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Mythical Monsters, by Charles Gould, [1886], at

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The Memorialist, an officer of the Fourth Rank and Charioteer to His Majesty the Emperor, having received commands to comment upon and make right wonderful books, now reports that an officer named Wang, a subordinate in the Board of Civil Office, had already made comments and set right thirty-two chapters of the "Book of Wonders by Land and Sea," but which the memorialist has reduced to eighteen chapters. This book was compiled during the time of the three Emperors (Yao, Shun, and Yü). At that time there was a great flood, insomuch that the people had no places to live, but only in caves and holes in the rocks, and upon the tops of trees.

The father of Yü, by name K’un, being ordered by the Emperor to assuage the floods, was unable to do so; the Emperor Yao therefore ordered Yü, the son, to do so. Yü used four things in his journey around to make the floods flow away. He first cut away the trees on high mountains to obtain a view of the surrounding country; and having settled as to which was the highest mountain, and which the largest river, Yih and Peh Ye undertook to drive away the wild beasts and birds abounding in the country, and named the mountains and rivers, and classified the fauna of the country, and pointed out which was water and which was land. The feudal lords assisted Yü in his work, and thus he traversed the four quarters of the Empire, where footprint of man seldom could be found, and where boats and carts scarcely reached. He named the five mountain divisions of the Empire and eight seas that bound it. He noted where each kind of precious stone could be found, and the wonderful things he had seen. The abode of animals of land and sea, flora of the country, birds of the air, and beasts of the field, worms, the unicorn, and the phœnix, all these he fixed, and also made known their hiding-places; also the furthest removed kingdom of the earth, and men who were different from

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human beings. Yü divided the Empire into nine divisions, and determined upon the tribute to be given by each division, and Yih and his comrade noted which was hurtful and which was harmless for the "Book of Wonders by Land and Sea."

All the deeds handed down to us of the sages are clearly noted in the Maxims of the Ancients. The work therein expressed is a matter that can be believed in. During the reign of Shiao Wu there was commonly seen a rare bird, which would eat nothing. Tung Fang Suh saw this bird, and gave its name; he also told what it would eat. His words being attended to, the bird ate what was given it. Someone asked Suh how he knew of it; he said he had read of the bird in the "Book of Wonders by Land and Sea." During the reign of Shiao Hsüen, a large stone was broken in Shang Chuen, which then sank into the ground and displayed a house of stone; in the house was a man of Tao Chia, with his arms tied. At that time the memorialist's father, named Hsiang, was a Censor, and he said that this Tao Chia man was a traitor to his king. Being questioned by the Emperor how he could know it, he said that he had read of it in the "Book of Wonders by Land and Sea," which says, "A traitor having killed his king in Tao Yü, he was chained and confined in a mountain, his right leg was cut off, and both his arms tied behind his back." The Emperor was much surprised at this. All scholars acknowledge that this book is perfectly wonderful, and all intelligent men should read it, and be able to speak upon these wonderful beings and things, and learn the customs of far-off kingdoms and their inhabitants. Hence the Yi King says, "In speaking of the products of the empire, care should be taken to avoid confusion," and learned men, therefore, may not be doubtful.

A memorial presented to the Throne by


Next: Appendix V. After Preface to the “Book of Wonders by Land and Sea.”