Everything Has a Soul: Stories about a Turtle and Some Fish

Lai Yi

PureInsight | April 11, 2005


The Legendary Luminous Pearl

During the Han Dynasty, Emperor Wu needed a place to run naval exercises. He ordered a large lake to be built, and the lake became known as the Kunming Lake. One day, a fisherman was fishing next to the lake, and he caught a large fish. The fish broke the line of the fishing pole and fled. But the hook was stuck in the fish's mouth. One night, Emperor Wu had a dream. In the dream, a fish asked him to remove the fishing book in its mouth and promised that the emperor would get a beautiful pearl in exchange for his good deed. The next day, the emperor was cruising in the lake, and a large fish with a fishing hook in its mouth swam up next the boat. The emperor spoke to himself, "Could it be the fish in my dream last night?" He grabbed the fish, removed the fishing hook, and released the fish. Later on, he indeed was given a huge pearl.

The Turtle

During the Jin dynasty, the city of Zhu was heavily guarded by a military platoon. A soldier in the platoon bought a small white turtle from the local market. It was about four to five inches in length. The solider put it in a tank to raise it. The turtle grew and grew, and soon became too large for the tank. So the solider released the turtle back to the river.

Years later, the city of Zhu was attacked by the Shi clan and fell. Some soldiers tried to escape by jumping into the river. But almost all of them drowned because they were weighed down by the heavy armor they were wearing. The only one who survived was the solider who had raised and released the turtle. When he jumped in the river, he felt that he had landed on a piece of rock. When he looked down, he realized that the white turtle he had released was carrying him. The turtle carried him across the river and then swam away.

The Twin Whitefishes

In the spring of the third year of the Emperor Wen's reign during the Song Dynasty, a man named Liu Shu took a boat ride from Jiangli back to his hometown of Erxia. He spent one night on his boat at a place called Mingzhou. It just got dark, and he was reciting some poems. Suddenly he heard two people calling him from the shore. The two people shouted to him, "We are from Erxia as well, and we would like to pay you a visit." They were both about 5 feet tall and very handsome. They were wearing beautiful white robes. Liu Shu invited them to join him on his boat. One of them told him, "We know you are a very learned person. We have always wanted to meet you and pay our respects."

The three of them had a feast on the boat. The two men became drunk and fell asleep on the boat. Liu covered them with a blanket and let them sleep. In the morning, when the daylight broke, they were still sleeping. Liu Shu wanted to wake them up, so he lifted the blanket up. He saw two fishes that were both about five to six feet long. Although their eyes were moving, they still seemed to be very tired. Liu Shu couldn't kill them, so he threw them back into the river.

The following evening, he dreamt that two men dressed in white each placed a pearl next to his bed and left without saying a word. In the morning, when he woke up, there really were two pearls next to his bed!

From the Tai Ping Guang Ji¸(a book compiled in the Song dynasty)

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2005/2/11/31078.html

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