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Myths and Legends of China

Page: 88

Shortly after this Chang Tao-ling met a hunter. He exhorted him not to kill living beings, but to change his occupation to that of a salt-burner, instructing him how to draw out the salt from salt-water wells. Thus the people of that district were advantaged both by being able to obtain the salt and by being no longer molested by the twelve female spirits. A temple, called Temple of the Prince of Ch’ing Ho, was built by them, and the territory of Ling Chou was given to Chang Tao-ling in recognition of the benefits he had conferred upon the people.

The Dragon-king’s Daughter

A graduate named Liu I, in the reign-period I Fêng (A.D. 676–679) of the Emperor Kao Tsung of the T’ang dynasty, having failed in his examination for his licentiate’s degree, when passing through Ching-yang Hsien, in Ch’ang-an, Shensi, on his way home, saw a young woman tending goats by the roadside. She said Page 218to him: “I am the youngest daughter of the Dragonking of the Tung-t’ing Lake. My parents married me to the son of the God of the River Ching, but my husband, misled by the slanders of the servants, repudiated me. I have heard that you are returning to the Kingdom of Wu, which is quite close to my native district, so I want to ask you to take this letter to my father. To the north of the Tung-t’ing Lake you will find a large orange-tree, called by the natives Protector of the Soil. Strike it three times with your girdle and some one will appear.”

Some months later the graduate went to the spot, found the orange-tree, and struck it three times, whereupon a warrior arose from the lake and, saluting him, asked what he wanted. “I wish to see your great King,” the graduate replied. The warrior struck the waters, opening a passage for Liu I, and led him to a palace. “This,” he said, “is the palace of Ling Hsü.” In a few minutes there appeared a person dressed in violet-coloured clothes and holding in his hand a piece of jade. “This is our King,” said the warrior. “I am your Majesty’s neighbour,” replied Liu I. “I spent my youth in Ch’u and studied in Ch’in. I have just failed in my licentiate examination. On my way home I saw your daughter tending some goats; she was all dishevelled, and in so pitiable a condition that it hurt me to see her, She has sent you this letter.”

Golden Dragon Great Prince

On reading the letter the King wept, and all the courtiers followed his example. “Stop wailing,” said the King, “lest Ch’ien-t’ang hear.” “Who is Ch’ien-t’ang?” asked Liu I. “He is my dear brother,” replied the King; “formerly he was one of the chief administrators Page 219of the Ch’ien-t’ang River; now he is the chief God of Rivers.” “Why are you so afraid that he might hear what I have just told you?” “Because he has a terrible temper. It was he who, in the reign of Yao, caused a nine-years flood.”


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