Treats for Tricks!

[On a UFO]
In the Chia-yü period [1056-1063], a "pearl" appeared in Yang-chou. It was very large and frequently appeared at night. At first it emerged from the swamps of T'ien-ch'ang county; later it moved to Pi-she Lake; and finally it was at Hsin-k'ai Lake. For more than ten years, residents and travelers would constantly see it.
My friend had a study by the lakeside and one night saw that the "pearl" was very near. At first it opened its door very slightly, and a light shot out from the crack like a golden ray. After a moment, it opened wider to the space of half a mat; within there was white light like silver. The "pearl" was as big as a fist and so bright you couldn't look at it directly. For over ten tricents, the trees cast shadows, exactly as when the sun has just come up. In the distance you saw only a sky reddened as if by a forest fire. All of a sudden it went far off, moving as if in flight, floating over the waves, shining like the sun.
In the past there was a "moongem," but its color was unlike th e moon' shimmering with sharp flames, it rather resembled the sun. Ts'ui Po-yi once wrote a "Rhapsody on the Bright Gem." Ts'ui was from Kao-yin and so must have seen it often.
In recent years, it hasn't appeared again; no one knows where it has gone. Fan-liang-chen is where the "pearl" used to appear, and when travelers reach there, they usually tie up their boats for a few nights to watch for its appearance. The pavilion there is called "The Playful Pearl."
Translated by Richard W. Bodman

Footnote: In Chinese folklore, pearls are endowed with the magic power to give off their own light, to protect their owner from sickness, and to repel water (when their owner is swimming).

Taken from The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature.


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Quill said...

I'm watching this video wildly hungover and it's blowing my mind. Is there more on this playful pearl?

pele said...

Wahahaha! ONE COMMENT! You know that I am called the Count...Once I'm starting counting, it's really hard to stop. As for the pearl, that was it, but in the same anthology I found odd jokes, etc, including a treatise on the Arts of Sleeping, Walking, Standing and Sitting. I'm planning a follow-up illustrated essay on the Further Arts of Sleepwalking, Walking While Sitting, and Sleeping Standing-Up. Submissions requested!

Caitlin said...

Wow, this is insane! Thanks for sharing.

Scott said...

Oh yeah, they used to have more UFO's back then. There was a whole X-File thing going on in the early Tang Dynasty.
Also, I got to get me a pair of those one-post Geta the fox-spirit-man is wearing in the beginning. I wrote a post on that last year: