Journey through King Ling's reign, exploring his fascination with the supernatural, Confucius' profound impact, and the opulence of the Zhou court.
In the 21st year of King Ling of Zhou’s reign, Confucius was born in the state of Lu. This year corresponds to the 22nd year of Duke Xiang of Lu’s reign. The night before Confucius’s mother, Yan Zhengzai, became pregnant, two green dragons descended from the sky and clung to her room. She had a dream in which two celestial maidens arrived with fragrant dewdrops from the heavens and bathed her. The Heavenly Emperor also sent a celestial orchestra to play heavenly music in Yan Zhengzai’s room. A voice from the sky proclaimed that a sage was being born, and as a result, bestowed upon them the harmonious and joyful sounds of the reed pipe and the large bell, a music different from that of the earthly realm. At that time, five elders stood in Yan Zhengzai’s courtyard, representing the five major star deities: Gold, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. Before Confucius was born, a qilin came to the Kong family and spat out a jade stone inscribed with the words: “The son of the Water Star Deity, destined to uphold the declining Zhou Dynasty as a virtuous king.” This is why two green dragons coiled around the room and the five star deities descended to the courtyard. Yan Zhengzai, who was highly virtuous and knowledgeable, recognized these as auspicious signs. She tied colorful ribbons to the qilin’s horn, which stayed for two nights before departing. People skilled in divination said, “Confucius is a descendant of Emperor Tang of Shang, and he embodies the qualities of the Water Deity. He possesses the virtues of an emperor.” Near the end of King Jing of Zhou’s reign, which corresponds to the 24th year of Duke Ding of Lu’s reign, a man named Chu Shang from the state of Lu went hunting in the lush Great Marsh. He captured a qilin and showed it to Confucius. Confucius saw the colorful ribbons his mother had tied to the qilin’s horn, and he understood that his life was nearing its end. He embraced the qilin and untied the ribbons, shedding tears. The qilin had appeared nearly a hundred years earlier, from its initial appearance to the moment Confucius untied the ribbons.
Xiao Qilu said: By carefully examining the historical records of past generations, perusing the imperial decrees and appointments made by emperors throughout history, consulting the sayings in “The Filial Scripture’s Support from Divine Proclamations” and “The Filial Scripture’s Guidance for Decisions on Fates,” as well as studying the summaries recorded in the Six Classics and the Weishu, the current records align closely with them. However, when it comes to deeper and more profound aspects, they become even more mysterious and elusive, not easily grasped. Therefore, those who engage in writing and composition invariably emulate the ancient classics, perhaps because of the broadness of virtue and the noble deeds of the ancient sages. Thus, adhering to the moral standards of the ancients and upholding the ideological systems of ancient societies, they must exert their utmost effort to explore the utmost truth. The majestic Kunlun Mountain and Mount Hua cannot compare to the sublime qualities of the ancient sages, and the vast sea cannot match the broad-mindedness of the sages of old. Humanity, with life and knowledge, venerates them just as they admire the sun and the moon.
Confucius was born in the waning years of the Zhou Dynasty, a time when the moral way of kingship was gradually declining. Confucius was deeply concerned that the righteous path in the world was on the verge of collapsing, and he mourned the impending destruction of rituals, music, and education. Therefore, he searched for ancient regulations and established the Five Rituals. He also collected and compiled lost folk songs, organizing and refining the Six Arts. The achievements of Confucius in establishing rituals and proper music are like protecting a house that shelters the people, or like a ship carrying future generations. It can be said that these efforts represent the “profound morality and great undertaking.” Mencius once said, “A sage emerges once in a thousand years, and people call this continuity from past to present.” Since Confucius put down his pen, countless years have passed, making it difficult to calculate. Therefore, those with extensive knowledge who span the ancient and modern eras often say that when a sage appears, they can further elucidate the meanings behind various complex questions that arise in the future.
