The Legend of the Bixi
Westerners who cannot read Chinese characters miss alot of the meaning and significance of monuments and temples around the country. Still, there are those that are eaaily enjoyed for their own sake, and the vast complex of the Confucian Mansions is one of them. Particularly noteable ar the massive stone tablets--monoliths, they almost could be called-- shown here, usually inscribbed with praises for Confucious or quoting some of his words. A careless observer can be forgiven if he thinks that these tablets are borne by tortoises, especially if you came as I did through Hanoi with its legends about the Tortoise and the Sword. But they are not tortoises, they are in fact Bixi, dragon offspring which possess great strength and endurance. I was seized by the desire to touch these stoney creatures, which I could just do if I stretched my hands thru the fence. I felt a curious solidarity with these plodding, powerful mundane but dignified creatures. After all I had been plodding around the world for 24 months. Sometimes the weight of care swept down on me even as the tablets did these creatures, and I felt lonely and insignificant, even a fool for what I was doing. Other times my heart was so light my head swam with a sense of accomplishment as I headed toward my final goal, Qingdao, now only days away. Would these Bixi, I asked myself as my fingers touched the cold rough stone, ever know the spring in their step which comes from the intoxicating (if fleeting) sense that the world is yours? Looking at the carapace which shields them from the worlds vicissitudes, I think not. Perhaps that is not their fate. I am reminded T.H. White's comment on King Arthur: "Merlyn hadn't meant him for personal happiness. He was meant to determine the fortunes of a nation." Even so, then, these Bixi..burdened and weary from the task of sharing their wisdom with each new generation.
Bixi carry tablets singing praises to the Great Sage at the Confucious Mansions of Qufu
For a brief text on the legends of Bixi and the other 9 offspring of the dragon visit
The Dragon Page.