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Animal Legends of China

Shapeshifting Foxes

Ageing, evil foxes could achieve immortality by transforming themselves into attractive men or women. In those forms they are able to seduce young people and drain their life-force. Occasionally, however, reprehensible though they are, foxes enter into genuine friendships with humans.

According to legend, a farmer once befriended a fox that took the form of an old man. This old man magically took the farmer to a faraway fox restaurant, where the farmer was entertained in grand style. However, in spite of the hospitality of his hosts, the farmer knew in his heart that respectable people do not befriend foxes. Before the evening was over, he wished that he had never entered into this unnatural relationship. The timing of the farmer's moral epiphany was unfortunate, however, as the "old man" fox and his vulpine friends immediately vanished, leaving the farmer penniless and far from home.

Other Animal Legends

You may have noticed that some cattle have twisted horns. This is because once upon a time, there was a girl from Thailand, or Siam as it was once called, who was the daughter of a magical bull. She needed a home, so other magical cattle kindly donated their horns as building material. However, some cattle were still busy twisting off their horns when they were told that enough horns had been gathered to build the house. Those cattle were therefore able to keep their horns, which, however, remained twisted.

The dog bridegroom.

An emperor one rashly promised his daughter in marriage to anyone who would bring him the head of his enemy. However, it was a dog that brought the emperor the head of his nemesis, so the princess had to marry the dog. Dogs are considerate souls, and for the benefit of his human bride, the canine groom did try to become human before the wedding. Unfortunately, the emperor again proved his impetuosity by interrupting the magical rite before the dog's head had changed, so the poor princess had to live with a husband who had a human body but a dog's head.

And, of course, we must not forget the story of Monkey and the Journey to the West.


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