In the twenty-third year of King Ling of the Zhou Dynasty, the “Kunzhao Terrace,” also known as the “Xuanzhao Terrace,” was constructed. During the construction of the terrace, King Ling of Zhou sent people to search for rare and unique trees and skilled craftsmen from across the country. They eventually found a gigantic tree growing north of a steep mountain valley. This tree was over a thousand zhang (Chinese measurement for length) tall, with intricate and intertwined patterns in its wood grain. This tree provided more than enough timber for building the Kunzhao Terrace. Craftsmen used the large branches for crossbeams and main beams, while smaller branches were used to make supporting beams and rafters. The branches of this colossal tree grew in shapes resembling dragons, snakes, and various other animals. During the construction of the Kunzhao Terrace, craftsmen also refined crystals to create crystal mortar. The Kunzhao Terrace stood at a hundred zhang tall, allowing one to gaze far into the distant clouds. At the time, there was a Taoist named Chang Hong, who had the ability to summon divine beings. One day, shortly after King Ling of Zhou ascended the Kunzhao Terrace and looked at the dense, ominous clouds, he suddenly saw two individuals arriving on auspicious clouds. These individuals had yellow-colored beards and hair, which was unlike the appearance of ordinary people. They were seated in a colorful carriage adorned with swimming dragons and flying phoenixes, pulled by a hornless azure dragon. Their clothing was sewn together with feathers. King Ling of Zhou immediately welcomed them to sit in the highest seats of honor. At that time, the kingdom was suffering from a severe drought, and the land had become parched, with trees self-igniting. One of the two individuals began to sing, saying, “I can make the sky send down frost and snow.” He then took a deep breath and exhaled, instantly causing thick clouds to gather, and heavy snowflakes began to fall. Those present felt the cold, and the ponds and wells in the imperial palace froze solid, allowing intricate patterns to be carved on the ice. King Ling of Zhou ordered the preparation of white fur coats made from the underarm fur of foxes and padded blankets adorned with patterns made from bear skin. These bear fur blankets were tributes from the Western Regions. When placed on the terrace, those who sat on them felt exceptionally warm.
At that moment, another person sang, saying, “I can instantly make the weather turn hot.” He then flicked his finger on the seat, and immediately warm winds entered the room, causing the fur coats and bear fur blankets to be thrown down from the terrace. At that time, a man named Rong Chengzi advised, “Great King, you should consider the whole kingdom as your family. But by indulging in these heterodox beliefs and casually changing between summer and winter, you may lead the common people astray. Such actions are not in accordance with the principles upheld by King Wen, King Wu, and Duke of Zhou.” Consequently, King Ling of Zhou distanced himself from Chang Hong and sought out wise men who would speak honestly and offer counsel. Around that time, foreign lands had presented jade figurines and stone mirrors as tributes. The stone mirrors had the radiance of bright moonlight and when used to reflect people, their complexion appeared as clear and radiant as snow. They were called “moon mirrors.” The presented jade figurines had mechanisms that allowed them to rotate by themselves. Chang Hong told King Ling, “These are all the results of your virtuous influence, Great King.” As a result, the people of Zhou believed that Chang Hong was trying to ingratiate himself with King Ling and flatter him. Consequently, they killed Chang Hong. After Chang Hong’s death, his flowing blood transformed into stone, while some said it turned into green jade, and his body mysteriously disappeared.
There was a man named Han Fang who came from the state of Qu Xu to the capital of the Zhou dynasty. He presented King Ling of Zhou with a jade camel standing five feet tall, a six-foot tall amber phoenix, and a three-foot wide mirror adorned with Fire Qi pearls. When using this Fire Qi mirror in darkness, it would shine as brightly as daylight, and if one spoke to it, the reflection in the mirror could respond with sound. Han Fang himself was twelve feet tall, and his hair reached down to his knees. He used red sand to draw the shapes of the sun and the changing phases of the moon on both his left and right hands. The light emitted from these drawings could illuminate an area over a hundred paces away. The people of the Zhou dynasty regarded Han Fang’s extraordinary abilities as divine. However, towards the end of King Ling’s reign, Han Fang’s whereabouts became unknown.
Xiao Qilu said: When one is tempted by a life filled with indulgence in sensual pleasures, their pure morality becomes compromised. When they are captivated by various sights and experiences, their willpower wavers. This is what happened to King Ling of Zhou. He became ensnared in a life of extravagance, dabbled in mystical practices, and allowed his governance and education to be disrupted. This led to superficiality in his actions and fostered a culture of indulgence in sensual pleasures. Why did this happen? It occurred because he became immersed in what was called the path to immortality, abandoning the orthodox teachings of Confucianism. He admired the exotic customs of distant lands, leading to the disappearance of the revered ancestral spirits. As these distorted customs spread far and wide, reaching the borders of the kingdom, King Ling realized that they were not in line with the traditional rites of the Zhou dynasty or the harmonious balance of the four seasons. These heretical beliefs only attracted ghosts and strange creatures from all directions, and bizarre monsters arrived from distant lands. They roamed freely, violating the principles of the Five Constants and disrupting the natural order of the seasons. This made specific phenomena appear indistinct, and the boundary between light and darkness became mysterious and elusive. It is challenging to express the extent of this indistinctness and mystique in words.
To delve deeply into the profound mysteries of principles is to bring forth the highest wisdom; this, indeed, is the greatest virtue! Serving one’s sovereign should be done with the rituals of Confucianism, and unwavering loyalty is a virtue. If the ruler makes errors in their actions, the ministers should advise and remonstrate, speaking their minds without reservation. Even if the ruler does not accept the advice, the ministers should be willing to offer their lives and earnestly plead for a change of heart. Therefore, one should be willing to sacrifice their life, like Bi Gan, who spoke candidly and had his heart cut open, or like Qin Xi, who strongly remonstrated and had his head smashed, showing complete disregard for their own lives. One should also be like Fan Kui, who boldly entered through the gate, or Shen Tu Gang, who used his head to resist the wheels, willingly facing death without leaving their posts. Just as when in danger, one’s limbs instinctively protect their own lives, or when a sovereign crosses a river, his subjects willingly become the boat and oars, the moral bond between ruler and subject reaches the highest level. However, Chang Hong violated the admonition that “one should boldly remonstrate without concealing or seeking favor,” continuously trying to please the king, and ultimately met a tragic end. Therefore, Rong Cheng and Chang Hong cannot be compared.
It is said that Shi Kuang was born during the era of Duke Ling of Jin, and Duke Ling of Jin appointed him to oversee music. Shi Kuang was skilled in distinguishing musical tones and had also written thousands of military treatises. People of his time did not know his ancestry, and the details of his birth and death are difficult to ascertain. During the time of Duke Ping of Jin, Shi Kuang became famous for his knowledge of Yin and Yang. He deliberately blinded himself using smoke and fire to eliminate distracting thoughts, focusing his energy solely on astrology and music. Shi Kuang accurately determined the seasons by examining musical tones, without the slightest error. The “Spring and Autumn Annals” do not record the specific reign under which Shi Kuang lived. Sensing the end of his life approaching, Shi Kuang authored a work known as the “Baofu,” comprising one hundred volumes. Unfortunately, his books were scattered and lost during the warring states period among the various feudal states.
Duke Ping of Jin asked Shi Kuang to perform the clear and pure Zhi mode in music. Shi Kuang replied, “The clear and pure Zhi mode is not as suitable as the clear and serene Jiao mode.” Duke Ping of Jin asked, “Can I listen to the clear and serene Jiao mode?” Shi Kuang said, “Your merits are shallow, and you cannot listen to such music. If you do, it may bring misfortune.” Duke Ping of Jin said, “I am old, and my only pleasure is music. I hope to hear the clear and serene Jiao mode as I wish.” Shi Kuang reluctantly began to play. As he played, clouds and mist began to rise from the northwest. Shi Kuang continued to play, and suddenly a strong wind blew in, accompanied by heavy rain. The fierce wind tore down curtains, shattered vessels containing food, and blew off tiles from the eaves. The people who were originally seated scattered in all directions, and Duke Ping of Jin was filled with fear, crouching on the ground next to the hall. Since that day, Jin experienced continuous severe drought, with no vegetation growing for three years, and Duke Ping of Jin fell seriously ill.
Lao Dan lived during the late Zhou period and resided on Mount Risheng, where only the evening sun’s rays could reach, isolating him from the world. He was accompanied by five old men with yellow hair, who sometimes arrived riding on wild geese or cranes and other times flew in wearing garments made of feathers. These old men had exceptionally large ears, extending beyond the tops of their heads, square-shaped pupils in their eyes, and their complexion was as white as jade. They carried staffs made of green bamboo. Together with Lao Dan, they discussed the laws governing the changes of heaven and earth. When Lao Dan descended from the mountain and became a historian, seeking methods for wholeheartedly cultivating the Dao, scholars from all over the country eagerly gathered around him. These original five old men were the deities representing the directions – East, West, South, North, and Center.
