Episode 180: Family Destiny

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Today we will tell a story that always reminds me of Oedipus from Greek mythology. The story is from the book YiYuan 异苑, a book of collections of stories about the supernatural from the Southern Dynasty 南朝, around the 5th century.

It says, during the Jin dynasty 晋代, around the 3rd century, in the place called LeAn 乐安, there was a family of Peng 彭. The family had been hunting for generations as their jobs. One day, the father and the son went to hunting in the mountains. Suddenly, the father fell off on the ground and became a white deer. The son was shocked and didn’t know what happened but crying. The white deer jumped around and ran away into the woods.


Since then, the son never hunted again. Maybe he was traumatized but I think the main reason is that he didn’t want to hunt and hurt the white deer that was his father. The son had a son. So the grandson hunted and one day, he shot a white deer. Between the deer horns, there was a Taoism symbol along with the name and date of birth of his grandfather. The grandson realized he killed his “grandfather” and burned his bows and never hunted since then.

In Tibet, some people don’t eat fish because there is water cremation. This is more extreme. The father turned into a deer right in front of the son. The son tried his whole life to not to hunt but the father was eventually still killed his descendant. I don’t know what it means exactly and people may have different understandings. Maybe it can be simply explained as destiny. Maybe it can be explained from the perspective of psychoanalysis as how Sigmund Freud interpreted Oedipus from Greek mythology about the sense of rivalry with the parent of the same sex or even grandparent in this story. Maybe it is about the old will eventually replaced by the new. This leaves you to think about it.



异苑 YiYuan

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