The shipwrecked encountered the immortal island and returned home as a hermit

Yuan Zangqi was a monk (a person who retired from the study of essays and Taoism and did not come out), claiming to be the grandson of King Qinghe Xiao of the Northern Wei Dynasty during the Northern and Southern Dynasties. During the reign of Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty, he was an official of Fengxinlang. In the ninth year of Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty, he was sent as a judge to go to sea. Unexpectedly, the ship was destroyed by the storm during the voyage, and the clouds were so thick that all the people in the same boat unfortunately fell into the sea and drowned, but only Yuanzang was lucky to hold a piece of wood. He drifted on the sea for half a month, and suddenly one day he drifted to a small island.

The islanders asked him where he came from, and he told them one by one what happened at sea and where he came from. The islanders said, “This is Cangzhou, an immortal island in the North Sea, tens of thousands of miles from China.” The islanders took out wine made from calamus flowers and peach blossoms and asked Yuan Zangji to drink it. The climate of the island is like the sun in February, flowers and trees flourish, the land is fertile and suitable for planting grains, and the people on the island are immortal. There are also phoenixes, peacocks, sacred cows and horses, and other rare animals on the island. A kind of split-tip melon is produced, the melon is two feet long, the color is purple-red like mulberry, and there are two tips on a melon. There are also blue dates and red chestnuts, all as big as a pear. Most of the people on the island wear a single coat with wide sleeves and wear a long-haul cap.

They talk with Yuanzang several tens of thousands of miles away from China, as if they were there, know everything. Most of the people on the island lived in golden palaces and silver platforms, jade buildings and purple pavilions, played Shao music from the Chinese Zhou dynasty with pipes, and drank wine made from fragrant dew. There is a mountain of long view on the island, and there is a spring of clear water under the mountain, the spring is a hundred paces wide, people call it a flowing channel, throwing gold and jade stones into the spring does not sink, so people here build boats with tiles and iron and exercise on it. The island also has a dozens of miles around the gold pool, gold pool of water and stone mud and sand are golden, the pool grows a kind of four-legged fish, as then the Ministry of Justice Lu said: “Jin Yi Ling has a pool like a basin, the fish inside are long with four feet.” The island has a kind of golden lotus flower, the islanders crushed it into clay for painting, painting out of something glorious, and the real thing exactly the same, only afraid of fire. There is also a kind of golden stem flower, the flower looks like a butterfly, whenever the breeze blows, the flower will sway like flying, women actually pick this flower to make jewelry, and said “not wear the golden stem flower, not in the immortal home.” The islanders also use strong wood to build boats, and the boats are decorated with pearls and jade, which are mainly used for pleasure. “Strong wood” is also “unsinkable wood”. A foot square of a piece of “strong wood” will have 800 pounds, but with a large stone fall on it, it does not sink.

Yuan Zangqi stayed on Cangzhou Island for a long time, then he began to miss China and wanted to go back to his homeland, so people on the island made him a Lingfeng boat to send him back to China. Yuan Zangqi boarded the boat. The boat sped like an arrow on the sea and arrived at Dongrai County in less than ten days. When Yuan Zangqi went ashore and asked what country it was, he was told that it was the Great Tang Dynasty, and when he asked for the year, he was told that it was the year of King Dezong of Tang. He returned to his hometown and saw that his home was deserted and full of weeds, and when he searched for his descendants, only some distant relatives remained. Two hundred years had passed since he drifted to Cangzhou Xiandao in the first year of the Deye dynasty of the Sui dynasty and returned to China in the first year of the Tang Dynasty of Jeong!

When Yuan Zangji came back, two oriole-like birds often flew over his house, and when he called them, the birds would fall down. This is the “bird of speech” from Cangzhou. Yuan Zangqi is good at poetry, likes to drink, free in the world, unrestrained, more than ten years traveled all over the Jiangnan area, people do not know who he really is. Later, a man named Zhao Guizhen often met with Yuan Zangqi’s disciple, Ye Tongwei, a Taoist priest of Jiuhua Mountain, and Zhao Guizhen confirmed from Ye Tongwei that Yuan Zangqi was different, so he reported to the emperor that Yuan Zangqi had lived for more than 200 years and had visited the immortal island of Cangzhou. The emperor ordered Zhao Guizhen to bring Yuan Zangqi to the palace immediately. On his way to the capital with Zhao Guizhen, Yuan Zangqi suddenly disappeared. Zhao Guizhen fearfully reported the situation to the emperor, who read the report and sighed, “I am not as good as the Ming Emperor (referring to Emperor Xuanzong Li Longji), so these foreigners do not come to serve me.”

Later, Yuan Zangqi was seen in a small boat on the sea. The story of Yuan Zangqi is still told among the people who study the Tao in Jiangnan.

(Source: Taiping Guangji)