The country of Futi presented two individuals with extraordinary powers and exceptional writing skills. They could suddenly appear old or young, sometimes concealing their bodies but revealing their shadows, and at other times their voices could be heard while their forms remained unseen. From their sleeves, they produced bronze flasks measuring four inches high, with labels depicting five dragon motifs sealed at the flask’s mouth using blue clay. Inside the bronze flasks was a black liquid resembling pure lacquer. When this black liquid was poured onto the ground or stones, it transformed into various scripts, including seal script, clerical script, and ancient characters, documenting the creation and evolution of the natural world and the initial state of humanity. They also assisted Laozi in writing nearly a hundred thousand characters of the “Tao Te Ching.” These two individuals transcribed the “Tao Te Ching” onto jade scrolls, interlinked them with golden cords, and stored them in a jade box. They toiled tirelessly day and night, their bodies growing weary and their spirits fatigued. When the black liquid in the bronze flasks was depleted, they would open their hearts and let the blood flow, using their own blood as ink for writing. They took turns drilling into their skulls to extract brain marrow, which served as a substitute for lamp oil. When both brain marrow and blood were exhausted, they would retrieve a jade tube from their belongings containing red medicinal powder, which, when applied to their bodies, caused their bones to mend. Laozi remarked, “Eliminate the redundant and disorderly parts, retaining only five thousand characters.” When the “Tao Te Ching” was completed, and their work was finished, the whereabouts of these two individuals became unknown.
Xiao Qilu said, “Zhuangzi stated that the virtue of a sage aligns with the heavens and the earth, yet they still use the loftiest principles and names to elevate their own cultivation. Observing Laozi’s words and deeds, he advocated humility and peace, making them the essence of his conduct. He pursued a life of emptiness and tranquility, emphasizing a return to the original simplicity. Laozi recognized that the profound simplicity of the Dao had become shallow and diluted, prompting him to write profound texts as a warning to the world. Who could discern the Daoist doctrine based on emptiness like him and delve into these profound, silent theories? Therefore, even Confucius praised Laozi’s noble character, believed his actions were in accordance with the will of the divine, and held him in the highest regard, considering Laozi to be a true dragon incarnate. The music created by Shi Kuang had a profound and far-reaching influence on later generations, which continued until the end of the Spring and Autumn period. “Baopuzi” praises Shi Kuang as a “sage who understood music.” Even the extraordinary achievements of Rong Cheng in creating calendars, the great calculations of the history of time, the efforts of Kuai and Xiang, two music officials, in organizing ancient melodies, and the skills of Prince Zha of Wu in observing Zhou music and clarifying the disturbances couldn’t surpass Shi Kuang.”
Shi Juan lived during the reign of Duke Ling of Wei. He was skilled in playing ancient melodies and proficient in composing new ones to replace the old tunes. As a result, he created music that depicted the characteristics of the four seasons and invented precious and beautiful musical instruments. Among these, there were compositions like “Departing Swans,” “Flying Geese,” and “Floating Water Hyacinths” that depicted the characteristics of spring. For the summer season, there were tunes such as “Bright Morning,” “Boiling Springs,” “Vermilion Flowers,” and “Flowing Gold.” Autumn was represented by songs like “Trade Winds,” “White Clouds,” “Falling Leaves,” and “Blowing Thistledown.” In winter, he portrayed the season through melodies like “Frozen River,” “Flowing Shadows,” and “Heavy Clouds.” Shi Juan performed these seasonal compositions for Duke Ling of Wei. After listening to them, the Duke became enthralled, and his mind became even more confused and distracted, causing him to neglect state affairs. The minister Qu Boyu hurriedly climbed the steps to advise the Duke, saying, “Although these musical compositions depict the characteristics of the four seasons and serve to establish a correct calendar and determine the solstices, indulging in such lascivious and seductive melodies all day long is not in line with the refined and proper tones. These are not the kind of music that a minister should recommend to the ruler.” As a result, Duke Ling of Wei distanced himself from the music representing the four seasons and personally attended to state affairs. The people of Wei praised the Duke’s transformation. Shi Juan, feeling remorseful for straying from the music of “Ya” and “Song,” and losing the basic moral principles expected of a minister, withdrew from the court. Qu Boyu, concerned that future generations might continue to use and replicate Shi Juan’s musical instruments, burned them on the crossroads.
