Han Xian-zi quan-z^uan

"The complete story of" (p. xv) Han Xian-zi


pp. 281-300 – 20. "At the Village of Beautiful Women; on a Snowy Mountain".

p. 281 peroration

"Invert the Five Phases and you will complete the Golden Tripod;

Take refuge in the Three Lumina and you will reach the Purple Vapors of Heaven.

As you play an immortal tune on the zither,

In your embroidered bag there is ... a text of Jade Vacuity. ...

Then from the Purple Mansions and Red Jade Palace crimson clouds will emerge."

pp. 281-288 at the 3-Mountains Village

p. 281

"The place in the grove was called Three Mountains Village. The only settlement for three hundred miles around, ... it was also called the Village of Beautiful Women."

p. 282

The waiter at the inn said, "The three to four hundred families in our village have only been to produce beautiful daughters, but not a single son. Now grown up, none of these daughters has been given in marriage. ... For example, the keeper of this inn has a daughter called Bright Moon Immortal. She is now thirty-eight years old, and a fortune-teller has said that any moment a noble man will arrive who will make her his second wife. ... Bright Moon Immortal has a younger sister called Cool Breeze Immortal, who is thirty-one this year. The fortune-teller said that her eight characters contain a secure destiny of three sons. The innkeeper is thinking of giving her to someone as a concubine".

p. 283

The innkeeper said, "My daughter Bright Moon Immortal dreamt last night of a noble man, wearing a headcloth, dressed in court robes, and holding an ivory tablet. He came into her chamber to celebrate the wedding night. ..."


Bright Moon Immortal sang,

"I heard people speak of a meritorious minister praying,

Whereupon auspicious snow fell in profusion at the Southern Altar.

... Today a high minister has come".

p. 284

The innkeeper "is called Jia Sizhen." ["Sizhen ... means "seems true." (p. 469, n. 20:2)]

p. 286

"four slave girls called Biaozhi, Zhibiao, Xiqi, and Qixi led Bright Moon Immortal and Cool Breeze Immortal to greet Tuizhi. Tuizhi thereupon went through the wedding rites with them and retired to the gauze-screened bed. ... Bright Moon Immortal took up a gold cup, filled it with Green Ant wine, ... handing it to Tuizhi".

p. 287

"Tuizhi called Zhang Qian and Li Wan and said, "My wives give Zhibiao and Biaozhi to you in marriage. ...""

p. 288

"Tuizhi was just going to undress and climb into bed when suddenly his belt grew tighter and tighter ... . He seemed to be pulled up and suspended from it in the air. When he opened his eyes to look again, there was no one around." When Zhang Qian and Li Wan "looked closely, there were no more houses and no beautiful women to be seen. The only thing they saw was tuizhi, dangling high up in a pine tree. ... Zhang Qian climbed quickly up and freed Tuizhi."

pp. 289-292 receiving directions for travel from a ghost-woodcutter

p. 289

There was a "woodcutter coming along." The woodcutter said,

"We call cutting wood in the spring ‘making a start.’

We call cutting wood in the summer ‘advancing onwards’.

We call cutting wood in the autumn ‘cultivating oneself well.’

We call cutting wood in the winter ‘pulling out branches in the cold.’"

["Pulling out branches in the cold" (han tui zhi ...) is a pun on Han Yu’s name (Han Tuizhi ...). The first three phrases allude to the preparatory stages of Daoist cultivation." (p. 469, n. 20:4)] ...


"Brother woodcutter! ... such literary airs – it’s like wielding an ornate axe in front of Lu Ban, the carpenter god," Zhang Qian said."

p. 290

"Tuizhi ... said, "When I, Han Yu, was at court, I ... acted for the nation ... . ..."

"You, sir, say you are a high court official," the woodcutter said. "So why aren’t you in those red towers ... right now, where they roast lambs ..., as they gamble surrounded by courtesans. ...""


The woodcutter thus described the route to C^ao-z^ou :

"Ahead there is the Yellow Earth Gorge,

A dangerous place indeed.

Your feet have to tread a steep slope,

p. 291

While your hands need to hold on to creepers and vines.

Your hands have to hold on fast; ...

If you lose your hold,

You will fall to your death. ...

There are many spirits and monsters,

Who will block your path."


feral beings

are the __


dark leopards



black bears












fierce tigres



musk deer & muntjaks

clerks & soldiers


rabbits & common-deer



"The lions and goats run shops,

Where they buy and sell human flesh. ...


There is also an old monkey spirit of many years,

Whose chief stock-in-trade is dried meat. ...

He knows the road to Chaozhou. ...


If you receive three inauspicious oracles in a row,

It will strike fear into your heart.

