Pale Ink, by Henriette Mertz, , at sacred-texts.com
The Ninth Book and the Fourteenth Book of the Classic of Mountains and Seas, the two additional books found in translation, bear the sub-titles"In Regard to the Regions Beyond the Sea, from its Southeast Corner to its Northeast Corner" and "The Classic of the Great Eastern Waste."
These two books do not follow the pattern set down in Book Four. In neither of these two has mileage been given. In Book Nine, thirteen notes have been given and in Book Fourteen, nineteen isolated descriptionseach one of which appears to have been recorded by a different person. All but the last item relate to the "Great Eastern Waste" and have been lumped together in one book, probably to keep the scattered notes of like areas in a separate book for ready reference. In the original Chinese, none of the paragraphs in any of the books are numberednumbers were placed there by the translator, about 1880, as a matter of convenience. In one early edition, I found that two of the paragraphs had been transposedwhether this is the correct one or the other is correct, I do not know.
The Ninth Book and the Fourteenth Book are being considered together since, from the translation, it will be seen that they relate to territory surrounding the Grand Canyon. Notes will not be made after each paragraph, as was done in the preceding chapter, but comment on both books will follow the second translation.
1. The CHA Hill. [Pronounced CHA or perhaps FAH.] It is said that this country produces I gems, green horses, SHI-JUH,
common willows, delicious cherries, sweet flowers, and excellent fruits. It is in the Eastern Sea between two mountains. Upon the hill there are lofty trees. One authority says that its name is CHA-KIU, and one says that the Country of a Hundred Fruits lies east of YAO'S burial-place.
2. The Great Men's Country is north of this. Because the men are great they sit and seize passing boats. One authority says that this country is north of CHA-KIU.
3. SHE-PI'S Body is north of this. [This is the name of a god.] He has a wild animal's body and a man's face. He has large ears, and for ear-ornaments, has two green serpents [i.e., he has ear-ornaments like serpents strung in his ears.] One authority says that KAN-YU'S Body lies north of the Great Men's Country.
4. The Country of Refined Gentlemen lies north of this. They have clothing, caps, sashes and swords. They eat wild beasts, and have two great tigers, one on each side. They are very gentle, and do not quarrel. They have fragrant plants. [Perhaps "clay" should be read instead of "fragrant plants."] They have a flowering-plant which produces blossoms in the morning which die in the evening. One authority says that it is north of KAN-YU'S Body.
5. HUNG-HUNG lies north of this. They all have two heads. [The name is pronounced the same as that of the character HUNG, which means the rainbow.] One authority says that it is north of the Country of the Refined Gentlemen.
6. The god of the Valley of the Manifestation of the Dawn (CHAO-YANG) is called TIEN-WU. He is the god of the water. He dwells north of HUNG-HUNG, between two bodies of water. When he appears as a wild animal he has eight heads with human faces, eight legs, and eight tails, and is all green and yellow. [The "Classic of the Great Eastern Waste" says he has ten tails.]
7. The Green Hills Country is situated north of this. [The people eat all kinds of grain, and have silken clothing.] Here there are foxes with four legs and eight tails. One authority says that it is situated north of the "Manifestation of the Dawn."
[paragraph continues] [KIH-KIUN'S "Bamboo Book" says that POH-SHU-TSZ went on a military expedition in the eastern sea for fully three years, and found a fox with nine tails, which, perhaps, was a species of the fox above described.]
8. The sovereign ordered SHU-HAI to walk from the farthest limit of the East to the farthest limit of the West, five hundred thousand and ten times ten thousand paces [SHU-HAI was a dauntless traveler] and nine thousand eight hundred paces. SHU-HAI grasped an abacus in his right hand and with his left hand he pointed to the north of the Beautiful Green Hills. One authority says that it was the emperor YU who commanded SHU-HAI; one says that the distance was five hundred thousand, ten times ten thousand, nine thousand and eight hundred paces. [The poem TSANG-SHAN-WU says that heaven and earth, from east to west, are three hundred and thirty three thousand LI, and from south to north, two hundred and one thousand five hundred LI. To inspect heaven and earth, go one hundred and fifty thousand LI.]
9. The Black-Teeth Country lies north of this. [The "History of the Eastern Barbarians" says that forty LI and east of Japan there is a country called the Naked People's Country, and that southeast of this lies the Black Teeth Country. A ship can reach it by sailing for one year. The "Account of Strange Things" says that the Western Butchers dye their teeth and are like these people.] The people are black, and eat rice. They also eat serpents, some red and some green. [One authority mentions only the green serpents.] It is very great. One authority says that it is north of (the country of) SHU-HAI, and has people with black hands who eat rice, and who use serpents, one serpent being red. Below it is the Warm Springs (TANG) Ravine. [In the ravine there is hot water.] Above Warm Springs Ravine is FU-SANG [i.e., the FU-SANG tree, or the useful mulberry-tree.] The place where the ten suns bathe lies north of the Black-Teeth (Country). In the water there is a large tree having nine suns in its lower branches and one sun in its upper branches. [CHWANG-CHEU says that formerly these ten suns rose all together, and the grass and trees were burned and
withered. HWAI-NAN-TZ says that (the emperor) YAO then commanded (the prince) I to shoot nine of the ten suns, and the bird in the suns, until dead. The "Dissipation of Sorrows" says in reference to it that I brought the sun-bird to an end, and that it dropped some of its feathers, and that I took them home and kept them. The CHING-MU Classic says that formerly this I shot skillfully, and brought these ten suns to an end. KIH-KIUN'S "Bamboo Book" says that when YIN-KIAH ascended to the throne and dwelt at SI-HO there were strange prodigies. Ten suns rose and shone together. This is a wonder of nature, but there is proof of it. Tradition says that there were ten suns in the sky, the number of suns being ten. This account says that nine of the suns dwell in the lower branches and one sun in the upper branches. The "Classic of the Great Waste" says that when one sun sets, another sun rises and lights heaven and earth, and, although there are ten suns, they rise alternately, and so revolve and shine; but at the time referred to they all rose together, and so heaven sent down supernatural calamities. Therefore I, having asked for YAO'S instructions, and thoroughly understanding his heart's desire, looked up to heaven, and pulled the bowstring, and nine suns retired and concealed themselves. . .. If we examine into this in a common-sense way we find that it is not reasonable, but if we investigate the principles of destiny we find that nothing is impossible. You, who stand by and see ought to try and comprehend this mystery. Those things which relate to the mysterious and obscure are hard to understand, but nevertheless they go on their course without obstruction.] YU-SHI'S Concubine dwells north of this. [YU-SHI is the same as PING-I, the God of Rain.] He, as a man, is black, and in each of his hands he holds a serpent. In his left ear there is a green serpent, and in his right ear a red serpent. One authority says that he dwells north of (the country of) the Ten Suns, that as a man he has a black body and a human face, and that each (hand) holds a tortoise.
10. The Black-Hip Country lies north of this. [So called because the people are all black below the waist.] These people
make clothing from water animals or fish[i.e., they make clothing from the skins of fishor water animals.] They eat gulls. [Gulls are water birds. Their name is pronounced YIU.] They use two birds, carrying them in their arms. One authority says that this lies north of YU-SHI'S Concubine.
