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Main > Chinese folktales > Fairy tale "Old Dragonbeard"

Old Dragonbeard

After he had drunk a few flagons of wine he took his leave.

“That man is a true ruler,” he told Li Dsing. “I am almost certain of the fact, but to be sure my friend must also see him.”

Then he arranged to meet Li Dsing on a certain day at a certain inn.

“When you see this mule before the door, together with a very lean jackass, then you may be certain I am there with my friend.”

On the day set Li Dsing went there and, sure enough he saw the mule and the jackass before the door. He gathered up his robe and descended to the upper story of the inn. There sat old Dragonbeard and a Taoist priest over their wine. When the former saw Li Dsing he was much pleased, bade him sit down and offered him wine. After they had pledged each other, all three returned to Liu Wendsing. He was engaged in a game of chess with the prince. The prince rose with respect and asked them to be seated.

As soon as the Taoist priest saw his radiant and heroic countenance he was disconcerted, and greeted him with a low bow, saying: “The game is up!”

When they took their leave Dragonbeard said to Li Dsing: “Go on to Sianfu, and when the time has come, ask for me at such and such a place.”

And with that he went away snorting.

Li Dsing and the fan-bearer packed up their belongings, left Taiyuanfu and traveled on toward the West. At that time Yang Su died, and great disturbance arose throughout the empire.

In the course of a few days Li Dsing and his wife reached the meeting-place appointed by Dragonbeard. They knocked at a little wooden door, and out came a servant, who led them through long passages. When they emerged magnificent buildings arose before them, in front of which stood a crowd of slave girls. Then they entered a hall in which the most valuable dowry that could be imagined had been piled up: mirrors, clothes, jewelry, all more beautiful than earth is wont to show. Handsome slave girls led them to the bath, and when they had changed their garments their friend was announced. He stepped in clad in silks and fox-pelts, and looking almost like a dragon or a tiger.

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