay a mountain village. He stopped
at the village gate to rest, drew some food from his pocket and began
to eat. And he looked around without being able to see his wife.

Said he to himself: "Perhaps she has deceived me after all, and is not
coming with me!"

After he had finished eating, he took a drink from a spring, and
painfully dragged himself further. When the heat of the day was
greatest a violent mountain rain suddenly began to fall. In his haste
he forgot what his wife had told him and opened his umbrella. And out
fell his wife upon the ground.

She reproached him: "Once more you have not listened to my advice. Now
the damage has been done!"

Quickly she told him to go to the village, and there to buy a white
cock, seven black tea-cups, and half a length of red nettlecloth.

"Do not be sparing of the silver pieces in your pocket!" she cried
after him as he went off.

He went to the village, attended to everything, and came back. The
woman tore the cloth apart, made a coat of it and put it on. No sooner
had they walked a few miles before they could see a red cloud rising
up in the South, like a flying bird.

"That is my mother," said the woman.

In a moment the cloud was overhead. Then the woman took the black
tea-cups and threw them at it. Seven she threw and seven fell to earth
again. And then they could hear the mother in the cloud weeping and
scolding, and thereupon the cloud disappeared.

They went on for about four hours. Then they heard a sound like the
noise of silk being torn, and could see a cloud as black as ink, which
was rushing up against the wind.

"Alas, that is my father!" said the woman. "This is a matter of life
and death, for he will not let us be! Because of my love for you I
will now have to disobey the holiest of laws!"

With these words she quickly seized the white cock, separated its head
from its body, and flung the head into the air. At once the black
cloud dissolved, and her father's body, the head severed from the
trunk, fell down by the edge of the road. Then the woman wept
bitterly, and when she had wept her fill they buried the corpse.
Thereupon they went together to her husband's home, where they found
his old mother still living. They then undid the bag of pearls and
jewels, bought a piece of good ground, built a fine house, and became
wealthy and respected members of the community.

    Note: Realgar: The Chinese believe that realgar is a
    mithridate and tonic.



HISTORIC LEGENDS



LX

THE SORCERER OF THE WHITE LOTUS LODGE


Once upon a time there was a sorcerer who belonged to the White Lotus
Lodge. He knew how to deceive the multitude with his black arts, and
many who wished to learn the secret of his enchantments became his
pupils.

One day the sorcerer wished to go out. He placed a bowl which he
covered with another bowl in the hall of his house, and ordered his
pupils to watch it. But he warned them against uncovering the bowl to
see what might be in it.

No sooner had he gone than the pupils uncovered the bowl and saw that
it was filled with clear water. And floating on the water was a little
ship made of straw, with real masts and sails. They were surprised and
pushed it with their fingers till it upset. Then they quickly righted
it again and once more covered the bowl. By that time the sorcerer was
already standing among them. He was angry and scolded them, saying:
"Why did you disobey my command?"

His pupils rose and denied that they had done so.

But the sorcerer answered: "Did not my ship turn turtle at sea, and
yet you try to deceive me?"

On another evening he lit a giant candle in his room, and ordered his
pupils to watch it lest it be blown out by the wind. It must have been
at the second watch of the night and the sorcerer had not yet come
back. The pupils grew tired and sleepy, so they went to bed and
gradually fell asleep. When they woke up again the candle had gone
out. So they rose quickly and re-lit it. But the sorcerer was already
in the room, and again he scolded them.

"Truly we did not sleep! How could the light have gone out?"

Angrily the sorcerer replied: "You let me walk fifteen miles in the
dark, and still you can talk such nonsense!"

Then his pupils were very much frightened.

In the course of time one of his pupils insulted the sorcerer. The
latter made note of the insult, but said nothing. Soon after he told
the pupil to feed the swine, and no sooner had he entered the sty than
his master turned him into a pig. The sorcerer then at once called in
a butcher, sold the pig to the man, and he went the way of all pigs
who go to the butcher.

One day this pupil's father turned up to ask after his son, for he had
not come back to his home for a long time. The sorcerer told him that
his son had left him long ago. The father returned home and inquired
everywhere for his son without success. But one of his son's
fellow-pupils, who knew of the matter, informed the father. So the
father complained to the district mandarin. The latter, however,
feared that the sorcerer might make himself invisible. He did not dare
to have him arrested, but informed his superior and begged for a
thousand well-armed soldiers. These surrounded the sorcerer's home and
seized him, together with his wife and child. All three were put into
wooden cages to be transported to the capital.

The road wound through the mountains, and in the midst of the hills up
came a giant as large as a tree, with eyes like saucers, a mouth like
a plate, and teeth a foot long. The soldiers stood there trembling and
did not dare to move.

Said the sorcerer: "That is a mountain spirit. My wife will be able to
drive him off."

They did as he suggested, unchained the woman, and she took a spear
and went to meet the giant. The latter was angered, and he swallowed
her, tooth and nail. This frightened the rest all the more.

The sorcerer said: "Well, if he has done away with my wife, then it is
my son's turn!"

So they let the son out of his cage. But the giant swallowed him in
the same way. The rest all looked on without knowing what to do.

The sorcerer then wept with rage and said: "First he destroys my wife,
and then my son. If only he might be punished for it! But I am the
only one who can punish him!"

And, sure enough, they took him out of his cage, too, gave him a
sword, and sent him out against the giant. The sorcerer and the giant
fought with each other for a time, and at last the giant seized the
sorcerer, thrust him into his maw, stretched his neck and swallowed
him. Then he went his way contentedly.

And now when it was too late, the soldiers realized that the sorcerer
had tricked them.

    Note: The Lodge of the White Lotus is one of the secret
    revolutionary societies of China. It harks back to Tung
    Tian Giau Dschu as its founder. Compare note to No. 18.
    The "mountain spirit," of course, is an optical illusion
    called up by the sorcerer, by means of which he frees
    his family and himself from the soldiers.



LXI

THE THREE EVILS


Once upon a time, in the old days, there lived a young man by the name
of Dschou Tschu. He was of more than ordinary strength, and no one
could withstand him. He was also wild and undisciplined, and wherever
he was, quarrels and brawls arose. Yet the village elders never
ventured to punish him seriously. He wore a high hat on his head,
adorned with two pheasants' wings. His garments were woven of
embroidered silk, and at his side hung the Dragonspring sword. He was
given to play and to drinking, and his hand was inclined to take that
which belonged to others. Whoever offended him had reason to dread the
consequences, and he always mixed into disputes in which others were
engaged. Thus he kept it up for years, and was a pest throughout the
neighborhood.

Then a new mandarin came to that district. When he had arrived, he
first went quietly about the country and listened to the people's
complaints. And they told him that there were three great evils in
that district.

Then he clothed himself in coarse garments, and wept before Dschou
Tschu's door. Dschou Tschu was just coming from the tavern, where he
had been drinking. He was slapping his sword and singing in a loud
voice.

When he reached his house he asked: "Who is weeping here so
pitifully?"

And the mandarin replied: "I am weeping because of the people's
distress."

Then Dschou Tschu saw him and broke out into loud laughter.

"You are mistaken, my friend," said he. "Revolt is seething round
about us like boiling water in a kettle. But here, in our little
corner of the land, all is quiet and peaceful. The harvest has been
abundant, corn is plentiful, and all go happily about their work. When
you talk to me about distress I have to think of the man who groans
without being sick. And who are you, tell me that, who instead of
grieving for yourself, are grieving for others? And what are you doing
before my door?"

"I am the new mandarin," replied the other. "Since I left my litter I
have been looking about in the neighborhood. I find the people are
honest and simple in their way of life, and every one has sufficient
to wear and to eat. This is all just as you state. Yet, strange to
say, when the elders come together, they always sigh and complain. And
if they are asked why, they answer: 'There are three great evils in
our district!' I have come to ask you to do away with two of them, as
to the third, perhaps I had better remain silent. And this is the
reason I weep before your door."

"Well, what are these evils?" answered Dschou Tschu. "Speak freely,
and tell me openly all that you know!"

"The first evil," said the mandarin, "is the evil dragon at the long
bridge, who causes the water to rise so that man and beast are drowned
in the river. The second evil is the tiger with the white forehead,
who dwells in the hills. And the third evil, Dschou Tschu--is
yourself!"

Then the blush of shame mounted to the man's cheek, and he bowed and
said: "You have come here from afar to be the mandarin of this
district, and yet you feel such sympathy for the people? I was born in
this place and yet I have only made our elders grieve. What sort of a
creature must I be? I beg that you will return home again. I will see
to it that matters improve!"

Then he ran without stopping to the hills, and hunted the tiger out of
his cave. The latter leaped into the air so that the whole forest was
shaken as though by a storm. Then he came rushing up, roaring, and
stretching out his claws savagely to seize his enemy. Dschou Tschu
stepped back a pace, and the tiger lit on the ground directly in front
of him. Then he thrust the tiger's neck to the ground with his left
hand, and beat him without stopping with his right, until he lay dead
on the earth. Dschou Tschu loaded the tiger on his back and went home.

Then he went to the long bridge. He undressed, took his sword in his
hand, and thus dived into the water. No sooner had he disappeared,
than there was a boiling and hissing, and the waves began to foam and
billow. It sounded like the mad beating of thousands of hoofs. After a
time a stream of blood shot up from the depths, and the water of the
river turned red. Then Dschou Tschu, holding the dragon in his hand,
rose out of the waves.

He went to the mandarin and reported, with a bow: "I have cut off the
dragon's head, and have also done away with the tiger. Thus I have
happily accomplished your command. And now I shall wander away so that
you may be rid of the third evil as well. Lord, watch over my country,
and tell the elders that they need sorrow no more!"

When he had said this he enlisted as a soldier. In combat against the
robbers he gained a great reputation and once, when the latter were
pressing him hard, and he saw that he could not save himself, he bowed
to the East and said: "The day has come at last when I can atone for
my sin with my life!" Then he offered his neck to the sword and died.

    Note: A legendary tale rather than a folk-story, with a
    fine moral.



LXII

HOW THREE HEROES CAME BY THEIR DEATHS BECAUSE OF TWO PEACHES


At the beginning of his reign Duke Ging of Tsi loved to draw heroes
about him. Among those whom he attached to him were three of quite
extraordinary bravery. The first was named Gung Sun Dsia, the second
Tian Kai Giang, the third Gu I Dsi. All three were highly honored by
the prince, but the honor paid them made them presumptuous, they kept
the court in a turmoil, and overstepped the bounds of respect which
lie between a prince and his servants.

At the time Yan Dsi was chancellor of Tsi. The duke consulted him as
to what would be best to do. And the chancellor advised him to give a
great court banquet and invite all his courtiers. On the table, the
choicest dish of all, stood a platter holding four magnificent
peaches.

Then, in accordance with his chancellor's advice, the Duke rose and
said: "Here are some magnificent peaches, but I cannot give one to
each of you. Only those most worthy may eat of them. I myself reign
over the land, and am the first among the princes of the empire. I
have been successful in holding my possessions and power, and that is
my merit. Hence one of the peaches falls to me. Yan Dsi sits here as
my chancellor. He regulates communications with foreign lands and
keeps the peace among the people. He has made my kingdom powerful
among the kingdoms of the earth. That is his merit, and hence the
second peach falls to him. Now there are but two peaches left; yet I
cannot tell which ones among you are the worthiest. You may rise
yourselves and tell us of your merits. But whoever has performed no
great deeds, let him hold his tongue!"

Then Gung Sun Dsia beat upon his sword, rose up and said: "I am the
prince's captain general. In the South I besieged the kingdom of Lu,
in the West I conquered the kingdom of Dsin, in the North I captured
the army of Yan. All the princes of the East come to the Duke's court
and acknowledge the overlordship of Tsi. That is my merit. I do not
know whether it deserves a peach."

The Duke replied: "Great is your merit! A peach is your just due!"

Then Tian Kai Giang rose, beat on the table, and cried: "I have fought
a hundred battles in the army of the prince. I have slain the enemy's
general-in-chief, and captured the enemy's flag. I have extended the
borders of the Duke's land till the size of his realm has been
increased by a thousand miles. How is it with my merit?"

The Duke said: "Great is your merit! A peach is your just due!"

Then Gu I Dsi arose; his eyes started from their sockets, and he
shouted with a loud voice: "Once, when the Duke was crossing the
Yellow River, wind and waters rose. A river-dragon snapped up one of
the steeds of the chariot and tore it away. The ferry-boat rocked like
a sieve and was about to capsize. Then I took my sword and leaped into
the stream. I fought with the dragon in the midst of the foaming
waves. And by reason of my strength I managed to kill him, though my
eyes stood out of my head with my exertions. Then I came to the
surface with the dragon's head in one hand, and holding the rein of
the rescued horse in the other, and I had saved my prince from
drowning. Whenever our country was at war with neighboring states, I
refused no service. I commanded the van, I fought in single combat.
Never did I turn my back on the foe. Once the prince's chariot stuck
fast in the swamp, and the enemy hurried up on all sides. I pulled the
chariot out, and drove off the hostile mercenaries. Since I have been
in the prince's service I have saved his life more than once. I grant
that my merit is not to be compared with that of the prince and that
of the chancellor, yet it is greater than that of my two companions.
Both have received peaches, while I must do without. This means that
real merit is not rewarded, and that the Duke looks on me with
disfavor. And in such case how may I ever show myself at court again!"

With these words he drew his sword and killed himself.

Then Gung Sun Dsia rose, bowed twice, and said with a sigh: "Both my
merit and that of Tian Kai Giang does not compare with Gu I Dsi's and
yet the peaches were given us. We have been rewarded beyond our
deserts, and such reward is shameful. Hence it is better to die than
to live dishonored!"

He took his sword and swung it, and his own head rolled on the sand.

Tian Kai Giang looked up and uttered a groan of disgust. He blew the
breath from his mouth in front of him like a rainbow, and his hair
rose on end with rage. Then he took sword in hand and said: "We three
have always served our prince bravely. We were like the same flesh and
blood. The others are dead, and it is my duty not to survive them!"

And he thrust his sword into his throat and died.

The Duke sighed incessantly, and commanded that they be given a
splendid burial. A brave hero values his honor more than his life. The
chancellor knew this, and that was why he purposely arranged to incite
the three heroes to kill themselves by means of the two peaches.

    Note: Duke Ging of Tsi (Eastern Shantung) was an older
    contemporary of Confucius. The chancellor Yan Dsi, who
    is the reputed author of a work on philosophy, is the
    same who prevented the appointment of Confucius at the
    court of Tsi.



LXIII

HOW THE RIVER-GOD'S WEDDING WAS BROKEN OFF


At the time of the seven empires there lived a man by the name of
Si-Men Bau, who was a governor on the Yellow River. In this district
the river-god was held in high honor. The sorcerers and witches who
dwelt there said: "Every year the river-god looks for a bride, who
must be selected from among the people. If she be not found then wind
and rain will not come at the proper seasons, and there will be scanty
crops and floods!" And then, when a girl came of age in some wealthy
family, the sorcerers would say that she should be selected. Whereupon
her parents, who wished to protect their daughter, would bribe them
with large sums of money to look for some one else, till the sorcerers
would give in, and order the rich folk to share the expense of buying
some poor girl to be cast into the river. The remainder of the money
they would keep for themselves as their profit on the transaction. But
whoever would not pay, their daughter was chosen to be the bride of
the river-god, and was forced to accept the wedding gifts which the
sorcerers brought her. The people of the district chafed grievously
under this custom.

Now when Si-Men entered into office, he heard of this evil custom. He
had the sorcerers come before him and said: "See to it that you let me
know when the day of the river-god's wedding comes, for I myself wish
to be present to honor the god! This will please him, and in return he
will shower blessings on my people." With that he dismissed them. And
the sorcerers were full of praise for his piety.

So when the day arrived they gave him notice. Si-Men dressed himself
in his robes of ceremony, entered his chariot and drove to the river
in festival procession. The elders of the people, as well as the
sorcerers and the witches were all there. And from far and near men,
women and children had flocked together in order to see the show. The
sorcerers placed the river-bride on a couch, adorned her with her
bridal jewels, and kettledrums, snaredrums and merry airs vied with
each other in joyful sound.

They were about to thrust the couch into the stream, and the girl's
parents said farewell to her amid tears. But Si-Men bade them wait and
said: "Do not be in such a hurry! I have appeared in person to escort
the bride, hence everything must be done solemnly and in order. First
some one must go to the river-god's castle, and let him know that he
may come himself and fetch his bride."

And with these words he looked at a witch and said: "You may go!" The
witch hesitated, but he ordered his servants to seize her and thrust
her into the stream. After which about an hour went by.

"That woman did not understand her business," continued Si-Men, "or
else she would have been back long ago!" And with that he looked at
one of the sorcerers and added: "Do you go and do better!" The
sorcerer paled with fear, but Si-Men had him seized and cast into the
river. Again half-an-hour went by.

Then Si-Men pretended to be uneasy. "Both of them have made a botch of
their errand," said he, "and are causing the bride to wait in vain!"
Once more he looked at a sorcerer and said: "Do you go and hunt them
up!" But the sorcerer flung himself on the ground and begged for
mercy. And all the rest of the sorcerers and witches knelt to him in a
row, and pleaded for grace. And they took an oath that they would
never again seek a bride for the river-god.

Then Si-Men held his hand, and sent the girl back to her home, and the
evil custom was at an end forever.

    Note: Si-Men Bau was an historical personage, who lived
    five centuries before Christ.



LXIV

DSCHANG LIANG


Dschang Liang was a native of one of those states which had been
destroyed by the Emperor Tsin Schi Huang. And Dschang Liang determined
to do a deed for his dead king's sake, and to that end gathered
followers with whom to slay Tsin Schi Huang.

Once Tsin Schi Huang was making a progress through the country. When
he came to the plain of Bo Lang, Dschang Liang armed his people with
iron maces in order to kill him. But Tsin Schi Huang always had two
traveling coaches which were exactly alike in appearance. In one of
them he sat himself, while in the other was seated another person.
Dschang Liang and his followers met the decoy wagon, and Dschang Liang
was forced to flee from the Emperor's rage. He came to a ruined
bridge. An icy wind was blowing, and the snowflakes were whirling
through the air. There he met an old, old man wearing a black turban
and a yellow gown. The old man let one of his shoes fall into the
water, looked at Dschang Liang and said: "Fetch it out, little one!"

Dschang Liang controlled himself, fetched out the shoe and brought it
to the old man. The latter stretched out his foot to allow Dschang
Liang to put it on, which he did in a respectful manner. This pleased
the old man and he said: "Little one, something may be made of you!
Come here to-morrow morning early, and I will have something for you."

The following morning at break of dawn, Dschang Liang appeared. But
the old man was already there and reproached him: "You are too late.
To-day I will tell you nothing. To-morrow you must come earlier."

So it went on for three days, and Dschang Liang's patience was not
exhausted. Then the old man was satisfied, brought forth the Book of
Hidden Complements, and gave it to him. "You must read it," said he,
"and then you will be able to rule a great emperor. When your task is
completed, seek me at the foot of the Gu Tschong Mountain. There you
will find a yellow stone, and I will be by that yellow stone."

Dschang Liang took the book and aided the ancestor of the Han dynasty
to conquer the empire. The emperor made him a count. From that time
forward Dschang Liang ate no human food and concentrated in spirit. He
kept company with the four whitebeards of the Shang Mountain, and with
them shared the sunset roses in the clouds. Once he met two boys who
were singing and dancing:

    "Green the garments you should wear,
    If to heaven's gate you'd fare;
    There the Golden Mother greet,
    Bow before the Wood Lord's feet!"

When Dschang Liang heard this, he bowed before the youths, and said to
his friends: "Those are angel children of the King Father of the East.
The Golden Mother is the Queen of the West. The Lord of Wood is the
King Father of the East. They are the two primal powers, the parents
of all that is male and female, the root and fountain of heaven and
earth, to whom all that has life is indebted for its creation and
nourishment. The Lord of Wood is the master of all the male saints,
the Golden Mother is the mistress of all the female saints. Whoever
would gain immortality, must first greet the Golden Mother and then
bow before the King Father. Then he may rise up to the three Pure Ones
and stand in the presence of the Highest. The song of the angel
children shows the manner in which the hidden knowledge may be
acquired."

At about that time the emperor was induced to have some of his
faithful servants slain. Then Dschang Liang left his service and went
to the Gu Tschong Mountain. There he found the old man by the yellow
stone, gained the hidden knowledge, returned home, and feigning
illness loosed his soul from his body and disappeared.

Later, when the rebellion of the "Red Eyebrows" broke out, his tomb
was opened. But all that was found within it was a yellow stone.
Dschang Liang was wandering with Laotsze in the invisible world.

Once his grandson Dschang Dau Ling went to Kunlun Mountain, in order
to visit the Queen Mother of the West. There he met Dschang Liang.
Dschang Dau Ling gained power over demons and spirits, and became the
first Taoist pope. And the secret of his power has been handed down in
his family from generation to generation.

    Note: "In a yellow robe," is an indication of Taoism:
    compare with No. 38. "The Book of Hidden Complements"
    (Yin Fu Ging). Compare with Lia Dsi, Introduction.



