The Spirit of the Hills

A famous hermit was once deep in his meditations, when he saw a form standing before him, who introduced himself as the spirit of the hills, and said he had come for instruction in doctrine.

Having received it, he asked what recompense he could give. The hermit answered, ‘The hill where I generally meditate has no pines; could you move these thither for me?’

‘You humble servant,’ replied the spirit, ‘never fear.’ And he bowed exit.

That night there was a great thunderstorm, and the morning saw all the pines transplanted around the dwelling of the hermit.

(A string of Chinese peach-stones (1895), Cornaby, William Arthur)

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