Friday, 4 August 2023
Sunday, 6 March 2022
The Courageous Koi at Dragon’s Gate
In China they tell the story of the Yellow Emperor, who became so angry at the wickedness of the humans that he decided to end their existence. Summoning the God of Rain, he commanded that the rain should never stop until the entire Earth was covered in water and all but a few of the offensive humans were all drowned. So began a Great Flood and every day the floodwaters rose until only the highest mountains were left. The Yellow Emperor’s grandson, Kun, managed to make a few safe havens with some stolen magic mud, but his supply ran out and the rains kept on falling. The Emperor’s anger had not yet abated and, for his disobedience, Kun was executed by the God of Fire.
|River by Sandra buy here: http://sandara.deviantart.com/art/river-282659319|
Kun’s son, Yu, was a golden yellow dragon, strong and beautiful, and he took up the task of saving humanity from the Great Flood. Yu spoke respectfully to the Emperor and described the suffering he had seen amongst the humans. His words softened the Yellow Emperor’s heart and he gave the golden dragon, Yu, the position of the new rain god. He also gave Yu enough magic mud to soak up all the water as well as the assistance of a Magic Tortoise to carry it for him.
|River Dragon by Collette J Ellis buy here: http://collettejellis.deviantart.com/art/River-Dragon-187403101|
Yu’s mighty Dragon Breath easily dispersed the storm clouds and deposed the old Rain God, who had revelled in making ceaseless rain. Once the last drop had fallen, Yu and the Magic Tortoise travelled the Earth dispensing magic mud and creating solid land once more until all the mud on the Tortoise’s back had been used.
Then, so that the rain would have a place to go, Yu created the rivers with swipes from his powerful tail. As Yu was digging the course of what was to become the Yellow River in the north he came across a place where some rocky cliffs blocked the flow of the water. Yu pondered for a moment then, with calculated ferocity, he directed one mighty blow from his tail at the cliffs, cutting a chasm through the hard rock. “I name this place ‘Dragon’s Gate’ and from this day forward it shall be sacred to Dragons.”
This was the origin of the great rivers that flow across China to this day.
|Koi Dragon by Heather Bruton - buy here:http://hbruton.deviantart.com/art/Koi-Dragon-115108345|
Seeing the new land, ready for planting, the people left their caves in the mountains and ventured down onto the fertile plains. In their gratitude they begged Yu to become their Emperor. Thus Yu, the Golden Dragon, became a Man-God and lived a long lifetime on the Earth, almost as long as he would have lived had he stayed as a Dragon. Under his guidance mankind grew knowledgeable in following the ways of Heaven and gained favour in the eyes of the Yellow Emperor.
|Yu the Great Contols the Floods|
Dragon Emperor Yu is still honoured and remembered at the rapids of Dragon’s Gate on the Yellow River and the location still retains a touch of the magic it had at the beginning of time.
A certain type of carp, called a koi, gains their strength by swimming against the current. Not for the koi are the soft lives living in still ponds, for they seek out and revel in adversity. Thousands of years ago, before writing was invented in China, a huge school of thousands of koi swam up the Yellow River until they reached Dragon’s Gate. Most of the school grew discouraged seeing the roiling water and feeling the strong current that stood against them, and so they went back downstream to feast in the quiet waters of the lower river, leaving a small group of 360 stalwarts behind.
|Koi Dragon - tattoo design by Ed Delacruz buy here: http://browse.deviantart.com/art/Koi-Dragon-113644553|
As he sailed through the air on his way over the water the Gods looked down with approval and transformed the flying fish into a shining golden dragon in the middle of his leap. The former carp was now a Dragon, the spitting image of Yu, the creator of Dragon’s Gate, himself. Flapping his new wings he continued upwards until he reached the clouds where he chased pearls of wisdom across the skies. Whenever another brave koi finds the strength and courage to leap the falls at Dragon’s Gate they, too, become a Heavenly Dragon.
