Skip to main content

Yi Yin was born of a Hollow Mulberry Tree

Yi Yin's mother lived near Yi River, and she was pregnant. One day, a spirit told her in a dream, "if your mortar bowl leaks water, hurry to the east, but don't look back." Next day she did see her mortar bowl leak water, so she told her neighbors and hurried ten leagues to the east. But she looked back at her city -- there was nothing but water. Her body then transformed into a hollow mulberry tree.

The next day, a daughter of the Yu Shen clan was picking mulberry leaves when she found a baby in a hollow mulberry tree. She presented it to her lord. The lord ordered his cook to bring the child up. This was baby Yi Yin who was born of a hollow mulberry tree.

Yi Yin grew up and became a good man. T'ang the Conqueror heard about him and sent a messenger to ask if the Yu Shen clan would let him have Yi Yin, but the Yu Shen clan refused. T'ang therefore asked the Yu Shen for a bride for him to marry. The Yu Shen clan was delighted and they made Yi Yin a guarantor to escort the bride.

When T'ang the Conqueror acquired the services of Yi Yin, they cleansed him of evil in the temple: they incensed him with huan-wei grass and bound some wei plants and set fire to them; they smeared him with blood of a sacrificial ox and pig.

The next day T'ang the Conqueror formally presided at court gave Yi Yin an audience. He delighted T'ang the Conqueror with tasty dishes cooked to perfection. (The Annals of Mr. Lü)


Popular posts from this blog


Miss Li, ennobled with the title "Lady of Ch‘ien-kuo," was once a prostitute in Ch‘ang-an. The devotion of her conduct was so remarkable that I have thought it worth while to record her story. In the T‘ien-pao era there was a certain nobleman, Governor of Ch‘ang-chou and Lord of Jung-yang, whose name and surname I will omit. He was a man of great wealth and highly esteemed by all. He had passed his fiftieth year and had a son who was close on twenty, a boy who in literary talent outstripped all his companions. His father was proud of him and had great hopes of his future. "This," he would say, "is the "thousand-league colt" of our family." When the time came for the lad to compete at the Provincial Examinations, his father gave him fine clothes and a handsome coach with richly caparisoned horses for the journey; and to provide for his expense at the Capital, he gave him a large sum of money, saying, "I am sure that your talent is such that …

The Fox and The Tiger

ONE day a fox encountered a tiger. The tiger showed his fangs and waved his claws and wanted to eat him up. But the fox said: 'Good sir, you must not think that you alone are the king of beasts. Your courage is no match for mine. Let us go together and you keep behind me. If the humans are not afraid of me when they see me, then you may eat me up.'

The tiger agreed and so the fox led him to a big high-way. As soon as the travellers saw the tiger in the distance they were seized with fear and ran away.

Then the said: 'You see? I was walking in front; they saw me before they could See you.'

Then the tiger put his tail between his legs and ran away.

The tiger had seen that the humans were afraid of the fox but he had not realized that the fox had merely borrowed his own terrible appearance.

[This story was translated by Ewald Osers from German, published by George Bell & Sons, in the book 'Chinese Folktales'. 
Osers noted that this story was from oral tradition.…

The wonderful pear-tree

Once upon a time a countryman came into the town on market-day, and brought a load of very special pears with him to sell. He set up his barrow in a good corner, and soon had a great crowd round him ; for everyone knew he always sold extra fine pears, though he did also ask an extra high price. Now, while he was crying up his fruit, a poor, old, ragged, hungry-looking priest stopped just in front of the barrow, and very humbly begged him to give him one of the pears. But the countryman, who was very mean and very nasty-tempered, wouldn't hear of giving him any, and as the priest didn't seem inclined to move on, he began calling him all the bad names he could think of. " Good sir," said the priest, " you have got hundreds of pears on your barrow. I only ask you for one. You would never even know you had lost one. Really, you needn't get angry."

"Give him a pear that is going bad ; that will make him happy," said one of the crowd. "The old…