LXV

OLD DRAGONBEARD


At the time of the last emperor of the Sui dynasty, the power was in
the hands of the emperor's uncle, Yang Su. He was proud and
extravagant. In his halls stood choruses of singers and bands of
dancing girls, and serving-maids stood ready to obey his least sign.
When the great lords of the empire came to visit him he remained
comfortably seated on his couch while he received them.

In those days there lived a bold hero named Li Dsing. He came to see
Yang Su in humble clothes in order to bring him a plan for the
quieting of the empire.

He made a low bow to which Yang Su did not reply, and then he said:
"The empire is about to be troubled by dissension and heroes are
everywhere taking up arms. You are the highest servant of the imperial
house. It should be your duty to gather the bravest around the throne.
And you should not rebuff people by your haughtiness!"

When Yang Su heard him speak in this fashion he collected himself,
rose from his place, and spoke to him in a friendly manner.

Li Dsing handed him a memorial, and Yang Su entered into talk with him
concerning all sorts of things. A serving-maid of extraordinary beauty
stood beside them. She held a red flabrum in her hand, and kept her
eyes fixed on Li Dsing. The latter at length took his leave and
returned to his inn.

Later in the day some one knocked at his door. He looked out, and
there, before the door, stood a person turbaned and gowned in purple,
and carrying a bag slung from a stick across his shoulder.

Li Dsing asked who it was and received the answer: "I am the
fan-bearer of Yang Su!"

With that she entered the room, threw back her mantle and took off her
turban. Li Dsing saw that she was a maiden of eighteen or nineteen.

She bowed to him, and when he had replied to her greeting she began:
"I have dwelt in the house of Yang Su for a long time and have seen
many famous people, but none who could equal you. I will serve you
wherever you go!"

Li Dsing answered: "The minister is powerful. I am afraid that we will
plunge ourselves into misfortune."

"He is a living corpse, in whom the breath of life grows scant," said
the fan-bearer, "and we need not fear him."

He asked her name, and she said it was Dschang, and that she was the
oldest among her brothers and sisters.

And when he looked at her, and considered her courageous behavior and
her sensible words, he realized that she was a girl of heroic cast,
and they agreed to marry and make their escape from the city in
secret. The fan-bearer put on men's clothes, and they mounted horses
and rode away. They had determined to go to Taiyuanfu.

On the following day they stopped at an inn. They had their room put
in order and made a fire on the hearth to cook their meal. The
fan-bearer was combing her hair. It was so long that it swept the
ground, and so shining that you could see your face in it. Li Dsing
had just left the room to groom the horses. Suddenly a man who had a
long curling mustache like a dragon made his appearance. He came along
riding on a lame mule, threw down his leather bag on the ground in
front of the hearth, took a pillow, made himself comfortable on a
couch, and watched the fan-bearer as she combed her hair. Li Dsing saw
him and grew angry; but the fan-bearer had at once seen through the
stranger. She motioned Li Dsing to control himself, quickly finished
combing her hair and tied it in a knot.

Then she greeted the guest and asked his name.

He told her that he was named Dschang.

"Why, my name is also Dschang," said she, "so we must be relatives!"

Thereupon she bowed to him as her elder brother.

"How many are there of you brothers?" she then inquired.

"I am the third," he answered, "and you?"

"I am the oldest sister."

"How fortunate that I should have found a sister to-day," said the
stranger, highly pleased.

Then the fan-bearer called to Li Dsing through the door and said:
"Come in! I wish to present my third brother to you!"

Then Li Dsing came in and greeted him.

They sat down beside each other and the stranger asked: "What have you
to eat?"

"A leg of mutton," was the answer.

"I am quite hungry," said the stranger.

So Li Dsing went to the market and brought bread and wine. The
stranger drew out his dagger, cut the meat, and they all ate in
company. When they had finished he fed the rest of the meat to his
mule.

Then he said: "Sir Li, you seem to be a moneyless knight. How did you
happen to meet my sister?"

Li Dsing told him how it had occurred.

"And where do you wish to go now?"

"To Taiyuanfu," was the answer.

Said the stranger: "You do not seem to be an ordinary fellow. Have you
heard anything regarding a hero who is supposed to be in this
neighborhood?"

Li Dsing answered: "Yes, indeed, I know of one, whom heaven seems
destined to rule."

"And who might he be?" inquired the other.

"He is the son of Duke Li Yuan of Tang, and he is no more than twenty
years of age."

"Could you present him to me some time?" asked the stranger.

And when Li Dsing has assured him he could, he continued: "The
astrologers say that a special sign has been noticed in the air above
Taiyuanfu. Perhaps it is caused by the very man. To-morrow you may
await me at the Fenyang Bridge!"

With these words he mounted his mule and rode away, and he rode so
swiftly that he seemed to be flying.

The fan-bearer said to him: "He is not a pleasant customer to deal
with. I noticed that at first he had no good intentions. That is why I
united him to us by bonds of relationship."

Then they set out together for Taiyuanfu, and at the appointed place,
sure enough, they met Dragonbeard. Li Dsing had an old friend, a
companion of the Prince of Tang.

He presented the stranger to this friend, named Liu Wendsing, saying:
"This stranger is able to foretell the future from the lines of the
face, and would like to see the prince."

Thereupon Liu Wendsing took him in to the prince. The prince was
clothed in a simple indoor robe, but there was something impressive
about him, which made him remarked among all others. When the stranger
saw him, he fell into a profound silence, and his face turned gray.
After he had drunk a few flagons of wine he took his leave.

"That man is a true ruler," he told Li Dsing. "I am almost certain of
the fact, but to be sure my friend must also see him."

Then he arranged to meet Li Dsing on a certain day at a certain inn.

"When you see this mule before the door, together with a very lean
jackass, then you may be certain I am there with my friend."

On the day set Li Dsing went there and, sure enough he saw the mule
and the jackass before the door. He gathered up his robe and descended
to the upper story of the inn. There sat old Dragonbeard and a Taoist
priest over their wine. When the former saw Li Dsing he was much
pleased, bade him sit down and offered him wine. After they had
pledged each other, all three returned to Liu Wendsing. He was engaged
in a game of chess with the prince. The prince rose with respect and
asked them to be seated.

As soon as the Taoist priest saw his radiant and heroic countenance he
was disconcerted, and greeted him with a low bow, saying: "The game is
up!"

When they took their leave Dragonbeard said to Li Dsing: "Go on to
Sianfu, and when the time has come, ask for me at such and such a
place."

And with that he went away snorting.

Li Dsing and the fan-bearer packed up their belongings, left Taiyuanfu
and traveled on toward the West. At that time Yang Su died, and great
disturbance arose throughout the empire.

In the course of a few days Li Dsing and his wife reached the
meeting-place appointed by Dragonbeard. They knocked at a little
wooden door, and out came a servant, who led them through long
passages. When they emerged magnificent buildings arose before them,
in front of which stood a crowd of slave girls. Then they entered a
hall in which the most valuable dowry that could be imagined had been
piled up: mirrors, clothes, jewelry, all more beautiful than earth is
wont to show. Handsome slave girls led them to the bath, and when they
had changed their garments their friend was announced. He stepped in
clad in silks and fox-pelts, and looking almost like a dragon or a
tiger. He greeted his guests with pleasure and also called in his
wife, who was of exceptional loveliness. A festive banquet was served,
and all four sat down to it. The table was covered with the most
expensive viands, so rare that they did not even know their names.
Flagons and dishes and all the utensils were made of gold and jade,
and ornamented with pearls and precious stones. Two companies of girl
musicians alternately blew flutes and chalameaus. They sang and
danced, and it seemed to the visitors that they had been transported
to the palace of the Lady of the Moon. The rainbow garments fluttered,
and the dancing girls were beautiful beyond all the beauty of earth.

After they had banqueted, Dragonbeard commanded his servitors to bring
in couches upon which embroidered silken covers had been spread. And
after they had seen everything worth seeing, he presented them with a
book and a key.

Then he said: "In this book are listed the valuables and the riches
which I possess. I make you a wedding-present of them. Nothing great
may be undertaken without wealth, and it is my duty to endow my sister
properly. My original intention had been to take the Middle Kingdom in
hand and do something with it. But since a ruler has already arisen to
reign over it, what is there to keep me in this country? For Prince
Tang of Taiyuanfu is a real hero, and will have restored order within
a few years' time. You must both of you aid him, and you will be
certain to rise to high honors. You, my sister, are not alone
beautiful, but you have also the right way of looking at things. None
other than yourself would have been able to recognize the true worth
of Li Dsing, and none other than Li Dsing would have had the good
fortune to encounter you. You will share the honors which will be your
husband's portion, and your name will be recorded in history. The
treasures which I bestow upon you, you are to use to help the true
ruler. Bear this in mind! And in ten years' time a glow will rise far
away to the South-east, and it shall be a sign that I have reached my
goal. Then you may pour a libation of wine in the direction of the
South-east, to wish me good fortune!"

Then, one after another, he had his servitors and slave-girls greet
Li Dsing and the fan-bearer, and said to them: "This is your master
and your mistress!"

When he had spoken these words, he took his wife's hand, they mounted
three steeds which were held ready, and rode away.

Li Dsing and his wife now established themselves in the house, and
found themselves possessed of countless wealth. They followed Prince
Tang, who restored order to the empire, and aided him with their
money. Thus the great work was accomplished, and after peace had been
restored throughout the empire, Li Dsing was made Duke of We, and the
fan-bearer became a duchess.

Some ten years later the duke was informed that in the empire beyond
the sea a thousand ships had landed an army of a hundred thousand
armored soldiers. These had conquered the country, killed its prince,
and set up their leader as its king. And order now reigned in that
empire.

Then the duke knew that Dragonbeard had accomplished his aim. He told
his wife, and they robed themselves in robes of ceremony and offered
wine in order to wish him good fortune. And they saw a radiant crimson
ray flash up on the South-eastern horizon. No doubt Dragonbeard had
sent it in answer. And both of them were very happy.

    Note: Yang Su died in the year 606 A.D. The Li Dsing of
    this tale has nothing in common with Li Dsing, the
    father of Notscha (No. 18). He lived as a historical
    personage, 571-649 A.D. Li Yuan was the founder of the
    Tang dynasty, 565-635 A.D. His famous son, to whom he
    owed the throne, the "Prince of Tang," was named Li Schi
    Min. His father abdicated in 618 in his favor. This tale
    is not, of course, historical, but legendary. Compare
    with the introduction of the following one.



LXVI

HOW MOLO STOLE THE LOVELY ROSE-RED


At the time when the Tang dynasty reigned over the Middle Kingdom,
there were master swordsmen of various kinds. Those who came first
were the saints of the sword. They were able to take different shapes
at will, and their swords were like strokes of lightning. Before their
opponents knew they had been struck their heads had already fallen.
Yet these master swordsmen were men of lofty mind, and did not lightly
mingle in the quarrels of the world. The second kind of master
swordsmen were the sword heroes. It was their custom to slay the
unjust, and to come to the aid of the oppressed. They wore a hidden
dagger at their side and carried a leather bag at their belt. By magic
means they were able to turn human heads into flowing water. They
could fly over roofs and walk up and down walls, and they came and
went and left no trace. The swordsmen of the lowest sort were the mere
bought slayers. They hired themselves out to those who wished to do
away with their enemies. And death was an everyday matter to them.

Old Dragonbeard must have been a master swordsman standing midway
between those of the first and of the second order. Molo, however, of
whom this story tells, was a sword hero.

At that time there lived a young man named Tsui, whose father was a
high official and the friend of the prince. And the father once sent
his son to visit his princely friend, who was ill. The son was young,
handsome and gifted. He went to carry out his father's instructions.
When he entered the prince's palace, there stood three beautiful
slave girls, who piled rosy peaches into a golden bowl, poured sugar
over them and presented them to him. After he had eaten he took his
leave, and his princely host ordered one of the slave girls, Rose-Red
by name, to escort him to the gate. As they went along the young man
kept looking back at her. And she smiled at him and made signs with
her fingers. First she would stretch out three fingers, then she would
turn her hand around three times, and finally she would point to a
little mirror which she wore on her breast. When they parted she
whispered to him: "Do not forget me!"

When the young man reached home his thoughts were all in confusion.
And he sat down absent-mindedly like a wooden rooster. Now it happened
that he had an old servant named Molo, who was an extraordinary being.

"What is the trouble, master," said he. "Why are you so sad? Do you
not want to tell your old slave about it?"

So the boy told him what had occurred, and also mentioned the signs
the girl had made to him in secret.

Said Molo: "When she stretched out three fingers, it meant that she is
quartered in the third court of the palace. When she turned round her
hand three times, it meant the sum of three times five fingers, which
is fifteen. When she pointed at the little mirror, she meant to say
that on the fifteenth, when the moon is round as a mirror, at
midnight, you are to go for her."

Then the young man was roused from his confused thoughts, and was so
happy he could hardly control himself.

But soon he grew sad again and said: "The prince's palace is shut off
as though by an ocean. How would it be possible to win into it?"

"Nothing easier," said Molo. "On the fifteenth we will take two
pieces of dark silk and wrap ourselves up in them, and thus I will
carry you there. Yet there is a wild dog on guard at the slave girl's
court, who is strong as a tiger and watchful as a god. No one can pass
by him, so he must be killed."

When the appointed day had come, the servant said: "There is no one
else in the world who can kill this dog but myself!"

Full of joy the youth gave him meat and wine, and the old man took a
chain-hammer and disappeared with it.

And after no more time had elapsed than it takes to eat a meal he was
back again and said: "The dog is dead, and there is nothing further to
hinder us!"

At midnight they wrapped themselves in dark silk, and the old man
carried the youth over the tenfold walls which surrounded the palace.
They reached the third gateway and the gate stood ajar. Then they saw
the glow of a little lamp, and heard Rose-Red sigh deeply. The entire
court was silent and deserted. The youth raised the curtain and
stepped into the room. Long and searchingly Rose-Red looked at him,
then seized his hand.

"I knew that you were intelligent, and would understand my sign
language. But what magic power have you at your disposal, that you
were able to get here?"

The youth told her in detail how Molo had helped him.

"And where is Molo?" she asked.

"Outside, before the curtain," was his answer.

Then she called him in and gave him wine to drink from a jade goblet
and said: "I am of good family and have come here from far away. Force
alone has made me a slave in this palace. I long to leave it. For
though I have jasper chop-sticks with which to eat, and drink my wine
from golden flagons, though silk and satin rustle around me and jewels
of every kind are at my disposal, all these are but so many chains and
fetters to hold me here. Dear Molo, you are endowed with magic powers.
I beg you to save me in my distress! If you do, I will be glad to
serve your master as a slave, and will never forget the favor you do
me."

The youth looked at Molo. Molo was quite willing. First he asked
permission to carry away Rose-Red's gear and jewels in sacks and bags.
Three times he went away and returned until he had finished. Then he
took his master and Rose-Red upon his back, and flew away with them
over the steep walls. None of the watchmen of the prince's palace
noticed anything out of the way. At home the youth hid Rose-Red in a
distant room.

When the prince discovered that one of his slave-girls was missing,
and that one of his wild dogs had been killed, he said: "That must
have been some powerful sword hero!" And he gave strict orders that
the matter should not be mentioned, and that investigations should be
made in secret.

Two years passed, and the youth no longer thought of any danger.
Hence, when the flowers began to bloom in the spring, Rose-Red went
driving in a small wagon outside the city, near the river. And there
one of the prince's servants saw her, and informed his master. The
latter sent for the youth, who, since he could not conceal the matter,
told him the whole story exactly as it had happened.

Said the prince: "The whole blame rests on Rose-Red. I do not reproach
you. Yet since she is now your wife I will let the whole matter rest.
But Molo will have to suffer for it!"

  [Illustration: "THEN HE TOOK HIS MASTER AND ROSE-RED UPON HIS BACK
    AND FLEW WITH THEM OVER THE STEEP WALLS."
                                                  --_Page 234_]

So he ordered a hundred armored soldiers, with bows and swords, to
surround the house of the youth, and under all circumstances to take
Molo captive. But Molo drew his dagger and flew up the high wall.
Thence he looked about him like a hawk. The arrows flew as thick as
rain, but not one hit him. And in a moment he had disappeared, no one
knew where.

Yet ten years later one of his former master's servants ran across him
in the South, where he was selling medicine. And he looked exactly as
he had looked ten years before.

    Note: This fairy-tale has many features in common with
    the fairy-tales of India, noticeably the use of the sign
    language, which the hero himself does not understand,
    but which is understood by his companion.



LXVII

THE GOLDEN CANISTER


In the days of the Tang dynasty there lived a certain count in the
camp at Ludschou. He had a slave who could play the lute admirably,
and was also so well versed in reading and writing that the count
employed her to indite his confidential letters.

Once there was a great feast held in the camp. Said the slave-girl:
"The large kettledrum sounds so sad to-day; some misfortune must
surely have happened to the kettledrummer!"

The count sent for the kettledrummer and questioned him.

"My wife has died," he replied, "yet I did not venture to ask for
leave of absence. That is why, in spite of me, my kettledrum sounded
so sad."

The count allowed him to go home.

At that time there was much strife and jealousy among the counts along
the Yellow River. The emperor wished to put an end to their
dissensions by allying them to each other by marriages. Thus the
daughter of the Count of Ludschou had married the son of the old Count
of Webo. But this did not much improve matters. The old Count of Webo
had lung trouble, and when the hot season came it always grew worse,
and he would say: "Yes, if I only had Ludschou! It is cooler and I
might feel better there!"

So he gathered three thousand warriors around him, gave them good pay,
questioned the oracle with regard to a lucky day, and set out to take
Ludschou by force.

The Count of Ludschou heard of it. He worried day and night, but could
see no way out of his difficulties. One night, when the water-clock
had already been set up, and the gate of the camp had been locked, he
walked about the courtyard, leaning on his staff. Only his slave-girl
followed him.

"Lord," said she, "it is now more than a month since sleep and
appetite have abandoned you! You live sad and lonely, wrapped up in
your grief. Unless I am greatly deceived it is on account of Webo."

"It is a matter of life and death," answered the count, "of which you
women understand nothing."

"I am no more than a slave-girl," said she, "and yet I have been able
to guess the cause of your grief."

The count realized that there was meaning in her words and replied:
"You are in truth an extraordinary girl. It is a fact that I am
quietly reflecting on some way of escape."

The slave-girl said: "That is easily done! You need not give it a
thought, master! I will go to Webo and see how things are. This is the
first watch of the night. If I go now, I can be back by the fifth
watch."

"Should you not succeed," said the count, "you merely bring misfortune
upon me the more quickly."

"A failure is out of the question," answered the slave-girl.

Then she went to her room and prepared for her journey. She combed her
raven hair, tied it in a knot on the top of her head, and fastened it
with a golden pin. Then she put on a short garment embroidered with
purple, and shoes woven of dark silk. In her breast she hid a dagger
with dragon-lines graved on it, and upon her forehead she wrote the
name of the Great God. Then she bowed before the count and
disappeared.

The count poured wine for himself and waited for her, and when the
morning horn was blown, the slave-girl floated down before him as
light as a leaf.

"Did all go well?" asked the count.

"I have done no discredit to my mission," replied the girl.

"Did you kill any one?"

"No, I did not have to go to such lengths. Yet I took the golden
canister at the head of Webo's couch along as a pledge."

The count asked what her experience had been, and she began to tell
her story:

"I set out when the drums were beating their first tattoo and reached
Webo three hours before midnight. When I stepped through the gate, I
could see the sentries asleep in their guard-rooms. They snored so
that it sounded like thunder. The camp sentinels were pacing their
beats, and I went in through the left entrance into the room in which
the Count of Webo slept. There lay your relative on his back behind
the curtain, plunged in sweet slumber. A costly sword showed from
beneath his pillow; and beside it stood an open canister of gold. In
the canister were various slips. On one of them was set down his age
and the day of his birth, on another the name of the Great Bear God.
Grains of incense and pearls were scattered over it. The candles in
the room burned dimly, and the incense in the censers was paling to
ash. The slave-girls lay huddled up, round about, asleep. I could have
drawn out their hair-pins and raised their robes and they would not
have awakened. Your relative's life was in my hand, but I could not
bring myself to kill him. So I took the golden canister and returned.
The water-clock marked the third hour when I had finished my journey.
Now you must have a swift horse saddled quickly, and must send a man
to Webo to take back the golden canister. Then the Lord of Webo will
come to his senses, and will give up his plans of conquest."

The Count of Ludschou at once ordered an officer to ride to Webo as
swiftly as possible. He rode all day long and half the night and
finally arrived. In Webo every one was excited because of the loss of
the golden canister. They were searching the whole camp rigorously.
The messenger knocked at the gate with his riding-whip, and insisted
on seeing the Lord of Webo. Since he came at so unusual an hour the
Lord of Webo guessed that he was bringing important information, and
left his room to receive the messenger. The latter handed him a letter
which said: "Last night a stranger from Webo came to us. He informed
us that with his own hands he had taken a golden canister from beside
your bed. I have not ventured to keep it and hence am sending it back
to you by messenger." When the Lord of Webo saw the golden canister he
was much frightened. He took the messenger into his own room, treated
him to a splendid meal, and rewarded him generously.

On the following day he sent the messenger back again, and gave him
thirty thousand bales of silk and a team of four horses along as a
present for his master. He also wrote a letter to the Count of
Ludschou:

"My life was in your hand. I thank you for having spared me, regret my
evil intentions and will improve. From this time forward peace and
friendship shall ever unite us, and I will let no thought to the
contrary enter my mind. The citizen soldiery I have gathered I will
use only as a protection against robbers. I have already disarmed the
men and sent them back to their work in the fields."

And thenceforward the heartiest friendship existed between the two
relatives North and South of the Yellow River.

One day the slave-girl came and wished to take leave of her master.

"In my former existence," said the slave-girl, "I was a man. I was a
physician and helped the sick. Once upon a time I gave a little child
a poison to drink by mistake instead of a healing draught, and the
child died. This led the Lord of Death to punish me, and I came to
earth again in the shape of a slave-girl. Yet I remembered my former
life, tried to do well in my new surroundings, and even found a rare
teacher who taught me the swordsman's art. Already I have served you
for nineteen years. I went to Webo for you in order to repay your
kindness. And I have succeeded in shaping matters so that you are
living at peace with your relatives again, and thus have saved the
lives of thousands of people. For a weak woman this is a real service,
sufficient to absolve me of my original fault. Now I shall retire from
the world and dwell among the silent hills, in order to labor for
sanctity with a clean heart. Perhaps I may thus succeed in returning
to my former condition of life. So I beg of you to let me depart!"

The count saw that it would not be right to detain her any longer. So
he prepared a great banquet, invited a number of guests to the
farewell meal, and many a famous knight sat down to the board. And all
honored her with toasts and poems.

The count could no longer hide his emotion, and the slave-girl also
bowed before him and wept. Then she secretly left the banquet-hall,
and no human being ever discovered whither she had gone.

    Note: This motive of the intelligent slave-girl also
    occurs in the story of the three empires. "On her
    forehead she wrote the name of the Great God": Regarding
    this god, Tai I, the Great One, compare annotation to
    No. 18. The God of the Great Bear, i.e., of the
    constellation. The letters which are exchanged are quite
    as noticeable for what is implied between the lines, as
    for what is actually set down.



LXVIII

YANG GUI FE


The favorite wife of the emperor Ming Huang of the Tang dynasty was
the celebrated Yang Gui Fe. She so enchanted him by her beauty that he
did whatever she wished him to do. But she brought her cousin to the
court, a gambler and a drinker, and because of him the people began to
murmur against the emperor. Finally a revolt broke out, and the
emperor was obliged to flee. He fled with his entire court to the land
of the four rivers.

But when they reached a certain pass his own soldiers mutinied. They
shouted that Yang Gui Fe's cousin was to blame for all, and that he
must die or they would go no further. The emperor did not know what to
do. At last the cousin was delivered up to the soldiers and was slain.
But still they were not satisfied.

"As long as Yang Gui Fe is alive she will do all in her power to
punish us for the death of her cousin, so she must die as well!"

Sobbing, she fled to the emperor. He wept bitterly and endeavored to
protect her; but the soldiers grew more and more violent. Finally she
was hung from a pear-tree by a eunuch.

The emperor longed so greatly for Yang Gui Fe that he ceased to eat,
and could no longer sleep. Then one of his eunuchs told him of a man
named Yang Shi Wu, who was able to call up the spirits of the
departed. The emperor sent for him and Yang Shi Wu appeared.

That very evening he recited his magic incantations, and his soul left
its body to go in search of Yang Gui Fe. First he went to the Nether
World, where the shades of the departed dwell. Yet no matter how much
he looked and asked he could find no trace of her. Then he ascended to
the highest heaven, where sun, moon and stars make their rounds, and
looked for her in empty space. Yet she was not to be found there,
either. So he came back and told the emperor of his experience. The
emperor was dissatisfied and said: "Yang Gui Fe's beauty was divine.
How can it be possible that she had no soul!"

The magician answered: "Between hill and valley and amid the silent
ravines dwell the blessed. I will go back once more and search for her
there."

So he wandered about on the five holy hills, by the four great rivers
and through the islands of the sea. He went everywhere, and finally
came to fairyland.

The fairy said: "Yang Gui Fe has become a blessed spirit and dwells in
the great south palace!"

So the magician went there and knocked on the door. A maiden came out
and asked what he wanted, and he told her that the emperor had sent
him to look for her mistress. She let him in. The way led through
broad gardens filled with flowers of jade and trees of coral, giving
forth the sweetest of odors. Finally they reached a high tower, and
the maiden raised the curtain hanging before a door. The magician
kneeled and looked up. And there he saw Yang Gui Fe sitting on a
throne, adorned with an emerald headdress and furs of yellow swans'
down. Her face glowed with rosy color, yet her forehead was wrinkled
with care.

She said: "Well do I know the emperor longs for me! But for me there
is no path leading back to the world of men! Before my birth I was a
blessed sky-fairy, and the emperor was a blessed spirit as well. Even
then we loved each other dearly. Then, when the emperor was sent down
to earth by the Lord of the Heavens, I, too, descended to earth and
found him there among men. In twelve years' time we will meet again.
Once, on the evening of the seventh day, when we stood looking up at
the Weaving Maiden and the Herd Boy, we swore eternal love. The
emperor had a ring, which he broke in two. One half he gave to me, the
other he kept himself. Take this half of mine, bring it to the
emperor, and tell him not to forget the words we said to each other in
secret that evening. And tell him not to grieve too greatly because of
me!"

With that she gave him the ring, with difficulty suppressing her
sobs. The magician brought back the ring with him. At sight of it the
emperor's grief broke out anew.

He said: "What we said to each other that evening no one else has ever
learned! And now you bring me back her ring! By that sign I know that
your words are true and that my beloved has really become a blessed
spirit."

Then he kept the ring and rewarded the magician lavishly.

    Note: The emperor Ming Huang of the Tang dynasty ruled
    from 713 to 756 A.D. The introduction to the tale is
    historical. The "land of the four rivers" is Setchuan.



LXIX

THE MONK OF THE YANGTZE-KIANG


Buddhism took its rise in southern India, on the island of Ceylon. It
was there that the son of a Brahminic king lived, who had left his
home in his youth, and had renounced all wishes and all sensation.
With the greatest renunciation of self he did penance so that all
living creatures might be saved. In the course of time he gained the
hidden knowledge and was called Buddha.

In the days of the Emperor Ming Di, of the dynasty of the Eastern
Hans, a golden glow was seen in the West, a glow which flashed and
shone without interruption.

One night the emperor dreamed that he saw a golden saint, twenty feet
in height, barefoot, his head shaven, and clothed in Indian garb
enter his room, who said to him: "I am the saint from the West! My
gospel must be spread in the East!"

When the ruler awoke he wondered about this dream, and sent out
messengers to the lands of the West in order to find out what it
meant.

Thus it was that the gospel of Buddha came to China, and continued to
gain in influence up to the time of the Tang dynasty. At that time,
from emperors and kings down to the peasants in the villages, the wise
and the ignorant alike were filled with reverence for Buddha. But
under the last two dynasties his gospel came to be more and more
neglected. In these days the Buddhist monks run to the houses of the
rich, read their sutras and pray for pay. And one hears nothing of the
great saints of the days gone by.

At the time of the Emperor Tai Dsung, of the Tang dynasty, it once
happened that a great drought reigned in the land, so that the emperor
and all his officials erected altars everywhere in order to plead for
rain.

Then the Dragon-King of the Eastern Sea talked with the Dragon of the
Milky Way and said: "To-day they are praying for rain on earth below.
The Lord of the Heavens has granted the prayer of the King of Tang.
To-morrow you must let three inches of rain fall!"

"No, I must let only two inches of rain fall," said the old dragon.

So the two dragons made a wager, and the one who lost promised as a
punishment to turn into a mud salamander.

The following day the Highest Lord suddenly issued an order saying
that the Dragon of the Milky Way was to instruct the wind and cloud
spirits to send down three inches of rain upon the earth. To
contradict this command was out of the question.

But the old dragon thought to himself: "It seems that the Dragon-King
had a better idea of what was going to happen than I had, yet it is
altogether too humiliating to have to turn into a mud salamander!" So
he let only two inches of rain fall, and reported back to the heavenly
court that the command had been carried out.

Yet the Emperor Tai Dsung then offered a prayer of thanks to heaven.
In it he said: "The precious fluid was bestowed upon us to the extent
of two inches of depth. We beg submissively that more may be sent
down, so that the parched crops may recover!"

When the Lord of the Heavens read this prayer he was very angry and
said: "The criminal Dragon of the Milky Way has dared diminish the
rain which I had ordered. He cannot be suffered to continue his guilty
life. So We Dschong, who is a general among men on earth, shall behead
him, as an example for all living beings."

In the evening the Emperor Tai Dsung had a dream. He saw a giant enter
his room, who pleaded with hardly restrained tears: "Save me, O
Emperor! Because of my own accord I diminished the rainfall, the Lord
of the Heavens, in his anger, has commanded that We Dschong behead me
to-morrow at noon. If you will only prevent We Dschong from falling
asleep at that time, and pray that I may be saved, misfortune once
more may pass me by!"

The emperor promised, and the other bowed and left him.

The following day the emperor sent for We Dschong. They drank tea
together and played chess.

Toward noon We Dschong suddenly grew tired and sleepy; but he did not
dare take his leave. The emperor, however, since one of his pawns had
been taken, fixed his gaze for a moment on the chess-board and
pondered, and before he knew it We Dschong was already snoring with a
noise like a distant thunder. The emperor was much frightened, and
hastily called out to him; but he did not awake. Then he had two
eunuchs shake him, but a long time passed before he could be aroused.

"How did you come to fall asleep so suddenly!" asked the emperor.

"I dreamed," replied We Dschong, "that the Highest God had commanded
me to behead the old dragon. I have just hewn off his head, and my arm
still aches from the exertion."

And before he had even finished speaking a dragon's head, as large as
a bushel-measure, suddenly fell down out of the air. The emperor was
terribly frightened and rose.

"I have sinned against the old dragon," said he. Then he retired to
the inner chambers of his palace and was confused in mind. He remained
lying on his couch, closed his eyes, said not a word, and breathed but
faintly.

Suddenly he saw two persons in purple robes who had a summons in their
hands. They spoke to him as follows: "The old Dragon of the Milky Way
has complained against the emperor in the Nether World. We beg that
you will have the chariot harnessed!"

Instinctively the emperor followed them, and in the courtyard there
stood his chariot before the castle, ready and waiting. The emperor
entered it, and off they went flying through the air. In a moment they
had reached the city of the dead. When he entered he saw the Lord of
the High Mountain sitting in the midst of the city, with the ten
princes of the Nether World in rows at his right and left. They all
rose, bowed to him and bade him be seated.

Then the Lord of the High Mountain said: "The old Dragon of the Milky
Way has really committed a deed which deserved punishment. Yet Your
Majesty has promised to beg the Highest God to spare him, which prayer
would probably have saved the old dragon's life. And that this matter
was neglected over the chess-board might well be accounted a mistake.
Now the old dragon complains to me without ceasing. When I think of
how he has striven to gain sainthood for more than a thousand years,
and must now fall back into the cycle of transformations, I am really
depressed. It is for this reason I have called together the princes of
the ten pits of the Nether World, to find a way out of the difficulty,
and have invited Your Majesty to come here to discuss the matter. In
heaven, on earth and in the Nether World only the gospel of Buddha has
no limits. Hence, when you return to earth great sacrifices should be
made to the three and thirty lords of the heavens. Three thousand six
hundred holy priests of Buddha must read the sutras in order to
deliver the old dragon so that he may rise again to the skies, and
keep his original form. But the writings and readings of men will not
be enough to ensure this. It will be necessary to go to the Western
Heavens and thence bring words of truth."

This the emperor agreed to, and the Lord of the Great Mountain and the
ten princes of the Nether World rose and said as they bowed to him:
"We beg that you will now return!"

Suddenly Tai Dsung opened his eyes again, and there he was lying on
his imperial couch. Then he made public the fact that he was at fault,
and had the holiest among the priests of Buddha sent for to fetch the
sutras from the Western Heavens. And it was Huan Dschuang, the Monk of
the Yangtze-kiang, who in obedience to this order, appeared at court.

The name of this Huan Dschuang had originally been Tschen. His father
had passed the highest examinations during the reign of the preceding
emperor, and had been intrusted with the office of district mandarin
on the Yangtze-kiang. He set out with his wife for this new district,
but when their ship reached the Yellow River it fell in with a band of
robbers. Their captain slew the whole retinue, threw father Tschen
into the river, took his wife and the document appointing him
mandarin, went to the district capital under an assumed name and took
charge of it. All the serving-men whom he took along were members of
his robber-band. Tschen's wife, however, together with her little boy,
he imprisoned in a tower room. And all the servants who attended her
were in the confidence of the robbers.

Now below the tower was a little pond, and in this pond rose a spring
which flowed beneath the walls to the Yellow River. So one day
Tschen's wife took a little basket of bamboo, pasted up the cracks and
laid her little boy in the basket. Then she cut her finger, wrote down
the day and hour of the boy's birth on a strip of silk paper with the
blood, and added that the boy must come and rescue her when he had
reached the age of twelve. She placed the strip of silk paper beside
the boy in the basket, and at night, when no one was about, she put
the basket in the pond. The current carried it away to the
Yangtze-kiang, and once there it drifted on as far as the monastery on
the Golden Hill, which is an island lying in the middle of the river.
There a priest who had come to draw water found it. He fished it out
and took it to the monastery.

When the abbot saw what had been written in blood, he ordered his
priests and novices to say nothing about it to any one. And he brought
up the boy in the monastery.

When the latter had reached the age of five, he was taught to read the
holy books. The boy was more intelligent than any of his
fellow-students, soon grasped the meaning of the sacred writings, and
entered more and more deeply into their secrets. So he was allowed to
take the vows, and when his head had been shaven was named: "The Monk
of the Yangtze-kiang."

By the time he was twelve he was as large and strong as a grown man.
The abbot, who knew of the duty he still had to perform, had him
called to a quiet room. There he drew forth the letter written in
blood and gave it to him.

When the monk had read it he flung himself down on the ground and wept
bitterly. Thereupon he thanked the abbot for all that the latter had
done for him. He set out for the city in which his mother dwelt, ran
around the yamen of the mandarin, beat upon the wooden fish and cried:
"Deliverance from all suffering! Deliverance from all suffering!"

After the robber who had slain his father had slipped into the post he
held by false pretences, he had taken care to strengthen his position
by making powerful friends. He even allowed Tschen's wife, who had now
been a prisoner for some ten years, a little more liberty.

On that day official business had kept him abroad. The woman was
sitting at home, and when she heard the wooden fish beaten so
insistently before the door and heard the words of deliverance, the
voice of her heart cried out in her. She sent out the serving-maid to
call in the priest. He came in by the back door, and when she saw that
he resembled his father in every feature, she could no longer restrain
herself, but burst into tears. Then the monk of the Yangtze-kiang
realized that this was his mother and he took the bloody writing out
and gave it to her.

She stroked it and said amid sobs: "My father is a high official, who
has retired from affairs and dwells in the capital. But I have been
unable to write to him, because this robber guarded me so closely. So
I kept alive as well as I could, waiting for you to come. Now hurry to
the capital for the sake of your father's memory, and if his honor is
made clear then I can die in peace. But you must hasten so that no one
finds out about it."

The monk then went off quickly. First he went back to his cloister to
bid farewell to his abbot; and then he set out for Sianfu, the
capital.

Yet by that time his grandfather had already died. But one of his
uncles, who was known at court, was still living. He took soldiers and
soon made an end of the robbers. But the monk's mother had died in the
meantime.

From that time on, the Monk of the Yangtze-kiang lived in a pagoda in
Sianfu, and was known as Huan Dschuang. When the emperor issued the
order calling the priests of Buddha to court, he was some twenty years
of age. He came into the emperor's presence, and the latter honored
him as a great teacher. Then he set out for India.

He was absent for seventeen years. When he returned he brought three
collections of books with him, and each collection comprised
five-hundred and forty rolls of manuscript. With these he once more
entered the presence of the emperor. The emperor was overjoyed, and
with his own hand wrote a preface of the holy teachings, in which he
recorded all that had happened. Then the great sacrifice was held to
deliver the old Dragon of the Milky Way.

    Note: The emperor Tai Dsung is Li Schi Min, the Prince
    of Tang mentioned in No. 65. He was the most glorious
    and splendid of all Chinese rulers. The "Dragon-King of
    the Eastern Sea" has appeared frequently in these
    fairy-tales. As regards the "Lord of the High Mountain,"
    and the ten princes of the Nether World, comp. Nos. 38
    and 50. The Highest Lord is Yu Huang, the Lord of Jade
    or of Nephrite. Huan Dschuang was originally known as
    Tschen. Regarding his father's fate subsequent to his
    being drowned, and that of his sons in the spirit-world
    see No. 24. The "bamboo basket" is a Moses motive which
    occurs in other Chinese fairy-tales. "The Monk of the
    Yangtze-kiang" is, literally, (in Chinese, Giang Liu Ho
    Schang) "The monk washed ashore by the stream." "Wooden
    fish": A hollow piece of wood in the form of a fish,
    which is beaten by the Buddhists as sign of
    watchfulness. Three collections of books--the Tripitaka.
    As regards one of the legendary companions of Huan
    Dschuang on his journey, see No. 74.



LITERARY FAIRY TALES



LXX

THE HEARTLESS HUSBAND


In olden times Hanchow was the capital of Southern China, and for that
reason a great number of beggars had gathered there. These beggars
were in the habit of electing a leader, who was officially entrusted
with the supervision of all begging in the town. It was his duty to
see that the beggars did not molest the townsfolk, and he received a
tenth of their income from all his beggar subjects. When it snowed or
rained, and the beggars could not go out to beg, he had to see to it
that they had something to eat, and he also had to conduct their
weddings and funerals. And the beggars obeyed him in all things.

Well, it happened that there was a beggar king of this sort in Hanchow
by the name of Gin, in whose family the office had been handed down
from father to son for seven generations. What they had taken in by
way of beggars' pence they had lent out on interest, and so the family
had gradually become well-to-do, and finally even rich.

The old beggar-king had lost his wife at the age of fifty. But he had
an only child, a girl who was called "Little Golden Daughter." She had
a face of rare beauty and was the jewel of his love. She had been
versed in the lore of books from her youth up, and could write,
improvise poems and compose essays. She was also experienced in
needlework, a skilled dancer and singer, and could play the flute and
zither. The old beggar-king above all else wanted her to have a
scholar for a husband. Yet because he was a beggar-king the
distinguished families avoided him, and with those who were of less
standing than himself he did not wish to have anything to do. So it
came about that Little Golden Daughter had reached the age of eighteen
without being betrothed.

Now at that time there dwelt in Hanchow, near the Bridge of Peace, a
scholar by the name of Mosu. He was twenty years of age, and
universally popular because of his beauty and talent. His parents were
both dead, and he was so poor that he could hardly manage to keep
alive. His house and lot had long since been mortgaged or sold, and he
lived in an abandoned temple, and many a day passed at whose end he
went hungry to bed.

A neighbor took pity on him and said to him one day: "The beggar-king
has a child named Little Golden Daughter, who is beautiful beyond all
telling. And the beggar-king is rich and has money, but no son to
inherit it. If you wish to marry into his family his whole fortune
would in the end come to you. Is that not better than dying of hunger
as a poor scholar?"

At that time Mosu was in dire extremity. Hence, when he heard these
words he was greatly pleased. He begged the neighbor to act as a
go-between in the matter.

So the latter visited the old beggar-king and talked with him, and the
beggar-king talked over the matter with Little Golden Daughter, and
since Mosu came from a good family and was, in addition, talented and
learned, and had no objection to marrying into their family, they were
both much pleased with the prospect. So they agreed to the proposal,
and the two were married.

So Mosu became a member of the beggar-king's family. He was happy in
his wife's beauty, always had enough to eat and good clothes to wear.
So he thought himself lucky beyond his deserts, and lived with his
wife in peace and happiness.

The beggar-king and his daughter, to whom their low estate was a thorn
in the flesh, admonished Mosu to be sure to study hard. They hoped
that he would make a name for himself and thus reflect glory on their
family as well. They bought books for him, old and new, at the highest
prices, and they always supplied him liberally with money so that he
could move in aristocratic circles. They also paid his examination
expenses. So his learning increased day by day, and the fame of it
spread through the entire district. He passed one examination after
another in rapid succession, and at the age of twenty-three was
appointed mandarin of the district of Wu We. He returned from his
audience with the emperor in ceremonial robes, high on horseback.

Mosu had been born in Hanchow, so the whole town soon knew that he had
passed his examination successfully, and the townsfolk crowded
together on both sides of the street to look at him as he rode to his
father-in-law's house. Old and young, women and children gathered to
enjoy the show, and some idle loafer called out in a loud voice:

"The old beggar's son-in-law has become a mandarin!"