Xiao Qilu said: To govern a country, one should prioritize simplicity and integrity, and in teaching the people, one should emphasize prudence and frugality as fundamental values. Therefore, the “Shangshu · Shangshu” provides clear admonitions against three harmful customs and ten kinds of offenses. Teaching people not to neglect state affairs and not to become slack or lazy is a valuable virtue, as seen in the “Shijing · Tang Feng,” which upholds the virtue of frugality. Duke Ling of Wei went against the clear advice of the “Shijing” and “Shangshu,” indulging excessively and causing further confusion in his mind. However, he was capable of feeling regret for his past mistakes and was open to counsel, much like the sun and moon continue to shine brightly after being temporarily obscured during eclipses. Qu Boyu was resolute in his determination to advise the ruler and maintained a loyal heart. Shi Juan understood the principles of progress and withdrawal, and even after making mistakes, he was quick to correct himself, demonstrating his virtue and righteousness as a minister. Duke Ling of Wei, Qu Boyu, and Shi Juan, this ruler and his two ministers, all deserve praise.
During the reign of Duke Jing of Song, there was a man skilled in observing celestial phenomena. Duke Jing promised to appoint him as a high official and provided him with lodgings in a tall tower within the royal library, where he could observe the heavens. He also arranged for sumptuous meals, luxurious clothing, and exquisite provisions. These meals included wild ducks from Qu Cang cooked with longan fruit, venison from Cong Ting steamed with honey, carp from Qi Zhang dried with green eggplants, and ripe grain spikes from Ji Jiang, cooked using Lan Su grass as fuel. The waters from Hua Qing, clear as ice crystals, were used to wash fine white silk. Hua Qing was the name for the ice flowers found in a well. Every day, the chef prepared meals according to the time, signaling with bells, and during his meals, the gentleman would be accompanied by the ringing of chimes. It is said that for every meal, bells and chimes would resonate together. In his living quarters, he hung clothing representing all four seasons. In spring and summer, he adorned himself with gold and precious jade; in autumn and winter, he wore feathers from jade birds for warmth. The rooms were adorned with the burning of exotic incense on high platforms. One day, a rustic-looking man, dressed in simple attire and carrying a book box on his back, knocked on the door. He told the guards, “I’ve heard that our ruler has a keen interest in the study of yin and yang, the Five Elements, and the mysteries of celestial observations. I humbly request an audience with him.” Consequently, Duke Jing invited him into the grand hall. Their conversation initially touched upon various omens of the future and subsequently delved into historical events that had already occurred, with scarcely any inaccuracies. This rustic man would observe celestial phenomena and atmospheric conditions at night to predict the future and calculate various data and consult maps during the day. He neither wore luxurious clothing nor indulged in exotic delicacies. Duke Jing expressed his gratitude, saying, “In these turbulent times for the State of Song, without your guidance, who else would come to assist me?” The rustic man replied, “When benevolence is not evenly distributed among the people, calamity and chaos will ensue. By focusing on one’s own moral cultivation, people from all around will be drawn to you. This will invite auspicious signs from Heaven, and the people will praise the ruler’s moral teachings.” Duke Jing exclaimed, “Your words are truly profound!” Consequently, Duke Jing bestowed the surname “Zi” and gave him the name Wei, known as Zi Wei during the Spring and Autumn period.
Xiao Qilu said: During the Spring and Autumn period, there was a figure named Zi Wei in the State of Song and his descendants who were in charge of astronomy. They were adept at observing celestial phenomena and coordinates, perhaps similar to individuals like Zishi from the State of Lu or Bizaofu from the State of Zheng. Duke Jing of Song treated Zi Wei with great reverence, according to the customs reserved for honored guests. He provided Zi Wei with luxurious clothing that surpassed the finery of the time and served him exotic delicacies brought from distant lands. Even the divine dishes prepared by the celestial kitchens and the emperor’s attire adorned with magnificent ornaments paled in comparison to Zi Wei’s clothing and food. According to the “Spring and Autumn Annals,” rulers could grant surnames to deserving ministers based on their birthplaces, and Zi Wei gained fame through this practice, hence he was also known as the “Sistar Clan.” In the waning years of the Six States period, he authored a book expounding on the principles of yin and yang. This information is recorded in Ban Gu’s “Yiwen Zhi” (Treatise on Literature).
