Myths and Legends of China

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“I alone am the cause of your destruction.” She then knelt down and prayed to Heaven: “Great Sovereign of the Universe, your servant is the daughter of King Miao Chuang; you are the grandson of King Lun. Will you not rescue your younger sister? You have left your palace; I also have left mine. You in former times betook yourself to the snowy mountains to attain perfection; I came here with the same object. Will you not save us from this fiery destruction?”

Her prayer ended, Miao Shan took a bamboo hairpin from her hair, pricked the roof of her mouth with it, and spat the flowing blood toward Heaven. Immediately great clouds gathered in all parts of the sky and sent down inundating showers, which put out the fire that threatened the nunnery. The nuns threw themselves on their knees and thanked her effusively for having saved their lives.

Hu Pi-li retired, and went in haste to inform the King of this extraordinary occurrence. The King, enraged, The Tiger Carries Off Miao Shan.

The Tiger Carries Off Miao Shan.

The King’s warrant arrived, and suddenly the sky became overcast and darkness fell upon the earth. A bright light surrounded Miao Shan, and when the sword of the executioner fell upon the neck of the victim it was broken in two. Then they thrust at her with a spear, but the weapon fell to pieces. After that the King ordered that she be strangled with a silken cord. A Page 267few moments later a tiger leapt into the execution ground, dispersed the executioners, put the inanimate body of Miao Shan on his back, and disappeared into the pine-forest. Hu Pi-li rushed to the palace, recounted to the King full details of all that had occurred, and received a reward of two ingots of gold.

Miao Shan visits the Infernal Regions

Meantime, Miao Shan’s soul, which remained unhurt, was borne on a cloud; when, waking as from a dream, she lifted her head and looked round, she could not see her body. “My father has just had me strangled,” she sighed. “How is it that I find myself in this place? Here are neither mountains, nor trees, nor vegetation; no sun, moon, nor stars; no habitation, no sound, no cackling of a fowl nor barking of a dog. How can I live in this desolate region?”

Suddenly a young man dressed in blue, shining with a brilliant light, and carrying a large banner, appeared and said to her: “By order of Yen Wang, the King of the Hells, I come to take you to the eighteen infernal regions.”