Myths and Legends of China

Page: 56

As compensation he was, though somewhat tardily, canonized as the Spirit of the White Tiger Star.

Apotheosized Philosophers

The philosophers Lieh Tzŭ, Huai-nan Tzŭ, Chuang Tzŭ, Mo Tzŭ, etc., have also been apotheosized. Nothing very remarkable is related of them. Most of them had several reincarnations and possessed supernatural powers. The second, who was a king, when taken by the Eight Immortals to the genii’s Heaven forgot now and then to address them as superiors, and but for their intercession with Yü Ti, the Pearly Emperor, would have been reincarnated. In order to humiliate himself, he thereafter called himself Huai-nan Tzŭ, ‘the Sage of the South of the Huai.’ The third, Chuang Tzŭ, Chuang Shêng, or Chuang Chou, was a disciple of Lao Tzŭ. Chuang Tzŭ was in the habit of sleeping during the day, and at night would transform himself into a butterfly, which fluttered gaily over the flowers in the garden. On waking, he would still feel the sensation of flying in his shoulders. Page 149On asking Lao Tzŭ the reason for this, he was told: “Formerly you were a white butterfly which, having partaken of the quintessence of flowers and of the yin and the yang, should have been immortalized; but one day you stole some peaches and flowers in Wang Mu Niang-niang’s garden. The guardian of the garden slew you, and that is how you came to be reincarnated.” At this time he was fifty years of age.

Fanning the Grave

One of the tales associated with him describes how he saw a young woman in mourning vigorously fanning a newly made grave. On his asking her the reason of this strange conduct, she replied: “I am doing this because my husband begged me to wait until the earth on his tomb was dry before I remarried!” Chuang Tzŭ offered to help her, and as soon as he waved the fan once the earth was dry. The young widow thanked him and departed.

On his return home, Chuang Shêng related this incident to his wife. She expressed astonishment at such conduct on the part of a wife. “There’s nothing to be surprised at,” rejoined the husband; “that’s how things go in this world.” Seeing that he was poking fun at her, she protested angrily. Some little time after this Chuang Shêng died. His wife, much grieved, buried him.

Husband and Wife

A few days later a young man named Ch’u Wang-sun arrived with the intention, as he said, of placing himself under the instruction of Chuang Shêng. When he heard that he was dead he went and performed prostrations before his tomb, and afterward took up his abode in an Page 150empty room, saying that he wished to study. After half a month had elapsed, the widow asked an old servant who had accompanied Wang-sun if the young man was married. On his replying in the negative, she requested the old servant to propose a match between them. Wang-sun made some objections, saying that people would criticize their conduct. “Since my husband is dead, what can they say?” replied the widow. She then put off her mourning-garments and prepared for the wedding.

Wang-sun took her to the grave of her husband, and said to her: “The gentleman has returned to life!” She looked at Wang-sun and recognized the features of her husband. She was so overwhelmed with shame that she hanged herself. Chuang Shêng buried her in an empty tomb, and then began to sing.