|Koi Dragon by Ben Wootten buy here: http://browse.deviantart.com/art/Goldfish-328055999|
Because of their endurance and perseverance, koi have become the symbol of overcoming adversity and fulfilling one’s destiny. The Chinese word “carp” sounds similar to the word “business” and is also a homophone with “profit” or “advantage”. “Fish” sounds similar to “surplus” or “wealth”. Because of this word play, koi have also become associated also with good fortune in mercantile endeavours and paintings of them are a common decoration in shops and restaurants. And in the China of today there is still the possibility that a lowly shopkeeper may, by strength and courage, become a Dragon of Industry.
|Koi Dragon Fish by Cortney DeSantis - buy here: http://mysticgaia.deviantart.com/art/Koi-Dragon-Fish-139476400|
Posted by Steve Caunce
The Three Evils
(A Chinese Folktale re-written by BoSt)
Once upon a time, there lived an eccentric young man by the name of Dschou Tschu. He wore a high hat on his head adorned with two pheasants’ wings; his garments were woven of embroidered silk, and at his side hung the Dragon-spring sword. Orphaned at an early age, he had a wild and mischievous nature which became far worse when he was inebriated. He always intruded into other's business and any ongoing disputes; meanwhile, wherever he went his pranks and tomfoolery, as well, his inclination to forcefully take that which belonged to others, beget or fostered quarrels and brawls. He was hence, furtively detested throughout the neighborhood and whoever offended him had good reason to dread the ensued terrible consequences. As he was blessed with an extraordinary super-human strength however, the law enforcement officers and the village elders dared not rebuke (reprimand, admonish) or punish him seriously. And so, he’d persisted with his unruly ways for many a year.
Eventually a new Official was posted to that district; before the new magistrate formally took up office however, surreptitiously (covertly and under disguise) he first went about the countryside and listened to the citizen’s complaints. They in unison told him that there were three great evils in that district.
The magistrate still under disguise, decided to in person call on Dschou Tschu.
Late that night when most decent folks were fast asleep, the inebriated Dschou Tschu returned from the tavern, along the way slapping his sword and singing in a loud voice.
When he reached his house he noted the man with his head down seated by the door and asked: “Who are you; why are you weeping here so pitifully?”
The magistrate raised his head and glaring at Dschou, replied: “I am weeping because of the people’s distress.”
Dschou Tschu grimaced then threw his head back and guffawed.
“You are mistaken, my friend,” said he. “Revolt is seething round about us like boiling water in a kettle. But here, in our little corner of the land, all is quiet and peaceful. The harvest has been abundant, corn is plentiful, and all go happily about their work. When you talk to me about distress I have to think of the man who groans without being sick. And who are you, tell me that, which instead of grieving for yourself, are grieving for others? And what are you doing loitering at my door in this ungodly hour?”
“I am the new Magistrate,” replied the other. “Since I left my litter I have been looking about in the neighborhood. I find the people are honest and simple in their way of life, and everyone has sufficient to wear and to eat. This is all just as you state. Yet, strange to say, when the elders come together, they always sigh and complain. And if they are asked why, they answer: ‘There are three great evils in our district!’ I have come to ask you to do away with two of them, as to the third... perhaps I had better remain silent. And this is the reason I weep before your door.”
“Well, what are these evils?” enquired Dschou Tschu. “Speak freely, and tell me openly all that you know!”
“The first evil,” said the Magistrate “is the evil dragon at the long bridge, which causes the water to rise so that man and beast are drowned in the river. The second evil is the tiger with the white forehead, which dwells in the hills. And the third evil, Dschou Tschu—is you!”
The crimson hue, the blush of shame swiftly infused the young man’s cheeks, and he bowed and said: “You have come here from afar to be the Magistrate of this district, and yet you feel such sympathy for the people? I was born in this place and yet I have only made our elders grieve. What sort of a creature must I be? I beg that you return to your residence; fear not, I will see to it that matters improve!”
Dschou Tschu at once took off and ran all the way without stopping till he reached the hills. There he hunted the tiger out of his cave. The latter leaped into the air so that the whole forest was shaken as though by a storm. Next he came rushing up, roaring, and stretching out his claws savagely to seize his pray. Dschou nimbly stepped back a pace, and the tiger landed on the ground directly in front of him. Then he thrust the tiger’s neck to the ground with his left hand, and beat him without stopping with his right, until he lay dead on the earth. Dschou loaded the tiger on his back and went straight home.
Dschou Tschu subsequently went to the long bridge. He undressed, took his sword in his hand, and thus dived into the icy water. No sooner had he disappeared, than there was a boiling and hissing, and the waves began to foam and billow. It sounded like the mad beating of thousands of hoofs. After a time a stream of blood shot up from the depths, and the water of the river turned red. Eventually triumphant Dschou, holding the dragon’s decapitated head in his hand, rose out of the waves.
He went to the Magistrate and reported, with a bow: “I have cut off the dragon’s head, and have also done away with the tiger. Thus I have happily accomplished your two commands. And now I shall wander away so that you may be rid of the third evil as well. My Lord, please keep watch over my countrymen and, relay to the elders that they need sorrow no more!”
When he had said this he enlisted as a soldier. In combat against the robbers he gained a great reputation and once, when the latter were pressing him hard, and he saw that he could not save himself, he bowed to the East and said: “The day has come at last when I can atone for my sin with my life!” Then he offered his neck to the sword and died.
Posted by Bo Caunce
Here is some character traits associated with the Dragon Personalities:
Dragons and Other Animals:
Some of the likes and dislikes of the Dragon personality:
Now here are the people in the photo, have fun matching their names:
Maya Angelou, Joan Armatrading, Joan Baez, Sandra Bullock, Bing Crosby, Salvador Dali, Charles Darwin, Chiristian Dior, Placido Domingo, Fats Domino, Sigmund Freud, Che Guevara, Joan of Arc, Immanuel Kant, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale, Edgar Allan Poe, Keanu Reeves, Isabella Rossellini, George Bernard Shaw, Alicia Silverstone, Ringo Starr, Shirley Temple, Andy Warhol, Raquel Welch, and Mae West
Other notable Dragon Year people are:
Jeffrey Archer, Joan Armatrading, Count Basie, Roseanne Barr, Maeve Binchy, Juliette Binoche, Alexandra Burke, Michael Cera, Courteney Cox, Russell Crowe, Roald Dahl, Neil Diamond, Bo Diddley, Matt Dillon, Kirk Douglas, Faye Dunaway, Colin Farrel, Dan Fogler, Bruce Forsyth, Calista Flockhart, Graham Greene, James Herriot, Paul Hogan, Boris Johnson, Sir Tom Jones, Wyonna Judd, Courtney Love, Elle Macpherson, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Nick Nolte, Julia Ormond, Sharon Osbourne, Al Pacino, Gregory Peck, Pele, Nikki Reed, Ryan Reynolds, Sir Cliff Richard, Martin Sheen, Dinah Shore, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Dave Stewart, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Maria von Trapp, Louis Walsh, Mark Webber, and Reese Witherspoon. Just to name a few.
To find out what years belong to which of the Chinese Animal Signs (and to you) see our blog: The Year of the Dragon Brings Ups and Downs for the full list.
|Jormungandr by BoSt|
The Origin of the Midgard Serpent
|The Midgard Serpent by vyrilien-d491d85|
The Midgard Serpent is the middle son of Loki, a jötunn (nature spirits with superhuman strength) himself the son of Laufey (an embodiment of vegetation) and Fárbauti (the spirit of lightning) whose mingling bequeathed Loki the spirit and unpredictability of wildfire. Loki’s mother was the giantess Angrboða, “the one who bring grief”, and his siblings were the Dire Wolf Fenrir and Hel, the Goddess of the Dead whose realm was the mist world of Niflheim. Niflheim was one of the two primordial realms along with Muspelheim where the Fire jötunn dwelt. All three of Loki’s children along with the jötunn of Muspelheim play a pivotal role in bringing about Ragnarok.
