The Eight Immortals of Taoism: Legends and Fables of Popular Taoism
. Meridian: New American Library: Penguin . NY ,
BL1923.E54 1991 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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What we have here is mostly myth or legend. The book presents a long introduction to Taoism and then twenty-eight stories. Let me report on a couple that were more accessible to me. The Dream of Lu Tung Pin (72) presents a young Tao devotee on the verge of becoming an immortal. He is still seeking power and has a dream of what power brings, namely fifty years of success and then total disfavor and death for him and his family. He gives up the quest for power and, after many years of practice, becomes an immortal. The Oil Seller (74) tells the story of a search for an honest person. A Matchmaker for Kuan Yin (82) is a heart-warming tale of a good poor man who is lucky enough to win a goddess' hand in marriage. The stories remind me of Rodriguez' pious tales of saints. The art consists in eight or ten woodcuts or designs from the tradition of Taoism.