Episode 164: Investiture of the Gods 3 – Three Spirits

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We will continue the series of the stories from the book Investiture of the Gods 封神演义. It is a 16th century Chinese novel in the gods-and demons genre during the Ming dynasty 明朝 and combines history, folklore, and fantasy. The story is set in the period of the end of Shang dynasty 商朝 between the 1600 BC ~ 1046 BC and the beginning of the Zhou dynasty 周朝 between the year 1046 BC~ 256 BC, around 3000 years ago.

Goddess Nv Wa mounted a phoenix and headed for ZhaoGe 朝歌. King Zhou had two sons. One was Yin Jiao 殷郊, who later became the “Star God Presiding over the Year,” and the other Yin Hong 殷洪, who later became the “God of Grain.” As the two gods paid their respects to their father, two red divine beams rose from the tops of their heads and soared high in the sky, blocking the way of the goddess. Looking down through the clouds, Nv Wa at once realized King Zhou had still 28 years to go before his downfall. She also realized that she could do nothing about it at this moment, since that would go against the will of Heaven.

The goddess returned to her temple, highly displeased. She ordered a young maidservant to fetch a golden gourd and put it on the Cinnabar Terrace outside her court. When its stopper was removed, Nv Wa pointed at the gourd with one finger and suddenly a thick beam of brilliant white light rose from the mouth of the gourd and shot up fifty feet into the air. Hanging from the beam was a multi-colored flag called the Demon Summoning Pennant. As soon as this pennant made its appearance, glittering high up in the sky, all demons and evil spirits, no matter where they were, would gather round.

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Moments later, dark winds began to howl, eerie fogs enveloped the earth, and vicious-looking clouds gathered in the sky. All the demons in the would had arrived the receive her command. Nv Wa gave orders that all the demons return home except the three spirits that dwelt in the grave of Emperor Xuan Yuan 轩辕.

What were these three spirits? The first was a thousand-year-old female fox spirit, the second was a female pheasant spirit with nine heads and the third was a jade lute spirit.

“May you live eternally, dear goddess!” The three spirits greeted Nv Wa, kowtowing on the Cinnabar Terrace.

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“Listen carefully to my secret orders. The Shang dynasty’s destined to end soon. The singing of the phoenix at Mount Qi 奇山 augurs the birth of a new ruler in West Qi. This has all been determined by the will of Heaven and no one has the power to change what must happen. You may transform yourselves into beauties, enter the palace, and distract King Zhou from state affairs. You will be richly rewarded for giving the new dynasty an auspicious start and helping the old one to its downfall. However, you mustn’t bring harm to the people.” The three spirits turned themselves into winds, and flew away.

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Since his visit to the Temple of Goddess Nv Wa, King Zhou had sunk into a deep depression. He ardently admired the beauty of the goddess, lost all desire to eat and drink. He had no passion for his queen, his concubines, or the numerous maids in his palace. They now all appeared to him like lumps of clay. He would not be bothered with state affairs.

One day, he remembered Fei Zhong 费仲 and You Hun 尤浑, two minion courtiers who would falter and slander as he pleased. King Zhou sent for Fei Zhong, and the latter appeared in no time.

“I went to worship Goddess Nv Wa recently,” King Zhou began. “She’s so beautiful I believe she had no rival in the would , and none of my concubines is to be compared with her. I am head over heels in love, and feel very sad as I cannot get her. Have you any ideas with which to comfort me? ”

“Your Majesty! With all your honor and dignity, you’re the most powerful and the richest man in the would. You possess all the wealth within the four seas. You may have anything you wish for and you should have no difficulty in satisfying your desires. You can issue an order tomorrow demanding 100 beauties from the grand duke. You’ll have no trouble finding one as beautiful as Goddess Nv Wa,” Fei Zhong suggested.

King Zhou was delighted. He said, “your suggestion appeals to me. I will issue the order tomorrow. ”

 

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封神演义 Investiture of the Gods

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