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Showing posts from August, 2015

Zhu Bird: Mythical Chinese Bird From Shanhaijing

The Classic of Mountains and Seas records that on the Willow Mountain there is a bird whose form resembles an owl but with human hands instead of feet. It makes a sound similar to a female quail. It is called the Zhu (鴸) and makes a sound like its name. Legend has it that this bird was metamorphosed from Yao's Son Danzhu. After Emperor Yao abdicated his throne to Shun, Danzhu revolted with the joint forces of Three Miao, Yao sent his forces to defeat the insurgence, Prince Danzhu was ashamed, and jumped into the South-sea, and metamorphosed in to a bird. The descendants of Prince Danzhu set up a country near the territory of the South Sea, These people have a human face but with two wings. It it said that the appearance of Zhu Bird is an omen that many officials in the district will be exiled by the ruler. 有鸟焉,其状如鸱而人手,其音如痹,其名曰鴸,其鸣自号也,见则其县多放士。 Danzhu (丹朱) was the son of the legendary Chinese Emperor Yao (Tang Yao). His mother was a concubine, San Yi. He was described

How Ancient Chinese Catches an Orangutan

The Classic of Mountains and Seas says,on the Magpie Mountain, there is an animal whose form resembles an ape with white ears. It walks crouched over but runs like a man. It is called Xing Xing (猩猩) . We guess it must be orangutan. The same book says, Xing Xing resembles a pig with a human face, it is capable of identifying people by name. The book Records of the South says: The Xing Xing lives in the valleys in Ai Lao District, near modern Baoshan, Yunnan. It travels about without any fixed pattern and dwells along with the many other creatures. People capture an Xing Xing by placing wine along its path. It is also fond of sandals, and the locals weave several tens of pairs of straw sandals, which they attach to each other. The Xing Xing in a valley, upon seeing the wine and sandals, knows it is a trap and also knows the name of the trapper. It calls it out and scolds him, saying, “You slave! You are trying to trap me!” and leaves. But then it returns, calling out as it samples

The God Of Climbing Mountains, Yu-Er

The God Of Climbing Mountains, Yu-Er, is only one foot tall with completely human features. I think Yu-er might be mountain dwarf. Duke Huan of Qi (685–643 b.c.e.) was on a military campaign northwards against the state of Guzhu. A little more than three miles from the Bei-er River, he stopped short and stared transfixed. He aimed his bow but drew back and dared not shoot, saying to his attendants, “Do you see that person ahead?” The attendants answered, “We see no one.” The Duke said, “This campaign is destined to fail for I am much confused! I have just seen a person only a foot tall with completely human features. He wore a hat and his right arm was raised as he raced on a horse. This campaign is destined to fail for I am much confused! How could there be a person like this?” Guan Zhong (c. 730–645 b.c.e.) replied, “I have heard that there is a God Of Climbing Mountains, Yu-Er, who is only one foot tall with completely human features. When a hegemon arises, the God Of Climb

With deer’s milk, Tan Zi supplied his parents

《二十四孝·鹿乳奉亲》:“周郯子,性至孝。父母年老,俱患双眼,思食鹿乳。郯子顺承亲意,乃衣鹿皮,去深山,入鹿群之中,取鹿乳以供亲。猎者见欲射之,郯子具以情告,乃免。” In the time of the Chow dynasty lived Tan, who possessed a very filial disposition. His father and mother were aged, and both were afflicted with sore eyes, to cure which they desired to have some deer's milk. Tan concealed himself in the skin of a deer, and went deep into the forests. He closely imitated the cry, yew yew, of the fawns, watching for the tracks of the herd of the deer, hiding among the herds of deer, to obtain some of their milk for his parents. While in the forests the hunters saw him, and were about shooting at him with their arrows, when Tan disclosed to them his true character, and related the history of his family, with the reason for his conduct. 郯子(生卒年月不详),己姓,子爵,春秋时期郯国国君。 Tan Zi (Year of birth and death unknown), his surname was Yi (已姓), a Viscount, he was the king of the State of Tan in the of the Spring and Autumn Period. Viscount of Tan was the descendant of Emper

With sports and embroidered garments, Lao Lâi-dze amused his parents

In the Chow dynasty, in the country of Tsoo (楚国) lived the venerable Lâi-dze (Lao Lâi-dze 老莱子), who was very obedient and reverential towards his parents, manifesting his dutifulness by exerting himself to provide them with every delicacy. When Lao Lâi-dze overheard his parents lamenting one day, "Look at our son, he's already in his dotage! Surely our own days must be drawing to a close!" His heart could not endure the helpless feelings that arose. Although upwards of severty of years of age, he was so old that he had lost nearly all his teeth, he declared that he was not yet old, even never mentioned the word "old" in their hearing, and usually dressed himself in partycoloured embroidered garments, and like a child would playfully stand by the side of his parents. One day he accidentally tripped and fell when he carried two buckets of water into the house, he saw the concerned looks on his parents’ faces, he started wailing and crying like a child, and wri

