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Main > Chinese folktales > Fairy tale "Old Dragonbeard"

Old Dragonbeard

“A leg of mutton,” was the answer.

“I am quite hungry,” said the stranger.

So Li Dsing went to the market and brought bread and wine. The stranger drew out his dagger, cut the meat, and they all ate in company. When they had finished he fed the rest of the meat to his mule.

Then he said: “Sir Li, you seem to be a moneyless knight. How did you happen to meet my sister?”

Li Dsing told him how it had occurred.

“And where do you wish to go now?”

“To Taiyuanfu,” was the answer.

Said the stranger: “You do not seem to be an ordinary fellow. Have you heard anything regarding a hero who is supposed to be in this neighborhood?”

Li Dsing answered: “Yes, indeed, I know of one, whom heaven seems destined to rule.”

“And who might he be?” inquired the other.

“He is the son of Duke Li Yuan of Tang, and he is no more than twenty years of age.”

“Could you present him to me some time?” asked the stranger.

And when Li Dsing has assured him he could, he continued: “The astrologers say that a special sign has been noticed in the air above Taiyuanfu. Perhaps it is caused by the very man. To-morrow you may await me at the Fenyang Bridge!”

With these words he mounted his mule and rode away, and he rode so swiftly that he seemed to be flying.

The fan-bearer said to him: “He is not a pleasant customer to deal with. I noticed that at first he had no good intentions. That is why I united him to us by bonds of relationship.”

Then they set out together for Taiyuanfu, and at the appointed place, sure enough, they met Dragonbeard. Li Dsing had an old friend, a companion of the Prince of Tang.

He presented the stranger to this friend, named Liu Wendsing, saying: “This stranger is able to foretell the future from the lines of the face, and would like to see the prince.”

Thereupon Liu Wendsing took him in to the prince. The prince was clothed in a simple indoor robe, but there was something impressive about him, which made him remarked among all others. When the stranger saw him, he fell into a profound silence, and his face turned gray.

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