Mosu blushed with shame when he heard these words. Speechless and out
of sorts he seated himself in his room. But the old beggar-king in the
joy of his heart did not notice his ill humor. He had a great
festival banquet prepared, to which he invited all his neighbors and
good friends. But most of the invited guests were beggars and poor
folk, and he insisted that Mosu eat with them. With much difficulty
Mosu was induced to leave his room. Yet when he saw the guests
gathered around the table, as ragged and dirty as a horde of hungry
devils, he retired again with disdain. Little Golden Daughter, who
realized how he felt, tried to cheer him up again in a hundred and one
ways, but all in vain.

A few days later Mosu, with his wife and servants, set out for the new
district he was to govern. One goes from Hanchow to Wu We by water. So
they entered a ship and sailed out to the Yangtze-kiang. At the end of
the first day they reached a city where they anchored. The night was
clear and the moonrays glittered on the water, and Mosu sat in the
front part of the ship enjoying the moonlight. Suddenly he chanced to
think of the old beggar-king. It was true that his wife was wise and
good, but should heaven happen to bless them with children, these
children would always be the beggar's nephews and nieces, and there
was no way of preventing such a disgrace. And thus thinking a plan
occurred to him. He called Little Golden Daughter out of the cabin to
come and enjoy the moonlight, and she came out to him happily. Men
servants and maid servants and all the sailors had long since gone to
sleep. He looked about him on all sides, but there was no one to be
seen. Little Golden Daughter was standing at the front of the ship,
thinking no evil, when a hand suddenly thrust her into the water. Then
Mosu pretended to be frightened, and began to call out: "My wife made
a misstep and has fallen into the water!"

And when they heard his words, the servants hurried up and wanted to
fish her out.

But Mosu said: "She has already been carried away by the current, so
you need not trouble yourselves!" Then he gave orders to set sail
again as soon as possible.

Now who would have thought that owing to a fortunate chance, Sir Hu,
the mandarin in charge of the transportation system of the province,
was also about to take charge of his department, and had anchored in
the same place. He was sitting with his wife at the open window of the
ship's cabin, enjoying the moonlight and the cool breeze.

Suddenly he heard some one crying on the shore, and it sounded to him
like a girl's voice. He quickly sent people to assist her, and they
brought her aboard. It was Little Golden Daughter.

When she had fallen into the water, she had felt something beneath her
feet which held her up so that she did not sink. And she had been
carried along by the current to the river-bank, where she crept out of
the water. And then she realized that her husband, now that he had
become distinguished, had forgotten how poor he had been, and for all
she had not been drowned, she felt very lonely and abandoned, and
before she knew it her tears began to flow. So when Sir Hu asked her
what was the matter, she told him the whole story. Sir Hu comforted
her.

"You must not shed another tear," said he. "If you care to become my
adopted daughter, we will take care of you."

Little Golden Daughter bowed her thanks. But Hu's wife ordered her
maids to bring other clothes to take the place of the wet ones, and to
prepare a bed for her. The servants were strictly bidden to call her
"Miss," and to say nothing of what had occurred.

So the journey continued and in a few days' time Sir Hu entered upon
his official duties. Wu We, where Mosu was district mandarin, was
subject to his rule, and the latter made his appearance in order to
visit his official superior. When Sir Hu saw Mosu he thought to
himself: "What a pity that so highly gifted a man should act in so
heartless a manner!"

When a few months had passed, Sir Hu said to his subordinates: "I have
a daughter who is very pretty and good, and would like to find a
son-in-law to marry into my family. Do you know of any one who might
answer?"

His subordinates all knew that Mosu was young and had lost his wife.
So they unanimously suggested him.

Sir Hu replied: "I have also thought of that gentleman, but he is
young and has risen very rapidly. I am afraid he has loftier
ambitions, and would not care to marry into my family and become my
son-in-law."

"He was originally poor," answered his people, "and he is your
subordinate. Should you care to show him a kindness of this sort, he
will be sure to accept it joyfully, and will not object to marrying
into your family."

"Well, if you all believe it can be done," said Sir Hu, "then pay him
a visit and find out what he thinks about it. But you must not say
that I have sent you."

Mosu, who was just then reflecting how he might win Sir Hu's favor,
took up the suggestion with pleasure, and urgently begged them to act
as his go-between in the matter, promising them a rich reward when the
connection was established.

So they went back again and reported to Sir Hu.

He said: "I am much pleased that the gentleman in question does not
disdain this marriage. But my wife and I are extremely fond of this
daughter of ours, and we can hardly resign ourselves to giving her up.
Sir Mosu is young and aristocratic, and our little daughter has been
spoiled. If he were to ill-treat her, or at some future time were to
regret having married into our family, my wife and I would be
inconsolable. For this reason everything must be clearly understood in
advance. Only if he positively agrees to do these things would I be
able to receive him into my family."

Mosu was informed of all these conditions, and declared himself ready
to accept them. Then he brought gold and pearls and colored silks to
Sir Hu's daughter as wedding gifts, and a lucky day was chosen for the
wedding. Sir Hu charged his wife to talk to Little Golden Daughter.

"Your adopted father," said she, "feels sorry for you, because you are
lonely, and therefore has picked out a young scholar for you to
marry."

But Little Golden Daughter replied: "It is true that I am of humble
birth, yet I know what is fitting. It chances that I agreed to cast my
lot with Mosu for better or for worse. And though he has shown me but
little kindness, I will marry no other man so long as he lives. I
cannot bring myself to form another union and break my troth."

And thus speaking the tears poured from her eyes. When Sir Hu's wife
saw that nothing would alter her resolve, she told her how matters
really stood.

"Your adopted father," said she, "is indignant at Mosu's
heartlessness. And although he will see to it that you meet again, he
has said nothing to Mosu which would lead him to believe that you are
not our own daughter. Therefore Mosu was delighted to marry you. But
when the wedding is celebrated this evening, you must do thus and so,
in order that he may taste your just anger."

When she had heard all this, Little Golden Daughter dried her tears,
and thanked her adopted parents. Then she adorned herself for the
wedding.

The same day, late at evening, Mosu came to the house wearing golden
flowers on his hat, and a red scarf across his breast, riding on a
gaily trapped horse, and followed by a great retinue. All his friends
and acquaintances came with him in order to be present at the festival
celebration.

In Sir Hu's house everything had been adorned with colored cloths and
lanterns. Mosu dismounted from his horse at the entrance of the hall.
Here Sir Hu had spread a festival banquet to which Mosu and his
friends were led. And when the goblet had made the rounds three times,
serving-maids came and invited Mosu to follow them to the inner rooms.
The bride, veiled in a red veil, was led in by two maid-servants.
Following the injunctions of the master of the ceremony, they
worshiped heaven and earth together, and then the parents-in-law.
Thereupon they went into another apartment. Here brightly colored
candles were burning, and a wedding dinner had been prepared. Mosu
felt as happy as though he had been raised to the seventh heaven.

But when he wanted to leave the room, seven or eight maids with bamboo
canes in their hands appeared at each side of the door, and began to
beat him without mercy. They knocked his bridal hat from his head, and
then the blows rained down upon his back and shoulders. When Mosu
cried for help he heard a delicate voice say: "You need not kill that
heartless bridegroom of mine completely! Ask him to come in and greet
me!"

Then the maids stopped beating him, and gathered about the bride, who
removed her bridal veil.

Mosu bowed with lowered head and said: "But what have I done?"

Yet when he raised his eyes he saw that none other than his wife,
Little Golden Daughter, was standing before him.

He started with fright and cried: "A ghost, a ghost!" But all the
servants broke out into loud laughter.

At last Sir Hu and his wife came in, and the former said: "My dear
son-in-law, you may rest assured that my adopted daughter, who came to
me while I was on my way to this place, is no ghost."

Then Mosu hastily fell on his knees and answered: "I have sinned and
beg for mercy!" And he kowtowed without end.

"With that I have nothing to do," remarked Sir Hu, "if our little
daughter only gets along well with you, then all will be in order."

But Little Golden Daughter said: "You heartless scoundrel! In the
beginning you were poor and needy. We took you into our family, and
let you study so that you might become somebody, and make a name for
yourself. But no sooner had you become a mandarin and a man of
standing, than your love turned into enmity, and you forgot your duty
as a husband and pushed me into the river. Fortunately, I found my
dear adopted parents thereby. They fished me out, and made me their
own child, otherwise I would have found a grave in the bellies of the
fishes. How can I honorably live again with such a man as you?"

With these words she began to lament loudly, and she called him one
hard-hearted scoundrel after another.

Mosu lay before her, speechless with shame, and begged her to forgive
him.

Now when Sir Hu noticed that Little Golden Daughter had sufficiently
relieved herself by her scolding, he helped Mosu up and said to him:
"My dear son-in-law, if you repent of your misdeed, Little Golden
Daughter will gradually cease to be angry. Of course you are an old
married couple; yet as you have renewed your vows this evening in my
house, kindly do me a favor and listen to what I have to say: You,
Mosu, are weighed with a heavy burden of guilt, and for that reason
you must not resent your wife's being somewhat indignant, but must
have patience with her. I will call in my wife to make peace between
you."

With these words Sir Hu went out and sent in his wife who finally,
after a great deal of difficulty, succeeded in reconciling the two, so
that they agreed once more to take up life as husband and wife.

And they esteemed and loved each other twice as much as they had
before. Their life was all happiness and joy. And later, when Sir Hu
and his wife died, they mourned for them as if in truth they had been
their own parents.

    Note: "To marry into": as a rule the wife enters the
    home of her husband's parents. But when there is no male
    heir, it is arranged that the son-in-law continues the
    family of his wife's parents, and lives in their home.
    The custom is still very prevalent in Japan, but it is
    not considered very honorable in China to enter into a
    strange family in this way. It is characteristic that
    Mosu, as a punishment for disdaining to "marry into" a
    family the first time, is obliged to "marry into" a
    second time, the family of Sir Hu.

    The costume here described is still the wedding-costume
    of China. "Little Golden Daughter" said: "You heartless
    scoundrel!"; despite her faithfulness, in accordance
    with Chinese custom, she is obliged to show her anger
    over his faithlessness; this is necessary before the
    matter can be properly adjusted, so that she may
    "preserve her face."



LXXI

GIAUNA THE BEAUTIFUL


Once upon a time there was a descendant of Confucius. His father had a
friend, and this friend held an official position in the South and
offered the young man a place as secretary. But when the latter
reached the town where he was to have been active, he found that his
father's friend had already died. Then he was much embarrassed, seeing
that he did not have the means to return home again. So he was glad to
take refuge in the Monastery of Puto, where he copied holy books for
the abbot.

About a hundred paces west of the monastery stood a deserted house.
One day there had been a great snowfall, and as young Kung
accidentally passed by the door of the house, he noticed a well
dressed and prepossessing youth standing there who bowed to him and
begged him to approach. Now young Kung was a scholar, and could
appreciate good manners. Finding that the youth and himself had much
in common, he took a liking to him, and followed him into the house.
It was immaculately clean; silk curtains hung before the doors, and on
the walls were pictures of good old masters. On a table lay a book
entitled: "Tales of the Coral Ring." Coral Ring was the name of a
cavern.

Once upon a time there lived a monk at Puto who was exceedingly
learned. An aged man had led him into the cave in question, where he
had seen a number of volumes on the book stands. The aged man had
said: "These are the histories of the various dynasties." In a second
room were to be found the histories of all the peoples on earth. A
third was guarded by two dogs. The aged man explained: "In this room
are kept the secret reports of the immortals, telling the arts by
means of which they gained eternal life. The two dogs are two
dragons." The monk turned the pages of the books, and found that they
were all works of ancient times, such as he had never seen before. He
would gladly have remained in the cave, but the old man said: "That
would not do!" and a boy led him out again. The name of that cave,
however, was the Coral Ring, and it was described in the volume which
lay on the table.

The youth questioned Kung regarding his name and family, and the
latter told him his whole history. The youth pitied him greatly and
advised him to open a school.

Kung answered with a sigh: "I am quite unknown in the neighborhood,
and have no one to recommend me!"

Said the youth: "If you do not consider me altogether too unworthy and
stupid, I should like to be your pupil myself."

Young Kung was overjoyed. "I should not dare to attempt to teach you,"
he replied, "but together we might dedicate ourselves to the study of
science." He then asked why the house had been standing empty for so
long.

The youth answered: "The owner of the house has gone to the country.
We come from Shensi, and have taken the house for a short time. We
only moved in a few days ago."

They chatted and joked together gaily, and the young man invited Kung
to remain overnight, ordering a small boy to light a pan of charcoal.

Then he stepped rapidly into the rear room and soon returned saying:
"My father has come."

As Kung rose an aged man with a long, white beard and eyebrows stepped
into the room and said, greeting him: "You have already declared your
willingness to instruct my son, and I am grateful for your kindness.
But you must be strict with him and not treat him as a friend."

Then he had garments of silk, a fur cap, and shoes and socks of fur
brought in, and begged Kung to change his clothes. Wine and food were
then served. The cushions and covers of the tables and chairs were
made of stuffs unknown to Kung, and their shimmering radiance blinded
the eye. The aged man retired after a few beakers of wine, and then
the youth showed Kung his essays. They were all written in the style
of the old masters and not in the new-fangled eight-section form.

When he was asked about this, the youth said with a smile: "I am quite
indifferent to winning success at the state examinations!" Then he
turned to the small boy and said: "See whether the old gentleman has
already fallen asleep. If he has, you may quietly bring in little
Hiang-Nu."

The boy went off, and the youth took a lute from an embroidered case.
At once a serving-maid entered, dressed in red, and surpassingly
beautiful. The youth bade her sing "The Lament of the Beloved," and
her melting tones moved the heart. The third watch of the night had
passed before they retired to sleep.

On the following morning all rose early and study began. The youth was
exceptionally gifted. Whatever he had seen but once was graven in his
memory. Hence he made surprising progress in the course of a few
months. The old custom was followed of writing an essay every five
days, and celebrating its completion with a little banquet. And at
each banquet Hiang-Nu was sent for.

One evening Kung could not remove his glance from Hiang-Nu. The youth
guessed his thoughts and said to him: "You are as yet unmarried. Early
and late I keep thinking as to how I can provide you with a charming
life companion. Hiang-Nu is the serving-maid of my father, so I cannot
give her to you."

Said Kung: "I am grateful to you for your friendly thought. But if the
girl you have in mind is not just as beautiful as Hiang-Nu, then I
would rather do without."

The youth laughed: "You are indeed inexperienced if you think that
Hiang-Nu is beautiful. Your wish is easily fulfilled."

Thus half a year went by and the monotonous rainy season had just
began. Then a swelling the size of a peach developed in young Kung's
breast, which increased over night until it was as large as a tea-cup.
He lay on his couch groaning with pain, and unable to eat or to sleep.
The youth was busy day and night nursing him, and even the old
gentleman asked how he was getting along.

Then the youth said: "My little sister Giauna alone is able to cure
this illness. Please send to grandmother, and have her brought here!"

The old gentleman was willing, and he sent off his boy.

The next day the boy came back with the news that Giauna would come,
together with her aunt and her cousin A-Sung.

Not long after the youth led his sister into the room. She was not
more than thirteen or fourteen years of age, enchantingly beautiful,
and slender as a willow-tree. When the sick man saw her he forgot all
his pain and his spirits rose.

The youth said to his sister Giauna: "This is my best friend, whom I
love as a brother! I beg of you, little sister, to cure him of his
illness!"

The maiden blushed with confusion; then she stepped up to the
sick-bed. While she was feeling his pulse, it seemed to him as though
she brought the fragrance of orchards with her.

Said the maiden with a smile: "No wonder that this illness has
befallen him. His heart beats far too stormily. His illness is serious
but not incurable. Now the blood which has flowed has already
gathered, so we will have to cut to cure."

With that she took her golden armlet from her arm and laid it on the
aching place. She pressed it down very gently, and the swelling rose a
full inch above the armlet so that it enclosed the entire swelling.
Then she loosed a pen-knife with a blade as thin as paper from her
silken girdle. With one hand she held the armlet, and with the other
she took the knife and lightly passed it around the bottom of the
ring. Black blood gushed forth and ran over mattress and bed. But
young Kung was so enchanted by the presence of the beautiful Giauna
that not only did he feel no pain, but his one fear was that the whole
affair might end too soon, and that she would disappear from his
sight. In a moment the diseased flesh had been cut away, and Giauna
had fresh water brought and cleansed the wound. Then she took a small
red pellet from her mouth, and laid it on the wound, and when she
turned around in a circle, it seemed to Kung as though she drew out
all the inflammation in steam and flames. Once more she turned in a
circle, and he felt his wound itch and quiver, and when she turned for
the third time, he was completely cured.

The maiden took the pellet into her mouth again and said: "Now all is
well!" Then she hastened into the inner room. Young Kung leaped up in
order to thank her.

True, he was now cured of his illness, but his thoughts continued to
dwell on Giauna's pretty face. He neglected his books and sat lost in
day-dreams.

His friend had noticed it and said to him: "I have at last succeeded,
this very day, in finding an attractive life companion for you."

Kung asked who she might be.

"The daughter of my aunt, A-Sung. She is seventeen years of age, and
anything but homely."

"I am sure she is not as beautiful as Giauna," thought Kung. Then he
hummed the lines of a song to himself:

    "Who once has seen the sea close by,
      All rivers shallow streams declares;
    Who o'er Wu's hill the clouds watched fly,
      Says nothing with that view compares."

The youth smiled. "My little sister Giauna is still very young," said
he. "Besides, she is my father's only daughter, and he would not like
to see her marry some one from afar. But my cousin A-Sung is not
homely either. If you do not believe me, wait until they go walking in
the garden, and then you may take a look at them without their knowing
it."

Kung posted himself at the open window on the look-out, and sure
enough, he saw Giauna come along leading another girl by the hand, a
girl so beautiful that there was none other like her. Giauna and she
seemed to be sisters, only to be told apart by a slight difference in
age.

Then young Kung was exceedingly happy and begged his friend to act for
him in arranging the marriage, which the latter promised to do. The
next day he came to Kung, and told him amid congratulations that
everything was arranged. A special court was put in order for the
young pair, and the wedding was celebrated. Young Kung felt as though
he had married a fairy, and the two became very fond of each other.

One day Kung's friend came to him in a state of great excitement and
said: "The owner of this house is coming back, and my father now
wishes to return to Shensi. The time for us to part draws near, and I
am very sad!"

Kung wished to accompany them, but his friend advised him to return to
his own home.

Kung mentioned the difficulties in the way, but the youth replied:
"That need not worry you, because I will accompany you."

After a time the father came, together with A-Sung, and made Kung a
present of a hundred ounces of gold. Then the youth took Kung and his
wife by the hand, and told them to close their eyes. As soon as they
did so off they went through the air like a storm-wind. All Kung could
notice was that the gale roared about his ears.

When some time had passed the youth cried: "Now we have arrived!" Kung
opened his eyes and saw his old home, and then he knew that his friend
was not of human kind.

Gaily they knocked at the door of his home. His mother opened it and
when she saw that he had brought along so charming a wife she was
greatly pleased. Then Kung turned around to his friend, but the latter
had already disappeared.

A-Sung served her mother-in-law with great devotion, and her beauty
and virtue was celebrated far and near. Soon after young Kung gained
the doctorate, and was appointed inspector of prisons in Shensi. He
took his wife along with him, but his mother remained at home, since
Shensi was too far for her to travel. And heaven gave A-Sung and Kung
a little son.

But Kung became involved in a dispute with a traveling censor. The
latter complained about Kung and he was dismissed from his post.

So it happened that one day he was idling about before the city, when
he saw a handsome youth riding a black mule. When he looked more
closely he saw that it was his old friend. They fell into each others'
arms, laughing and weeping, and the youth led him to a village. In the
midst of a thick grove of trees which threw a deep shade, stood a
house whose upper stories rose to the skies. One could see at a glance
that people of distinction lived there. Kung now inquired after sister
Giauna, and was told that she had married. He remained over night and
then went off to fetch his wife.

In the meantime Giauna arrived. She took A-Sung's little son in her
arms and said: "Cousin, this is a little stranger in our family!"

Kung greeted her, and again thanked her for the kindness she had shown
him in curing his illness.

She answered with a smile: "Since then you have become a distinguished
man, and the wound has long since healed. Have you still not forgotten
your pain?"

Then Giauna's husband arrived, and every one became acquainted. And
after that they parted.

One day the youth came sadly to Kung and said: "We are threatened by a
great misfortune to-day. I do not know whether you would be willing to
save us!"

Kung did not know what it might be; but he gladly promised his aid.
Then the youth called up the entire family and they bowed down in the
outer court.

He began: "I will tell you the truth just as it is. We are foxes. This
day we are threatened by the danger of thunder. If you care to save
us, then there is a hope that we may manage to stay alive; if not,
then take your child and go, so that you are not involved in our
danger."

But Kung vowed that he would share life and death with them.

Then the youth begged him to stand in the door with a sword in his
hand, and said: "Now when the thunder begins to roll you must stand
there and never stir."

