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The God of Thunder

The God of Thunder and The Goddess of Lightning

雷公电母

The most curious perhaps of all these popular superstitions are those which refer to thunder, lightning, and hail, regarded in China as the visitation of an angry and offended god. In the first place it is supposed that people are struck by thunder and not by lightning--a belief which was probably once prevalent in England, as evidenced by the English word _thunderstruck_. Sir Philip Sydney writes:--"I remained as a man thunder-stricken." Secondly, death by thunder is regarded as a punishment for some secret crime committed against human or divine law, and consequently a man who is not conscious of anything of the kind faces the elements without fear. Away behind the clouds during a storm or typhoon sit the God of Thunder armed with his terrible bolts, and the Goddess of Lightning, holding in her hand a dazzling mirror. With this last she throws a flash of lightning over the guilty man that the God of Thunder may see to strike his victim; the pealing crash which follows is caused by the passage through the air of the invisible shaft--and the wrongs of Heaven are avenged. Similarly, hail is looked upon as an instrument of punishment in the hands of the Hail God, directed only against the crops and possessions of such mortals as have by their wicked actions exposed themselves to the slow but certain visitation of divine vengeance.

(H. A. Giles, Chinese Sketches
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