The Ritual Against the Crocodiles

Crocodiles had been making a lot of big troubles to people and domestic animals in the southern China, but then they were expelled thanks to a poet and his magical ritual.

It is interesting that the ritual was not performed by a Taoist or a Buddist monk but by the Confucian poet Han Yü (768-824). In his “Proclamation to the Crocodile” (819) Han Yü was talking to the crocodiles as to people. Basically, he said that he had a full understanding why they had occupied this area at the time with no no law in that region, but now when people were paying taxes to the Emperor, there was no reason for them to be there. So, he told them:

“Now, crocodile, I will make an agreement with you. Within full three days, you will take your ugly brood and remove southwards to the sea, and so give way before the appointed officer of the Son of Heaven. If within three days you cannot, I will go to five days; if within five days you cannot, I will go to seven. If within seven days you cannot, this shall mean either that finally you have refused to remove, and that though I be governor you will not hear and obey my words; or else that you are stupid and without intellect, and that even when a governor speaks you do not hear and understand.””

Remarkably, it looks like that the crocodiles fully understood those words, so after those seven days they were given to pack and prepare for the journey, they set off never to be seen in this area again.

The images: Han Yu and a sad crocodile leaving the land of its ancestors.

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