People sacrifice to gods in temples. I sometimes think do gods really need these sacrifice or it is just the way to show the piety. But I mean if you are really sincere, gods can hear you no matter where you are even not in the temples or if you really offer them some food. This probably varies in different regions and beliefs.
Today we will tell a story from the book JiShengLu 稽神录 from the Northern Song dynasty 北宋, around the year 955. In the book, it says there is a old man from the village called YuanZhou 袁州. He was a righteous person and respected by the villagers. He is pretty rich.
One day, a young man wearing purple clothes followed by a group of servants and horses came to visit the old man and asked for food. The old man let people prepare a huge feast to everyone. While he was serving, he thought, “no matter the local officials or the officials sent by the emperor from the capital, they all have certain places to serve them. Why did these people come to me?”
The young man felt his suspicion and said, “sir you are suspicious. I can’t hide from you anymore. I am not a person but the mountain god here. ”
The old man was shocked and kneed down to bow, “there are endless people worshiping and offering sacrifice to you every day. How can you need food from people? ”
The mountain god said, “if people sacrifice to me, they are asking for something. But there are times I am not able to fulfill their wishes. If I can’t offer what they ask for, I can’t take what they sacrifice. I heard you are a respectful man and decided to come to ask for food.” After the meal, the young man thanked him and left.