Myths and Legends of China

Page: 138

T’ung-t’ien Chiao-chu, whose specially effective charms had so far kept the fort secure against every attempt upon it.

Lao Tzŭ himself had deigned to descend from dwelling in happiness, together with Yüan-shih T’ien-tsun and Chieh-yin Tao-jên, to take part in the siege. But the town had four gates, and these heavenly rulers were only three in number. So Chun T’i was recalled, and each member of the quartette was entrusted with the task of capturing one of the gates. Page 322


Chun T’i’s duty was to take the Chüeh-hsien Mên, defended by T’ung-t’ien Chiao-chu. The warriors who had tried to enter the town by this gate had one and all paid for their temerity with their lives. The moment each had crossed the threshold a clap of thunder had resounded, and a mysterious sword, moving with lightning rapidity, had slain him.

Offence and Defence

As Chun T’i advanced at the head of his warriors terrible lightning rent the air and the mysterious sword descended like a thunderbolt upon his head. But Chun T’i held on high his Seven-precious Branch, whereupon there emerged from it thousands of lotus-flowers, which formed an impenetrable covering and stopped the sword in its fall. This and the other gates were then forced, and a grand assault was now directed against the chief defender of the town.

T’ung-t’ien Chiao-chu, riding his ox and surrounded by his warriors, for the last time risked the chance of war and bravely faced his four terrible adversaries. With his sword held aloft, he threw himself on Chieh-yin Tao-jên, whose only weapon was his fly-whisk. But there emerged from this a five-coloured lotus-flower, which stopped the sword-thrust. While Lao Tzŭ struck the hero with his staff, Yüan-shih T’ien-tsun warded off the terrible sword with his jade ju-i.

Chun T’i now called to his help the spiritual peacock, and took the form of a warrior with twenty-four heads and eighteen arms. His mysterious weapons surrounded T’ung-t’ien Chiao-chu, and Lao Tzŭ struck the hero so Page 323hard that fire came out from his eyes, nose, and mouth. Unable to parry the assaults of his adversaries, he next received a blow from Chun T’i’s magic wand, which felled him, and he took flight in a whirlwind of dust.

The defenders now offered no further resistance, and Yüan-shih T’ien-tsun thanked Chun T’i for the valuable assistance he had rendered in the capture of the village, after which the gods returned to their palace in the Western Heaven.

Attempts at Revenge

T’ung-t’ien Chiao-chu, vanquished and routed, swore to have his revenge. He called to his aid the spirits of the twenty-eight constellations, and marched to attack Wu Wang’s army. The honour of the victory that ensued belonged to Chun T’i, who disarmed both the Immortal Wu Yün and T’ung-t’ien Chiao-chu.

Wu Yün, armed with his magic sword, entered the lists against Chun T’i; but the latter opened his mouth and a blue lotus-flower came out and stopped the blows aimed at him. Other thrusts were met by similar miracles.

“Why continue so useless a fight?” said Chun T’i at last. “Abandon the cause of the Shang, and come with me to the Western Paradise. I came to save you, and you must not compel me to make you resume your original form.”

An insulting flow of words was the reply; again the magic sword descended like lightning, and again the stroke was averted by a timely lotus-flower. Chun T’i now waved his wand, and the magic sword was broken to bits, the handle only remaining in Wu Yün’s hand. Page 324

The Golden-bearded Turtle

Mad with rage, Wu Yün seized his club and tried to fell his enemy. But Chun T’i summoned a disciple, who appeared with a bamboo pole. This he thrust out like a fishing-rod, and on a hook at the end of the line attached to the pole dangled a large golden-bearded turtle. This was the Immortal Wu Yün, now in his original form of a spiritual turtle. The disciple seated himself on its back, and both, disappearing into space, returned to the Western Heavens.

The Battle Won

To conquer T’ung-t’ien Chiao-chu was more difficult, but after a long fight Chun T’i waved his Wand of the Seven Treasures and broke his adversary’s sword. The latter, disarmed and vanquished, disappeared in a cloud of dust. Chun T’i did not trouble to pursue him. The battle was won.


A disciple of T’ung-t’ien Chiao-chu, P’i-lu Hsien, ‘the Immortal P’i-lu,’ seeing his master beaten in two successive engagements, left the battlefield and followed Chun T’i to the Western Paradise, to become a Buddha. He is known as P’i-lu Fo, one of the principal gods of Buddhism.

Chun T’i’s festival is celebrated on the sixth day of the third moon. He is generally shown with eight hands and three faces, one of the latter being that of a pig. Page 325

Chapter XIV

How the Monkey Became a God

The Hsi Yu Chi

In dealing with the gods of China we noticed the monkey among them. Why and in what manner he attained to that exalted rank is set forth in detail in the Hsi yu chi1—a work the contents of which have become woven into the fabric of Chinese legendary lore and are known and loved by every intelligent native. Its pages are filled with ghosts, demons, and fairies, good and bad, but “it contains no more than the average Chinese really believes to exist, and his belief in such manifestations is so firm that from the cradle to the grave he lives and moves and has his being in reference to them.” Its characters are said to be allegorical, though it may be doubted whether these implications may rightly be read into the Chinese text. Thus: