Myths and Legends of China
The goddess mounted her blue phœnix, flew over the fort, seized Li Ching, and carried him to her cave. There she made him kneel before her, and reminded him how she had protected him that he might gain honour and glory on earth before he attained to immortality. Page 313“It is thus that you show your gratitude—by killing my servant!”
Li Ching swore that he was innocent; but the tell-tale arrow was there, and it could not but have come from the fortress. Li Ching begged the goddess to set him at liberty, in order that he might find the culprit and bring him to her. “If I cannot find him,” he added, “you may take my life.”
Once again No-cha frankly admitted his deed to his father, and followed him to the cave of Shih-chi Niang-niang. When he reached the entrance the second servant reproached him with the crime, whereupon No-cha struck him a heavy blow. Shih-chi Niang-niang, infuriated, threw herself at No-cha, sword in hand; one after the other she wrenched from him his bracelet and magic trousers.
Deprived of his magic weapons, No-cha fled to his master, T’ai-i Chên-jên. The goddess followed and demanded that he be put to death. A terrible conflict ensued between the two champions, until T’ai-i Chên-jên hurled into the air his globe of nine fire-dragons, which, falling on Shih-chi Niang-niang, enveloped her in a whirlwind of flame. When this had passed it was seen that she was changed into stone.
“Now you are safe,” said T’ai-i Chên-jên to No-cha, “but return quickly, for the Four Dragon-kings have laid their accusation before Yü Huang, and they are going to carry off your parents. Follow my advice, and you will rescue your parents from their misfortune.”
No-cha commits Hara-Kiri
On his return No-cha found the Four Dragon-kings on the point of carrying off his parents. “It is I,” he Page 314said, “who killed Ao Ping, and I who should pay the penalty. Why are you molesting my parents? I am about to return to them what I received from them. Will it satisfy you?”
Lung Wang agreed, whereupon No-cha took a sword, and before their eyes cut off an arm, sliced open his stomach, and fell unconscious. His soul, borne on the wind, went straight to the cave of T’ai-i Chên-jên, while his mother busied herself with burying his body.
“Your home is not here,” said his master to him; “return to Ch’ên-t’ang Kuan, and beg your mother to build a temple on Ts’ui-p’ing Shan, forty li farther on. Incense will be burned to you for three years, at the end of which time you will be reincarnated.”
A Habitation for the Soul
During the night, toward the third watch, while his mother was in a deep sleep, No-cha appeared to her in a dream and said: “My mother, pity me; since my death, my soul, separated from my body, wanders about without a home. Build me, I pray you, a temple on Ts’ui-p’ing Shan, that I may be reincarnated.” His mother awoke in tears, and related her vision to Li Ching, who reproached her for her blind attachment to her unnatural son, the cause of so much disaster.