Mr. Zhang, the Old Gentleman: A Tale of Revenge and the Water Demon

Read the captivating story of Mr. Zhang, a Shanxi native who seeks revenge against a malevolent water demon after a tragic incident involving his daughter's dowry, and how he becomes revered as a water deity.

Mr. Zhang, the old gentleman, was from Shanxi. When he wanted to marry off his daughter, he took his family to Jiangnan and personally arranged for the purchase of dowry for his daughter. When the boat reached Jinshan in Zhenjiang, Mr. Zhang crossed the river first and instructed the people at home to stay in the boat and not cook any strong-smelling food. This was because there was a water demon, a giant turtle, in the river that would emerge when it smelled delicious food, damaging boats and devouring people. It had been causing harm for a long time.

After Mr. Zhang left, the people at home forgot his instructions and started grilling meat in the boat. Suddenly, a huge wave flipped the boat upside down, and his wife and daughter sank into the water. Mr. Zhang returned on his boat, overwhelmed with grief and anger, not wanting to live anymore. He climbed up Jinshan and met with the monks in the temple, inquiring about the strange events related to the giant turtle. He was prepared to seek revenge against the water demon.

Upon hearing Mr. Zhang’s story, the monks were afraid and said, “We guard this creature every day, fearing to provoke disaster. We treat it like a deity, praying that it does not become angry. We regularly sacrifice livestock, cutting them in half and throwing them into the river. When we do this, the giant turtle emerges from the water to devour the offerings. Who dares to oppose it?”

After listening to their words, Mr. Zhang suddenly had an idea. He hired a blacksmith and built a furnace halfway up the mountain, where he smelted iron and forged a large piece of red-hot iron, weighing over a hundred pounds. He also determined the regular whereabouts of the giant turtle and had two or three strong men use large tongs to lift it and throw it into the river. The giant turtle leaped out of the water, quickly swallowed the large piece of iron, and then sank back into the river.

In no time, the river’s surface churned with waves as high as mountains. After a while, the waves subsided, and the dead giant turtle had floated to the water’s surface. Passersby and the monks of Jinshan Temple were delighted to hear that the giant turtle had been killed. They built a shrine for Mr. Zhang by the river and placed a statue of him inside, worshiping him as a water deity. Whenever people had requests, a simple prayer to him would grant their wishes.



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