Odin, father of the Thunder God Thor’s and leader of the Æsir, saw the danger in Jörmungandr when it would not stop growing after its birth. He threw the serpent into the sea of Midgard, where it continued to grow until it surrounded the whole world. The seas of earth became the realm of the Midgard Serpent.
The first encounter Thor had with the Midgard Serpent was in the Castle of Útgarda-Loki during a ritual test of strength. Útgarda-Loki had challenged Thor to drink from a horn whose end was dipped in the sea. Thor failed to drain it, but drank so much it created the tides. Thor then had to wrestle an old crone, a servant of Útgarda-Loki, but was overcome with weakness after being unable to so much as move her. The crone was old age, who neither man nor God could overcome. The third test that Útgarda-Loki posed was to lift a grey cat up off of the floor. Thor tried with all his strength, but was only able to get the cat to lift one paw off of the ground. The cat was actually the Midgard Serpent, whose size was so great that even lifting a small part off of the sea bed was enough to cause earthquakes and tidal waves. Thor left the Castle with Útgarda-Loki’s promise that Thor would never be allowed back in.
Thor Goes FishingThe next time Thor and Jörmungandr encountered the other Thor, disguised as a young boy, visited Midgard with the God Tyr and stayed with the giant Hymir while Tyr visited his mother and grandmother in the land of the Ice Giants. Hymir was renowned for his fishing skill, and regularly returned with huge fish, even whales, but Hymir looked at the young Thor and doubted if he would be any use rowing his boat. “You are so small, if I take you out for as long and as far as I am wont to go you would undoubtedly freeze.”
This enraged Thor but he held his temper and did not strike the giant. “I will row as far and as fast as you need me to. Nor am I certain which of us would give up and want to return first. Now, where is the bait?”
“If you want to fish with me get your own bait.”
|Johann Heinrich Füssli: Thor vs. the Midgard Serpent|
Once more Thor’s temper flared, and he strode up the hill to where Hymir kept his herd of prize cattle. Picking the largest ox, named Himinbrjotr, or Sky-Cleaver, and struck off his head with one blow. When he returned Hymir had already launched the boat and had taken up rowing position in the bow. Thor tossed the Ox-head into the vessel and climbed in to man the stern set of oars. Hymir, facing forward, was surprised how fast the boat moved; at first not knowing Thor was powering it from behind. When Hymir reached the fishing grounds where he usually caught flat fish he shipped the oars and called for a stop. Thor refused, wanting to keep going further into the ocean and rowed them out to the spot Hymir caught whales. When the giant wanted to stop and catch whales, Thor again refused, “We must go further out.”
“If we do not stop here, we will be in the realm of the Midgard Serpent, who circles the world at its edge.” Hymir remonstrated with Thor two more times but Thor continued to row. Then Thor finally stopped the boat and they both started fishing. Hymir baited his own hook twice, threw it out, and each time he pulled in a huge whale. “I challenge you to do as well as this, stripling.”
Thor then took a strong line and hook and fastened the Ox head onto it. He then let it out farther and farther until it rested on the bottom of the sea where it dragged along behind the boat. The Midgard Serpent was intrigued by the bait and snapped at it, burying the hook into its jaw. Thrashing with pain, Jörmungandr thrashed and swam away so rapidly that it pulled Thor’s knuckles into the gunwale. Angered now, Thor pulled with all his strength just as Jörmungandr pulled in the other direction with such force that Thor’s feet broke through the deck to catch on the hull of the ship. Calling on all his force, Thor reeled in the line hand-over-hand, twisting the free end around the oar-pins as he brought it up, finally working the mighty serpent all the way up to the surface. When the Midgard Serpent’s monstrous head came into view, dripping with blood and venom, Hymir grew yellow of face, and feared for his life. Great waves washed over the gunwale, threatening to swamp the vessel and drown them both but Thor held on to the line with one mighty hand and with the other reached to his belt for his hammer.
