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Myths and Legends of China

Page: 154

The Magic Circle

It was now winter. The pilgrims were crossing a high mountain by a narrow pass, and the Master was afraid of wild beasts. The three disciples bade him fear not, as they were united, and were all good men seeking truth. Being cold and hungry they rejoiced to see a fine building ahead of them, but Sun said: “It is another devil’s trap. I will make a ring round you. Inside that you will be safe. Do not wander outside it. I will go and look for food.” Sun returned with his bowl full of rice, but found that his companions had got tired of waiting, and had disappeared. They had gone forward to the fine building, which Pa-chieh entered. Not a Page 358soul was to be seen, but on going upstairs he was terrified to see a human skeleton of immense size lying on the floor. At this moment the Demon of the house descended on them, bound the Master, and said: “We have been told that if we eat of your flesh our white hair will become black again, and our lost teeth grow anew.” So he ordered the small devils who accompanied him to bind the others. This they did, and thrust the pilgrims into a cave, and then lay in wait for Sun. It was not long before the Monkey came up, when a great fight ensued. In the end, having failed, notwithstanding the exercise of numerous magic arts, to release his companions, Sun betook himself to the Spiritual Mountain and besought Ju Lai’s aid. Eighteen lohan were sent to help him against the Demon. When Sun renewed the attack, the lohan threw diamond dust into the air, which b


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