Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/412

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

circle two oppositely directed semicircles, whose centers are those of the two radii. The reciprocal action of the dual powers, continuing through ages, produced all that is. Puan Ko, sometimes represented as a giant holding up the sun and moon and shaping PSM V36 D412 Yin and yang.jpg the mountains, is only the personification of the forces that wrought in chaos. A zenith, a nadir, and all the points the compass were gradually evolved. There came to lie a distinction between heavens, with the seven moving luminaries, and the dark earth, with its seas. The male principle predominated above, the female principle predominated below, as Father Heaven and Mother Earth, each having an all-pervading spirit, but with unlike influence. The body comes from and depends upon the earth; the soul comes from and returns to the heavens.

The rocks are the bones of the divine body, the soil is the flesh, the metals are the nerves and veins; the tide, wind, rain, clouds, frost, and dew are all caused by its respirations, pulsations, and exhalations. Originally the mountains rose to the firmament, and the seas covered the mountains to their tops. At that time there was, in the divine body, no life besides the divine life. Then the waters subsided; small herbs grew, and in the lapse of cycles developed into shrubs and trees. As the body of man, unwashed for years, breeds vermin, so the mountains, unlaved by the seas, bred worms and insects, greater creatures developing out of lesser. Beetles in the course of ages became tortoises, earth-worms became serpents, high-flying insects became birds, some of the turtle-doves became pheasants, egrets became cranes, and wild cats became tigers. The praying mantis was by degrees transformed into an ape, and some of the apes became hairless. A hairless ape made a fire by striking crystal upon a rock, and, with the spark struck out, igniting the dry grass. With the fire they cooked food, and by eating warm victuals they grew large, strong, and knowing, and were changed into men. There is a story that the ape who first taught cooking had a peculiar origin. He was imprisoned, from the beginning, in a rock on the sea-shore. The waves beat on the rock century after century, and at last wore away all except the ape that had been its center. Then the sun warmed him, and the winds breathed upon him, till he became alive, and with a divine impulsion went and taught his kind to cook their food.

Khu says: "In the early days of man there were peace and plenty, because no one disturbed or maltreated the body of God. Those who saw a stone removed from its natural site, wept, and