Doyen of the Masked Ear

Heavenly Self

There was a man in the downtown area of Lehigh who spent his days with his hair cloaked and barefoot, wearing short cloths.

When he talked with people, he talked mostly about heavenly things. Sometimes when he came across paper and a pen, he drew with great joy buildings and palaces with figures in them holding musical instruments; or dragons in the clouds and luan birds and phoenixes. At night he slept in the temple, and people called him Tian Zizhi.

There was a market in the south of Lizhou, and it was very crowded. One night, a fire broke out in the market, and smoke and flames shot up into the sky. Heavenly Self was in the temple and said to himself, “The people of this place have been doing evil for a long time, and God is going to kill them.” Said the hand into the stone basin in front of the steps of the water, hold up the water to the sky, immediately a strange gas from the temple door floated out, turned into a pouring rain, the fire is burning all doused.

Afterwards, the person in charge of the temple, often told others about the night he saw in the temple of all kinds of things, so, the days of the self will quietly fled. Later, the inhabitants of this place were indeed burned by a fire and left empty. It was only then that he believed that what Tian Zi Zai had said was true.

(From “The Wild Man’s Gossip”)

The Daoist with Covered Ears

Outside the south gate of Li Zhou was a trading place for merchants and traders. One morning, a ragged Taoist priest came to the thick crowd to sell gourd seedlings. He shouted, “It is very useful for one or two years. Each seedling bears only one gourd. The vines are coiled on the ground, no need to build a frame.” While shouting and using white clay on the ground to draw the appearance of people, the gourd model is particularly large.

After a long time, no one bought it. People said, “This is a crazy person, his words are not enough to listen.” The Taoist priest again covered his ears with both hands and hurriedly ran, saying as he ran, “How can the wind and water sound so loud!” The children who were playing on the road and in the hutongs followed him and laughed and laughed at him. At that time, people called him “the Daoist who covers his ears”.

The following autumn, the water of the Jialing River suddenly rose one night and flooded over the embankment, submerging hundreds of families. The water was so vast that the people saw the Taoist priest sitting on the surface of the water in a large scoop, covering his ears with both hands and shouting, “How can the sound of water and wind be so loud?” Only to see him drifting away on the water, who does not know where he went.

The Taoist priest had a predestination function and knew that there would be a big flood in the coming autumn. He did not want to explicitly say that he was just selling gourd seedlings, hoping that someone would sell them and plant them to save people’s lives in the next year’s flood. But the people didn’t know that he had good intentions, so they finally died in vain.

(From “The Wild Man’s Gossip”)