Cold Moon Lotus Blossom: An Enchanting Tale of Mystery and Magic

Explore the intriguing story of a Taoist priest who astounds with his mystical powers, involving lotus flowers, hidden wine, and unexpected twists.

In Jinan Prefecture, there was a Taoist priest whose place of origin and name were unknown. Regardless of the seasons, he wore only a padded jacket and tied a yellow silk cord around his waist, without wearing any other trousers or short coats. He often used half a comb to comb his hair and then inserted the comb teeth into his hair bun, resembling a hat. He walked barefoot in the streets during the day and slept on the streets at night, with no ice or snow melting within a few feet around him.

When the Taoist priest first arrived in Jinan, he often performed magic tricks, and the townspeople competed to give him money. There was a rascal young man from a nearby alley who brought some wine and begged to be taught the magic. The Taoist priest did not agree. Once, the rascal met the Taoist priest bathing by the river and suddenly took away his clothes to threaten him. The Taoist priest bowed and said, “Please return my clothes, and I will teach you.” The rascal was afraid that the Taoist priest was deceiving him and refused to return the clothes. The Taoist priest said, “Are you really not going to return them?” The rascal replied, “No.” The Taoist priest remained silent, and soon the yellow silk cord turned into a snake, as thick as several fists, coiling around the rascal for six or seven rounds. It raised its head, stared angrily, and spat venom toward his face. The rascal was extremely shocked, kneeling down with a pale face, breathing rapidly, and pleading for mercy. The Taoist priest finally got back the yellow silk cord. It turned out that the yellow silk cord was not a snake; another snake had sneaked into the city, winding and crawling.

Due to this incident, the Taoist priest became even more famous.

Hearing that the Taoist possessed extraordinary abilities, the homes of bureaucrats and gentry invited him to socialize, and from then on, he frequented the houses of the local gentry. Even government officials and Taoist leaders had heard of his name and invited him to attend their banquets and gatherings. One day, the Taoist was to host a banquet at a waterside pavilion to reciprocate the various officials. On the agreed-upon date, each official found an invitation from the Taoist on their desks, though they did not know how it had been delivered.

When the officials arrived at the banquet location, the Taoist greeted them respectfully. However, upon entering, they were met with an eerily empty pavilion. There were no tables or chairs, which made them suspect that the Taoist was playing tricks. The Taoist then said, “I have no servants; may I borrow your attendants to help me arrange things?” The officials all agreed.

The Taoist drew two doors on the wall and knocked on them with his hand. Inside the doors, someone responded and unlocked them. Everyone gathered around to see shadows of people moving inside. Screens, curtains, beds, and tables were all there. Some people brought these items out and the Taoist instructed the officials’ attendants to arrange them in the pavilion. He also cautioned everyone not to communicate with the people inside the doors, so when items were passed between them, they only exchanged smiles.

Before long, the pavilion was filled with luxurious furnishings. Then, the aroma of fine wine and the steaming hot dishes began to emanate from the walls. All the guests were astonished.

The Waterside Pavilion originally faced the lake, and in June every year, dozens of acres of lotus flowers stretched endlessly. However, it was the heart of winter at this moment, and outside the windows, there was only a vast expanse, with the green waves shrouded in mist. A high-ranking official happened to sigh, “It’s a pity that today’s grand gathering lacks the embellishment of lotus flowers!” Everyone chimed in in agreement.

Before long, a messenger in green clothes hurriedly came to report, “The pond is filled with lotus leaves!” All the guests were surprised. They pushed open the windows, and sure enough, all they could see were lush lotus leaves, interspersed with some lotus buds. In the blink of an eye, thousands of branches and thousands of flowers bloomed simultaneously. The north wind blew, and the fragrance of lotus flowers permeated the air. Everyone felt amazed.

They sent the messenger in a boat to pick lotus flowers. From a distance, they saw the messenger sailing into the midst of the lotus flowers. But before long, the boat returned empty-handed to see the high-ranking official. The official asked why it turned out this way, and the messenger replied, “I took the boat and went there, but I saw lotus flowers blooming in the distance. As we gradually rowed to the north bank, we suddenly saw lotus flowers blooming far away on the surface of the water to the south.” The Taoist smiled and said, “These are illusory lotus flowers.”

Before long, the feast came to an end, and the lotus flowers began to wither. The north wind suddenly blew, and the lotus leaves were broken and nothing remained.

The Daoist from Jidong Road was very happy and brought the Taoist priest back to the yamen (government office), accompanying him for daily excursions. One day, the Daoist and his guests were drinking. The Daoist had a family recipe for good wine, and he only served one dou (a traditional Chinese measure for liquids) of wine to each guest, refusing to let people drink more freely. On this day, the guest found the wine exceptionally delicious and repeatedly asked for more, but the Daoist claimed that the wine had run out.

The Taoist priest smiled and said to the guest, “If you want to drink to your heart’s content, you can come to me for it.” The guest asked the Taoist to fulfill his promise. The Taoist put the wine jug into his sleeve, and in no time, he took it out again, pouring wine for everyone present. The wine was no different from the fine wine in the Daoist’s family collection. So everyone had a delightful time before dispersing.

The Daoist was puzzled and went inside to check the wine jar. However, he found that the seal on the outside was intact, but there was no wine inside. Feeling ashamed and angry, he thought the Taoist was a charlatan and had him captured and tortured. Unexpectedly, as soon as the stick struck down, the Daoist felt a sharp pain in his buttocks. With each strike, the flesh on his buttocks felt as if it was tearing apart. Although the Taoist cried out in pain, the Daoist’s buttocks were already bloodied on the seat. They had to stop the torture and drove the Taoist away.

The Taoist then left Jinan, and his whereabouts were unknown. Later, someone encountered the Taoist in Jinling (now Nanjing), dressed the same as before. When they asked him, he just smiled and didn’t answer.






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