Mythical Monsters, by Charles Gould, , at sacred-texts.com
BY JUSTUS DOOLITTLE.
Ch. II., p. 264.
The dragon holds a remarkable position in the history and government of China. It also enjoys an ominous eminence in the affections of the Chinese people. It is frequently represented as the great benefactor of mankind. It is the dragon which causes the clouds to form and the rain to fall. The Chinese delight in praising its wonderful properties and powers. It is the venerated symbol of good.
The Emperor appropriates to himself the use of the true dragon, the one which has five claws on each of its four feet. On his dress of state is embroidered a likeness of the dragon. His throne is styled 'the dragon's seat.' His bedstead is the 'dragon's bedstead.' His countenance is 'the dragon's face.' His eyes are 'the dragon's eyes.' His beard is 'the dragon's beard.'
The true dragon, it is affirmed, never renders itself visible to mortal vision wholly at once. If its head is seen, its tail is obscured or hidden. If it exposes its tail to the eyes of man, it is careful to keep its head out of sight. It is always accompanied by or enshrouded in, clouds, when it becomes visible in any of its parts. Water-spouts are believed by some Chinese to be occasioned by the ascent and descent of the dragon. Fishermen and residents on the border of the ocean are reported to catch occasional glimpses of the dragon ascending from the water and descending to it.
It is represented as having scales, and without ears; from its forehead two horns project upwards. Its organ of hearing seems to be located in these horns, for it is asserted that it hears through them. It is regarded as the king of fishes.
Proclamations emanating directly from the Emperor, and published on yellow paper, sometimes have the likenesses of two dragons facing each other, and grasping or playing with a pearl, of which the dragon is believed to be very fond.
The sagacious geomancer is also careful to observe the mountain or hill on the right and left sides of the spot for a lucky grave. The left-hand side is called the black dragon; the right-hand side is called the white tiger. The lucky prospects, in a Chinese sense, on the hills situated to the left, should clearly surpass the prospects of the hills on the right. And the reason for this is manifest, for the black dragon is naturally weaker than the white tiger.
The common belief is that the dragon and the tiger always fight when they meet; and that when the dragon moves, the clouds will ascend and rain will soon fall.
Hence, in a time of drought, if the bones of a tiger should be let down into this well called the 'dragon's well,' and kept there for three days at the most, there will, it is sagely affirmed, most likely be rain soon.
The tiger's bones are used to stir up or excite the dragon.