11. The Hairy People's Country lies north of this, and has people upon whose bodies hair grows. [At the present time, by leaving the region of the LIN Sea, and going two thousand LI to the southeast, the place of residence of the hairy people is found upon the Great LOH Island.] Upon this island there are people with short, small faces, and with their bodies entirely covered with hair, like a hog or a moose. They live in caves, and have no clothing or garments. [In the reign of the TSIN dynasty in the fourth year of the period distinguished by the appellation YUNG-KAI (or "Perpetual Excellence"i.e., in the year 310 A.D.) an officer named TAI, having charge of the salt at WU-KIEN, found upon the sea-shore a boat containing men and women, four people in all. These all looked alike and spoke a language which was not intelligible. They were sent to the prime-minister's palace, but before they had reached it they all died on the way, except only one. The ruler gave him a wife, who bore children to him. Going to and coming from the market and wells, he advanced slowly in acquiring the language. His native place was the Hairy People's Country. The "Classic of the Great Waste" says that the Hairy Tribe eat a species of millet for food.] One authority says that this country is north of the Black-Hip Country.
12. The Distressed (LAO) People's Country lies north of this. It has people who are black [and who for food eat the fruits of trees and plants; they have a bird with two heads.] Perhaps the name should be read "the KIAO People," instead of the Distressed (or LAO) People. One authority says that it lies north of the Hairy People, and has people having their faces, eyes, hands, and feet entirely black.
13. The KEU-WANG of the Eastern Regions has a bird's body, a human face, and he rides upon two dragons. [He is the God of Wood, and has a square face, and wears plain apparel.
[paragraph continues] MOH-TSZ says that formerly, in the TSIN dynasty, MUH-KUNG was of illustrious virtue. The Supreme Ruler caused KEU-WANG to lengthen his life by nineteen years.]
1. The Great Canyon beyond the Eastern Sea [the poem called TSANG-SHAN-WU says that in the east there is a stream flowing in a bottomless ravine. It is supposed to be this canyon. The "Dissipation of Sorrows" calls it KIANG-SHAN'S Great Canyon] is SHAO-HAO'S Country. [The emperor SHAO-HAO, of the "Golden Heaven" family, gave it this designation.] SHAO-HAO'S Descendant, the emperor CHWEN-SUH [of whom no further description is given], left there his lute and lyre. [It says that his lute and lyre are in this canyon.] It has a beautiful mountain, from which there flows a delightful spring, producing a charming gulf. [The water accumulates and so forms a gulf.]
2. In the southeastern corner of the Great Eastern Waste there is a mountain called the PI-MU-TI Hill.
3. In the Great Waste beyond the Eastern Sea there is a mountain which by hyperbole is called "the Place where the Sun and Moon Rise." It has rolling valleys and mountains. This is the Great Men's Country. [In the reign of the TSIN dynasty, in the second year of the period distinguished by the designation YUNG-KIA "Perpetual Excellence," (i.e., in 308 A.D.), there were ducks collected in NGAO-PO, twenty LI south of the district of SHI-NGAN. A man by the name of CHEU-FU-CHANG picked up a wooden arrow with an iron point, which was six feet and a half long. Reckoning from the length of the arrow, the shooter must have been a rod and five or six feet tall. The Coreans say that formerly some people from the kingdom of Japan, who encountered bad weather upon a voyage,
were blown across the "Great Sea," and beyond it they discovered a country where the people were all a rod tall and moreover, in their form and appearance, they looked like Mongols. They were tall savages of a foreign tribe. The arrow came from this country. The WAI-CHWEN says that the shortest of the Scorched Pigmy People were only three feet high, and the tallest of these did not exceed ten rods. In HO-TU'S "Album of Gems" it is said that ninety thousand LI north of the KWUN-LUN (Range of Mountains) the LUNG-POH Country is found, where the people are thirty rods tall, and live for eighteen thousand years, but then they die. East of the KWUN-LUN (Mountains) TA-TSIN is found. The people are ten rods tall, and all wear plain garments. Ten times ten thousand LI to the east the country of the TIAO People is found. They are thirty rods and five feet tall. East of this, ten times ten thousand LI, is the central TSIN Country, whose people are one rod tall. The KUH-LIANG History says that the body of a tall savage, measured crosswise, covered nine Chinese acres. When riding, his head and shoulders reached above the crossbar of the chariot. This man must therefore have been several rods tall. In the time of the TSIN dynasty a giant was seen in LIN-TAO who was five rods tall, and his foot-prints were six feet long. If the above accounts can be considered to be true, then there is no limit to the height of these tall men.] It has the Great Men's Market, which is called the "Great Men's Mansion." [This is a mountain which is so named because of its resemblance to a large mansion. The Great Men collect near it at market-times, and hold a market upon and about it.] It has a great man crouching upon both of its sides. [Perhaps the character translated "crouching" formerly meant "sitting erect." CHWANG-TSZ says that he sat in HWUI-KIAL.] It has a country of "Little People" who are called the TSING People. [The poem called TSANG-SHAN-WU says that the farthest region to the northeast is inhabited by people who are only nine inches tall.] Its god has a human face and a wild beast's body, and he is called LI-LING'S Body.
4. There is also a mountain named KUEH, from which the Aspen River flows.
5. There is also a Country of Plants, where millet is used for food. [It says that millet grows in this country. The name of the country is pronounced WEI.] They employ (or have) four (species of) birds (i.e., they have numerous varieties of birds); also tigers, panthers, brown bears and grizzly bears.
6. In the Great Waste there is a mountain called HOH-HU. It is the place where the sun and moon rise. It has CHUNG-YUNG'S Country. TI-TSUN (or the emperor TSUN) begat CHUNG-YUNG. The people of CHUNG-YUNG eat wild beasts and the fruits of trees. [In this country there are red trees with dark wood, which have delicious flowers and fruit. See LU-SHI'S edition of the work of Confucius called "Spring and Autumn."] They use four birds (i.e., they have numerous species of birds), and also panthers, tigers, brown bears and grizzly bears.
7. There is also the Mountain of the Eastern Pass, and here is the "Country of Refined Gentlemen." These, people have clothing, caps, sashes and swords. [They have tigers and panthers, which are gentle and give way.] Here is the Country of Presiding Spirits. TI-TSUN begat YEN-LUNG who begat the Presiding Spirits. The Presiding Spirits have off-spring, but the pure-minded male has no wife, and the pure-minded female has no husband. [It says that these people are pure in their thoughts, and are not affected by passion, and do not mate, but that they conceive children with all purity, like white doves looking steadfastly into each other's eyes, each being affected by the purity of the other.] They eat millet and wild beasts, and have numerous varieties of birds. Here is TA-O Mountain (or the Mountain of the Great Ridge).
8. In the Great Waste there is a mountain named MING-SING (or the Bright Star). It is the place where the sun and moon rise.
9. There is also the White People's Country. TI-TSUN begat TI-HUNG, who begat the White People. The White People have no surnames. They eat millet, and have numerous varieties of birds, as well as tigers, panthers, brown bears and grizzly
bears. [And they have teams of yellow wild beasts, which they drive, using them in order to reach a great age.]
10. There is also the Green Hills Country. Here there are foxes with nine tails. [When they are very little disturbed they come out (of their holes), and this is considered a very good omen.] It has the JEU-PUH (or Courteous Vassal) Country. They live in a country of luxuriant land. [It is as luxuriant as if irrigated. The name is pronounced YING.] It has the country of Black Teeth. [Their teeth are like lacquer.] TI-SUN begat the Black Teeth. [As the teachings and examples of the sage do not reach all regions, therefore in after ages his descendants differ in their pursuits and outward appearance. Every one says that those who are now living are his descendants; but they surely can not be posterity which he himself begat.] The KIANG tribe eat millet for food, and have numerous varieties of birds. Here is also the HIA-CHEU (Summer Island) Country. Here is also the KAI-YU Country. It has a god with eight heads with human faces, a tiger's body, and ten tails. He is called TIEN-WU. [He is the God of the Water.]
11. In the Great Waste there is a mountain called KUH-LING-YU-TIEN. It is at the farthest limit of the east with LI and MEU. [These are the names of three mountains.] At the place where the sun and moon rise [there is a god] called CHEH-TAN. In the Eastern Region he is called CHEH. The "coming wind" is called CHAN. [It is not fully described where the Place of the Coming Wind is situated.] He dwells at the farthest limit of the east, and produces the eight winds. [It says that this man is able to regulate the proper times for the winds to come forth and return.]
I2. In an island of the Eastern Sea there is a god with a human face and a bird's body, having two yellow serpents for ear-ornaments. [These serpents are passed through his ears.] He treads upon two yellow serpents, and is called Yu-KWOH. HWANG-TI begat YU-KWOH, and YU-KWOH begat YU-KING. [YU-KING is the same as YU-KIANG.] YU-KING dwells in the North Sea, and Yu-KWOH dwells in the Eastern Sea. They are sea-gods. [They are each called the god of that particular sea over
which they rule. One original authority reads HAO instead of KWOH.]
13. There is also the CHAO-YAO (Quaking) Mountain, where the YUNG (Melting) River flows. Here there is a country called the Black-Hip Country. [From the hips down they are black like lacquer.] They have millet for food, and have numerous varieties of birds. Here is also the country of the KWUN (Needy) People, whose surname is KEU, who eat birds. Some say that King HAI held a bird in his two hands, and, when he had eaten its head, King HAI sent it to YIU-I, HO-POH, and PUH-NIU [HO-PO and PUH-NIU are both names and surnamessee KIH-KIUN'S "Bamboo Book."] YIU-I slew King HAI, and captured PUH-NIU. [The "Bamboo Book" says that HAI, the son of the emperor YIN, went as a visitor to the house of YIU-I, and committed adultery there. Therefore YIU-I'S sovereign, MIN-CHAN, slew him, and thus made an example of him. Therefore the emperor YIN-KIEH-CHING borrowed troops of HO-POH, with which to punish YIU-I, overthrow his country, and slay his sovereign MIN-CHAN.] Ho pitied YIU-I, and allowed him to leave the country secretly, and go to a region of wild beasts; and because he ate the wild beasts, he was called a YAO man. [YIU-I was originally a friend of HO-POH, and a good scholar; but because KIEH-CHING, who was then the emperor of the YING Country, had a good and rightful reason for borrowing troops to punish crime, HO-POH could not do otherwise than help to overthrow his country. It was because he pitied YIU-I that he allowed him to leave the country secretly. After he had left he became a YAO man.] The sovereign SHUN begat HI, and HI begat the YAO (Quaking) People. In the sea there are two people. [These are the people to whom YIU-I went.] They are called NU-CHEU. [They are the same as NU-CHEU'S Body. There is no certainty as to the time when, or the kind of being into which, she (NU-CHEU'S Body) may be metamorphosed; for at one time she walks on water, and at another she vanishes into earth. There is no place she could not reach if she desired to reach it. We hear also that the ways of the class
of FAN-LIS are similar to those of NU-CHEU'S Body.] NU-CHEU has great crabs. The breadth is ten LI.
14. In the Great Waste there is a mountain called YEH-YAO-KIUN-TI. Upon it is the FU-tree, having a trunk of three hundred LI. Its leaves are like mustard. [It resembles a pillar rising to a great height, and its leaves are like mustard greens.] It has a valley called the Warm Springs Valley. Above the Warm Springs Valley is the FU-tree [i.e., FU-SANG lies above]. When one sun sets another sun rises. [It says that they alternate with each other.] They all contain a bird. [In them there is a two-footed bird.] Here there is a god with a human face, dog's ears, and a wild beast's body. For ear-ornaments he has two green serpents. He is called SHE-PI'S Body. They have birds variegated with all colors. TI-TSUN condescended to be their friend. Ti descended two high terraces (for worship) which were ruled by the variegated birds. [It says that below the mountain were SHUN'S two high terraces for worship, and that the variegated birds ruled over them.]
15. And in the Great Waste there is a mountain called I-TIEN-SU-MAN. It is the place where the sun and moon were born, and here is the HUEN (a pipe, a musical instrument) People's Country. Here is also the KI (Dark Gray) Mountain, the YAO (Quaking) Mountain, the TSANG Mountain, the MAN-HU (or Household) Mountain, the SHING (Fertile) Mountain, and the TAI Mountain. Here there are variegated birds.
16. In the Eastern Waste there is a mountain called HOH-MING-TSUN-TSIH. This is the place where the sun and moon rise. There is also the KIH-YUNG Country, northeast beyond the sea. They had three blue (or green) horses, and three horses that were black with white spots, sweet flowers, YUEN-YI, I gems, three green (or blue) horses, and three black horses with white spots like eyes on their flesh, sweet flowers, delicious cherries, and numerous varieties of grain in this place. [It says that these are produced spontaneously.]
17. There is also the country of NU-HWO-YUEH-MU, having a man called YUEN. In the northern regions they say that YUEN,
who brings them the wind, is called YEN. [It says that he has these two names.] He dwelt at the extreme eastern corner, for the sun and moon dwelt there. They did not have a uniform time for rising and setting, and he controlled them as to whether the time should be short or long. [It says that YUEN had the management of the observations of the rising and setting of the sun and moon. He did not let them run out of order, and he knew the length of the days.]
18. In the northeast corner of the Great Waste there is a mountain called HIUNG-LI-TI Hill. The YING Dragon dwells at its extreme southern limit. [The YING Dragon is a dragon having wings.] He killed CHI-YIU, together with KWA-FU [The Ying Dragon therefore dwells below the earth.] Formerly, when below, he was the occasion of dry weather [then it did not rain above], but when the YING Dragon made his appearance there was a very great rain. [The dragon that is in heaven now was produced by the vapor ascending from the YING Dragon. This is the work of the mysterious and obscure, and man is not capable of accomplishing it.]
19. In the Eastern Sea is the Mountain (or Island) of the Flowing Stream, seven thousand LI distant in the sea. Upon this there are wild beasts which look like cattle, with green (blue or hoary) bodies, but they have no horns, and only one foot. When they come out of or go into the water, then there is wind and rain. They are bright like the sun and the moon, and their voice is like thunder. They are called KW-EI. The Yellow Emperor obtained them and made drums of their skins, beating them with drum-sticks made from the bones of wild beasts. [The Thunderbeast is the God of Thunder. He has a man's face and a dragon's body. He drums his abdomen, beating it with drum-sticks.] The sound might be heard for five hundred LI, terrifying all beneath heaven.
Note: Comments within the square brackets form a part of the document as it stands today. Some of them were placed there by a noted scholar about 368 B.C., while others were put in as late as the thirteenth century. The early Chinese who studied the record
were trying to understand and apply the information to Chinamost of it has aided considerably in interpreting difficult passages.
Nature's most magnificent display of her handiworkthe Great Luminous Canyon with the little stream flowing in a bottomless ravineoutspectacles every other natural extravaganza on this earth with its brilliant yellows, vibrant oranges, deep subtle reds and in its shadows pale lavenders toning into rich, velvet blueslike a glorious sunrise or sunset. Nothing but the sun itself could have imparted such rich colorand nowhere else does it exist. To an ancient Chinese, traveling east, this great fissure must be the place where the sun was born.
Hundreds of Chinese apparently saw the Canyonit was a "must" on their travel-adventure schedule. "I saw the place where the sun was born"Chinese poetry and literature fairly bulges with cantos of glowing reminiscence. They called it the "Great Canyon," 4000 years ago; we call it the "Grand Canyon," today. No one could stand on the rim of the canyon and be unmoved by it. The Indians could not; the Chinese could not; and we can not.
