Myths and Legends of China
Page: 72“I have heard,” said Shên I to her, “that you possess the pills of immortality; I beg you to give me one or two.” “You are a well-known architect,” replied Chin Mu; “please build me a palace near this mountain.” Together they went to inspect a celebrated site known as Pai-yü-kuei Shan, ‘White Jade-tortoise Mountain,’ and fixed upon it as the location of the new abode of the goddess. Shên I had all the spirits of the mountain to work for him. The walls were built of jade, sweet-smelling Page 184woods were used for the framework and wainscoting, the roof was of glass, the steps of agate. In a fortnight’s time sixteen palace buildings stretched magnificently along the side of the mountain. Chin Mu gave to the architect a wonderful pill which would bestow upon him immortality as well as the faculty of being able at will to fly through the air. “But,” she said, “it must not be eaten now: you must first go through a twelve months’ preparatory course of exercise and diet, without which the pill will not have all the desired results.” Shên I thanked the goddess, took leave of her, and, returning to the Emperor, related to him all that had happened.
On reaching home, the archer hid his precious pill under a rafter, lest anyone should steal it, and then began the preparatory course in immortality.
At this time there appeared in the south a strange man named Tso Ch’ih, ‘Chisel-tooth.’ He had round eyes and a long projecting tooth. He was a well-known criminal. Yao ordered Shên I and his small band of brave followers to deal with this new enemy. This extraordinary man lived in a cave, and when Shên I and his men arrived he emerged brandishing a padlock. Shên I broke his long tooth by shooting an arrow at it, and Tso Ch’ih fled, but was struck in the back and laid low by another arrow from Shên I. The victor took the broken tooth with him as a trophy.