DRAGONS SHAPE CHINA – Chinese Stories
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The villages, fishermen, and farmers had great respect for Dragons and honor what they created and supplied water for rain, rivers, and lake.
Summer time and the farmers worked in their fields to ready the earth for the rice and vegetable crops. They enjoyed the dragons playing and flying in the sky. Then they heard a loud slap. Suddenly dark clouds covered the sky, a fast wind howled, and a thick gush of the rain fell on the earth. The wind blew hard and then harder swinging the branches of the trees from side to side pushing them against the earth. The rains beat fast and hard on the ground splashing up mud and water in long sprays. The farmers dropped their plows and shovel running to their home shut and locked their doors.
The dark fog thickens, the farmers saw nothing from their windows. The thunder cracked in deafened bangs. Lightning blasted striking the ground in long sparks as if to blind the villagers. Rain splashed over their homes threatening to flood.
Then they heard a roaring, screeching, clanking and pounding. Something gigantic fell from the heavens and hit the ground which rumbled and shook the earth. Large bright light sparks bounced.
Frightened, the farmers and villagers stayed in their homes. Rain poured for hours and hours. Gradually the dark fog cleared and the rain stopped. The sun in the sky shone and reflected on the moisture offering a double rainbow. The farmers and villagers peered from their windows. Everything smelled and appeared fresh and clean. The men, women, and children slowly opened their doors and walked into the muddy fields.
They found a new pond and in the middle a ghastly beast. The old man of the village looked at the mythologic creature. "Exactly what a sky dragon is. The beast has a long thick hair on either side of his mouth, a mustache and long whiskers on the chin. The flying knobs are on the long nose. Look at the enormous antlers on the top of the head. The body is long like a snake's with scales of a fish. The four legs have paws that had claws. The five claws mean it is royal, a celestial dragon. This I know."
The villagers stood back in awe and disbelief and studied the beast.
Another farmer offered, "Yes, it sounded like a battle but maybe the weather too much thunder and lightning drove the dragon from the sky."
The old man continued, "This is a blue and white Sky Dragon in charge of our weather. As you know, the sky dragons fly and play above in the clouds. They give us the rain, thunder, and lightning. All kinds of dragons exist and have different jobs. Some are in charge of fire, some in charge of the rain, some in charge of the earth, and many in charge of the oceans and seas. They are ruled by the celestial dragons, the Queen Mother of the West, YIN, and the King Father of the East, YANG. You know parents of the first dragon, P'angu, their first son, who created China."
One farmer said, "Maybe a battle between the guards, and this dragon pushed from the sky?"
The villagers listened agreeing in astonishment.
The old farmer continued, "It is said that the Emperors of China regard themselves as descendants of the Dragons, especially the River Dragons. Many temples are built to honor these dragons and their rivers. When the rains dry and no crops grow, the people pray in the temples for rain to fill the rivers.
The villagers listen with much interest; they had heard of the dragons rulers.
A boy cried, "Oh look, the dragon is drying, we must help it."
Little girl repeated, "We must help. The dragon is sick." The people pity the poor Dragon. A villager said, "What should we do?"
A farmer said, "We must save the Dragon so it can fly back into heaven."
Without wasting time, the men began to weave a net with the dry grasses. When finish, they pull the huge net over the dragon to keep the bright sun from burning the skin and scales. Then they went back to their homes, got their buckets, and musical flutes, drums, and bells.
With the bucket, they waded into the pond and threw water over the dragon. As they did others drummed, blew their flutes, strummed their strings, and rang bells for a healing. The rest the people bowed and prayed that the sky dragon returned into heaven where it belonged to make rain for the farmers, river, and lakes. The women brought herbs, spice, and foods. They sprinkled the herbs on the Dragon for healing and sang prayers. The food was for the dragon to eat.
The praying and throwing of water continued for eight days and eight nights. The dragon did not move or respond. The people kept their music and prayers going. Then on the morning of the ninth day, a thick fog cover the valley, the pond, and the Dragon. The rain poured so fast that again the farmers and villagers ran back to their homes in fear of the thunder and lightning that pounded and slashed. Then as quick as the fog came instantly the fog and rain left.
Slowly the villagers, farmers, and their families walked to the field. The little girl shouted, "The dragon is gone!"
A farmer said, "We were successful; the sky dragon went back into the heavens."
The pond, which was a large lake, remained for the farmers providing irrigation, fish, crab, and shrimp. As the years went on, the villagers found the lake never dried even when no rains fell. The people honored the Sky Dragon for the gift of the good fortune given to them and the power they witness.
The farmers, fishermen, and villagers feared and loved the power of the dragons from the sky. These dragons are given credit for good fortune and change by providing rain for crops and fishing. About this time the different Emperors, Lords of Rivers and Lakes, declared that they were related to the mystical, powerful Celestial Dragons. Using the respect and honor of the Dragons had from the people, so to provide the Emperors with power and control over the people.
As a storyteller, I want adults and children to know why Dragons enabled culture and history through the respect gained by the people and the use of the Dragons Gods by the Emperors to declaring they power in China. If I misrepresent anything, please let me know.
An adapted story for Dragons Shape China, "The Sky Dragon," told in the Chinese Galleries at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Enhance, adapted, re-imaged, and elaborate by teller Bobbie Kinkead, 2002-2012.
From Chinese Folktales, "Dragon Pond', by Howard Griskin, Asian Art Museum.
© The version Dragons from the Sky is mine. You may use the idea, premise, or plot for your stories. Only, please, honor the ancient history of Chinese mythology.
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ASIAN STORIESHistorical Fiction
Daily in April will be posted a written story: 'How Dragons Shaped China'; the Hindu Ramayana from SITA's point of view; and from Korea, 'Taming of Tiger'; from my days of telling verbal stories at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. These tradi...