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Soushenji No. 144 translation: The Queen Mother of the West Sends Writings

搜神記:西王母傳書 (一四四)

This is a translation and annotation of text No. 144 in 搜神記 (Soushenji – ‘In Search of the Supernatural’), a collection of strange happenings compiled by 干寶 (Gan Bao) in the 4th century C.E.

In order to be useful to people studying the text, this translation aims to be literal and close to the original.


[west] [king] [mother] [transmit] [letter] The Queen Mother of the West Sends Writings

哀帝建平四年夏, [_Ai_] [emperor] [_Jian_] [_Ping_] [four] [year] [summer] In the summer of the fourth year of Ai Di’s Jianping reign,

京師郡國, [capital] [division] [county] [nation] in the capital city commandery,

民聚會里巷阡陌, [people] [gather] [meet] [inside] [lane] [road] [street] people gathered in the lanes, roads and streets,

設張博具歌舞, [set up] [sheet] [gamble] [equipment] [sing] [dance] setting up tents, gambling, singing and dancing,

祠西王母。 [ancestral temple] [west] [king] [mother] in reverence of the Queen Mother of the West.

又傳書曰: [also] [transmit] [letter] [say] Further, writings were passed around that said:

「母告百姓, [mother] [tell] [hundred] [surname] “The Queen Mother tells the common people,

佩此書者不死。 [wear] [this] [letter] [those who] [not] [die] those who keep these writings on them will not die.

不信我言, [not] [believe] [my] [word] If you do not believe my words,

視門樞下, [look] [door] [hinge] [under] look under the hinge of the door,

當有白髮。」 [should] [have] [white] [hair] and there should be white hair.”

至秋乃止。 [arrive] [autumn] [thus] [until] It continued like this till autumn.

_If you notice an error or disagree with the translation, please comment below to make this a better resource. And yes, _like much of the contents of the Soushenji, this text makes no sense.