In the Qin Mountains master and servants will be separated;

Your horse will die as you cross the Blue Pass. ...

p. 292

If you want to go to Chaozhou,

Ask the fisherman at the mountain river. ...

At the river in the east there is a fisherman who is used to traveling ... . He has a good knowledge of roads, go and ask him."


"While Tuizhi turned his head to look for the river, the woodcutter vanished without a trace. Fearfully Tuizhi called to Zhang Qian, "Where did the woodcutter go? ... Did I waste half the day talking with a ghost?""

p. 294 from a ghost-fisherman

The fisherman said, "What I am fishing for is that cold fish". ["Cold fish" (hanyu ...) is a pun on the name Han Yu ... ." (p. 469, n. 20:8)]

"the fisherman ... covered his mouth with his hand and gave a great laugh. He crossed the river and vanished on the other bank.

"... Was that another ghost?" Tuizhi said. ...

"A ghost that tricked three clear-eyed men for half a day," remarked Li Wan."

pp. 294-295 the 5 kinds of ghosts



"__ ghost"

nature of ghost




"speaks sweet and beautiful words and cheats people into taking a great liking to him".




"just pretends ... to be unconcerned if people won’t give him their things."




"When he sees these things given to other people, ... he bears a grudge against them."




"he talks around it and builds up a situation where the other will ... end up giving that thing to him."




"conducts official business on other people’s behalf".

pp. 295-297 rhapsody to snow, by Tui-z^i

p. 295

"One flake is called goose down;


Two flakes are called phoenix ears;


Three flakes are called a collection;


Four flakes are called an accumulation;


Five flakes are called a celestial flower;

p. 296

Six flakes are called a six-petalled blossom. ...

p. 297

Enjoying the scenery, the scions of a noble family wish that the snow god may add a sew feet to the snow cover."

pp. 298-300 instructions from a herdboy

p. 298

"a herdboy came along, looking all around, searching for his ox."

p. 299

The herdboy said :


if someone __

then he is nicknamed ‘__’


is a miser, habitually "eating only ginger and drinking bitter vinegar,"

village ox


"wears on his head a scholar’s cap, ... and imitates the vices of well-born wastrels,"

robber ox


" "My ox is of a glossy black color unmatched by any other. It’s not like an ordinary ox of the human world. ..."


"When formerly Laozi left by the Hangu Pass, instructed Yin Xi, ... he was also riding a black ox," Tuizi said."

p. 300

"pointing with his hand, the herdboy said, "in that forest ahead of you there stands a great stone stele. On it are written some words. Go and look at it"".


pp. 301-313 – 21. "Tui-z^i Seeketh an Oracle in a Temple; Tui-z^i Stayeth in a Thatched Hut"

pp. 302, 304 negative results from divination in temple

p. 302

"suddenly they spied a temple ahead. ... Looking up, he saw a tablet with the inscription, "Shrine to the God of the Earth and Grain." ...

There is a container with divination sticks on the altar ... . ...

p. 304

He shook the container for a long time and eventually obtained a negative stick. He drew three times, but each time he got a negative response. ...


Zhang Qian and Li Wan went to the rear of the temple and found a keeper, an old man, supporting himself on a staff. As he stepped outside, ... he ... burst into laughter".

pp. 305-306 vanishment of the temple

p. 305

"At daybreak he looked around and saw they were all huddled together underneath an old pine tree, the horse standing nearby. ...

p. 306

No temple was to be seen, and no temple keeper. ...


Tuizhi said. "... Heaven ... sent the local mountain and earth gods to materialize this temple so that I might stay for the night. ...""

p. 307 meeting with a peasant

"Xiangzi was up in the clouds following Tuizhi. When he heard Tuizhi calling for him ..., he changed into the shape of a peasant, who came walking along carrying a hoe.

When Tuizhi saw this peasant, he thought to himself, "... Surely this must be a ghost. ... Now I’ll recite a passage from The Book of Changes to subdue him. ..." And right away he recited several times the classic’s opening : "Great and originating, penetrating, advantageous, correct and firm."

When Xiangzi heard Tuizhi reciting from The Book of Changes, he ... said, "As beings of pure yin, ghosts are destroyed by the two lines in The Book of Changes, ‘The union of seed and power produces all things / The escape of the soul brings about change.’ ...""

p. 308 encountre with 2 tigres

"suddenly ahead of them two fierce tigers jumped out from among the trees ... . Zhang Qian turned around and came running back, shouting ... . ... Tuizhi ... collapsed in a swoon onto the ground ... . The two tigers came rushing on, seized Zhang Qian and Li Wan in their mouths, and carried them off".

p. 310 foiled at intent to suicide

"Quickly he untied the sword from his luggage, but when he wanted to cut his own throat, the blade was stuck in its sheath".

pp. 310-313 a Daoist & fresh buns

p. 310

"Suddenly he heard the sound of the fisher drum ..., and ... he saw a young Daoist ... make his way toward him. The youth’s hair was bound into double knots, and he wore a single-piece gown of dark cloth. In one hand he held the fisher drum, and on his shoulder he carried a flower basket. ...

p. 312

Pointing with his hand, the youth said, "Ahead there is the Fortress of the Blue Pass."