King Goujian of Yue plotted to eliminate the state of Wu. He gathered treasures, beautiful women, and exquisite food from all over the world to offer to the King of Wu. He also sacrificed pigs, cattle, and sheep to pray to heaven and earth, and offered the lives of dragons and snakes in rituals to the rivers and mountains. King Goujian even falsely claimed to be acting on behalf of the King of Wu, recruiting countless people from Jiangnan to work in Wu. Yue had two peerless beauties named Yiguang and Xiuming, also known as Xishi and Zheng Dan. They were presented to the King of Wu as well. The King of Wu had them reside in a room adorned with delicate pearls as curtains. In the morning, they lowered the pearl curtains to block the sunlight, and in the evening, they rolled them up to await the moonlight. These two beautiful women often sat side by side in front of the window, doing their makeup and combing their hair in front of a mirror inside the pearl curtains. Anyone who secretly saw them was captivated by their beauty and believed they were heavenly maidens. The King of Wu was so entranced by their beauty that he forgot about governing his kingdom. When the army of Yue invaded Wu, the King of Wu fled to the rear garden of the palace with these two beautiful women. In the chaos, when Yue’s troops entered the garden and saw the two women standing under a tree, they believed they were celestial beings and dared not approach. Today, there is a decayed tree stump inside the Snake Gate of the capital city of Wu, where people still offer sacrifices to these two celestial women. When King Goujian of Yue entered Wu, red crows flew on both sides of him. Therefore, after Goujian’s hegemony, he built a “Wangwu Terrace” to commemorate the mystical crows.
During his time as the Prime Minister of the state of Yue, Fan Li received a daily income of over a thousand taels of gold. He had more than ten thousand servants and experts in calculations and divination. Fan Li collected rare treasures from all over the country, filling the capital city of Yue with these riches. He used these treasures to create various objects, including mountains of copper and iron. Some of these treasures were hidden in deep wells and trenches, which people referred to as “Treasure Wells.” His palace was filled with exceptionally beautiful women, and their quarters were known as the “Amusement Palace.” Throughout history, there were few individuals as opulent and wealthy as Fan Li.
Xiao Qilu said: The “Book of Changes” promotes humility, and “The Book of Great Yu’s Counsel” also advocates that humility benefits people. The fundamental principle of being a subject should prioritize the virtue of humility. “Zuo Zhuan” states, “Once you know, give it your all; this is loyalty.” Fan Li elucidated the basic principles of warfare, enabling King Goujian to achieve his dominance and ultimately become king of the Baiyue region. It can be said that the wealth and strength of the state were all due to Fan Li’s abilities. Fan Li chose to feign madness, live in seclusion, and change his identity three times, ultimately retiring after his achievements. This was all because Fan Li understood the duty of a subject. As for extravagances like the “Treasure Wells” and “Amusement Palace,” while they may seem luxurious, they did not cloud his judgment. The rise and fall of a nation is not solely determined by calculating seasons and times but also by the abilities of its subjects. By closely examining the process of Yue defeating the Wu state, it can be said that King Goujian’s initial diplomatic policies towards Wu reached their zenith: he offered peerless beauties and presented miraculous treasures from different generations as tributes to Wu. While the actions of King Goujian and Fan Li may differ, their commitment to their duty as subjects was consistent. Knowledgeable and wise gentlemen can find validation of the viewpoints in the “Book of Changes” and “The Book of Great Yu’s Counsel” in these events.
錄曰：宋子韋世司天部，妙觀星緯，抑亦梓慎、裨灶之儔。景公待之若神，禮以上列，服以絕世之衣，膳以殊方之味，雖謂大禽之旨，華蕤龍袞之服，及斯固陋矣。《春秋》因生以賜姓，亦緣事以顯名，號司星氏。至六國之末，著陰陽之書。 【 出班固《藝文志》。】
越謀滅吳，蓄天下奇宝、美人、異味進於吳。殺三牲以祈天地，殺龍蛇以祠川岳。矯以江南億萬戶民，輸吳為佣保。越又有美女二人，一名夷光，二名脩明， 【 即西施、鄭旦之別名。】 以貢於吳。吳處以椒華之房，貫細珠為簾幌，朝下以蔽景，夕卷以待月。二人當軒並坐，理鏡靚妝於珠幌之內。竊窺者莫不動心驚魄，謂之神人。吳王妖惑忘政。及越兵入国，乃抱二女以逃吳苑。越軍乱入，見二女在樹下，皆言神女，望而不敢侵。今吳城蛇門內有朽株，尚為祠神女之處。初，越王入吳国，有丹烏夾王而飛，故勾踐之霸也，起望烏台，言丹烏之異也。范蠡相越，日致千金。家童閑算術者萬人。收四海难得之貨，盈積於越都，以為器。銅鉄之類，積如山阜，或藏之井塹，謂之“宝井”。奇容麗色，溢於閨房，謂之“遊宮”。历古以來，未之有也。