The K'un Lun Mountains and Hsi Wang Mu In the Taoist Legend

In Taoist legend the K'un Lun Mountains are not the Tibetan peaks ; but the central mountain of the world, 10,000 It in height. There is the fountain of immortality, and from it flow the three great rivers. It is the same as the Hindu Sumeru. Hsi Wang Mu (西王母) is used (1) as a place name, for the country of the Hsi Jung (西戎). "the wild tribes of the west " -- Tibetans (Giles). In, the Erh Ya (尔雅) it is explained as "the desolate land" (昏荒之地). In Huai Nan Tzu (淮南子) it refers to the borders of the Gobi Desert. (2) As the name of the Queen of the immortals. Legend records that King Mu of the Chou dynasty (周穆王), in his extensive travels westward, visited the K'un Lun Mountain and saw the Royal Mother of the West (西王母) at the Emerald pool (瑶池) there. Another legend states that Hon I (后羿) a mythical archer of renown, asked her for the drug of immortality, which his wife Ch'ang O (嫦娥) stole from him, and then fled to the moon, where she was turned

The Battle of Yao

In winter, in the twelfth month, on Jimao, Chong'er, marquis of Jin, died. On Gengchen, they were conveying his coffin to place it in the temple at Quwo, when, as it was leaving Jiang, there came a voice from it like the lowing of an angry bull. The diviner Yan made the great officers do obeisance to the coffin, saying, "His lordship is charging us about a great affair. There will be an army of the west passing by us; we shall smite it, and obtain a great victory." Now Qi Zi had sent information from Zheng to Qin, saying, "The people of Zheng have entrusted to my charge the key of their north gate. If an army come secretly upon it, the city may be got. Duke Mu of Qi consulted Jian Shu about the subject, and that officer replied, 'That a distant place can be surprised by an army toiled with a long march is what I have not learned. The strength of the men will be wearied out with toil, and the distant lord will be prepared for them;—does not the undertaking seem

Tszeloo Carried Rice for His Parents

In the Chow dynasty lived Chung Yew, named also Tszeloo, who because his family was poor, usually ate herbs and coarse pulse. "Alas!" said Tszeloo, "although I was a scholar, yet my parents were poor; and how was I to nourish them?" Exhausted he travelled more than a hundred le to procure rice for his parents. Pleasantly he endured the toil, and exerted his utmost strength without any commendation. Afterwards, when his parents were dead, he went south to the country of Tsoo, where he was made commander of a hundred companies of chariots; there he became rich, storing up grain in myriads of measures, reclining upon cushions, and eating food served to him in numerous dishes; but sighing, he said, "although I should now desire to eat coarse herbs and bring rice for my parents, it cannot be!"

Empress Leizu invented silk cloth

Empress Leizu discovered silkworms while having a midday tea, and a cocoon fell in her tea. One day when empress Leizu was taking a stroll in the royal garden with the Yellow Emperor, she found silkworms eating the mulberry leaves and spinning cocoons. She collected some cocoons, then sat down to have some tea. While she was sipping a cup, she dropped a cocoon into the steaming water. The heat unwrapped the silk, a fine thread started to separate itself from the silkworm cocoon silk until it stretched across her entire garden. Leizu found that she could unwind this soft and lovely thread around her finger. She then persuaded her husband to give her a grove of mulberry trees, where she could domesticate the worms that made these cocoons. She then invented the silk reel, which joins fine filaments into a thread strong enough for weaving. She also invented the first silk loom which weaves silk thread into fine cloth. Leizu then shared her discoveries with others, and the knowledge b

Clad in a single garment he was obedient to his mother

During the Chow dynasty lived Min Sun ( also known by his courtesy name  Tzu-ch'ien 闵子骞) , whose mother died early so his father subsequently married another wife, who bore him two other sons, but dislike Min Sun.  Min Sun was ill-treated by his stepmother but he never bore any grudges against her. During winter, his stepmother prepared a coat made of reed catkins for him, but prepared coats made of cotton for his stepbrothers.  One day, Min followed his father out and was instructed to drive the carriage. However, as the coat was too thin, Min was unable to withstand the cold so he shivered and was unable to focus on the task at hand. He accidentally caused the carriage to get stuck in a ditch. Min's father was furious and started beating him until his clothes tore and the reed catkins came out. It was then when Min's father realised that his son was being mistreated. He was so angry that he wanted to expel Min's stepmother from the family. However, Min pleade