The Dragon’s Pearl

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》:

荊湘有僧寺背山近水,水中有龍。時或雷風大作,損壞樹木。寺中有撣鐘張老者,術士也。而僧不知。張老惡此龍損物,欲禁殺之,密為法。此龍已知,化為人,潛告僧曰:「某實龍也,住此水多年。或因出,風雨損物,為張老所禁,性命危急,非和尚救之不可。倘救其命,奉一寶珠,以伸報答。某即移於別處。」僧諾之。夜喚張老,求釋之。張老曰:「和尚莫受此龍獻珠否?此龍甚窮,唯有此珠,性又吝惡。今若受珠,他時悔無及。」僧不之信。曰:「君但為我放之。」張老不得已,乃放。龍夜後送珠於僧,而移出潭水。張老亦辭僧去。後數日,忽大雷雨,壞此僧舍,奪其珠。果如張老之言。

🎨 陳容《五龍圖》in the Southern Song Dynasty

Leave a Comment