Myths and Legends of China

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Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Jeroen Hellingman and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team. Confucius: Teacher and Philosopher

Confucius: Teacher and Philosopher

Myths & Legends of China

George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd.
London Bombay Sydney

In Memoriam

Gladys Nina Chalmers Werner Page 7


The chief literary sources of Chinese myths are the Li tai shên hsien t’ung chien, in thirty-two volumes, the Shên hsien lieh chuan, in eight volumes, the Fêng shên yen i, in eight volumes, and the Sou shên chi, in ten volumes. In writing the following pages I have translated or paraphrased largely from these works. I have also consulted and at times quoted from the excellent volumes on Chinese Superstitions by Père Henri Doré, comprised in the valuable series Variétés Sinologiques, published by the Catholic Mission Press at Shanghai. The native works contained in the Ssŭ K’u Ch’üan Shu, one of the few public libraries in Peking, have proved useful for purposes of reference. My heartiest thanks are due to my good friend Mr Mu Hsüeh-hsün, a scholar of wide learning and generous disposition, for having kindly allowed me to use his very large and useful library of Chinese books. The late Dr G.E. Morrison also, until he sold it to a Japanese baron, was good enough to let me consult his extensive collection of foreign works relating to China whenever I wished, but owing to the fact that so very little work has been done in Chinese mythology by Western writers I found it better in dealing with this subject to go direct to the original Chinese texts. I am indebted to Professor H.A. Giles, and to his publishers, Messrs Kelly and Walsh, Shanghai, for permission to reprint from Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio the fox legends given in Chapter XV.

This is, so far as I know, the only monograph on Chinese mythology in any non-Chinese language. Nor do the native works include any scientific analysis or philosophical treatment of their myths. Page 8

My aim, after summarizing the sociology of the Chinese as a prerequisite to the understanding of their ideas and sentiments, and dealing as fully as possible, consistently with limitations of space (limitations which have necessitated the presentation of a very large and intricate topic in a highly compressed form), with the philosophy of the subject, has been to set forth in English dress those myths which may be regarded as the accredited representatives of Chinese mythology—those which live in the minds of the people and are referred to most frequently in their literature, not those which are merely diverting without being typical or instructive—in short, a true, not a distorted image.

Edward Theodore Chalmers Werner

February 1922 Page 9


Chapter Page
I. The Sociology of the Chinese 13
II. On Chinese Mythology 60
III. Cosmogony—P’an Ku and the Creation Myth 76
IV. The Gods of China 93
V. Myths of the Stars 176
VI. Myths of Thunder, Lightning, Wind, and Rain 198
VII. Myths of the Waters 208
VIII. Myths of Fire 236
IX. Myths of Epidemics, Medicine, Exorcism, Etc. 240
X. The Goddess of Mercy 251
XI. The Eight Immortals 288
XII. The Guardian of the Gate of Heaven 305
XIII. A Battle of the Gods 320
XIV. How the Monkey Became a God 325
XV. Fox Legends 370
XVI. Miscellaneous Legends 386
Glossary and Index 425

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Confucius: Teacher and Philosopher Frontispiece
The Spirit that Clears the Way 44
Lao Tzŭ 72
Nü Kua Shih 82
Mencius 90
Wên Ch’ang, K’uei Hsing, and Chu I 110
The Buddhist Triad 120
The Taoist Triad 124
Hsi Wang Mu 136
Chang Tao-ling 138
Tou Mu, Goddess of the North Star 144
Chiang Tzŭ-ya At K’un-lun 156
Chiang Tzŭ-ya Defeats Wên Chung 160
The Kitchen-god 166
The Gods of Happiness, Office, and Longevity 170
The Money-tree 172
The Door-gods, Civil and Military 174
Hêng Ò Flies to the Moon 184
Wên Chung, Minister of Thunder 198
Dragon-gods 208
Spirit of the Well 216
The Magic Umbrellas 242
P’an Kuan 248
Miao Shan Reaches the Nunnery 262
The Tiger Carries Off Miao Shan 266
The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea 302
The Birth of the Monkey 326
The Demons of Blackwater River Carry Away the Master 352
Buddhists as Slaves in Slow-carts Country 354
Sun Steals Clothing for His Master 364
The Return to China 368
Chia Tzŭ-lung Finds the Stone 382

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Mais cet Orient, cette Asie, quelles en sont, enfin, les frontières réelles?... Ces frontières sont d’une netteté qui ne permet aucune erreur. L’Asie est là où cesse la vulgarité, où naît la dignité, et où commence l’élégance intellectuelle. Et l’Orient est là où sont les sources débordantes de poésie.

La Reine de Saba