Myths and Legends of China

Page: 136

No-cha, bristling like a savage cat, threw himself at his enemy and tried to pierce him with his spear, but a white lotus-flower emerged from the Taoist’s mouth and arrested the course of the weapon. As No-cha continued to threaten him, the Taoist drew from his sleeve a mysterious object which rose in the air, and, falling at the feet of No-cha, enveloped him in flames. Then No-cha prayed for mercy. The Taoist exacted from him three separate promises: to live in harmony with his father, to recognize and address him as his father, and to throw himself at his, the Taoist’s, feet, to indicate his reconciliation with himself.

After this act of reconciliation had been performed, Wên-chu T’ien-tsun promised Li Ching that he should leave his official post to become an Immortal able to place his services at the disposal of the new Chou dynasty, shortly to come into power. In order to ensure that Page 319their reconciliation should last for ever, and to place it beyond No-cha’s power to seek revenge, he gave Li Ching the wonderful object by whose agency No-cha’s feet had been burned, and which had been the means of bringing him into subjection. It was a golden pagoda, which became the characteristic weapon of Li Ching, and gave rise to his nickname, Li the Pagoda-bearer. Finally, Yü Huang appointed him Generalissimo of the Twenty-six Celestial Officers, Grand Marshal of the Skies, and Guardian of the Gate of Heaven. Page 320

Chapter XIII

A Battle of the Gods

Multifarious Versatile Divinities

The Fêng shên yen i describes at length how, during the wars which preceded the accession of the Chou dynasty in 1122 B.C., a multitude of demigods, Buddhas, Immortals, etc., took part on one side or the other, some fighting for the old, some for the new dynasty. They were wonderful creatures, gifted with marvellous powers. They could at will change their form, multiply their heads and limbs, become invisible, and create, by merely uttering a word, terrible monsters who bit and destroyed, or sent forth poison gases, or emitted flames from their nostrils. In these battles there is much lightning, thunder, flight of fire-dragons, dark clouds which vomit burning hails of murderous weapons; swords, spears, and arrows fall from the sky on to the heads of the combatants; the earth trembles, the pillars of Heaven shake.

Chun T’i

One of these gifted warriors was Chun T’i, a Taoist of the Western Paradise, who appeared on the scene when the armies of the rival dynasties were facing each other. K’ung Hsüan was gallantly holding the pass of the Chin-chi Ling; Chiang Tzŭ-ya was trying to take it by assault—so far without success.

Chun T’i’s mission was to take K’ung Hsüan to the abode of the blest, his wisdom and general progress having now reached the required degree of perfection. This was a means of breaking down the invincible resistance of this powerful enemy and at the same time of rewarding his brilliant talents. Page 321

But K’ung Hsüan did not approve of this plan, and a fight took place between the two champions. At one moment Chun T’i was seized by a luminous bow and carried into the air, but while enveloped in a cloud of fire he appeared with eighteen arms and twenty-four heads, holding in each hand a powerful talisman.

The One-eyed Peacock

He put a silk cord round K’ung Hsüan’s neck, touched him with his wand, and forced him to reassume his original form of a red one-eyed peacock. Chun T’i seated himself on the peacock’s back, and it flew across the sky, bearing its saviour and master to the Western Paradise. Brilliantly variegated clouds marked its track through space.