The fisherman and his
"Alas!" sighed Hsu, "this noble conduct of yours is enough to
move God Almighty."
After this the two friends went on much as they had done before, until one day Liu-lang again said he had come to bid Hsu
farewell. Hsu thought he had found another substitute, but Liu-lang told him that his former behavior had so pleased Almighty
Heaven, that he had been appointed guardian angel of Wu-chen,
in the Chao-yuan district, and that on the following morning he
would start for his new post. "And if you do not forget the days
of our friendship," added he, "I pray you come and see me, in
spite of the long journey."
"Truly," replied Hsu, "you well deserved to be made a God;
but the paths of Gods and men lie in different directions, and
even if the distance were nothing, how should I manage to meet
"Don't be afraid on that score," said Liu-lang, "but come;"
and then he went away, and Hsu returned home. The latter immediately began to prepare for the journey, which caused his wife to
laugh at him and say, "Supposing you do find such a place at the
end of that long journey, you won't be able to hold a conversation with a clay image." Hsu, however, paid no attention to
her remarks, and travelled straight to Chao-yuan, where he
learned from the inhabitants that there really was a village called
Wu-chen, whither he forthwith proceeded and took up his abode
at an inn.
He then inquired of the landlord where the village temple was;
to which the latter replied by asking him somewhat hurriedly if he
was speaking to Mr. Hsu. Hsu informed him that his name was
Hsu, asking in reply how he came to know it; whereupon the
landlord further inquired if his native place was not Tzu-chou.
Hsu told him it was, and again asked him how he knew all this; to
which the landlord made no answer, but rushed out of the room.
Soon the place was crowded with old and young, men, women,
and children, all come to visit Hsu. They then told him that a few
nights before they had seen their guardian deity in a vision, and
he had informed them that Mr. Hsu would shortly arrive, and
had bidden them to provide him with traveling expenses.
Hsu was very much astonished at this, and went off at once to
the shrine, where he invoked his friend as follows : - "Ever since
we parted I have had you daily and nightly in my thoughts; and
now that I have fulfilled my promise of coming to see you, I have
to thank you for the orders you have issued to the people of the
place. As for me, I have nothing to offer you but a cup of wine,
which I pray you accept as though we were drinking together on
the river-bank." He then burnt a quantity of paper money, when
a wind suddenly arose, which, after whirling round and round
behind the shrine, soon dropped, and all was still.
That night Hsu dreamed that his friend came to him, dressed in
his official cap and robes, and very different in appearance from
what he used to be, and thanked him, saying, "It is truly kind of
you to visit me thus: I only regret that my position makes me unable to meet you face to face, and that though near we are still so
far. The people here will give you a trifle, which pray accept for
my sake; and when you go away, I will see you a short way on
A few days afterwards Hsu prepared to start, in spite of the
numerous invitations to stay which poured in upon him from all
sides; and then the inhabitants loaded him with presents of all
kinds, and escorted him out of the village. There a whirlwind
arose and accompanied him several miles, when he turned round
and invoked his friend thus : - "Liu-lang, take care of your
valued person. Do not trouble yourself to come any farther.
Your noble heart will ensure happiness to this district, and there
is no occasion for me to give a word of advice to my old friend."
By-and-by the whirlwind ceased, and the villagers, who were
much astonished, returned to their own homes.
Hsu, too, traveled homewards, and being now a man of some
means, ceased to work any more as a fisherman. And whenever
he met a Chao-yuan man he would ask him about that guardian
angel, being always informed in reply that he was a most
beneficent God. Some say the place was Shih-keng-chuang, in
Chang-chin : I can't say which it was myself.