In China’s central western province Sichuan,
there is a humble mountain called Mask Top (蒙顶山); in the
mountain, there is an inconspicuous well named Ancient
Mask Spring (古蒙泉), also called Sweet Due Well (甘露井), built
during the Western Han Dynasty, about two thousand years
Protected by a fence around it, guarded by a pair of dragon
stone sculptures at the both sides, the name of the well
made an entry into ancient documents.
What makes the humble well so special that it deserves dragon-esque
decos and deliberate mentions in the official chronicles?
That is because it has, apparently, a magic power: whenever
the cover of the well is lifted, the heaven will "well
with tears", and there will be rain. And the rain
would not stop until the cover is returned to its place.
When a major Chinese media learned this story, it sent
some guys over to take a look. The guys picked a sunny
day to mount the hill and wanted to see how the drama would
be played out under such a condition.
They arrived at the site, removed the cover, and stood
watching the sky. The sun projected gold reflections onto
the mountain terrain while the pale clouds ranked the summits
- for good twenty minutes there was not the slightest sign
of approaching rain. Just at the time they were about to
conclude that it was another local myth and one more piece
of ancient superstition, the heaven opened up and fine
rain fell upon their faces.
In the group there was an editor of local chronicles.
When being slapped on the face by the heaven’s wet fingers,
he recalled the passages he read in the chronicles and
began to tell tales about the well.
According to the ancient documents, said the editor, there
was a dragon locked inside the well. And dragons,
though in a higher level of existence, in a way are very
much just like our humans; some are quite noble, others
pretty naughty. The dragon in question was initially assigned
a petty job to take charge of the local weather bureau.
It might because that Officer Dragon was a fanatic member
of a raining cult, or simply it had been corrupted by some
elements in wet products industry, either way, it abused
its power and kept thundering and showering the region
until eventually the people were truly fed up. A referendum
was held by the local human government, and a decision
to impeach the dragon was passed unanimously. The people
quickly built the well to serve as the narrow entrance
to a celestial prison underground, and tricked the poor
dragon into the solitary confinement. A warning was recorded
thereafter by the historians in the chronicles that the
prisoner should never be let out for a fresh air, as giving
it half a chance, it would just commit the same offence
When a local scientist heard the local historian’s dragon
tell, he snubbed. He’d prefer to talk about something he
could see and touch, for example, butterflies. So his version
of the magic well began with butterfly in Amazon – thousands
miles away from Sichuan though, it is in this world nevertheless,
not in some other space formed by eleven or twelve dimensions.
If the flap of a butterfly's wings in
the Amazon rainforest can trigger a tornado in Texas as
Ed Lorenz suggested, imagine what the sound and vibration
caused by the action of removing the well cover can do
to the local thunderstorm.
This butterfly tall theory flavoured with generous dose
of scientific terminology sounded quite appealing, and
the media guys decided to give it a try. Around the well,
they shouted, yelled, screamed, howled, barked, roared
and blared while loudly beating a couple of metal pans.
They shouted at the sky: "Hi heaven, can you hear
Nothing happened, to the great
dismay of the Amazon butterfly. Evidently, the heaven went
deaf and refused to be moved to tears.
So, the dragon stays, for now.
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