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RECORD OF DRUNK-LAND

DRUNK-LAND lies at I cannot say how many thousand li from the Middle Kingdom. Its soil is uncultivated, and has no boundary. It has no hills nor dangerous cliffs. The climate is equable. Nowhere is there either darkness or light, cold or heat. Customs are everywhere the same. There are no towns; the inhabitants live scattered about. They are very refined; they neither love, nor hate, nor rejoice, nor give way to anger. They inhale the breeze, and drink the dew; they do not eat of the five cereals. Happy in their rest, dignified in their movements, they mingle freely with birds, beasts, fishes, and crustaceans. They have no chariots, nor boats, nor weapons of any kind.

Of old, the Yellow Emperor visited the capital of this country; and when he came back, in his confused state he lost his hold on the empire, all through trying to govern by a system of knotted cords. When the throne was handed on to Yao and Shun, there were sacrifices with a thousand goblets and a hundred flagons, the result being that a divine man had to be shot, in order to secure a passage into this territory, on the frontiers of which will be found perfect peace for life. Under the Great Yu, laws were instituted, rites were numerous, and music was of varied kinds, so that for many generations there was no communication with Drunk-Land. Then Hsi and Ho threw up their appointments as astronomers royal and fled, in the hope of reaching this country; but they missed their way and died young, after which there was much unrest in the empire. The last Emperors of the House of Hsia and of the House of Yin toiled violently up the steps of the eight-thousand-feet mountain of Grains; but though long gazing southwards, they never could see Drunk-Land. The Martial King satisfied his ambition in his generation. He ordered his Grand Astrologer to establish a Department of Wine,with its proper officials; and he extended his territory for 7,000 li, until it just reached Drunk-Land. The result was that for forty years punishments were unknown, down to the reigns of king Cruel and king Grim. By the time of the Ch'ins and the Hans, the Middle Kingdom was in a state of confusion and collapse, and communications with Drunk-Land were cut off. However, certain enlightened friends of mine often slipped across on the sly. The poets Yuan Chi, T'ao Ch'ien, and others, to the number of ten or a dozen, went off to Drunk-Land, disappeared there and never came back; they died there and were buried in its earth. They are known in the Middle Kingdom as the Wine Immortals. Ah me! How different are the customs of the people of Drunk-Land from those of the country of the mother of Fu Hsi of old! How pure and peaceful they are! Well, I have been there myself, and therefore I have written this record.

(by WANG CHI)

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