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Main > Chinese folktales > Fairy tale "Sky O'Dawn"

Sky O'Dawn

The Emperor, who was fond of the magic arts, was much attached to him. One day he said to him: “I wish that the empress might not grow old. Can you prevent it?”

Sky O’Dawn answered: “I know of only one means to keep from growing old.”

The Emperor asked what herbs one had to eat. Sky O’Dawn replied: “In the North-East grow the mushrooms of life. There is a three-legged crow in the sun who always wants to get down and eat them. But the Sun-God holds his eyes shut and does not let him get away. If human beings eat them they become immortal, when animals eat them they grow stupefied.”

“And how do you know this?” asked the Emperor.

“When I was a boy I once fell into a deep well, from which I could not get out for many decades. And down there was an immortal who led me to this herb. But one has to pass through a red river whose water is so light that not even a feather can swim on it. Everything that touches its surface sinks to the depths. But the man pulled off one of his shoes and gave it to me. And I crossed the water on the shoe, picked the herb and ate it. Those who dwell in that place weave mats of pearls and precious stones. They led me to a spot before which hung a curtain of delicate, colored skin. And they gave me a pillow carved of black jade, on which were graven sun and moon, clouds and thunder. They covered me with a dainty coverlet spun of the hair of a hundred gnats. A cover of that kind is very cool and refreshing in summer. I felt of it with my hands, and it seemed to be formed of water; but when I looked at it more closely, it was pure light.”

Once the Emperor called together all his magicians in order to talk with them about the fields of the blessed spirits. Sky O’Dawn was there, too, and said: “Once I was wandering about the North Pole and I came to the Fire-Mirror Mountain. There neither sun nor moon shines. But there is a dragon who holds a fiery mirror in his jaws in order to light up the darkness. On the mountain is a park, and in the park is a lake.

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