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All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #13

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #13

“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

When the Commander Hung had finished hearing these words a cold sweat broke forth on his whole body and he trembled without ceasing. In haste he put together his possessions and called those who had come with him and he went down the mountain and returned to the capital city. When the abbot and the others had returned from escorting the Commander down the mountain they went back alone to the temple and there mended the broken parts and they erected again the stone tablet and of this no more need to be told.

Let it be said again of the Commander Hung as he went upon his journey. He commanded those who came with him that they were not to tell others this affair of the escaped spirits lest the Son Of Heaven knowing of it might reprove him. There is naught else to tell of the journey. They went early and late and they came into the city and there they heard men say, “The Heavenly Teacher Chang said a mass of seven days and seven nights in the imperial palaces and he has written sacred words for many of the people rich and poor to drive out the plague and to heal the sick, and now the plague is wholly gone and the people and the armies are at peace. Then The Heavenly Teacher parted from the Son Of Heaven and seated on his crane and riding upon a cloud he went back to The Mountain Of Dragons And Tigers.”

The Commander Hung on the morning of the next day came before the Son Of Heaven and he said humbly, “The Heavenly Teacher seated on his crane and riding a cloud came first to the capital and I and the others came stage by stage along the road and we have only just arrived.”

The Emperor acknowledged this and rewarded him for merit and returned him to his former position and of this also there is no more to be told.

The Emperor Jen Chung reigned for forty and two years and then his life ended. He left no heir and so the throne was given to the son of the King Yun Jang of P’u An, who was only grandson to the first Emperor of the dynasty, and he ruled for four years. Then did he give the throne to his son Shen Chung, and Sen Chung reigned eighteen years and he gave the throne to Che Chung. During all this time there was peace under heaven and in the four parts there were no troubles.

….. But stay! If truly there was peace at those times then what would there be to tell now when this book is opened? You who read, have patience! This is but a prologue. Beyond is much, for the book itself has seventy chapters, and there are one hundred and forty sentences that sum the tale. For,

 

In the robbers’ city heroes hide,

In the sedgy waters dragons bide.

What then of the tale? Pray hear how the first chapter tells it.

 

<End of Prologue>

 

January 28, 2011 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #12

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #12

“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

Hung the Commander seeing these four letters was filled with great joy and he said to the abbot, “You would have stayed me and yet how was it that hundreds of years ago my surname was already written there.’To be opened by one surnamed Hung!’ Clearly was it commanded that I should open these doors and what matters it if I see into there? I think these kings of devils are under this stone tablet. Call more working priests, therefore, and let them bring hoes and iron spades and dig it up.”

Then did the abbot say humbly and in haste, “Commander, you may not move it lest some fierce thing befall and men be harmed. It is too dangerous.”

Then was the Commander in a rage again and he shouted, saying, “And what do you Taoists know! Upon this tablet it was carved that I was to open these doors and how can you stay me now? Quickly send the men hither for me!”

Again and again did the abbot say, “Perhaps evil will come of it.”

But how was the Commander willing to hear him? He did gather all the men together and first stone tablet was overturned and all together put forth their strength to dig up the stone turtle, but it was half a day before they dug it up. Then they dug yet further down about three or four feet deep. There they saw a great tablet of stone blue in color and it was some ten feet square. The Commander Hung ordered that it also be lifted up and again did the abbot most bitterly plead, “It may not be moved.”

But how was the Commander willing to hear him? The men could but lift up the great stone and when they looked beneath that stone was a pit well-nigh ten times ten thousand feet deep. There in that pit was heard a great clattering sound of thunder, nor was it like common thunder either. When the sound of the thunder was passed a black cloud was seen to come rolling up out of the pit and it struck against the roof and split it in two and that cloud filled half the heavens. Then it separated into more than a hundred clouds of gold and these scattered into the four directions and into the eight parts.

Now did all the men feel deep fear come over them and a cry rose up from them and they cast aside their hoes and their iron spades and ran from the temple and many fell and were overthrown. As for the Commander Hung, he was filled with such terror that he was speechless and he doubted what he had done and his face turned the color of clay. He hastened into the veranda and there he saw the abbot crying bitterness without ceasing. The Commander asked him, saying, “What strange spirits were those who escaped?”

The abbot said, “The Commander does not understand. But this our ancient ancestor, The Heavenly Teacher, Tung Hsien Chen Jen, left behind him a Taoist writing and he wrote thus, “In this temple there are imprisoned and locked thirty-six stars of heaven and seventy-two stars of earth and there are in all one hundred and eight devil kings within, and upon them stands a stone tablet and carven upon it are their names in letters of dragon and phoenix. Here are they held fast. If they be loosed upon the earth surely shall men suffer from their deeds.’ Now that the Commander has loosed these spirits what can best be done?”

