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The sylvan elf

樹神 The sylvan elf. In the account of the 西域 western regions, found in 北史 the northern historians, we have the following strange recital : 女國 country of the Amazons lies to the south of the 葱嶺 Tsung moun- tain, where, the people commonly serve a 神 spiritual being, called 阿修羅 O-sew-loo ; there is also a 樹神 sylvan elf, to whom at the beginning of the year they offer a human beingin sticrifice ; for which, however, a monkey is sometimes substituted : when the sacrifice is over, the offerer goes amongst the hills and prays ; a bird like a male pheasant then comes, and lurches on the palm of his hand ; if on cutting open the stomach of this bird, they find it full of corn, they predict a favourable year; but if of gravel, then calamities are looked for. This is called divining by means of birds."


In the work entitled 搜神記 a general Inquiry into all the spirits, we read, that, " Tn the district of 龍舒 Lung-shoo, in the prefecture of 廬江 Leu-keang there lived a widow woman, named 李憲者 Le-heen-chay, who getting up one night in her house, saw a female clothed in embroidered gar- ments, calling herself 皇祖 the imperial grandmother 樹神 the fairy of the woods, who was able to get up clouds

and rain."

In an ode in praise of the 竹鼠留 bamboo mouse, composed by 王禹 Wang-yu, we have the following couplet: "In regard to rank it attaches itself to the altar of the 樹神sylvan fairy, and in respect to income it steals the rice of the great granary."