The Legend of Taiwan’s Banping Mountain

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A peculiar mountain sits at the junction of Zuoying District and Nanzi District of Kaohsiung City in Taiwan. One side of the mountain ridge is so flat that it looks like it has been cut off with a knife. The residents say it resembles a painted screen, so everyone calls it the ‘Half Screen Mountain.’ The mountain has a legend surrounding its origin. It involves Han Zhongli, one of The Eight Immortals in ancient Chinese legends, and his use of delicious food to test humanity.

According to this legend, Han Zhongli sought to select a virtuous person as his apprentice, so he decided to descend from heaven to the secular world. He traveled to the beautiful Zuoying District and disguised himself as a dumpling hawker in order to test human beings and find a suitable apprentice in the crowd.

He lifted his small hand-held fan and waved it toward the mountain, and the side of the mountain was cut off. The falling stones transformed into countless dumplings. Then he took these ‘dumplings’ to the street market and put an advertisement on a signboard to solicit business. It read, “Delicious dumplings! One for one cent, two for two cents, and three for free!’

Hearing that they didn’t need to pay for eating three dumplings, the crowds rushed to Han’s booth and ate three dumplings without hesitation. Some greedy people even ate several bowls of dumplings for free and didn’t leave until they were full.

It remained like this for several days, and Han felt disappointed. Just then, a young man came and said he would like to order one dumpling. Han asked him with curiosity, ‘ Young man, why don’t you eat three dumplings for free like the others?’

The young man replied, ‘I know I could, but you have to bear a heavy burden to come here to do business, and I can’t let you run a losing business. So I decided to use money to buy a dumpling.’

After listening to these words, Han Zhongli thought, ‘I finally found my ideal apprentice.’ Then he told the young man his true identity and his intention to accept him as a disciple, while advising the young man on his decision. The young man replied that this matter must be approved by his parents.

This further confirmed Han Zhongli’s thoughts: ‘This young man is not only kind and upright but also filial to his parents. He is definitely the best choice for a disciple.’ They set out to the young man’s home and asked for the consent of his parents. After consent was granted, Han left with the young man.

The two came back to the street and met the greedy customers. Seeing Han Zhongli’s true form and realizing he is a deity, they all came forward to apologize. Han said to them with a smile, ‘Look at the mountain behind you. Hasn’t a lot of it been cut off? Those missing stones are the dumplings in everyone’s stomach. This is a lesson for those of you who love to take advantage of others.’Suddenly the listener’s stomachs felt painful and they tried to spit out the dumplings. Meanwhile, Han left the mortal world with his recruited apprentice and returned to heaven.

Edited by: Derek Padula

Original post: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IFofzKDAQW4Eo_D2qlyuHaFiMvzVMs8u8q2Lw9phTd0/edit#

臺灣半屏山的傳說

在高雄市左營區內,也就是左營與楠梓兩區交界處,有一座很奇特的山。山脊的一邊像是被人用刀子削過一樣的平坦,所以大家就叫它「半屏山」。半屏山有一則美食試驗人心的傳說,與八仙之一的漢鐘離有關。

相傳漢鐘離為了挑選品德良好的人收為徒弟,決定降臨人間。最後他來到了美麗的左營區,喬裝成賣湯圓的小販,利用四處兜售湯圓的機會去試驗人性,以便在人群中找尋適當的徒弟。

於是,漢鐘離用他隨身攜帶的扇子,對著一座山輕輕一揮,山的一側就像是被削過一樣,而那些掉落下來的土石,就變成一顆顆的湯圓。他便將這些湯圓拿到街上賣,並於招牌上寫著「又大好吃的湯圓!一粒一文錢、二粒兩文錢、吃三粒不用錢!」用來招攬生意。

來來往往的人潮,聽到吃三顆湯圓不用錢,於是乎紛紛往漢鐘離的小販擠去,二話不說的連吃三顆湯圓。有的人,甚至貪心地繼續連吃好幾碗不要錢的三顆湯圓,直到吃不下後,才心滿意足地離開。

一連數天都是此番光景,漢鐘離相當失望。突然來了一位年輕人,開口說要向他買一顆湯圓。這時漢鐘離感到好奇反問他:「年輕人,你為甚麼不和其他人一樣,只要吃三顆湯圓就可以免費啊?」

這位年輕人回答說:「我知道,可是我覺得您大老遠地挑個重擔來這裡作生意,總不能老讓您做虧本生意,所以我決定要用錢買湯圓。」

聽完這番話後,漢鐘離心想:「我終於找到自己心目中的徒弟了。」於是漢鐘離便向年輕人說明自己的真實身分,有意收他為徒,同時亦徵詢他的看法。年輕人則回覆說,這件事必須徵求父母的同意。

談話至此,漢鐘離更加確認自己的看法,這位年輕人不僅善良正直,而且又孝順父母,絕對是徒弟的不二人選。於是漢鐘離便與年輕人一同回家,徵求其父母的同意後,漢鐘離就帶著年輕人離開了。

兩人來到街上,遇到以往那些貪小便宜的客人。他們都己經知道漢鐘離是神仙後,便紛紛上前來向漢鐘離賠不是。漢鐘離只是笑笑地對他們說:「回頭看看你們身後的那座山,是不是被削去了大半。那些不見的土石,就是大家肚子裡的湯圓。這是給你們愛佔便宜的人一點教訓。」突然聽聞者的肚子都莫名其妙地疼了起來,他們都使勁地想把肚子裡的湯圓吐出來。而漢鐘離則帶著他新收的徒弟離開凡間,返回仙界去了。

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