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A Spirit of the Wu-Lian Mountain

To the west of the gulf of Kisutschou is the Wu-Lian Mountain. Once 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.

The monster lifted him up in the air and carried him away. When they passed by a Buddhist temple in the hills, the scholar saw the figure of a god in golden armour at a distance in the clouds. The figure looked exactly like the image of Weto which was in the tower of the Buddhist temple. In its right hand the figure in the clouds 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. It seemed that Weto had come to the scholar's aid, for his whole family used to celebrate Buddha and meditate at that temple.

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 where the monster had seized his hair, the hair remained stiff and unyielding. It did not improve till half a year had gone by.

This legend comes from Dschungschong, west of the gulf of Kiautschou. The tower is named Weto (Sanskrit, Veda), for a legendary Boddhisatva of heaven. His picture, with drawn sword, may be found at the entrance of Buddhist temples.

King Lui of Huai Nan

King Lui of Huai Nan was a learned man of the Han dynasty. Because they were related, the emperor had given him a kingdom in fee. The king cultivated the society of scholars, could interpret signs and foretell the future. Together with his scholars he had compiled a 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.

Accordingly the gate-keeper 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 silk black hair 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 and told them how glad he was that they had come.

The eight boys changed into old men again and said:

"Do you wish us to teach you, 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 into water without drowning. The winter frost cannot chill him, and the summer heat cannot burn him.

The sixth can create and transform living creatures, if he feels 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, king! Had it not befallen you, you would not have been able to resolve to leave the splendours and glories of this world"

They led him on to a mountain. There 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 still. 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. From there he was sent back, and 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 the hope of meeting the eight old men himself. Yet, even though he spent great sums he was unsuccessful.

Revenge on the East Sea

Long ago, Emperor Yan had a daughter called Nyuwa. She was beautiful, lovely and had a strong will. She was fond of swimming and often went to the East Sea, playing with the blue waves, enjoying the pleasure of being close to Nature.

But one day while swimming, she was drowned. Her soul would not give in, though, and broke through the water and became a Jinwei bird, with white-black spots on her head, a grey beak and red claws. She lost no time in seeking vengeance. Every day she picked up pebbles and sticks from the Western Mountains and dropped them into the East Sea. She was determined to fill up the sea to revenge herself, to make it no longer capable of drowning others.

Rain or shine, she never rested; summer or winter, she kept on working. Even now, she is still busying herself with her task.


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