A severe drought occurred in Guangdong, and Governor-General Sun Gong(孫公) prayed to the gods for rain, but it was ineffective. At that time, while he was inspecting Chaozhou, he saw over a thousand people gathered on a hill ahead. He sent someone to inquire, and the answer he received was, “Watching the immortal child.”
Previously, in Chaozhou, there was a villager surnamed Sun. His twelve-year-old son, along with a group of village boys, was playing on the hill. One child playfully threw a punch at the young Sun, and as the fist was thrown, his feet lifted several feet off the ground. Another child threw a stone at him, but the higher they threw, the higher he rose, and the stone never touched his body. The children ran to the village spreading the news, causing a sensation among the villagers, and people from miles away came to witness it. The parents of the child cried and called for him to come down, but he just bent down, smiled, and said nothing.
Upon hearing about this extraordinary event, the governor and officials walked to witness it. Looking up, they saw a child with a green bamboo hat on his back, a cowherd whip hanging from his waist, standing in mid-air.
The governor, worried about the drought, bowed to him and said, “Are you really a celestial being? If you can bring rain within three days to save the crops, I will build a temple to worship you.” The child nodded with a smile. After a while, a dark rain cloud floated over, and the child standing in the air suddenly disappeared. The governor then boarded his carriage and left.
Soon after, there was a torrential downpour, and within a few days, reports came from all over Guangdong that there was abundant rain, and the ditches and rivers were full. The governor ordered a statue of the child to be sculpted, sent artists to the Sun family, and asked the child’s parents to recall his appearance to paint an image. However, the parents, being illiterate peasants, couldn’t describe the child’s features in words. The artist, despite numerous attempts, couldn’t capture an accurate likeness.
At a loss, they suddenly saw the child descending from the sky, smiling, and saying, “I came specifically for you to draw my likeness.” The artist then created the image accordingly. The parents wanted to keep him, but he suddenly disappeared.
The governor then had a statue of the child erected in San Xuan Temple(三玄宮) in Guangzhou, titled “Feathered Immortal Sun Zhenren(羽仙孫真人),” and the temple became highly popular. This event occurred in the fifty-second year of the Qianlong era, in May.
While touring eastern Guangdong, Hong Jieting(洪介亭) of She County saw the statue of Sun’s child and inquired about the details. Fearing there might be doubts, he planned to verify everything when visiting Governor Sun Bushan in person later.
Translated from《仙童行雨》in 《子不語》: