In Jingxiang, there is a temple nestled close to mountains and water, where a dragon resides. This dragon often stirs up storms, damaging trees. Within the temple, there is an old man named Zhang who strikes the bell; he is a sorcerer, unknown to the monks. Zhang detests the havoc caused by this dragon and desires to capture and kill it, secretly performing magic.
The dragon, aware of this, transforms into a human and secretly informs one of the monks, saying, ‘I am a dragon, living in these waters for many years. Perhaps, when I went out, storms damaged things. Zhang has cast a spell on me, putting my life in danger. Except for you, no one can save me. If you can save my life, I’ll give you a precious pearl as gratitude and then move elsewhere.’
The monk agrees. At night, he summons Zhang and asks him to release the dragon. Zhang says, ‘Can you not accept the pearl from the dragon? It’s very poor, having only this pearl, and it’s a stingy and vicious creature. If you take the pearl, it will regret it too late.’
The monk, not believing Zhang, insists, ‘Just release it for me.’ Zhang, having no choice, releases the dragon. That night, the dragon presents the pearl to the monk and moves away from the water. Zhang bids farewell to the monk and leaves.
Later, after a few days, a sudden thunderstorm occurs, destroying the monk’s quarters and taking away his precious pearl. It indeed happened just as Zhang had said.
Original text in 《原化記》:
🎨 陳容《五龍圖》in the Southern Song Dynasty