Suddenly dark clouds rose in the sky, and the heavens grew gloomy as
if night were closing down. Kung looked about him, but the buildings
had all disappeared, and behind him he could only see a high barrow,
in which was a large cave whose interior was lost in darkness. In the
midst of his fright he was surprised by a thunderbolt. A heavy rain
poured down in streams, and a storm wind arose which rooted up the
tallest trees. Everything glimmered before his eyes and his ears were
deafened. But he held his sword in his hand, and stood as firm as a
rock. Suddenly in the midst of black smoke and flashes of lightning,
he saw a monster with a pointed beak and long claws, which was
carrying off a human body. When he looked more closely he recognized
by the dress that it was Giauna. He leaped up at the monster and
struck at him with his sword, and at once Giauna fell to the ground.
A tremendous crash of thunder shook the earth, and Kung fell down
dead.

Then the tempest cleared away, and the blue sky appeared once more.

Giauna had regained consciousness, and when she saw Kung lying dead
beside her she said amid sobs: "He died for my sake! Why should I
continue to live?"

A-Sung also came out, and together they carried him into the cave.
Giauna told A-Sung to hold his head while her brother opened his
mouth. She herself took hold of his chin, and brought out her little
red pellet. She pressed it against his lips with her own, and breathed
into his lungs. Then the breath came back to his throat with a
rattling noise, and in a short time he was himself once more.

So there was the whole family reunited again, and none of its members
had come to harm. They gradually recovered from their fright, and were
quite happy: when suddenly a small boy brought the news that Giauna's
husband and his whole family had been killed by the thunder. Giauna
broke down, weeping, and the others tried to comfort her.

Finally Kung said: "It is not well to dwell too long amid the graves
of the dead. Will you not come home with me?"

Thereupon they packed up their belongings and went with him. He
assigned a deserted garden, which he carefully walled off, to his
friend and his family as a dwelling-place. Only when Kung and A-Sung
came to visit them was the bolt drawn. Then Giauna and her brother
played chess, drank tea and chatted with them like members of the same
family.

But Kung's little son had a somewhat pointed face, which resembled a
fox's, and when he went along the street, the people would turn
around and say: "There goes the fox-child!"

    Note: "Not in the new-fangled eight-section form": Ba Gu
    Wen Dschang, i.e., essays in eight-section form,
    divided according to strict rules, were the customary
    theses in the governmental examinations in China up to
    the time of the great educational reform. To-day there
    is a general return to the style of the old masters, the
    free form of composition. "The danger of thunder": Three
    times the foxes must have escaped the mortal danger of
    thunder.



LXXII

THE FROG PRINCESS


There where the Yangtze-kiang has come about half-way on its course to
the sea, the Frog King is worshiped with great devotion. He has a
temple there and frogs by the thousand are to be found in the
neighborhood, some of them of enormous size. Those who incur the wrath
of the god are apt to have strange visitations in their homes. Frogs
hop about on tables and beds, and in extreme cases they even creep up
the smooth walls of the room without falling. There are various kinds
of omens, but all indicate that some misfortune threatens the house in
question. Then the people living in it become terrified, slaughter a
cow and offer it as a sacrifice. Thus the god is mollified and nothing
further happens.

In that part of the country there once lived a youth named Sia
Kung-Schong. He was handsome and intelligent. When he was some six or
seven years of age, a serving-maid dressed in green entered his home.
She said that she was a messenger from the Frog King, and declared
that the Frog King wished to have his daughter marry young Sia. Old
Sia was an honest man, not very bright, and since this did not suit
him, he declined the offer on the plea that his son was still too
young to marry. In spite of this, however, he did not dare look about
for another mate for him.

Then a few years passed and the boy gradually grew up. A marriage
between him and a certain Mistress Giang was decided upon.

But the Frog King sent word to Mistress Giang: "Young Sia is my
son-in-law. How dare you undertake to lay claim to what does not
belong to you!" Then Father Giang was frightened, and took back his
promise.

This made Old Sia very sad. He prepared a sacrifice and went to his
temple to pray. He explained that he felt unworthy of becoming the
relation of a god. When he had finished praying a multitude of
enormous maggots made their appearance in the sacrificial meat and
wine, and crawled around. He poured them out, begged forgiveness, and
returned home filled with evil forebodings. He did not know what more
he could do, and had to let things take their course.

One day young Sia went out into the street. A messenger stepped up to
him and told him, on the part of the Frog King that the latter
urgently requested Sia to come to him. There was no help for it; he
had to follow the messenger. He led him through a red gateway into
some magnificent, high-ceilinged rooms. In the great hall sat an
ancient man who might have been some eighty years of age. Sia cast
himself down on the ground before him in homage. The old man bade him
rise, and assigned him a place at the table. Soon a number of girls
and women came crowding in to look at him. Then the old man turned to
them and said: "Go to the room of the bride and tell her that the
bridegroom has arrived!"

Quickly a couple of maids ran away, and shortly after an old woman
came from the inner apartments, leading a maiden by the hand, who
might have been sixteen years of age, and was incomparably beautiful.
The old man pointed to her and said: "This is my tenth little
daughter. It seemed to me that you would make a good pair. But your
father has scorned us because of our difference in race. Yet one's
marriage is a matter that is of life-long importance. Our parents can
determine it only in part. In the end it rests mainly with one's
self."

Sia looked steadily at the girl, and a fondness for her grew in his
heart. He sat there in silence. The old man continued: "I knew very
well that the young gentleman would agree. Go on ahead of us, and we
will bring you your bride!"

Sia said he would, and hurried to inform his father. His father did
not know what to do in his excitement. He suggested an excuse and
wanted to send Sia back to decline his bride with thanks. But this Sia
was not willing to do. While they were arguing the matter, the bride's
carriage was already at the door. It was surrounded by a crowd of
greencoats, and the lady entered the house, and bowed politely to her
parents-in-law. When the latter saw her they were both pleased, and
the wedding was announced for that very evening.

The new couple lived in peace and good understanding. And after they
had been married their divine parents-in-law often came to their
house. When they appeared dressed in red, it meant that some good
fortune was to befall them; when they came dressed in white, it
signified that they were sure to make some gain. Thus, in the course
of time, the family became wealthy.

But since they had become related to the gods the rooms, courtyards
and all other places were always crowded with frogs. And no one
ventured to harm them. Sia Kung-Schong alone was young and showed no
consideration. When he was in good spirits he did not bother them, but
when he got out of sorts he knew no mercy, and purposely stepped on
them and killed them.

In general his young wife was modest and obedient; yet she easily lost
her temper. She could not approve her husband's conduct. But Sia would
not do her the favor to give up his brutal habit. So she scolded him
because of it and he grew angry.

"Do you imagine," he told her, "that because your parents can visit
human beings with misfortune, that a real man would be afraid of a
frog?"

His wife carefully avoided uttering the word "frog," hence his speech
angered her and she said: "Since I have dwelt in your house your
fields have yielded larger crops, and you have obtained the highest
selling prices. And that is something after all. But now, when young
and old, you are comfortably established, you wish to act like the
fledgling owl, who picks out his own mother's eyes as soon as he is
able to fly!"

Sia then grew still more angry and answered: "These gifts have been
unwelcome to me for a long time, for I consider them unclean. I could
never consent to leave such property to sons and grandsons. It would
be better if we parted at once!"

So he bade his wife leave the house, and before his parents knew
anything about it, she was gone. His parents scolded him and told him
to go at once and bring her back. But he was filled with rage, and
would not give in to them.

That same night he and his mother fell sick. They felt weak and could
not eat. The father, much worried, went to the temple to beg for
pardon. And he prayed so earnestly that his wife and son recovered in
three days' time. And the Frog Princess also returned, and they lived
together happily and contented as before.

But the young woman sat in the house all day long, occupied solely
with her ornaments and her rouge, and did not concern herself with
sewing and stitching. So Sia Kung-Schong's mother still had to look
out for her son's clothes.

One day his mother was angry and said: "My son has a wife, and yet I
have to do all the work! In other homes the daughter-in-law serves her
mother-in-law. But in our house the mother-in-law must serve the
daughter-in-law."

This the princess accidentally heard. In she came, much excited, and
began: "Have I ever omitted, as is right and proper, to visit you
morning and evening? My only fault is that I will not burden myself
with all this toil for the sake of saving a trifling sum of money!"
The mother answered not a word, but wept bitterly and in silence
because of the insult offered her.

Her son came along and noticed that his mother had been weeping. He
insisted on knowing the reason, and found out what had happened.
Angrily he reproached his wife. She raised objections and did not wish
to admit that she had been in the wrong. Finally Sia said: "It is
better to have no wife at all than one who gives her mother-in-law no
pleasure. What can the old frog do to me after all, if I anger him,
save call misfortunes upon me and take my life!" So he once more drove
his wife out of the house.

The princess left her home and went away. The following day fire broke
out in the house, and spread to several other buildings. Tables,
beds, everything was burned.

Sia, in a rage because of the fire, went to the temple to complain:
"To bring up a daughter in such a way that she does not please her
parents-in-law shows that there is no discipline in a house. And now
you even encourage her in her faults. It is said the gods are most
just. Are there gods who teach men to fear their wives? Incidentally,
the whole quarrel rests on me alone. My parents had nothing to do with
it. If I was to be punished by the ax and cord, well and good. You
could have carried out the punishment yourself. But this you did not
do. So now I will burn your own house in order to satisfy my own sense
of justice!"

With these words he began piling up brush-wood before the temple,
struck sparks and wanted to set it ablaze. The neighbors came
streaming up, and pleaded with him. So he swallowed his rage and went
home.

When his parents heard of it, they grew pale with a great fear. But at
night the god appeared to the people of a neighboring village, and
ordered them to rebuild the house of his son-in-law. When day began to
dawn they dragged up building-wood and the workmen all came in throngs
to build for Sia. No matter what he said he could not prevent them.
All day long hundreds of workmen were busy. And in the course of a few
days all the rooms had been rebuilt, and all the utensils, curtains
and furniture were there as before. And when the work had been
completed the princess also returned. She climbed the stairs to the
great room, and acknowledged her fault with many tender and loving
words. Then she turned to Sia Kung-Schong, and smiled at him
sideways. Instead of resentment joy now filled the whole house. And
after that time the princess was especially peaceable. Two whole years
passed without an angry word being said.

But the princess had a great dislike for snakes. Once, by way of a
joke, young Sia put a small snake into a parcel, which he gave her and
told her to open. She turned pale and reproached him. Then
Sia-Kung-Schong also took his jest seriously, and angry words passed.

At last the princess said: "This time I will not wait for you to turn
me out. Now we are finally done with one another!" And with that she
walked out of the door.

Father Sia grew very much alarmed, beat his son himself with his
staff, and begged the god to be kind and forgive. Fortunately there
were no evil consequences. All was quiet and not a sound was heard.

Thus more than a year passed. Sia-Kung-Schong longed for the princess
and took himself seriously to task. He would creep in secret to the
temple of the god, and lament because he had lost the princess. But no
voice answered him. And soon afterward he even heard that the god had
betrothed his daughter to another man. Then he grew hopeless at heart,
and thought of finding another wife for himself. Yet no matter how he
searched he could find none who equalled the princess. This only
increased his longing for her, and he went to the home of the Yuans,
to a member of which family it was said she had been promised. There
they had already painted the walls, and swept the courtyard, and all
was in readiness to receive the bridal carriage. Sia was overcome with
remorse and discontent. He no longer ate, and fell ill. His parents
were quite stunned by the anxiety they felt on his account, and were
incapable of helpful thought.

Suddenly while he was lying there only half-conscious, he felt some
one stroke him, and heard a voice say: "And how goes it with our real
husband, who insisted on turning out his wife?"

He opened his eyes and it was the princess.

Full of joy he leaped up and said: "How is it you have come back to
me?" The princess answered: "To tell the truth, according to your own
habit of treating people badly, I should have followed my father's
advice and taken another husband. And, as a matter of fact, the
wedding gifts of the Yuan family have been lying in my home for a long
time. But I thought and thought and could not bring myself to do so.
The wedding was to have been this evening and my father thought it
shameful to have the wedding gifts carried back. So I took the things
myself and placed them before the Yuan's door. When I went out my
father ran out beside me: 'You insane girl,' he said, 'so you will not
listen to what I say! If you are ill-treated by Sia in the future I
wash my hands of it. Even if they kill you you shall not come home to
me again!'"

Moved by her faithfulness the tears rolled from Sia's eyes. The
servants, full of joy, hurried to the parents to acquaint them with
the good news. And when they heard it they did not wait for the young
people to come to them, but hastened themselves to their son's rooms,
took the princess by the hand and wept. Young Sia, too, had become
more settled by this time, and was no longer so mischievous. So he and
his wife grew to love each other more sincerely day by day.

Once the princess said to him: "Formerly, when you always treated me
so badly, I feared that we would not keep company into our old age.
So I never asked heaven to send us a child. But now that all has
changed, and I will beg the gods for a son."

And, sure enough, before long Sia's parents-in-law appeared in the
house clad in red garments, and shortly after heaven sent the happy
pair two sons instead of one.

From that time on their intercourse with the Frog-King was never
interrupted. When some one among the people had angered the god, he
first tried to induce young Sia to speak for him, and sent his wife
and daughter to the Frog Princess to implore her aid. And if the
princess laughed, then all would be well.

The Sia family has many descendants, whom the people call "the little
frog men." Those who are near them do not venture to call them by this
name, but those standing further off do so.

    Note: "Little frog men," Wa Dsi, is the derogatory name
    which the North Chinese give the Chinese of the South on
    occasion.



LXXIII

ROSE OF EVENING


On the fifth day of the fifth month the festival of the Dragon Junk is
held along the Yangtze-kiang. A dragon is hollowed out of wood,
painted with an armor of scales, and adorned with gold and bright
colors. A carved red railing surrounds this ship, and its sails and
flags are made of silks and brocade. The after part of the vessel is
called the dragon's tail. It rises ten feet above the water, and a
board which floats in the water is tied to it by means of a cloth.
Upon this board sit boys who turn somersaults, stand on their heads,
and perform all sorts of tricks. Yet, being so close to the water
their danger is very great. It is the custom, therefore, when a boy is
hired for this purpose, to give his parents money before he is
trained. Then, if he falls into the water and is drowned, no one has
him on their conscience. Farther South the custom differs in so much
that instead of boys, beautiful girls are chosen for this purpose.

In Dschen-Giang there once lived a widow named Dsiang, who had a son
called Aduan. When he was no more than seven years of age he was
extraordinarily skilful, and no other boy could equal him. And his
reputation increasing as he grew, he earned more and more money. So it
happened that he was still called upon at the Dragon Junk Festival
when he was already sixteen.

But one day he fell into the water below the Gold Island and was
drowned. He was the only son of his mother, and she sorrowed over him,
and that was the end of it.

Yet Aduan did not know that he had been drowned. He met two men who
took him along with them, and he saw a new world in the midst of the
waters of the Yellow River. When he looked around, the waves of the
river towered steeply about him like walls, and a palace was visible,
in which sat a man wearing armor and a helmet. His two companions said
to him: "That is the Prince of the Dragon's Cave!" and bade him kneel.

The Prince of the Dragon's Cave seemed to be of a mild and kindly
disposition and said: "We can make use of such a skilful lad. He may
take part in the dance of the willow branches!"

So he was brought to a spot surrounded by extensive buildings. He
entered, and was greeted by a crowd of boys who were all about
fourteen years of age.

An old woman came in and they all called out: "This is Mother Hia!"
And she sat down and had Aduan show his tricks. Then she taught him
the dance of the flying thunders of Tsian-Tang River, and the music
that calms the winds on the sea of Dung-Ting. When the cymbals and
kettledrums reechoed through all the courts, they deafened the ear.
Then, again, all the courts would fall silent. Mother Hia thought that
Aduan would not be able to grasp everything the very first time; so
she taught him with great patience. But Aduan had understood
everything from the first, and that pleased old Mother Hia. "This
boy," said she, "equals our own Rose of Evening!"

The following day the Prince of the Dragon's Cave held a review of his
dancers. When all the dancers had assembled, the dance of the Ogres
was danced first. Those who performed it all wore devil-masks and
garments of scales. They beat upon enormous cymbals, and their
kettledrums were so large that four men could just about span them.
Their sound was like the sound of a mighty thunder, and the noise was
so great that nothing else could be heard. When the dance began,
tremendous waves spouted up to the very skies, and then fell down
again like star-glimmer which scatters in the air.

The Prince of the Dragon Cave hastily bade the dance cease, and had
the dancers of the nightingale round step forth. These were all lovely
young girls of sixteen. They made a delicate music with flutes, so
that the breeze blew and the roaring of the waves was stilled in a
moment. The water gradually became as quiet as a crystal world,
transparent to its lowest depths. When the nightingale dancers had
finished, they withdrew and posted themselves in the western
courtyard.

Then came the turn of the swallow dancers. These were all little
girls. One among them, who was about fifteen years of age, danced the
dance of the giving of flowers with flying sleeves and waving locks.
And as their garments fluttered, many-colored flowers dropped from
their folds, and were caught up by the wind and whirled about the
whole courtyard. When the dance had ended, this dancer also went off
with the rest of the girls to the western courtyard. Aduan looked at
her from out the corner of his eye, and fell deeply in love with her.
He asked his comrades who she might be and they told him she was named
"Rose of Evening."

But the willow-spray dancers were now called out. The Prince of the
Dragon Cave was especially desirous of testing Aduan. So Aduan danced
alone, and he danced with joy or defiance according to the music. When
he looked up and when he looked down his glances held the beat of the
measure. The Dragon Prince, enchanted with his skill, presented him
with a garment of five colors, and gave him a carbuncle set in golden
threads of fish-beard for a hair-jewel. Aduan bowed his thanks for the
gift, and then also hastened to the western courtyard. There all the
dancers stood in rank and file. Aduan could only look at Rose of
Evening from a distance, but still Rose of Evening returned his
glances.

After a time Aduan gradually slipped to the end of his file and Rose
of Evening also drew near to him, so that they stood only a few feet
away from each other. But the strict rules allowed no confusion in the
ranks, so they could only gaze and let their souls go out to each
other.

Now the butterfly dance followed the others. This was danced by the
boys and girls together, and the pairs were equal in size, age and the
color of their garments. When all the dances had ended, the dancers
marched out with the goose-step. The willow-spray dancers followed the
swallow dancers, and Aduan hastened in advance of his company, while
Rose of Evening lingered along after hers. She turned her head, and
when she spied Aduan she purposely let a coral pin fall from her hair.
Aduan hastily hid it in his sleeve.

When he had returned, he was sick with longing, and could neither eat
nor sleep. Mother Hia brought him all sorts of dainties, looked after
him three or four times a day, and stroked his forehead with loving
care. But his illness did not yield in the least. Mother Hia was
unhappy, and yet helpless.

"The birthday of the King of the Wu River is at hand," said she. "What
is to be done?"

In the twilight there came a boy, who sat down on the edge of Aduan's
bed and chatted with him. He belonged to the butterfly dancers, said
he, and asked casually: "Are you sick because of Rose of Evening?"
Aduan, frightened, asked him how he came to guess it. The other boy
said, with a smile: "Well, because Rose of Evening is in the same case
as yourself."

Disconcerted, Aduan sat up and begged the boy to advise him. "Are you
able to walk?" asked the latter. "If I exert myself," said Aduan, "I
think I could manage it."

So the boy led him to the South. There he opened a gate and they
turned the corner, to the West. Once more the doors of the gate flew
open, and now Aduan saw a lotus field about twenty acres in size. The
lotus flowers were all growing on level earth, and their leaves were
as large as mats and their flowers like umbrellas. The fallen blossoms
covered the ground beneath the stalks to the depth of a foot or more.
The boy led Aduan in and said, "Now first of all sit down for a little
while!" Then he went away.

After a time a beautiful girl thrust aside the lotus flowers and came
into the open. It was Rose of Evening. They looked at each other with
happy timidity, and each told how each had longed for the other. And
they also told each other of their former life. Then they weighted the
lotus-leaves with stones so that they made a cozy retreat, in which
they could be together, and promised to meet each other there every
evening. And then they parted.

Aduan came back and his illness left him. From that time on he met
Rose of Evening every day in the lotus field.

After a few days had passed they had to accompany the Prince of the
Dragon Cave to the birthday festival of the King of the Wu River. The
festival came to an end, and all the dancers returned home. Only, the
King had kept back Rose of Evening and one of the nightingale dancers
to teach the girls in his castle.

Months passed and no news came from Rose of Evening, so that Aduan
went about full of longing and despair. Now Mother Hia went every day
to the castle of the god of the Wu River. So Aduan told her that Rose
of Evening was his cousin, and entreated her to take him along with
her so that he could at least see her a single time. So she took him
along, and let him stay at the lodge-house of the river-god for a few
days. But the indwellers of the castle were so strictly watched that
he could not see Rose of Evening even a single time. Sadly Aduan went
back again.

Another month passed and Aduan, filled with gloomy thoughts, wished
that death might be his portion.

One day Mother Hia came to him full of pity, and began to sympathize
with him. "What a shame," said she, "that Rose of Evening has cast
herself into the river!"

Aduan was extremely frightened, and his tears flowed resistlessly. He
tore his beautiful garments, took his gold and his pearls, and went
out with the sole idea of following his beloved in death. Yet the
waters of the river stood up before him like walls, and no matter how
often he ran against them, head down, they always flung him back.

He did not dare return, since he feared he might be questioned about
his festival garments, and severely punished because he had ruined
them. So he stood there and knew not what to do, while the
perspiration ran down to his ankles. Suddenly, at the foot of the
water-wall he saw a tall tree. Like a monkey he climbed up to its very
top, and then, with all his might, he shot into the waves.

And then, without being wet, he found himself suddenly swimming on
the surface of the river. Unexpectedly the world of men rose up once
more before his dazzled eyes. He swam to the shore, and as he walked
along the river-bank, his thoughts went back to his old mother. He
took a ship and traveled home.

When he reached the village, it seemed to him as though all the houses
in it belonged to another world. The following morning he entered his
mother's house, and as he did so, heard a girl's voice beneath the
window saying: "Your son has come back again!" The voice sounded like
the voice of Rose of Evening, and when she came to greet him at his
mother's side, sure enough, it was Rose of Evening herself.

And in that hour the joy of these two who were so fond of each other
overcame all their sorrow. But in the mother's mind sorrow and doubt,
terror and joy mingled in constant succession in a thousand different
ways.

When Rose of Evening had been in the palace of the river-king, and had
come to realize that she would never see Aduan again, she determined
to die, and flung herself into the waters of the stream. But she was
carried to the surface, and the waves carried and cradled her till a
ship came by and took her aboard. They asked whence she came. Now Rose
of Evening had originally been a celebrated singing girl of Wu, who
had fallen into the river and whose body had never been found. So she
thought to herself that, after all, she could not return to her old
life again. So she answered: "Madame Dsiang, in Dschen-Giang is my
mother-in-law." Then the travelers took passage for her in a ship
which brought her to the place she had mentioned. The widow Dsiang
first said she must be mistaken, but the girl insisted that there was
no mistake, and told Aduan's mother her whole story. Yet, though the
latter was charmed by her surpassing loveliness, she feared that Rose
of Evening was too young to live a widow's life. But the girl was
respectful and industrious, and when she saw that poverty ruled in her
new home, she took her pearls and sold them for a high price. Aduan's
old mother was greatly pleased to see how seriously the girl took her
duties.

Now that Aduan had returned again Rose of Evening could not control
her joy. And even Aduan's old mother cherished the hope that, after
all, perhaps her son had not died. She secretly dug up her son's
grave, yet all his bones were still lying in it. So she questioned
Aduan. And then, for the first time, the latter realized that he was a
departed spirit. Then he feared that Rose of Evening might regard him
with disgust because he was no longer a human being. So he ordered his
mother on no account to speak of it, and this his mother promised.
Then she spread the report in the village that the body which had been
found in the river had not been that of her son at all. Yet she could
not rid herself of the fear that, since Aduan was a departed spirit,
heaven might refuse to send him a child.

In spite of her fear, however, she was able to hold a grandson in her
arms in course of time. When she looked at him, he was no different
from other children, and then her cup of joy was filled to
overflowing.

Rose of Evening gradually became aware of the fact that Aduan was not
really a human being. "Why did you not tell me at once?" said she.
"Departed spirits who wear the garments of the dragon castle, surround
themselves with a soul-casing so heavy in texture that they can no
longer be distinguished from the living. And if one can obtain the
lime made of dragon-horn which is in the castle, then the bones may be
glued together in such wise that flesh and blood will grow over them
again. What a pity that we could not obtain the lime while we were
there!"

Aduan sold his pearl, for which a merchant from foreign parts gave him
an enormous sum. Thus his family grew very wealthy. Once, on his
mother's birthday, he danced with his wife and sang, in order to
please her. The news reached the castle of the Dragon Prince and he
thought to carry off Rose of Evening by force. But Aduan, alarmed,
went to the Prince, and declared that both he and his wife were
departed spirits. They examined him and since he cast no shadow, his
word was taken, and he was not robbed of Rose of Evening.

    Note: "Rose of Evening" is one of the most idyllic of
    Chinese art fairy-tales. The idea that the departed
    spirit throws no shadow has analogies in Norse and other
    European fairy-tales.



LXXIV

THE APE SUN WU KUNG


Far, far away to the East, in the midst of the Great Sea there is an
island called the Mountain of Flowers and Fruits. And on this mountain
there is a high rock. Now this rock, from the very beginning of the
world, had absorbed all the hidden seed power of heaven and earth and
sun and moon, which endowed it with supernatural creative gifts. One
day the rock burst, and out came an egg of stone. And out of this
stone egg a stone ape was hatched by magic power. When he broke the
shell he bowed to all sides. Then he gradually learned to walk and to
leap, and two streams of golden radiance broke from his eyes which
shot up to the highest of the castles of heaven, so that the Lord of
the Heavens was frightened. So he sent out the two gods,
Thousandmile-Eye and Fine-Ear, to find out what had happened. The two
gods came back and reported: "The rays shine from the eyes of the
stone ape who was hatched out of the egg which came from the magic
rock. There is no reason for uneasiness."

Little by little the ape grew up, ran and leaped about, drank from the
springs in the valleys, ate the flowers and fruits, and time went by
in unconstrained play.

One day, during the summer, when he was seeking coolness, together
with the other apes on the island, they went to the valley to bathe.
There they saw a waterfall which plunged down a high cliff. Said the
apes to each other: "Whoever can force his way through the waterfall,
without suffering injury, shall be our king." The stone ape at once
leaped into the air with joy and cried: "I will pass through!" Then he
closed his eyes, bent down low and leaped through the roar and foam of
the waters. When he opened his eyes once more he saw an iron bridge,
which was shut off from the outer world by the waterfall as though by
a curtain.

At its entrance stood a tablet of stone on which were graven the
words: "This is the heavenly cave behind the water-curtain on the
Blessed Island of Flowers and Fruits." Filled with joy, the stone ape
leaped out again through the waterfall and told the other apes what he
had found. They received the news with great content, and begged the
stone ape to take them there. So the tribe of apes leaped through the
water on the iron bridge, and then crowded into the cave castle where
they found a hearth with a profusion of pots, cups and platters. But
all were made of stone. Then the apes paid homage to the stone ape as
their king, and he was given the name of Handsome King of the Apes. He
appointed long-tailed, ring-tailed and other monkeys to be his
officials and counselors, servants and retainers, and they led a
blissful life on the Mountain, sleeping by night in their cave castle,
keeping away from birds and beasts, and their king enjoyed untroubled
happiness. In this way some three hundred years went by.

One day, when the King of the Apes sat with his subjects at a merry
meal, he suddenly began to weep. Frightened, the apes asked him why he
so suddenly grew sad amid all his bliss. Said the King: "It is true
that we are not subject to the law and rule of man, that birds and
beasts do not dare attack us, yet little by little we grow old and
weak, and some day the hour will strike when Death, the Ancient, will
drag us off! Then we are gone in a moment, and can no longer dwell
upon earth!" When the apes heard these words, they hid their faces and
sobbed. But an old ape, whose arms were connected in such a way that
he could add the length of one to that of the other, stepped forth
from the ranks. In a loud tone of voice he said: "That you have hit
upon this thought, O King, shows the desire to search for truth has
awakened you! Among all living creatures, there are but three kinds
who are exempt from Death's power: the Buddhas, the blessed spirits
and the gods. Whoever attains one of these three grades escapes the
rod of re-birth, and lives as long as the Heavens themselves."

The King of the Apes said: "Where do these three kinds of beings
live?" And the old ape replied: "They live in caves and on holy
mountains in the great world of mortals." The King was pleased when he
heard this, and told his apes that he was going to seek out gods and
sainted spirits in order to learn the road to immortality from them.
The apes dragged up peaches and other fruits and sweet wine to
celebrate the parting banquet, and all made merry together.

On the following morning the Handsome King of the Apes rose very
early, built him a raft of old pine trees and took a bamboo staff for
a pole. Then he climbed on the raft, quite alone, and poled his way
through the Great Sea. Wind and waves were favorable and he reached
Asia. There he went ashore. On the strand he met a fisherman. He at
once stepped up to him, knocked him down, tore off his clothes and put
them on himself. Then he wandered around and visited all famous spots,
went into the market-places, the densely populated cities, learned how
to conduct himself properly, and how to speak and act like a well-bred
human being. Yet his heart was set on learning the teaching of the
Buddhas, the blessed spirits and the holy gods. But the people of the
country in which he was were only concerned with honors and wealth.
Not one of them seemed to care for life. Thus he went about until nine
years had passed by unnoticed. Then he came to the strand of the
Western Sea and it occurred to him: "No doubt there are gods and
saints on the other side of the sea!" So he built another raft,
floated it over the Western Sea and reached the land of the West.
There he let his raft drift, and went ashore. After he had searched
for many days, he suddenly saw a high mountain with deep, quiet
valleys. As the Ape King went toward it, he heard a man singing in the
woods, and the song sounded like one the blessed spirits might sing.
So he hastily entered the wood to see who might be singing. There he
met a wood-chopper at work. The Ape King bowed to him and said:
"Venerable, divine master, I fall down and worship at your feet!" Said
the wood-chopper: "I am only a workman; why do you call me divine
master?" "Then, if you are no blessed god, how comes it you sing that
divine song?" The wood-chopper laughed and said: "You are at home in
music. The song I was singing was really taught me by a saint." "If
you are acquainted with a saint," said the Ape King, "he surely cannot
live far from here. I beg of you to show me the way to his dwelling."
The wood-chopper replied: "It is not far from here. This mountain is
known as the Mountain of the Heart. In it is a cave where dwells a
saint who is called 'The Discerner.' The number of his disciples who
have attained blessedness is countless. He still has some thirty to
forty disciples gathered about him. You need only follow this path
which leads to the South, and you cannot miss his dwelling." The Ape
King thanked the wood-chopper and, sure enough, he came to the cave
which the latter had described to him. The gate was locked and he did
not venture to knock. So he leaped up into a pine tree, picked
pine-cones and devoured the seed. Before long one of the saint's
disciples came and opened the door and said: "What sort of a beast is
it that is making such a noise?" The Ape King leaped down from his
tree, bowed, and said: "I have come in search of truth. I did not
venture to knock." Then the disciple had to laugh and said: "Our
master was seated lost in meditation, when he told me to lead in the
seeker after truth who stood without the gate, and here you really
are. Well, you may come along with me!" The Ape King smoothed his
clothes, put his hat on straight, and stepped in. A long passage led
past magnificent buildings and quiet hidden huts to the place where
the master was sitting upright on a seat of white marble. At his right
and left stood his disciples, ready to serve him. The Ape King flung
himself down on the ground and greeted the master humbly. In answer to
his questions he told him how he had found his way to him. And when he
was asked his name, he said: "I have no name. I am the ape who came
out of the stone." So the master said: "Then I will give you a name. I
name you Sun Wu Kung." The Ape King thanked him, full of joy, and
thereafter he was called Sun Wu Kung. The master ordered his oldest
disciple to instruct Sun Wu Kung in sweeping and cleaning, in going in
and out, in good manners, how to labor in the field and how to water
the gardens. In the course of time he learned to write, to burn
incense and read the sutras. And in this way some six or seven years
went by.

One day the master ascended the seat from which he taught, and began
to speak regarding the great truth. Sun Wu Kung understood the hidden
meaning of his words, and commenced to jerk about and dance in his
joy. The master reproved him: "Sun Wu Kung, you have still not laid
aside your wild nature! What do you mean by carrying on in such an
unfitting manner?" Sun Wu Kung bowed and answered: "I was listening
attentively to you when the meaning of your words was disclosed to my
heart, and without thinking I began to dance for joy. I was not giving
way to my wild nature." Said the master: "If your spirit has really
awakened, then I will announce the great truth to you. But there are
three hundred and sixty ways by means of which one may reach this
truth. Which way shall I teach you?" Said Sun Wu Kung: "Whichever you
will, O Master!" Then the Master asked: "Shall I teach you the way of
magic?" Said Sun Wu Kung: "What does magic teach one?" The Master
replied: "It teaches one to raise up spirits, to question oracles, and
to foretell fortune and misfortune." "Can one secure eternal life by
means of it?" inquired Sun Wu Kung. "No," was the answer. "Then I will
not learn it." "Shall I teach you the sciences?" "What are the
sciences?" "They are the nine schools of the three faiths. You learn
how to read the holy books, pronounce incantations, commune with the
gods, and call the saints to you." "Can one gain eternal life by means
of them?" "No." "Then I will not learn them." "The way of repose is a
very good way." "What is the way of repose?" "It teaches how to live
without nourishment, how to remain quiescent in silent purity, and sit
lost in meditation." "Can one gain eternal life in this way?" "No."
"Then I will not learn it." "The way of deeds is also a good way."
"What does that teach?" "It teaches one to equalize the vital powers,
to practise bodily exercise, to prepare the elixir of life and to hold
one's breath." "Will it give one eternal life?" "Not so." "Then I will
not learn it! I will not learn it!" Thereupon the Master pretended to
be angry, leaped down from his stand, took his cane and scolded: "What
an ape! This he will not learn, and that he will not learn! What are
you waiting to learn, then?" With that he gave him three blows across
the head, retired to his inner chamber, and closed the great door
after him.

The disciples were greatly excited, and overwhelmed Sun Wu Kung with
reproaches. Yet the latter paid no attention to them, but smiled
quietly to himself, for he had understood the riddle which the Master
had given him to solve. And in his heart he thought: "His striking me
over the head three times meant that I was to be ready at the third
watch of the night. His withdrawing to his inner chamber and closing
the great door after him, meant that I was to go in to him by the back
door, and that he would make clear the great truth to me in secret."
Accordingly he waited until evening, and made a pretense of lying down
to sleep with the other disciples. But when the third watch of the
night had come he rose softly and crept to the back door. Sure enough
it stood ajar. He slipped in and stepped before the Master's bed. The
Master was sleeping with his face turned toward the wall, and the ape
did not venture to wake him, but knelt down in front of the bed. After
a time the Master turned around and hummed a stanza to himself:

    "A hard, hard grind,
      Truth's lesson to expound.
    One talks oneself deaf, dumb and blind,
      Unless the right man's found."

Then Sun Wu Kung replied: "I am waiting here reverentially!"

The Master flung on his clothes, sat up in bed and said harshly:
"Accursed ape! Why are you not asleep? What are you doing here?"

Sun Wu Kung answered: "Yet you pointed out to me yesterday that I was
to come to you at the third watch of the night, by the back door, in
order to be instructed in the truth. Therefore I have ventured to
come. If you will teach me in the fulness of your grace, I will be
eternally grateful to you."

Thought the Master to himself: "There is real intelligence in this
ape's head, to have made him understand me so well." Then he replied:
"Sun Wu Kung, it shall be granted you! I will speak freely with you.
Come quite close to me, and then I will show you the way to eternal
life."

With that he murmured into his ear a divine, magical incantation to
further the concentration of his vital powers, and explained the
hidden knowledge word for word. Sun Wu Kung listened to him eagerly,
and in a short time had learned it by heart. Then he thanked his
teacher, went out again and lay down to sleep. From that time forward
he practised the right mode of breathing, kept guard over his soul and
spirit, and tamed the natural instincts of his heart. And while he did
so three more years passed by. Then the task was completed.

One day the Master said to him: "Three great dangers still threaten
you. Every one who wishes to accomplish something out of the ordinary
is exposed to them, for he is pursued by the envy of demons and
spirits. And only those who can overcome these three great dangers
live as long as the heavens."

Then Sun Wu Kung was frightened and asked: "Is there any means of
protection against these dangers?"

Then the Master again murmured a secret incantation into his ear, by
means of which he gained the power to transform himself seventy-two
times.

And when no more than a few days had passed Sun Wu Kung had learned
the art.

One day the Master was walking before the cave in the company of his
disciples. He called Sun Wu Kung up to him and asked: "What progress
have you made with your art? Can you fly already?"

"Yes, indeed," said the ape.

"Then let me see you do so."

The ape leaped into the air to a distance of five or six feet from the
ground. Clouds formed beneath his feet, and he was able to walk on
them for several hundred yards. Then he was forced to drop down to
earth again.

The Master said with a smile: "I call that crawling around on the
clouds, not floating on them, as do the gods and saints who fly over
the whole world in a single day. I will teach you the magic
incantation for turning somersaults on the clouds. If you turn one of
those somersaults you advance eighteen thousand miles at a clip."

Sun Wu Kung thanked him, full of joy, and from that time on he was
able to move without limitation of space in any direction.

One day Sun Wu Kung was sitting together with the other disciples
under the pine-tree by the gate, discussing the secrets of their
teachings. Finally they asked him to show them some of his
transforming arts. Sun Wu Kung could not keep his secret to himself,
and agreed to do so.

With a smile he said: "Just set me a task! What do you wish me to
change myself into?"

They said: "Turn yourself into a pine-tree."

So Sun Wu Kung murmured a magic incantation, turned around--and there
stood a pine-tree before their very eyes. At this they all broke out
into a horse-laugh. The Master heard the noise and came out of the
gate, dragging his cane behind him.

"Why are you making such a noise?" he called out to them harshly.

Said they: "Sun Wu Kung has turned himself into a pine-tree, and this
made us laugh."

"Sun Wu Kung, come here!" said the Master. "Now just tell me what
tricks you are up to? Why do you have to turn yourself into a
pine-tree? All the work you have done means nothing more to you than a
chance to make magic for your companions to wonder at. That shows
that your heart is not yet under control."

Humbly Sun Wu Kung begged his forgiveness.

But the Master said: "I bear you no ill will, but you must go away."

With tears in his eyes Sun Wu Kung asked him: "But where shall I go?"

"You must go back again whence you came," said the Master. And when
Sun Wu Kung sadly bade him farewell, he threatened him: "Your savage
nature is sure to bring down evil upon you some time. You must tell no
one that you are my pupil. If you so much as breathe a word about it,
I will fetch your soul and lock it up in the nethermost hell, so that
you cannot escape for a thousand eternities."

Sun Wu Kung replied: "I will not say a word! I will not say a word!"

Then he once more thanked him for all the kindness shown him, turned a
somersault and climbed up to the clouds.

Within the hour he had passed the seas, and saw the Mountain of
Flowers and Fruits lying before him. Then he felt happy and at home
again, let his cloud sink down to earth and cried: "Here I am back
again, children!" And at once, from the valley, from behind the rocks,
out of the grass and from amid the trees came his apes. They came
running up by thousands, surrounded and greeted him, and inquired as
to his adventures. Sun Wu Kung said: "I have now found the way to
eternal life, and need fear Death the Ancient no longer." Then all the
apes were overjoyed, and competed with each other in bringing flowers
and fruits, peaches and wine, to welcome him. And again they honored
Sun Wu Kung as the Handsome Ape King.

Sun Wu Kung now gathered the apes about him and questioned them as to
how they had fared during his absence.

Said they: "It is well that you have come back again, great king! Not
long ago a devil came here who wanted to take possession of our cave
by force. We fought with him, but he dragged away many of your
children and will probably soon return."

Sun Wu Kung grew very angry and said: "What sort of a devil is this
who dares be so impudent?"

The apes answered: "He is the Devil-King of Chaos. He lives in the
North, who knows how many miles away. We only saw him come and go amid
clouds and mist."

Sun Wu Kung said: "Wait, and I will see to him!" With that he turned a
somersault and disappeared without a trace.

In the furthest North rises a high mountain, upon whose slope is a
cave above which is the inscription: "The Cave of the Kidneys." Before
the door little devils were dancing. Sun Wu Kung called harshly to
them: "Tell your Devil-King quickly that he had better give me my
children back again!" The little devils were frightened, and delivered
the message in the cave. Then the Devil-King reached for his sword and
came out. But he was so large and broad that he could not even see Sun
Wu Kung. He was clad from head to foot in black armor, and his face
was as black as the bottom of a kettle. Sun Wu Kung shouted at him:
"Accursed devil, where are your eyes, that you cannot see the
venerable Sun?" Then the devil looked to the ground and saw a stone
ape standing before him, bare-headed, dressed in red, with a yellow
girdle and black boots. So the Devil-King laughed and said: "You are
not even four feet high, less than thirty years of age, and
weaponless, and yet you venture to make such a commotion." Said Sun Wu
Kung: "I am not too small for you; and I can make myself large at
will. You scorn me because I am without a weapon, but my two fists can
thresh to the very skies." With that he stooped, clenched his fists
and began to give the devil a beating. The devil was large and clumsy,
but Sun Wu Kung leaped about nimbly. He struck him between the ribs
and between the wind and his blows fell ever more fast and furious. In
his despair the devil raised his great knife and aimed a blow at Sun
Wu Kung's head. But the latter avoided the blow, and fell back on his
magic powers of transformation. He pulled out a hair, put it in his
mouth, chewed it, spat it out into the air and said: "Transform
yourself!" And at once it turned into many hundreds of little apes who
began to attack the devil. Sun Wu Kung, be it said, had eighty-four
thousand hairs on his body, every single one of which he could
transform. The little apes with their sharp eyes, leaped around with
the greatest rapidity. They surrounded the Devil-King on all sides,
tore at his clothes, and pulled at his legs, until he finally measured
his length on the ground. Then Sun Wu Kung stepped up, tore his knife
from his hand, and put an end to him. After that he entered the cave
and released his captive children, the apes. The transformed hairs he
drew to him again, and making a fire, he burned the evil cave to the
ground. Then he gathered up those he had released, and flew back with
them like a storm-wind to his cavern on the Mountain of Flowers and
Fruits, joyfully greeted by all the apes.

After Sun Wu Kung had obtained possession of the Devil-King's great
knife, he exercised his apes every day. They had wooden swords and
lances of bamboo, and played their martial music on reed pipes. He
had them build a camp so that they would be prepared for all dangers.
Suddenly the thought came to Sun Wu Kung: "If we go on this way,
perhaps we may incite some human or animal king to fight with us, and
then we would not be able to withstand him with our wooden swords and
bamboo lances!" And to his apes he said: "What should be done?" Four
baboons stepped forward and said: "In the capital city of the Aulai
empire there are warriors without number. And there coppersmiths and
steelsmiths are also to be found. How would it be if we were to buy
steel and iron and have those smiths weld weapons for us?"

A somersault and Sun Wu Kung was standing before the city moat. Said
he to himself: "To first buy the weapons would take a great deal of
time. I would rather make magic and take some." So he blew on the
ground. Then a tremendous storm-wind arose which drove sand and stones
before it, and caused all the soldiers in the city to run away in
terror. Then Sun Wu Kung went to the armory, pulled out one of his
hairs, turned it into thousands of little apes, cleared out the whole
supply of weapons, and flew back home on a cloud.

Then he gathered his people about him and counted them. In all they
numbered seventy-seven thousand. They held the whole Mountain in
terror, and all the magic beasts and spirit princes who dwelt on it.
And these came forth from seventy-two caves and honored Sun Wu Kung as
their head.

One day the Ape King said: "Now you all have weapons; but this knife
which I took from the Devil-King is too light, and no longer suits me.
What should be done?"

Then the four baboons stepped forward and said: "In view of your
spirit powers, O king, you will find no weapon fit for your use on all
the earth! Is it possible for you to walk through the water?"

The Ape King answered: "All the elements are subject to me and there
is no place where I cannot go."

Then the baboons said: "The water at our cave here flows into the
Great Sea, to the castle of the Dragon-King of the Eastern Sea. If
your magic power makes it possible, you could go to the Dragon-King
and let him give you a weapon."

This suited the Ape King. He leaped on the iron bridge and murmured an
incantation. Then he flung himself into the waves, which parted before
him and ran on till he came to the palace of water-crystal. There he
met a Triton who asked who he was. He mentioned his name and said: "I
am the Dragon-King's nearest neighbor, and have come to visit him."
The Triton took the message to the castle, and the Dragon-King of the
Eastern Sea came out hastily to receive him. He bade him be seated and
served him with tea.

Sun Wu Kung said: "I have learned the hidden knowledge and gained the
powers of immortality. I have drilled my apes in the art of warfare in
order to protect our mountain; but I have no weapon I can use, and
have therefore come to you to borrow one."

The Dragon-King now had General Flounder bring him a great spear. But
Sun Wu Kung was not satisfied with it. Then he ordered Field-Marshal
Eel to fetch in a nine-tined fork, which weighed three thousand six
hundred pounds. But Sun Wu Kung balanced it in his hand and said: "Too
light! Too light! Too light!"

Then the Dragon-King was frightened, and had the heaviest weapon in
his armory brought in. It weighed seven thousand two hundred pounds.
But this was still too light for Sun Wu Kung. The Dragon-King assured
him that he had nothing heavier, but Sun Wu Kung would not give in and
said: "Just look around!"

Finally the Dragon-Queen and her daughter came out, and said to the
Dragon-King: "This saint is an unpleasant customer with whom to deal.
The great iron bar is still lying here in our sea; and not so long ago
it shone with a red glow, which is probably a sign it is time for it
to be taken away."

Said the Dragon-King: "But that is the rod which the Great Yu used
when he ordered the waters, and determined the depth of the seas and
rivers. It cannot be taken away."

The Dragon-Queen replied: "Just let him see it! What he then does with
it is no concern of ours."

So the Dragon-King led Sun Wu Kung to the measuring rod. The golden
radiance that came from it could be seen some distance off. It was an
enormous iron bar, with golden clamps on either side.

Sun Wu Kung raised it with the exertion of all his strength, and then
said: "It is too heavy, and ought to be somewhat shorter and thinner!"

No sooner had he said this than the iron rod grew less. He tried it
again, and then he noticed that it grew larger or smaller at command.
It could be made to shrink to the size of a pin. Sun Wu Kung was
overjoyed and beat about in the sea with the rod, which he had let
grow large again, till the waves spurted mountain-high and the
dragon-castle rocked on its foundations. The Dragon-King trembled with
fright, and all his tortoises, fishes and crabs drew in their heads.

Sun Wu Kung laughed, and said: "Many thanks for the handsome present!"
Then he continued: "Now I have a weapon, it is true, but as yet I have
no armor. Rather than hunt up two or three other households, I think
you will be willing to provide me with a suit of mail."

The Dragon-King told him that he had no armor to give him.

Then the ape said: "I will not leave until you have obtained one for
me." And once more he began to swing his rod.

"Do not harm me!" said the terrified Dragon-King, "I will ask my
brothers."

And he had them beat the iron drum and strike the golden gong, and in
a moment's time all the Dragon-King's brothers came from all the other
seas. The Dragon-King talked to them in private and said: "This is a
terrible fellow, and we must not rouse his anger! First he took the
rod with the golden clamps from me, and now he also insists on having
a suit of armor. The best thing to do would be to satisfy him at once,
and complain of him to the Lord of the Heavens later."

So the brothers brought a magic suit of golden mail, magic boots and a
magic helmet.

Then Sun Wu Kung thanked them and returned to his cave. Radiantly he
greeted his children, who had come to meet him, and showed them the
rod with the golden clamps. They all crowded up and wished to pick it
up from the ground, if only a single time; but it was just as though a
dragon-fly had attempted to overthrow a stone column, or an ant were
trying to carry a great mountain. It would not move a hair's breadth.
Then the apes opened their mouths and stuck out their tongues, and
said: "Father, how is it possible for you to carry that heavy thing?"
So he told them the secret of the rod and showed them its effects.
Then he set his empire in order, and appointed the four baboons
field-marshals; and the seven beast-spirits, the ox-spirit, the
dragon-spirit, the bird-spirit, the lion-spirit and the rest also
joined him.

One day he took a nap after dinner. Before he did so he had let the
bar shrink, and had stuck it in his ear. While he was sleeping he saw
two men come along in his dream, who had a card on which was written
"Sun Wu Kung." They would not allow him to resist, but fettered him
and led his spirit away. And when they reached a great city the Ape
King gradually came to himself. Over the city gate he saw a tablet of
iron on which was engraved in large letters: "The Nether World."

Then all was suddenly clear to him and he said: "Why, this must be the
dwelling-place of Death! But I have long since escaped from his power,
and how dare he have me dragged here!" The more he reflected the
wilder he grew. He drew out the golden rod from his ear, swung it and
let it grow large. Then he crushed the two constables to mush, burst
his fetters, and rolled his bar before him into the city. The ten
Princes of the Dead were frightened, bowed before him and asked: "Who
are you?"

Sun Wu Kung answered: "If you do not know me then why did you send for
me and have me dragged to this place? I am the heaven-born saint Sun
Wu Kung of the Mountain of Flowers and Fruits. And now, who are you?
Tell me your names quickly or I will strike you!"

The ten Princes of the Dead humbly gave him their names.

Sun Wu Kung said: "I, the Venerable Sun, have gained the power of
eternal life! You have nothing to say to me! Quick, let me have the
Book of Life!"

They did not dare defy him, and had the scribe bring in the Book. Sun
Wu Kung opened it. Under the head of "Apes," No. 1350, he read: "Sun
Wu Kung, the heaven-born stone ape. His years shall be three hundred
and twenty-four. Then he shall die without illness."

Sun Wu Kung took the brush from the table and struck out the whole ape
family from the Book of Life, threw the Book down and said: "Now we
are even! From this day on I will suffer no impertinences from you!"

With that he cleared a way for himself out of the Nether World by
means of his rod, and the ten Princes of the Dead did not venture to
stay him, but only complained of him afterward to the Lord of the
Heavens.

When Sun Wu Kung had left the city he slipped and fell to the ground.
This caused him to wake, and he noticed he had been dreaming. He
called his four baboons to him and said: "Splendid, splendid! I was
dragged to Death's castle and I caused considerable uproar there. I
had them give me the Book of Life, and I struck out the mortal hour of
all the apes!" And after that time the apes on the Mountain no longer
died, because their names had been stricken out in the Nether World.

But the Lord of the Heavens sat in his castle, and had all his
servants assembled about him. And a saint stepped forward and
presented the complaint of the Dragon-King of the Eastern Sea. And
another stepped forward and presented the complaint of the ten Princes
of the Dead. The Lord of the Heavens glanced through the two
memorials. Both told of the wild, unmannerly conduct of Sun Wu Kung.
So the Lord of the Heavens ordered a god to descend to earth and take
him prisoner. The Evening Star came forward, however, and said: "This
ape was born of the purest powers of heaven and earth and sun and
moon. He has gained the hidden knowledge and has become an immortal.
Recall, O Lord, your great love for all that which has life, and
forgive him his sin! Issue an order that he be called up to the
heavens, and be given a charge here, so that he may come to his
senses. Then, if he again oversteps your commands, let him be punished
without mercy." The Lord of the Heavens was agreeable, had the order
issued, and told the Evening Star to take it to Sun Wu Kung. The
Evening Star mounted a colored cloud and descended on the Mountain of
Flowers and Fruits.

He greeted Sun Wu Kung and said to him: "The Lord had heard of your
actions and meant to punish you. I am the Evening Star of the Western
Skies, and I spoke for you. Therefore he has commissioned me to take
you to the skies, so that you may be given a charge there."

Sun Wu Kung was overjoyed and answered: "I had just been thinking I
ought to pay Heaven a visit some time, and sure enough, Old Star, here
you have come to fetch me!"

Then he had his four baboons come and said to them impressively: "See
that you take good care of our Mountain! I am going up to the heavens
to look around there a little!"

Then he mounted a cloud together with the Evening Star and floated up.
But he kept turning his somersaults, and advanced so quickly that the
Evening Star on his cloud was left behind. Before he knew it he had
reached the Southern Gate of Heaven and was about to step carelessly
through. The gate-keeper did not wish to let him enter, but he did not
let this stop him. In the midst of their dispute the Evening Star came
up and explained matters, and then he was allowed to enter the
heavenly gate. When he came to the castle of the Lord of the Heavens,
he stood upright before it, without bowing his head.

The Lord of the Heavens asked: "Then this hairy face with the pointed
lips is Sun Wu Kung?"

He replied: "Yes, I am the Venerable Sun!"

All the servants of the Lord of the Heavens were shocked and said:
"This wild ape does not even bow, and goes so far as to call himself
the Venerable Sun. His crime deserves a thousand deaths!"

But the Lord said: "He has come up from the earth below, and is not as
yet used to our rules. We will forgive him."

Then he gave orders that a charge be found for him. The marshal of the
heavenly court reported: "There is no charge vacant anywhere, but an
official is needed in the heavenly stables." Thereupon the Lord made
him stablemaster of the heavenly steeds. Then the servants of the Lord
of the Heavens told him he should give thanks for the grace bestowed
on him. Sun Wu Kung called out aloud: "Thanks to command!" took
possession of his certificate of appointment, and went to the stables
in order to enter upon his new office.

Sun Wu Kung attended to his duties with great zeal. The heavenly
steeds grew sleek and fat, and the stables were filled with young
foals. Before he knew it half a month had gone by. Then his heavenly
friends prepared a banquet for him.

While they were at table Sun Wu Kung asked accidentally:
"Stablemaster? What sort of a title is that?"

"Why, that is an official title," was the reply.

"What rank has this office?"

"It has no rank at all," was the answer.

"Ah," said the ape, "is it so high that it outranks all other
dignities?"

"No, it is not high, it is not high at all," answered his friends.
"It is not even set down in the official roster, but is quite a
subordinate position. All you have to do is to attend to the steeds.
If you see to it that they grow fat, you get a good mark; but if they
grow thin or ill, or fall down, your punishment will be right at
hand."

Then the Ape King grew angry: "What, they treat me, the Venerable Sun,
in such a shameful way!" and he started up. "On my Mountain I was a
king, I was a father! What need was there for him to lure me into his
heaven to feed horses? I'll do it no longer! I'll do it no longer!"

Hola, and he had already overturned the table, drawn the rod with the
golden clamps from his ear, let it grow large and beat a way out for
himself to the Southern gate of Heaven. And no one dared stop him.

Already he was back in his island Mountain and his people surrounded
him and said: "You have been gone for more than ten years, great king!
How is it you do not return to us until now?"

The Ape King said: "I did not spend more than about ten days in
Heaven. This Lord of the Heavens does not know how to treat his
people. He made me his stablemaster, and I had to feed his horses. I
am so ashamed that I am ready to die. But I did not put up with it,
and now I am here once more!"

His apes eagerly prepared a banquet to comfort him. While they sat at
table two horned devil-kings came and brought him a yellow imperial
robe as a present. Filled with joy he slipped into it, and appointed
the two devil-kings leaders of the vanguard. They thanked him and
began to flatter him: "With your power and wisdom, great king, why
should you have to serve the Lord of the Heavens? To call you the
Great Saint who is Heaven's Equal would be quite in order."

The ape was pleased with this speech and said: "Good, good!" Then he
ordered his four baboons to have a flag made quickly, on which was to
be inscribed: "The Great Saint Who Is Heaven's Equal." And from that
time on he had himself called by that title.

When the Lord of the Heavens learned of the flight of the ape, he
ordered Li Dsing, the pagoda-bearing god, and his third son, Notscha,
to take the Ape King prisoner. They sallied forth at the head of a
heavenly warrior host, laid out a camp before his cave, and sent a
brave warrior to challenge him to single combat. But he was easily
beaten by Sun Wu Kung and obliged to flee, and Sun Wu Kung even
shouted after him, laughing: "What a bag of wind! And he calls himself
a heavenly warrior! I'll not slay you. Run along quickly and send me a
better man!"

When Notscha saw this he himself hurried up to do battle.

Said Sun Wu Kung to him: "To whom do you belong, little one? You must
not play around here, for something might happen to you!"

But Notscha cried out in a loud voice: "Accursed ape! I am Prince
Notscha, and have been ordered to take you prisoner!" And with that he
swung his sword in the direction of Sun Wu Kung.

"Very well," said the latter, "I will stand here and never move."

Then Notscha grew very angry, and turned into a three-headed god with
six arms, in which he held six different weapons. Thus he rushed on to
the attack.

Sun Wu Kung laughed. "The little fellow knows the trick of it! But
easy, wait a bit! I will change shape, too!"

And he also turned himself into a figure with three heads and with six
arms, and swung three gold-clamp rods. And thus they began to fight.
Their blows rained down with such rapidity that it seemed as though
thousands of weapons were flying through the air. After thirty rounds
the combat had not yet been decided. Then Sun Wu Kung hit upon an
idea. He secretly pulled out one of his hairs, turned it into his own
shape, and let it continue the fight with Notscha. He himself,
however, slipped behind Notscha, and gave him such a blow on the left
arm with his rod that his knees gave way beneath him with pain, and he
had to withdraw in defeat.

So Notscha told his father Li Dsing: "This devil-ape is altogether too
powerful! I cannot get the better of him!" There was nothing left to
do but to return to the Heavens and admit their overthrow. The Lord of
the Heavens bowed his head, and tried to think of some other hero whom
he might send out.

Then the Evening Star once more came forward and said: "This ape is so
strong and so courageous, that probably not one of us here is a match
for him. He revolted because the office of stablemaster appeared too
lowly for him. The best thing would be to temper justice with mercy,
let him have his way, and appoint him Great Saint Who Is Heaven's
Equal. It will only be necessary to give him the empty title, without
combining a charge with it, and then the matter would be settled." The
Lord of the Heavens was satisfied with this suggestion, and once more
sent the Evening Star to summon the new saint. When Sun Wu Kung heard
that he had arrived, he said: "The old Evening Star is a good fellow!"
and he had his army draw up in line to give him a festive reception.
He himself donned his robes of ceremony and politely went out to meet
him.

Then the Evening Star told him what had taken place in the Heavens,
and that he had his appointment as Great Saint Who Is Heaven's Equal
with him.

Thereupon the Great Saint laughed and said: "You also spoke in my
behalf before, Old Star! And now you have again taken my part. Many
thanks! Many thanks!"

Then when they appeared together in the presence of the Lord of the
Heavens the latter said: "The rank of Great Saint Who Is Heaven's
Equal is very high. But now you must not cut any further capers."

The Great Saint expressed his thanks, and the Lord of the Heavens
ordered two skilled architects to build a castle for him East of the
peach-garden of the Queen-Mother of the West. And he was led into it
with all possible honors.

Now the Saint was in his element. He had all that heart could wish
for, and was untroubled by any work. He took his ease, walked about in
the Heavens as he chose, and paid visits to the gods. The Three Pure
Ones and the Four Rulers he treated with some little respect; but the
planetary gods and the lords of the twenty-eight houses of the moon,
and of the twelve zodiac signs, and the other stars he addressed
familiarly with a "Hey, you!" Thus he idled day by day, without
occupation among the clouds of the Heavens. On one occasion one of the
wise said to the Lord of the Heavens: "The holy Sun is idle while day
follows day. It is to be feared that some mischievous thoughts may
occur to him, and it might be better to give him some charge."

So the Lord of the Heavens summoned the Great Saint and said to him:
"The life-giving peaches in the garden of the Queen-Mother will soon
be ripe. I give you the charge of watching over them. Do your duty
conscientiously!"

This pleased the Saint and he expressed his thanks. Then he went to
the garden, where the caretakers and gardeners received him on their
knees.

He asked them: "How many trees in all are there in the garden?"

"Three thousand six hundred," replied the gardener. "There are
twelve-hundred trees in the foremost row. They have red blossoms and
bear small fruit, which ripens every three thousand years. Whoever
eats it grows bright and healthy. The twelve hundred trees in the
middle row have double blossoms and bear sweet fruit, which ripens
every six thousand years. Whoever eats of it is able to float in the
rose-dawn without aging. The twelve hundred trees in the last row bear
red-striped fruit with small pits. They ripen every nine thousand
years. Whoever eats their fruit lives eternally, as long as the
Heavens themselves, and remains untouched for thousands of eons."

The Saint heard all this with pleasure. He checked up the lists and
from that time on appeared every day or so to see to things. The
greater part of the peaches in the last row were already ripe. When he
came to the garden, he would on each occasion send away the caretakers
and gardeners under some pretext, leap up into the trees, and gorge
himself to his heart's content with the peaches.

At that time the Queen-Mother of the West was preparing the great
peach banquet to which she was accustomed to invite all the gods of
the Heavens. She sent out the fairies in their garments of seven
colors with baskets, that they might pick the peaches. The caretaker
said to them: "The garden has now been entrusted to the guardianship
of the Great Saint Who is Heaven's Equal, so you will first have to
announce yourselves to him." With that he led the seven fairies into
the garden. There they looked everywhere for the Great Saint, but
could not find him. So the fairies said: "We have our orders and must
not be late. We will begin picking the peaches in the meantime!" So
they picked several baskets full from the foremost row. In the second
row the peaches were already scarcer. And in the last row there hung
only a single half-ripe peach. They bent down the bough and picked it,
and then allowed it to fly up again.

Now it happened that the Great Saint, who had turned himself into a
peach-worm, had just been taking his noon-day nap on this bough. When
he was so rudely awakened, he appeared in his true form, seized his
rod and was about to strike the fairies.

But the fairies said: "We have been sent here by the Queen-Mother. Do
not be angry, Great Saint!"

Said the Great Saint: "And who are all those whom the Queen-Mother has
invited?"

They answered: "All the gods and saints in the Heavens, on the earth
and under the earth."

"Has she also invited me?" said the Saint.

"Not that we know of," said the fairies.

Then the Saint grew angry, murmured a magic incantation and said:
"Stay! Stay! Stay!"

With that the seven fairies were banned to the spot. The Saint then
took a cloud and sailed away on it to the palace of the Queen-Mother.

On the way he met the Bare-Foot God and asked him: "Where are you
going?"

"To the peach banquet," was the answer.

Then the Saint lied to him, saying: "I have been commanded by the
Lord of the Heavens to tell all the gods and saints that they are
first to come to the Hall of Purity, in order to practise the rites,
and then go together to the Queen-Mother."

