Sunday, July 21, 2019

Zhao Yan pleads for Longevity (赵颜求寿) (Stories from the Stones)

Zhao Yan (赵颜) was a poor boy who lived during the era of the Three Kingdoms. One day, he was tending to his fields with his buffalo when he met Guan Lu (管辂), a man skilled in divination. Guan Lu could tell that Zhao had only 3 more days to live. As Zhao was a filial child, Guan decided to help him. He asked him to bring wine and meat to the South Hills (南山) where he would find two old gentlemen playing chess under the old pine tree. Zhao quietly serve them the wine and meat as they played without disturbing their game. The old men were the North Dipper (北斗) and South Dipper (南斗) star deities. At the end of their game, they were obliged to repay Zhao for his food and drink. The North Dipper added a “nine” in front of the two characters “ten nine” next to Zhao’s name in his birth register, extending Zhao’s life to ninety-nine years (folklore had it that the South Dipper was in charge of birth while the North Dipper was in charge of death). And that was how Zhao lived to a ripe old age. (source: All Things Bukit Brown, article by Yik Han and Claire Leow)


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