As Tuizhi lifted his head to look, the youth vanished into thin air."


"After less than half a mile, he saw a thatched hut ... . ... On the table stood a flower basket, filled with buns. ... a thought suddenly struck him : "This ... looks just like the ones prepared at my birthday." When he looked closely, he realized that these indeed were the buns prepared by his cook Zhao Xiaoyi, which he had given that day to the emaciated Daoist. ...

p. 313

There were exactly 356 of them ... . Tuizhi sighed and said, "... That Daoist truly was a divine immortal and truly had the powers of one. ...""


pp. 314-328 – 22. "Sitting in a Thatched Hut; Expelling a Crocodile"

pp. 316-319 taming of a tigre by Xian-zi; plan for resignation of Tui-zhi from office

p. 316

"He had not walked half a mile when suddenly a tiger blacked the road again. ...

p. 317

At that moment he saw a man standing in midair and shouting at the tiger ... . The tiger became as tame as a house cat ... . ...


When Tuizhi saw this, he desperately called out, "Save me immortal from the Great Veil Heaven, save me! ..."


"Uncle, Uncle, ..." Xiangzi said. "I am your nephew Xiangzi come to see you. ..."


... Tuizhi said, "... I shall devote myself fully to ... the Dao ... . I no longer want to serve as an official. ...

p. 318

I will discard my seal of office with its purple ribbon,

My ivory tablet and black boots,

My embroidered court robes. ...""


" "... I shall go with you," Xiangzi told him. "... I shall use Former Heaven’s Marvelous Method of Release ... to change your

p. 319

appearance ... . ... And then I’ll help you seek a teacher with whom you can inquire into the Dao. In this way ... you will obtain the marvelous formulae of eternal life. ..."

pp. 319-324, 326 in C^ao-z^ou; delivery of proclamation to the crocodile

p. 319

"After walking for two days, they saw a gate tower in the far distance. Xiangzi said, "Ahead is Chaozhou Prefecture. ..." ... Soon a large number of officials, local elders, teachers, and students came hurrying out of the city to welcome Tuizhi, carrying colorful embroidered banners."

p. 320

" "This place is close to the ocean," the people said. "Several years ago a large sea creature emerged in great waves from the sea, its body several dozen feet long. From morning to evening it comes in and goes out with the seawater. As it makes the water surge, it overflows and ruins the people’s fields. The creature’s tail is also several dozen feet long, and when it sees oxen, cattle, goats, horses, or other livestock on the shore, it drags them into the water with that tail and devours them. If it sees people lingering behind, it pulls them too into the water with its tail, and eats them. ...

p. 321

It has the head of a dragon and

the mouth of a lion,

the tail of a tiger and

the body of a snake.""


" "I fish every day at Qinqiaokou," Liu Ke said. "I don’t know who killed my mother and threw her into the sea, but there remained only a pair of shoes on the riverbank." ... Liu Ke said, "The plaintiff Liu Ke brings suit in a murder case : On this day in this month, my mother Mme. Zhang was killed and disposed of by someone. ...""

p. 322

" "Tuizhi called him, and so Xiangzi told him, "... Uncle, tomorrow when you come to your office you should write an official proclamation of warning and sacrifice it to lay plaint with Heaven and Earth. I’ll dispatch the two celestial generals Ma and Zhao to put the document in the mouth of the crocodile, drive it into the deep sea, and lock it up there so that it can harm the people no longer. ...""


"Following Xiangzi’s suggestions, tuizhi went to his office the next morning, ... and wielded the brush to compose the "Essay in Sacrifice to the Crocodile" ... . ...

p. 324

Having finished the essay, Tuizhi sent a military judge by the name of Qin Ji to carry it to the riverbank and throw it into the water. ... Han Xiangzi had dispatched the two celestial generals Ma and Zhao, who had secretly bound the monster. They were only to wait for Qin Ji to throw the proclamation into its mouth, and then to drive it away into the deep

p. 326

sea. ... Once it had the proclamation it its mouth, the monster lowered its head, closed its mouth, and mournfully passed from sight. ...

p. 327

Tuizhi ... called for a silver ingot to be fetched from the vault and given in reward to Qin Ji."


Yang Erzeng (trans. by Philip Clart) : The Story of Han Xiangzi. U of WA Pr, Seattle, 2007.