Then the Great Saint changed himself into the semblance of the
Bare-Foot God and sailed to the palace of the Queen-Mother. There he
let his cloud sink down and entered quite unconcerned. The meal was
ready, yet none of the gods had as yet appeared. Suddenly the Great
Saint caught the aroma of wine, and saw well-nigh a hundred barrels of
the precious nectar standing in a room to one side. His mouth watered.
He tore a few hairs out and turned them into sleep-worms. These worms
crept into the nostrils of the cup-bearers so that they all fell
asleep. Thereupon he enjoyed the delicious viands to the full, opened
the barrels and drank until he was nearly stupefied. Then he said to
himself: "This whole affair is beginning to make me feel creepy. I had
better go home first of all and sleep a bit." And he stumbled out of
the garden with uncertain steps. Sure enough, he missed his way, and
came to the dwelling of Laotzse. There he regained consciousness. He
arranged his clothing and went in. There was no one to be seen in the
place, for at the moment Laotzse was at the God of Light's abode,
talking to him, and with him were all his servants, listening. Since
he found no one at home the Great Saint went as far as the inner
chamber, where Laotzse was in the habit of brewing the elixir of life.
Beside the stove stood five gourd containers full of the pills of life
which had already been rolled. Said the Great Saint: "I had long since
intended to prepare a couple of these pills. So it suits me very well
to find them here." He poured out the contents of the gourds, and ate
up all the pills of life. Since he had now had enough to eat and
drink he thought to himself: "Bad, bad! The mischief I have done
cannot well be repaired. If they catch me my life will be in danger. I
think I had better go down to earth again and remain a king!" With
that he made himself invisible, went out at the Western Gate of
Heaven, and returned to the Mountain of Flowers and Fruits, where he
told his people who received him the story of his adventures.

When he spoke of the wine-nectar of the peach garden, his apes said:
"Can't you go back once more and steal a few bottles of the wine, so
that we too may taste of it and gain eternal life?"

The Ape King was willing, turned a somersault, crept into the garden
unobserved, and picked up four more barrels. Two of them he took under
his arms and two he held in his hands. Then he disappeared with them
without leaving a trace and brought them to his cave, where he enjoyed
them together with his apes.

In the meantime the seven fairies, whom the Great Saint had banned to
the spot, had regained their freedom after a night and a day. They
picked up their baskets and told the Queen-Mother what had happened to
them. And the cup-bearers, too, came hurrying up and reported the
destruction which some one unknown had caused among the eatables and
drinkables. The Queen-Mother went to the Lord of the Heavens to
complain. Shortly afterward Laotzse also came to him to tell about the
theft of the pills of life. And the Bare-Foot God came along and
reported that he had been deceived by the Great Saint Who Is Heaven's
Equal; and from the Great Saint's palace the servants came running and
said that the Saint had disappeared and was nowhere to be found. Then
the Lord of the Heavens was frightened, and said: "This whole mess is
undoubtedly the work of that devilish ape!"

Now the whole host of Heaven, together with all the star-gods, the
time-gods and the mountain-gods was called out in order to catch the
ape. Li Dsing once more was its commander-in-chief. He invested the
entire Mountain, and spread out the sky-net and the earth-net, so that
no one could escape. Then he sent his bravest heroes into battle.
Courageously the ape withstood all attacks from early morn till
sundown. But by that time his most faithful followers had been
captured. That was too much for him. He pulled out a hair and turned
it into thousands of Ape-Kings, who all hewed about them with
golden-clamped iron rods. The heavenly host was vanquished, and the
ape withdrew to his cave to rest.

Now it happened that Guan Yin had also gone to the peach banquet in
the garden, and had found out what Sun Wu Kung had done. When she went
to visit the Lord of the Heavens, Li Dsing was just coming in, to
report the great defeat which he had suffered on the Mountain of
Flowers and Fruits. Then Guan Yin said to the Lord of the Heavens: "I
can recommend a hero to you who will surely get the better of the ape.
It is your grandson Yang Oerlang. He has conquered all the beast and
bird spirits, and overthrown the elves in the grass and the brush. He
knows what has to be done to get the better of such devils."

So Yang Oerlang was brought in, and Li Dsing led him to his camp. Li
Dsing asked Yang Oerlang how he would go about getting the better of
the ape.

Yang Oerlang laughed and said: "I think I will have to go him one
better when it comes to changing shapes. It would be best for you to
take away the sky-net so that our combat is not disturbed." Then he
requested Li Dsing to post himself in the upper air with the magic
spirit mirror in his hand, so that when the ape made himself
invisible, he might be found again by means of the mirror. When all
this had been arranged, Yang Oerlang went out in front of the cave
with his spirits to give battle.

The ape leaped out, and when he saw the powerful hero with the
three-tined sword standing before him he asked: "And who may you be?"

The other said: "I am Yang Oerlang, the grandson of the Lord of the
Heavens!"

Then the ape laughed and said: "Oh yes, I remember! His daughter ran
away with a certain Sir Yang, to whom heaven gave a son. You must be
that son!"

Yang Oerlang grew furious, and advanced upon him with his spear. Then
a hot battle began. For three hundred rounds they fought without
decisive results. Then Yang Oerlang turned himself into a giant with a
black face and red hair.

"Not bad," said the ape, "but I can do that too!"

So they continued to fight in that form. But the ape's baboons were
much frightened. The beast and planet spirits of Yang Oerlang pressed
the apes hard. They slew most of them and the others hid away. When
the ape saw this his heart grew uneasy. He drew the magic
giant-likeness in again, took his rod and fled. But Yang Oerlang
followed hard on his heels. In his urgent need the ape thrust the rod,
which he had turned into a needle, into his ear, turned into a
sparrow, and flew up into the crest of a tree. Yang Oerlang who was
following in his tracks, suddenly lost sight of him. But his keen eyes
soon recognized that he had turned himself into a sparrow. So he flung
away spear and crossbow, turned himself into a sparrow-hawk, and
darted down on the sparrow. But the latter soared high into the air as
a cormorant. Yang Oerlang shook his plumage, turned into a great
sea-crane, and shot up into the clouds to seize the cormorant. The
latter dropped, flew into a valley and dove beneath the waters of a
brook in the guise of a fish. When Yang Oerlang reached the edge of
the valley, and had lost his trail he said to himself: "This ape has
surely turned himself into a fish or a crab! I will change my form as
well in order to catch him." So he turned into a fish-hawk and floated
above the surface of the water. When the ape in the water caught sight
of the fish-hawk, he saw that he was Yang Oerlang. He swiftly swung
around and fled, Yang Oerlang in pursuit. When the latter was no
further away than the length of a beak, the ape turned, crept ashore
as a water-snake and hid in the grass. Yang Oerlang, when he saw the
water-snake creep from the water, turned into an eagle and spread his
claws to seize the snake. But the water-snake sprang up and turned
into the lowest of all birds, a speckled buzzard, and perched on the
steep edge of a cliff. When Yang Oerlang saw that the ape had turned
himself into so contemptible a creature as a buzzard, he would no
longer play the game of changing form with him. He reappeared in his
original form, took up his crossbow and shot at the bird. The buzzard
slipped and fell down the side of the cliff. At its foot the ape
turned himself into the chapel of a field-god. He opened his mouth for
a gate, his teeth became the two wings of the door, his tongue the
image of the god, and his eyes the windows. His tail was the only
thing he did not know what to do with. So he let it stand up stiffly
behind him in the shape of a flagpole. When Yang Oerlang reached the
foot of the hill he saw the chapel, whose flagpole stood in the rear.
Then he laughed and said: "That ape is really a devil of an ape! He
wants to lure me into the chapel in order to bite me. But I will not
go in. First I will break his windows for him, and then I will stamp
down the wings of his door!" When the ape heard this he was much
frightened. He made a bound like a tiger, and disappeared without a
trace in the air. With a single somersault he reached Yang Oerlang's
own temple. There he assumed Yang Oerlang's own form and stepped in.
The spirits who were on guard were unable to recognize him. They
received him on their knees. So the ape then seated himself on the
god's throne, and had the prayers which had come in submitted to him.

When Yang Oerlang no longer saw the ape, he rose in the air to Li
Dsing and said: "I was vying with the ape in changing shape. Suddenly
I could no longer find him. Take a look in the mirror!" Li Dsing took
a look in the magic spirit mirror and then he laughed and said: "The
ape has turned himself into your likeness, is sitting in your temple
quite at home there, and making mischief." When Yang Oerlang heard
this he took his three-tined spear, and hastened to his temple. The
door-spirits were frightened and said: "But father came in only this
very minute! How is it that another one comes now?" Yang Oerlang,
without paying attention to them, entered the temple and aimed his
spear at Sun Wu Kung. The latter resumed his own shape, laughed and
said: "Young sir, you must not be angry! The god of this place is now
Sun Wu Kung." Without uttering a word Yang Oerlang assailed him. Sun
Wu Kung took up his rod and returned the blows. Thus they crowded out
of the temple together, fighting, and wrapped in mists and clouds once
more gained the Mountain of Flowers and Fruits.

In the meantime Guan Yin was sitting with Laotzse, the Lord of the
Heavens and the Queen-Mother in the great hall of Heaven, waiting for
news. When none came she said: "I will go with Laotzse to the
Southern Gate of Heaven and see how matters stand." And when they saw
that the struggle had still not come to an end she said to Laotzse:
"How would it be if we helped Yang Oerlang a little? I will shut up
Sun Wu Kung in my vase."

But Laotzse said: "Your vase is made of porcelain. Sun Wu Kung could
smash it with his iron rod. But I have a circlet of diamonds which can
enclose all living creatures. That we can use!" So he flung his
circlet through the air from the heavenly gate, and struck Sun Wu Kung
on the head with it. Since he had his hands full fighting, the latter
could not guard himself against it, and the blow on the forehead
caused him to slip. Yet he rose again and tried to escape. But the
heavenly hound of Yang Oerlang bit his leg until he fell to the
ground. Then Yang Oerlang and his followers came up and tied him with
thongs, and thrust a hook through his collar-bone so that he could no
longer transform himself. And Laotzse took possession of his diamond
circlet again, and returned with Guan Yin to the hall of Heaven. Sun
Wu Kung was now brought in in triumph, and was condemned to be
beheaded. He was then taken to the place of execution and bound to a
post. But all efforts to kill him by means of ax and sword, thunder
and lightning were vain. Nothing so much as hurt a hair on his head.

Said Laotzse: "It is not surprising. This ape has eaten the peaches,
has drunk the nectar and also swallowed the pills of life. Nothing can
harm him. The best thing would be for me to take him along and thrust
him into my stove in order to melt the elixir of life out of him
again. Then he will fall into dust and ashes."

So Sun Wu Kung's fetters were loosed, and Laotzse took him with him,
thrust him into his oven, and ordered the boy to keep up a hot fire.

But along the edge of the oven were graven the signs of the eight
elemental forces. And when the ape was thrust into the oven he took
refuge beneath the sign of the wind, so that the fire could not injure
him; and the smoke only made his eyes smart. He remained in the oven
seven times seven days. Then Laotzse had it opened to take a look. As
soon as Sun Wu Kung saw the light shine in, he could no longer bear to
be shut up, but leaped out and upset the magic oven. The guards and
attendants he threw to the ground and Laotzse himself, who tried to
seize him, received such a push that he stuck his legs up in the air
like an onion turned upside down. Then Sun Wu Kung took his rod out of
his ear, and without looking where he struck, hewed everything to
bits, so that the star-gods closed their doors and the guardians of
the Heavens ran away. He came to the castle of the Lord of the
Heavens, and the guardian of the gate with his steel whip was only
just in time to hold him back. Then the thirty-six thunder gods were
set at him, and surrounded him, though they could not seize him.

The Lord of the Heavens said: "Buddha will know what is to be done.
Send for him quickly!"

So Buddha came up out of the West with Ananada and Kashiapa, his
disciples. When he saw the turmoil he said: "First of all, let weapons
be laid aside and lead out the Saint. I wish to speak with him!" The
gods withdrew. Sun Wu Kung snorted and said: "Who are you, who dare to
speak to me?" Buddha smiled and replied: "I have come out of the
blessed West, Shakiamuni Amitofu. I have heard of the revolt you have
raised, and am come to tame you!"

Said Sun Wu Kung: "I am the stone ape who has gained the hidden
knowledge. I am master of seventy-two transformations, and will live
as long as Heaven itself. What has the Lord of the Heavens
accomplished that entitles him to remain eternally on his throne? Let
him make way for me, and I will be satisfied!"

Buddha replied with a smile: "You are a beast which has gained magic
powers. How can you expect to rule here as Lord of the Heavens? Be it
known to you that the Lord of the Heavens has toiled for eons in
perfecting his virtues. How many years would you have to pass before
you could attain the dignity he has gained? And then I must ask you
whether there is anything else you can do, aside from playing your
tricks of transformation?"

Said Sun Wu Kung: "I can turn cloud somersaults. Each one carries me
eighteen thousand miles ahead. Surely that is enough to entitle me to
be the Lord of the Heavens?"

Buddha answered with a smile: "Let us make a wager. If you can so much
as leave my hand with one of your somersaults, then I will beg the
Lord of the Heavens to make way for you. But if you are not able to
leave my hand, then you must yield yourself to my fetters."

Sun Wu Kung suppressed his laughter, for he thought: "This Buddha is a
crazy fellow! His hand is not a foot long; how could I help but leap
out of it?" So he opened his mouth wide and said: "Agreed!"

Buddha then stretched out his right hand. It resembled a small
lotus-leaf. Sun Wu Kung leaped up into it with one bound. Then he
said: "Go!" And with that he turned one somersault after another, so
that he flew along like a whirlwind. And while he was flying along he
saw five tall, reddish columns towering to the skies. Then he thought:
"That is the end of the world! Now I will turn back and become Lord of
the Heavens. But first I will write down my name to prove that I was
there." He pulled out a hair, turned it into a brush, and wrote with
great letters on the middle column: "The Great Saint Who Is Heaven's
Equal." Then he turned his somersaults again until he had reached the
place whence he had come. He leaped down from the Buddha's hand
laughing and cried: "Now hurry, and see to it that the Lord of the
Heavens clears his heavenly castle for me! I have been at the end of
the world and have left a sign there!"

Buddha scolded: "Infamous ape! How dare you claim that you have left
my hand? Take a look and see whether or not 'The Great Saint Who Is
Heaven's Equal,' is written on my middle finger!"

Sun Wu Kung was terribly frightened, for at the first glance he saw
that this was the truth. Yet outwardly he pretended that he was not
convinced, said he would take another look, and tried to make use of
the opportunity to escape. But Buddha covered him with his hand,
shoved him out of the gate of Heaven, and formed a mountain of water,
fire, wood, earth and metal, which he softly set down on him to hold
him fast. A magic incantation pasted on the mountain prevented his
escape.

Here he was obliged to lie for hundreds of years, until he finally
reformed and was released, in order to help the Monk of the
Yangtze-kiang fetch the holy writings from out of the West. He honored
the Monk as his master, and thenceforward was known as the Wanderer.
Guan Yin, who had released him, gave the Monk a golden circlet. Sun Wu
Kung was induced to put it on, and it at once grew into his flesh so
that he could not remove it. And Guan Yin gave the Monk a magic
formula by means of which the ring could be tightened, should the ape
grow disobedient. But from that time on he was always polite and
well-mannered.

    Note: This tale, like "The Pilgrim's Progress," is an
    allegory, the ape symbolizing the human heart. Yet
    despite its allegorical character, a number of
    mythological and fairy-tale motives are incorporated in
    it. The ape himself suggests Hanumant, the companion of
    Rama. Yo Huang is the Lord of the Heavens. The stone ape
    is the stone heart of natural man. The Buddhas, blessed
    spirits and gods, represent the ideals of Buddhism,
    Taoism and Confucianism. Sun Wu Kung: In Chinese apes
    are called Hu Sun, but the word Hu having an unlucky
    meaning, the Master chooses Sun as a family name, while
    at the same time the letter-sign is freed from the
    radical indicating an animal. Wu Kung--"the magic
    awaking to nothingness" (Nirwana). The different ways:
    magic, the way of raising spirits; the sciences: The
    three faiths are: Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism; to
    these are added six "schools": the Yin-Yang School, the
    Mo-Di School, Medicine, War, Law, Miscellaneous, so that
    nine directions in all are represented. Quiescence is
    the Taoism for non-activity, while Action is the Taoism
    for care of the body, as inaugurated by We Be Yang. The
    Devil-King of Chaos, i.e., sensuality, whose seat is
    supposed to be in Kidneys. "Red garments," colors, here
    all have an allegorical meaning. Death, i.e., Yama. The
    Evening Star is the star of metal; Sun Wu Kung also
    personifies a metal, hence the Evening Star appears as
    his apologist. As regards Li Dsing and Notscha see No.
    18. As regards the Queen Mother of the West, see No. 15.
    As regards Yang Oerlang, see No. 17. Guan Yin is
    generally worshipped throughout China as the Feminine
    goddess. The motive of the magic flight is found
    frequently in fairy-tales the world over. Guan Yin is
    often represented holding a vase, Bau Ping. Laotzse's
    circlet or ring is the Tao. The eight elemental powers,
    i.e., Ba Gua. Buddha: while Sun Wu Kung is equipped to
    struggle against all external powers, he is conquered by
    Buddha, who does not combat him, but subdues him by his
    omnipresence. The Monk of the Yangtze-kiang is Huan
    Dschuang, see No. 69. The circlet or ring which can be
    made tighter when the ape does not obey, reappears in
    Hauff's fairy-tale of "The Young Englishman," as a
    cravat.


THE END



Transcriber's Note

Archaic spelling, e.g. rimes, phenix, is preserved as printed. Variable
spelling has been made consistent where there was a prevalence of one
form; otherwise it is preserved as printed, e.g. Kaiutschou &
Kiautschou, Laotzse & Laotsze.

Punctuation errors have been repaired. Hyphenation, and capitalisation
of proper nouns, has been made consistent. Typographic errors, e.g.
omitted or transposed letters, have been repaired.

The following amendments have been made:

    Page 24--repeated 'the' deleted--"... "The Wolf and the
    Seven Kids," ..."

    Page 76--(I) added to end of title for consistency with
    the table of contents--"THE EIGHT IMMORTALS (I)"

    Page 82--omitted word Lan added--"Lan Tsai Ho, who is also
    pictured as a woman, ..."

    Page 82--(II) added to end of title for consistency with
    the table of contents--"THE EIGHT IMMORTALS (II)"

    Page 85--omitted word Yuan added--""We are Liu Tschen and
    Yuan Dshau. Only a few days ago ...""

    Page 289--superfluous 'the' deleted before 'Evening'--"Only,
    the King had kept back Rose of Evening ..."

Page 186--mentions the "Su Tsi Hia"--other similar references in the
text are to the "Sin Tsi Hia" but, as the transcriber has been unable
to confirm whether this is from the same source, it has been preserved
as printed.

Page 224--refers to a serving-maid holding a "red flabrum in her
hand." Flabrum is a Latin word for breeze. This may be a typo for
flagrum, a kind of scourge, but as it is impossible to be certain, it
has been preserved as printed.

Page 227--mentions a man who "descended to the upper story"--this
should probably read "ascended to the upper story" but has been
preserved as printed.

Page 278--mentions a man "now, when young and old"--this may be an
error for "young and bold" but has been preserved as printed.

A number of the notes to the stories refer to other stories. On page
17, there is a reference to No. 81. There is no story with this
number, and, as the transcriber was unable to determine which story
the author was referring to, it has been preserved as printed.

The following amendments to references have also been made:

    Page 17--67 amended to 68, and Fee amended to Fe--"...
    (see No. 68, "Yang Gui Fe")."

    Page 24--48 amended to 49--"... the same beast as "the
    talking silver fox" in No. 49, ..."

    Page 41--37 amended to 34--"... (comp. "Sky O'Dawn," No.
    34); ..."

    Page 52--73 amended to 74--"... occurs in the tale of Sun
    Wu Kung (No. 74)."

    Page 64--68 amended to 69--"As regards the Monk of the
    Yangtze-kiang, comp. with No. 69."

    Page 75--31 amended to 30--"... frequently used in the
    preparation of the elixir of life (comp. No. 30)."

    Page 83--63 amended to 51--"As regards the field-god, see
    No. 51."

    Page 137--62 amended to 63--"... the old river-god Ho Be
    (Count of the Stream), also mentioned in No. 63, ..."

    Page 142--75 amended to 74--"As regards the Dragon-King
    of the Eastern Sea, see Nos. 18 and 74."

    Page 142--45 amended to 46--"With regard to So Pi-Lo and
    Lo-Dsi-Tschun, see No. 46."

    Page 251--64 amended to 65--"... the Prince of Tang
    mentioned in No. 65."

    Page 251--49 amended to 50--"... and the ten princes of
    the Nether World, comp. Nos. 38 and 50."

    Page 251--73 amended to 74--"As regards one of the
    legendary companions of Huan Dschuang on his journey,
    see No. 74."

    Page 329--68 amended to 69--"The Monk of the
    Yangtze-kiang is Huan Dschuang, see No. 69."

Illustrations have been moved where necessary so that they are not in
the middle of a paragraph. The frontispiece illustration and advertising
material has been moved to follow the title page.





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