Myths and Legends of China
Page: 134For five or six nights the son appeared to his mother, each time repeating his request. The last time he added: “Do not forget that by nature I am ferocious; if you refuse my request evil will befall you.”
His mother then sent builders to the mountain to construct a temple to No-cha, and his image was set up in it. Miracles were not wanting, and the number of pilgrims who visited the shrine increased daily. Page 315
Li Ching destroys his Son’s Statue
One day Li Ching, with a troop of his soldiers, was passing this mountain, and saw the roads crowded with pilgrims of both sexes. “Where are these people going?” he asked. “For six months past,” he was told, “the spirit of the temple on this mountain has continued to perform miracles. People come from far and near to worship and supplicate him.”
“What is the name of this spirit?” inquired Li Ching.
“No-cha,” they replied.
“No-cha!” exclaimed the father. “I will go and see him myself.”
In a rage Li Ching entered the temple and examined the statue, which was a speaking image of his son. By its side were images of two of his servants. He took his whip and began to beat the statue, cursing it all the while. “It is not enough, apparently, for you to have been a source of disaster to us,” he said; “but even after your death you must deceive the multitude.” He whipped the statue until it fell to pieces; he then kicked over the images of the servants, and went back, admonishing the people not to worship so wicked a man, the shame and ruin of his family. By his orders the temple was burnt to the ground.
When he reached Ch’ên-t’ang Kuan his wife came to him, but he received her coldly. “You gave birth to that cursed son,” he said, “who has been the plague of our lives, and after his death you build him a temple in which he deceives the people. Do you wish to have me disgraced? If I were to be accused at Court of having instituted the worship of false gods, would not my destruction be certain? I have burned the temple, and intend Page 316that that shall settle the matter once for all; if ever you think of rebuilding it I will break off all relations with you.”
No-cha consults his Master
At the time of his father’s visit No-cha was absent from the temple. On his return he found only its smoking remnants. The spirits of his two servants ran up lamenting. “Who has demolished my temple?” he asked. “Li Ching,” they replied. “In doing this he has exceeded his powers,” said No-cha. “I gave him back the substance I received from him; why did he come with violence to break up my image? I will have nothing more to do with him.”
No-cha’s soul had already begun to be spiritualised. So he determined to go to T’ai-i Chên-jên and beg for his help. “The worship rendered to you there,” replied the Taoist, “had nothing in it which should have offended your father; it did not concern him. He was in the wrong. Before long Chiang Tzŭ-ya will descend to inaugurate the new dynasty, and since you must throw in your lot with him I will find a way to aid you.”