To one familiar with the area around the Grand Canyon and due south of it, many small touches in the Chinese description will be noticeable. Pipe-organ cactus will be recognized in the HUEN People's Country, number 15, in the fourteenth Book, as well as the YAO Mountaincalled, in English, "quaking" mountain. "Quaking" is one of those odd words that have a habit of sticking. Forests of Aspen trees have for years been referred to as "quaking." In two recent travel accounts, the Aspen forests on the north rim of the Canyon have been referred to as "quaking Aspen"right on this very spot where the Chinese nickname the mountain on the rim as "Quaking Mountain."
And then the Sahuaroerroneously called the "FU-tree"which was said to resemble a tall pillar rising to great height, the color of mustard. The most perfect gem of all"they all contain a bird"describes the Sahuaro, in five words, better than
any book. What highly imaginative comment could be more significant? Does any other tree in the whole world "contain a bird?" The Sahuaro has small holes drilled in the side, and anyone who has watched the birds dart in and out, hitting the bull's eye each time, will appreciate this Chinese description. Holes are originally made in the Sahuaro by woodpeckers and, when they leave, elf owls take over. It is an experience to watch that is never forgotten.
The "warm springs" that were noted, are probably Castle Hot Springs, just north of Phoenix. And in this area, the FU-tree grew. This identification again ties the Shan Hai King closely to the area described in Hwui Shan's storythe territory is within 100 miles.
The "archer story" in the Ninth Book, locates, without a shadow of a doubt, the place where the Chinese legend originated. It is my belief that some day it will be found that the story of the archer came from one of the Indian tribes and was told to the Chinese. They took it home as a legend of the Canyonthe Indian legend of how the Canyon was formeda legend like that of the origin of the Snake Clana legend like that of Ha-ak. Indian lore is rich in legendary material. In this instance, we have the Indian trying to explain to himself how the Canyon came about and why it was so rich in the colors of the sun. It sounded plausible to the poetic soul of the Chinese and they "borrowed" it and took it home. The legend, in China, has never been understoodit has just been there always as a part of their folklore with no known beginning. This, it is submitted, is its foundationhere at our Grand Canyon.
The concluding paragraph appears to have been put into the "Classic of the Great Eastern Waste" for the want of a better place to put it. It is out of orderbut it contains information found in no other place. It furnishes the necessary clue as to how the Chinese came over. Some of them, at least, came by ship following the course of the warm Kamchatka Current which is identified as the "Flowing Stream." Sailing by way of the Aleutians, and seven thousand LI, or 2300 miles, distant, they found "wild beasts" that looked like cattle, with no horns,
that go in and out of the water, have a man's face, a dragon's body and beat their abdomen. In the Aleutians, and specifically on the Island of Amchitka, 2300 miles from the tip of Korea from where the Chinese probably sailed, is a large colony of sea otter that are a perfect match for the Chinese description. At a short distance, sea otter, with their round white faces and dark brown bodies, do look like they had human faces. When the otter eats, it lies on its back in the water, and uses its chest and abdomen as a table. Its food consists of hard-shelled mollusks which are broken by hammering on a rock which had been brought from the bottom of the depths for the purpose. "The rock rests on the otter's chest and the mollusk is held in both forepaws and brought down against the rock. The ability to balance food on the abdomen, even in rough weather is remarkable." So says the Chicago Natural History Bulletin.
This is a portion of the record, compiled by the great Yu for the Emperor Shun, which told about the mountains and the seas of the worldman's oldest known geography. The Ninth and Fourteenth Books took us to the Grand Canyon and southern Arizona; the four sections of the Fourth Book took us from the Sweetwater River in Wyoming down the crest of the Rockies to the Rio Grande in Texas; from Manitoba, again down the Continental Divide 2200 miles due south to Mazatlan; from Mt. Fairweather in Alaska by sea to Santa Barbara, with a view of Mt. Shasta and Klamath Falls; and from Mt. Rainier to Paradise Valley in the Santa Rosa range in northern Nevada. The mapped record speaks for itself.