<Continued – Prologue #13>

 

January 22, 2011 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #11

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #11

“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

But the Commander smiled and said, “You speak like a fool. Such as you have made magic out of nothing and you have deceived the good common people, and so with this purpose have you prepared a place like this and you have falsely said the kings of devils are locked here that you may make people see how great your power is. But I have read many books and where have I seen that the kings of devils were locked anywhere? Where spirits and devils dwell is some place very far from men. I do not believe there are kings or devils in here. Open the door for me with all speed! I would see how these kings of devils are.”

Again and again did the abbot say, “This temple must not be opened lest some fierce evil will be stirred up and men will be harmed with it.”

Then was the Commander filled with great rage and he pointed at the Taoists and said, “If you do not open it for me, I shall return to the Emperor and I will say you held me and would not let me read the imperial mandate before you and that you disobeyed the imperial command and would not let me see the face of The Heavenly Teacher and then I will tell him that you have secretly builded such a temple as this and pretend you have locked the kings of devils in it, so that you sow such superstition among the people. Then shall your priestly pledges be taken from you and you shall be branded and exiled to some far evil place and there shall you suffer.”

Now the abbot and the others feared greatly the power of the Commander and so they could but call some working priests to come, and first they tore off the paper seals and with an iron hammer they beat upon the great lock. Then they pushed open the doors and they all went into the temple. All was darkness there nor could anything be seen.

The Commander bade the working priests bring some ten-odd torches and light them and bring them thither. When they came in and lighted all the place about there was nothing anywhere except a stone tablet standing in the center, and it stood some five or six feet high.

Beneath it was a stone turtle and it was already half sunken in the earth. When the light fell on the stone tablet upon the face of it were carved ancient dragon and phoenix letters and they were heavenly words and sacred signs such as men cannot read. When the light shone on the back of the tablet there were four true letters written large, saying, “To be opened by one surnamed Hung.”


<Continued – Prologue #12>

January 16, 2011 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #10

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #10

“CHANG, THE HEAVENLY TEACHER, CHIEF OF THE TAOISTS, BESEECHES THE GODS TO DRIVE AWAY THE EVIL FLUX. THE COMMANDER HUNG, IN HEEDLESSNESS, FREES THE SPIRITS.”

On the next day after he had eaten his early meal the abbot and all the Taoists and all the servitors and all the workmen came and invited the Commander to walk with them for pleasure. Then was the Commander much pleased and many men went with him and they went afoot out of the guest hall. In front were two acolytes who led the way and they went before The Hall Of Three Clearnesses and behind it and to many beautiful places. In the Hall itself the splendor was beyond the telling. Upon the left veranda were The Hall Of Nine Heavens and The Hall Of The Imperial Purple Star and The Hall Of The North Star. Upon the right veranda there were The Hall To The Primeval God, The Hall Of The Three Kings Of Heaven And Earth And Water, and The Hall Of The Dispelling Of Evil Spirits.

When these temple Halls were all seen they went to a place behind the right veranda and when the Commander looked about there was yet another temple separate from the others and its walls were red as peppers. At the front of it were two vermilion windows and upon the doors were great locks as long as a man’s arm and these held fast the doors. The doors were sealed with many paper strips and upon these papers were stamped many scarlet seals. Under the eaves was hung a red horizontal tablet written in letters of gold, and there were four gold letters which said, “Hall Of The Subjugated Magic Devils”. The Commander pointed to the temple, saying, “What temple is this?”

The abbot replied, saying, “There was a heavenly teacher of generations past and it is his temple.”

Again the Commander asked, “And why is it there are placed so many papers sealed across the doors?”

The abbot answered, “In the dynasty of great T’ang the chief Taoist who understands the Taoist deeps locked the kings of devils here and sealed them in, and from generation to generation each heavenly teacher comes himself and sets his seal here, so that no son or grandson of his can easily open this door and free the kings of devils, for they are fierce above all others. Now some eight or nine generations have passed and they have announced that none shall dare to open this Hall. The lock is melted together in brass and who knows what is within? This lowly one who am I have been abbot here for more than thirty years and I also have only heard it told thus.”

The Commander Hung listened to this and his heart was filled with fearful wonder and he thought to himself, “I would see these kings of devils for once and know how they look.” And so he said aloud to the abbot, “Do you open the door, I pray, for I would see what these kings of devils are.”

Then did the abbot humbly reply, “Commander, this temple indeed I do not dare to open. Our heavenly teachers of generations past have forbidden it many times, and they have said that none of any generation shall dare to open this door at his pleasure.”

<Continued – Prologue #11>

 

January 8, 2011 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment