The god of Mount Taibai(太白山神) in central Qin is considered the most efficacious. At the summit of Mount Taibai, there are three ponds known as the Big Taibai, Middle Taibai, and Three Taibai. If leaves, weeds, or mud fall into these ponds, flocks of birds will come and carry away these impurities. Therefore, the local people refer to these birds as the ‘Pond-cleaning Birds(淨池鳥).’
Once, a carpenter accidentally fell into the Taibai Pond and discovered another world beneath its surface. He saw a person dressed in yellow, who led him to a grand hall. In the hall, a prince sat without a hat, wearing a wide-sleeved robe and crimson satin boots. With white hair, the prince glanced at the carpenter and smiled, saying, ‘I heard that your craftsmanship is exceptional, so I specially invited you to build a pavilion for me.’ The carpenter then settled in the water palace. Three years later, after completing the pavilion, the prince rewarded him with three thousand taels of silver and allowed him to return.
However, the carpenter found the silver too heavy to carry conveniently, so he declined the reward. Before leaving, he noticed many small dogs with golden fur in the prince’s mansion, charming and delightful. He asked the prince for one to take home. The prince refused, but when the prince wasn’t paying attention, the carpenter secretly took one and hid it in his arms, hastily bidding farewell.
On the way, the carpenter unbuttoned his shirt to take a look at the adorable dog. To his surprise, as soon as he unbuttoned his shirt, a flash of golden light occurred, and the small dog instantly transformed into a tiny golden dragon, soaring into the sky. It also scratched his hand, leaving him permanently disabled. When the carpenter returned home, one day, a thunderstorm with hail suddenly struck. After the storm, he found that the hailstones in his courtyard had turned into silver. Upon weighing them, it happened to be exactly three thousand taels.
Translated from《太白山神》in 《子不語》: