Preparing for a better world
A LEGEND OF THE DRAGON KINGS
Long ago, there were no rivers or lakes in china. Rain fell from time to time
to water the people's crops, but the only large body of water in the world was the Eastern Sea. At the time this body of water was home to the four Chinese dragon kings - the Black Dragon, The Long Dragon, the Pearl Dragon and the Yellow Dragon . [ who later gifted Emperor Fu Hsi with the vital secret of writing}. All of these dragons, like everything else on earth, were under the rule of the Jade Emperor, who is also known as Father Heaven, or the August Personage of Jade. He lived with his court in his heavenly palace that lies far above the clouds, and from there, he oversaw the affairs of the world.
Now one day, the four dragon kings had risen out of the sea to fly aroun in the sky, when the Pearl Dragon suddenly noticed that everything was not as it should be on earth. All the people had grown very thin, for there had been no rain for a long time, and their crops were withering and turning yellow in the fields. The Pearl Dragon saw them putting out fruit, cakes, and other offerings as they prayed to the Jade Emperor.
"O, great Jade Emperor," called out one particularly thin woman who was carrying a little boy on her back, "please send us some rain so that we may grow rice for our children to eat!"
When the Pearl dragon pointed this out to the other dragons kings, they all became greatly concerned.
"These poor people are sure to die if there is no rain soon!' exclaimed the Yellow Dragon.
"We must ask the Jade Emperor for help at once!' suggested the Long Dragon. And so all four dragons sped away up into the clouds to visit the Jade Emperor in his heavenly palace.
In the palace, the Jade Emperor was not pleased to see the four dragon
kings----he was enjoying listening to some especially delightful fairy music.
The Long Dragon stepped forward and said,"Your Majesty, I beg you to send some rain to the people quickly , for their crops are withering and dying in the fields."
But the Jade Emperor wanted to continue listening to the lovely music, and so he pretended to agree to the Long Dragon's request.
"Yes, all right," he said. "You four go back down to earth, and I will send some rain tommorrow."
The four dragon kings were happy with this answer, and so they returned to earth. But nearly two weeks passed by, and not a single drop of rain had fallen by now the people were getting so hungry that they were trying to eat the grass and roots in order to feed themselves.
The four dragon kings felt very sorry because they now realised that this time the Jade Emperor had not paid any attention to the problems in China. It was up to them to help solve the problems of china. So they all wondered what to do, and eventually the Long Dragon had an idea as he gazed at the Eastern Sea.
"There is so much water in this sea where we live," he said. " Why don't we use that to help the people? We can scoop it up and spray it towards the sky. Then it will be just like raindrops!"
The three other dragons agreed that this seemed like a good plan, but they were all worried because they knew that the Jade Emperor would be angry if he discovered that they had helped the people without asking his permission.
"Well, I am happy to risk the anger of the Jade Emperor," exclaimed the Yellow Dragon.
"Indeed," agreed the Black and Pearl Dragons. "We must do anything necessary in order to help the people."
So the four dragon kings flew back and forth, scooping up the water from the sea in their mouths and, with a noise like thunder, carrying it far over the land, where they sprayed it all over the earth. The people below were very happy that it was raining at last, and they came out and danced for joy.
Soon the rice and wheat and sorghum in the fields started to look a lot healthier.
But the god of the sea had been watching what the four dragon kings had been doing. and he reported what he had seen to the Jade Emperor.
The Jade Emperor was outraged that the four dragon kings had acted without his permission, and he soon called out his heavenly generals and their troops to arrest the dragons. Soon the four dragon kings were brought to the Jade Emperor's heavenly palace.
"Fetch me four mountains!' the Jade Emperor told the Mountain God. "These four dragons must never escape to disobey me again!"
And so it was that the Mountain God summoned up four great mountains, and pressed them down on the four dragons, one in each part of China.
But the story does not end there, for the four dragons were all determinde to do what they could to make sure that the people never went without water again. They transformed themseves into the first rivers in China, flowing out of four mountaings. The Black Dragon became the Heilong Jian, in the far north; the Yellow Dragon became the Huang He, or the Yellow River in the north; the Long Dragon became the Chang Jiang, or Yangtze, in the centre; while the Pearl Dragon became the Zhu Jiang, or Pearl River, in the south. And those four rivers are still flowing to this day.
by Ernest Drake