From shoulder height Thor struck the Serpent with the hammer Mjöllnir. The mountains shook and the ocean trembled but Jörmungandr was only wounded. As Thor raised Mjöllnir above his head to deliver a killing blow strong enough to split a mountain, Hymir grabbed his knife and cut the line. Jörmungandr quickly slipped back into the depths of the sea to hide as far away from Thor as he could get. Once more enraged by Hymir, Thor did not hold back and brought Mjöllnir down upon the giant’s head, knocking him over the side and down to the bottom of the sea. Filled with a great fear the giant managed to climb back into the boat and huddle in the stern while Thor rowed to land. The God may not have been able to kill the Midgard Serpent and end its threat to Asgard, but he had landed a wounding blow and avenged the trick the beast had played upon him in the Hall of Útgarda-Loki.
Ragnarok: The End of the World
|Peter Nicolai Arbo: Aasgaardreien|
The battle between Thor and Jörmungandr lasts long and the outcome is uncertain. Thor strikes with Mjöllnir but the Serpent writhes away from the blows, spewing venom over the Thunder God. Thor grows angrier and finally is able to land the deathblow on the Midgard Serpent, stretching him out over the Plain of Vigrid, unmoving. Yet, even in its death throes the Serpent manages to spray its deadly venomous vapor into Thor’s face, who breathes it in and manages to walk but nine paces away before dying on the battlefield beside his mortal foe.
Dragon-y ChristmasWelcome to a Victorian tale for your Dragon-y Christmas.
Snap-Dragons was written by Juliana Horatia Ewing in 1870 and published in the Christmas edition of The Monthly Packet. You may find the anachronisms of Victorian times rather quaint and some seem outright silly in retrospect but you may also conclude that they do have their own charm.
For ease of reading you can pronounce the main characters' Family Name "Skratdj" as "Scratch".
Now, on to the story:
- A Tale of Christmas Eve
(Juliana Horatia Ewing)
MR. AND MRS. SKRATDJ
”What I said, my dear, pardon me, was that the barometer was higher than it had been for a week. But, as you might have observed if these details were in your line, my love, which they are not, the rise was extraordinarily rapid, and there is no surer sign of unsettled Weather. But Mrs. Skratdj is apt to forget these unimportant trifles,” he added, with a comprehensive smile round the dinner-table; ”her thoughts are very properly absorbed by the more important domestic questions of the nursery."
contradicted her statements, and set her stories straight in public. Then she hardly ever opened her lips without disappearing under the domestic extinguisher. But in the course of fifteen years she had learned that Mr. Skratdj’s bark was a great deal worse than his bite. (If, indeed, he had a bite at all.) Thus snubs that made other people's ears tingle, had no effect whatever on the lady to whom they were addressed, for she knew exactly what they were worth, and had by this time become fairly adept at snapping in return.
THE LITTLE SKRATDJS
For Polly and her brother had reached an age when it was convenient, if possible, to throw the blame of all nursery differences on Polly. In families where domestic discipline is rather fractious than firm, there comes a stage when the girls almost invariably go to the wall, because they will stand snubbing, and the boys will not. Domestic authority, like some other powers, is apt to be magnified on the weaker class. But Mr. Skratdj would not always listen even to Harry.
"You wouldn't like me to go, I know.”
THE SKRATDJ'S DOG AND THE HOT-TEMPERED GENTLEMAN
It was on the morning of Christmas Eve that the china punch bowl was broken. Mr. Skratdj had a warm dispute with Mrs. Skratdj as to whether it had been kept in a safe place; after which both had a brisk encounter with the housemaid, who did not know how it happened; and she, flouncing down the back passage, kicked Snap; who forthwith flew at the gardener as he was bringing in the horse-radish for the beef; who stepping backwards trode upon the cat; who spit and swore, and went up the pump with her tail as big as a fox’s brush.
And when furmety somewhat palled upon the taste (and it must be admitted to boast more sentiment than flavour as a Christmas dish), the Yule candles were blown out and both the spirits and the palates of the party were stimulated by the mysterious and pungent pleasures of snap-dragon.