The Legend of Taitung's Carp Mountain
在台東附近, 自古就流傳著一個錯誤的習俗, 當地百姓認為婦女生雙胞胎是不吉利的事, 因此, 生雙胞胎的婦女都會被趕出家門. 如果娘家願意收留, 婦女至少還有一個療傷止痛的地方; 如果娘家不接納, 婦女走頭無路, 往往會投海自盡或做出違反善良風俗的事. Around Taitung, in ancient times, there was passed down a misconception. The local people thought that the birth of twins was a very unlucky thing, and for this reason women who gave birth to twins were cast out of their homes. For those women that were accepted by their families, there was at least a place of refuge, but for those that weren't there was no hope, and they were often forced to kill themselves for their violation of moral standards.
這一年, 當地發生了一連串的怪事, 凡是懷孕的婦女都生下雙胞胎, 因此滿街都是怨婦, 婦女自殺的不幸事件也接二連三的發生, 造成許多家庭因為沒有婦女操持家務, 生活秩序大亂. 而新婚的婦女也都拒絕懷孕, 生孩子. During one year, a strange business occurred in that locality. All of the pregnant women gave birth to twins, and for this reason many blamed the mothers. Incidents of women committing suicide multiplied rapidly, and many households suffered from the absence of a woman able to do housework. Society began to deteriorate, and many brides refused to become pregnant and bear children.
當地的仕紳聚在一起, 憂心忡忡的討論: "這種情形如果持續下去, 人類豈不是要絕後了! 我們必須想個辦法防止才行." The local gentry convened, and there was a worried discussion: "If this situation continues, the people may disappear altogether! We must think of a way to end this situation."
一位仕紳說: "我有一個大膽的建議, 我們如果把生雙胞胎當作是正常的事, 不要把生雙胞胎的婦女趕出去, 問題不就解決了嗎?" One member of the gentry said: "I have a bold suggestion. If we accept the birth of twins as a normal event, and we don't ostracize the women who give birth to twins, won't the problem be solved?"
他的建議立刻受到守舊派仕紳的反對: "不行, 這是祖訓, 先人這麼做, 一定有他們的道理. 如果違反祖訓, 恐怕會帶來更嚴重的災禍." His suggestion was immediately met with hostility from the more conservative members of the gentry: "We cannot do this. We must follow the ways of our ancestors. Those before us acted [and believed] in this way, and they must have had their reasons. If we act against propriety, great misfortune will surely fall upon us."
另一位仕紳說: "現在最迫切的, 是必須找出今年產婦都生雙胞胎的問題根源. 我建議不妨重金懸賞, 徵求能人異士來幫我們解決問題." Another member of the gentry said: "Right now the most pressing problem is to find out why all of the women are having twins this year. I suggest we offer a large reward, in order to attract men of ability, men who can help us solve this problem."
大家認為這個辦法可行, 便湊足一百兩黃金, 然後對外宣布: "不論是誰, 只要能夠解決本地產婦都生雙胞胎的問題, 就可以獲得一百兩黃金的獎賞." Everyone thought that this method should be tried, and one hundred and twenty pieces of gold were gathered together. After this it was proclaimed: "No matter who it is, all you have to do is solve the problem of local women giving birth to twins, and you will earn a reward of one hundred and twenty gold pieces."
俗話說: "財帛動人心", 一百兩黃金不是小數目, 因此, 立刻吸引許多自稱"能人異士"的人前來應徵, 提出各種千奇百怪的解決方法. 可是這些誇大其詞的方法都禁不起考驗, 產婦依然生下雙胞胎. As the saying goes, "wealth moves the hearts of men," and one hundred and twenty pieces of gold is no small amount. Because of this [reward], many presented themselves and claimed to be "men of ability," and these persons suggested many unusual solutions to the problem. These strange solutions, however, didn't pass muster, and the women continued to give birth to twins.
過了一年, 一位遊方道士來到台東. 知道這件事以後, 夜以繼日的明查暗訪, 然後對仕紳們說: "我找出產婦生雙胞胎的原因了." One year passed, and a wandering Taoist priest arrived in Taitung. After he learned of this business, he conducted a thorough investigation, which lasted the better part of a night and a day. Afterward he said to the gentry: "I have found the reason that the women are giving birth to twins."
仕紳們看他道服破舊, 以為又是來騙吃騙喝的, 因此冷淡的說: "什麼原因? 說來聽聽." The gentry looked upon his shabby clothes and thought he was just another freeloader. For this reason they very coolly said: "What reason? Let's hear it."
道士說: "貴地的產婦會生雙胞胎, 是因為一條鯉魚精在作怪." The Taoist priest said: "The women of this honorable place give birth to twins because a carp spirit is causing mischief."
仕紳們聽了, 吃驚的問: "你說是鯉魚精在作怪? 牠在哪裡? 要如何制伏牠呢?" Once the gentry heard this, they asked in amazement: "You say it is a carp spirit which is causing mischief? Where is it? How can we subdue it?"
道士說: "根據我的調查, 鯉魚精白天住在貓山的一座湖裡, 要制伏牠只有一個辦法." The Taoist priest said: "According to my investigations, the carp spirit lives within a lake atop Cat Mountain during the day. There is only one method of subduing it."**
仕紳們齊聲問: "什麼辦法? 只要能制伏牠, 我們會全力配合." The gentry asked in unison: "What method? If we can only subdue it, we will cooperate completely."
道士說: "每天的正午, 是鯉魚精法力最弱的時候, 你們用大網把牠網住, 拖上岸, 先挖去牠的雙眼, 就能夠輕易的殺死牠. 婦女懷雙胞胎的問題也就解決了." The Taoist priest said: "Every day at noon is when the carp spirit's magic power is weakest. You can trap it in a net, haul it to the shore, and once you've dug out both its eyes you can easily kill it. After this the problem of the women giving birth to twins will be solved."
仕紳們原本還不相信貓山上有鯉魚精, 派人去實地勘查後, 才相信道士的話. Originally the gentry didn't believe that there was a carp spirit on top of Cat Mountain, so they ordered people to the place to investigate, and only after this did they believe what the Taoist priest had said.
於是, 仕紳們動員數百名年輕人, 用山藤編造一面堅固的網, 然後帶著長矛, 刀劍, 悄悄的把騰網運到貓山上, 準備捕捉鯉魚精. Eventually the gentry commanded several hundred youths to make a net, and with spears and swords they moved it to Cat Mountain, where they prepared to catch the carp spirit.
正如道士所說的, 原本在湖裡生龍活虎, 游來游去的鯉魚精, 一到日正當中時, 就變得懶洋洋的, 無精打采. Just as the Taoist priest said, the waters of the lake were moving this way and that, and [they could see] a carp spirit moving back and forth. It had become lazy and listless in the middle of the day.
道士看到這種情形, 一聲號令, 年輕人立刻用藤網將鯉魚精網住. 鯉魚精雖然奮力掙扎, 但是因為中午時法力較弱, 加上拉網的都是身強體壯的年輕人, 因此最後終於筋疲力盡, 無法動彈, 被拖到岸上. When the Taoist priest saw what was happening, he shouted for the young men to restrain the carp spirit with the net. Even though the carp was struggling, its magic was much weaker around noon, and the young men were all very strong. Because of this the carp was exhausted, and as it was unable to move, they brought it ashore.
道士取出一把寶劍, 把鯉魚精的眼睛挖出來. 鯉魚精痛得滿地翻滾, 掙脫藤網, 逃到現在鯉魚山的位置, 因流血過多, 就氣絕身亡了. 牠死了以後, 屍體變成鯉魚山; 現在鯉魚山上還留有兩個山洞, 據說就是鯉魚精的眼睛被挖出來後所留下的遺跡. The Taoist priest brought forth a sword, and dug out the carp spirit's eyes. The carp spirit writhed in agony, ripped its way free of the net, and fled to the present location of Liyu Mountain. It died soon after, due to excessive blood loss. After its death, its corpse became Liyu Mountain, and it is said that the two caves atop Liyu Mountain are the remains [i.e. the eye sockets] of the carp spirit.***
說也奇怪, 鯉魚精被殺死以後, 台東的婦女就不再生雙胞胎了. It is strange to say, but after the carp spirit was killed, the women of Taitung stopped giving birth to twins.
道士領了賞金, 臨走之前, 語重心長的說: "你們太迷信了, 其實, 世界上任何一個地方的婦女都有機會生雙胞胎. 生雙胞胎是一種福氣, 雙喜臨門, 是值得高興和慶祝的好事啊!" The Taoist priest then collected his reward. Before leaving them, he said with all earnestness: "You are too superstitious. Truly, any woman in any part of the world can give birth to twins. To give birth to twins is good fortune, and brings great happiness to all. It is a thing to be happy about, and a thing worth celebrating!"
道士這番話, 是否有讓台東人改變錯誤的觀念與習俗, 就不得而知了!" Whether this remark by the Taoist priest changed the misconceptions and customs of those in Taitung remains a mystery!
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*This is not the only story about why Liyu (Carp) Mountain is called Liyu Mountain. If you hike to the top of it, there is an interpretive sign telling another story.
**There are some pictures of Cat Mountain here. As you can probably tell from the pictures, the idea of a lake on top of Cat Mountain is laughable.
***"Liyu"=Carp. All of the signs in Taitung refer to it as Liyu Mountain, even though it ought to be translated as Carp Mountain.