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Main > Chinese folktales > Fairy tale "The Spirits of the Yellow River"

The Spirits of the Yellow River

In this order they reached the port, and just when it was about time to say farewell, the snake was already swimming in the water. He had grown much larger, nodded to the captain with his head, and disappeared.

Then there were doubts and questionings: “But the river-god lives a thousand miles away from here, how does he get to this place?”

Said the captain: “He is so powerful that he can get to any place, and besides, from where he dwells a waterway leads to the sea. To come down that way and swim to sea is something he can do in a moment’s time!”

Note: “The Spirits of the Yellow River.” The place of the old river-god Ho Be (Count of the Stream), also mentioned in No. 63, has to-day been taken by the Dai Wang in the popular belief. These spirits are thought to have placed many hindrances in the way of the erection of the railroad bridge across the Yellow River. The “spirit-tablet”: images of the gods were first introduced in China by the Buddhists. The old custom, which Confucianism and ancestor-worship still follow, holds that the seat of the gods is a small wooden tablet on which the name of the god to be honored is written. Theatrical performances as religious services are as general in China as they were in ancient Greece. Dsiningdschou is a district capital on the Imperial Canal, near the Yellow River.

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