Across China on Foot eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about Across China on Foot.
work upon the public imagination with capital tact.  I saw the stone in the center of a lotus pond, over which is the structure in which the Kwan-in sits, not as a weight-lifting woman, but as a tender mother, with a tiny babe in her arms, and none in the whole of the Empire enjoys such favor for being able to direct the birth of male children into those families which give most money to the priests.  Women desiring sons come and implore her by throwing cash, one by one, at the effigy, the one who hits being successful, going away with the belief that a son will be born to her.  When the deluded females are cleared out, the priest, divesting himself of his shoes, and rolling up his trousers, goes into the water, scoops up the money and uses it for his personal convenience—­sometimes as much as thirty thousand cash.


[Footnote AT:  The commercial center of Tali-fu, the official city is 30 li further on—­E.J.D]

[Footnote AU:  From Peking to Mandalay, by R.F.  Johnston, London, John Murray.  I am indebted to this racily-written work for other ideas in this chapter.—­E.J.D.]

[Footnote AV:  From inquiries I find this custom is not general in some parts of Western China—­E.J.D.]

[Footnote AW:  Temple to the Goddess of Mercy.

“Kwan-in was the third daughter of a king, beautiful and talented, and when young loved to meditate as a priest.  Her father, mother and sisters beseech her not to pass the ‘green spring,’ but to marry, and the king offers the man of her choice the throne.  But no, she must take the veil.  She enters the ‘White Sparrow Nunnery,’ and the nuns put her to the most menial offices; the dragons open a well for the young maidservant, and the wild beasts bring her wood.  The king sends his troops to burn the nunnery, Kwan-in prays, rain falls, and extinguishes the conflagration.  She is brought to the palace in chains, and the alternative of marriage or death is placed before her.  In the room above where the court of the inquisition is held there is music, dancing, and feasting, sounds and sights to allure a young girl; the queen also urges her to leave the convent, and accede to the royal father’s wish.  Kwan-in declares that she would rather die than marry, so the fairy princess is strangled, and a tiger takes her body into the forest.  She descends into hell, and hell becomes a paradise, with gardens of lilies.  King Yama is terrified when he sees the prison of the lost becoming an enchanted garden, and begs her to leave, in order that the good and the evil may have their distinctive rewards.  One of the genii gives her the ‘peach of immortality.’  On her return to the terrestrial regions she hears that her father is sick, and sends him word that if he will dispatch a messenger to the ‘Fragrant Mountain,’ an eye and a hand will be given him for medicine; this hand and eye are Kwan-in’s own, and produce instant recovery.

     “She is the patron goddess of mothers, and when we remember the
     value of sons, we can understand the heartiness of worship.”—­The
     Three Religions of China,
by H.G.  Du Bose.

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Across China on Foot from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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