The narration may border on the limits of incoherency and triviality, but it possesses considerable zest. But to begin.
The Empress Nü Wo, (the goddess of works,) in fashioning blocks of stones, for the repair of the heavens, prepared,
at the Ta Huang Hills and Wu Ch’i cave, 36,501 blocks of rough stone, each twelve chang in height, and twenty-four
chang square. Of these stones, the Empress Wo only
used 36,500; so that one single block remained over and above, without being turned to any account. This was cast down
the Ch’ing Keng peak. This stone, strange to say, after having undergone a process of refinement, attained a nature of
efficiency, and could, by its innate powers, set itself into motion and was able to expand and to contract.
When it became aware that the whole number of blocks had been made use of to repair the heavens, that it alone had been destitute of the necessary properties
and had been unfit to attain selection, it forthwith felt within itself vexation and shame, and day and night, it gave way to anguish and sorrow.
One day, while it lamented its lot, it suddenly caught sight, at a great distance, of a Buddhist bonze and of a Taoist priest coming towards that direction.
Their appearance was uncommon, their easy manner remarkable. When they drew near this Ch’ing Keng peak, they sat on the ground to rest, and began to
converse. But on noticing the block newly-polished and brilliantly clear, which had moreover contracted in dimensions, and become no larger than the pendant of a fan,
they were greatly filled with admiration. The Buddhist priest picked it up, and laid it in the palm of his hand.
“Your appearance,” he said laughingly, “may well declare you to be a supernatural object, but as you lack any inherent quality it is necessary
to inscribe a few characters on you, so that every one who shall see you may at once recognise you to be a remarkable
thing. And subsequently, when you will be taken into a country where honour and affluence will reign,
into a family cultured in mind and of