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The Curator
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Elixir of the Yellow Dragon
Translated as usual, by Carl Gibson.

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"As both god and man, Huang Di could not finish his earthly life as a simple human being.
When he attained the very respectable age of 110 years, he prepared an immortality pill, convened a meeting of his ministers and entourage, swallowed the pill and was immediately carried away on the back of a dragon - a yellow dragon of course
."
Kadath: Entre mythologie et archéologie - les origines de la Chine. [Between mythology and archaeology - the origins of China]


Inv. SDE/dj-57041


Description

Rosewood box of Chinese origin containing a Shang oracle inscribed on a turtle plastron (age unknown, probably 2000 years BC), spectacles with lenses made of smoked quartz in a shagreen case (China, ca 1850), a box containing a dried out cricket, a set of shichifukujin in ivory (Japan, ca 1900), an old Chinese cap in worn condition, Fu dogs in jade.
A second, cylindrical box in black cloisonné bearing the image of a Yellow Dragon (each foot having five talons), containing a small bead made of a stone of Imperial Jade in a bed of Damascus roses.
The set is accompanied by a small bottle containing a golden liquid, as well as opium smoking paraphernalia.

Collector's report

A warm April day is a rare event indeed in Brussels, but when one comes along it makes you appreciate a nice motorcycle ride.
I was parking my Kawasaki in the garage next to the museum and hastening towards my meeting.
Recently, the Collector was seen less often at the Surnateum. Age seemed to have caught up with him; just one more reason not to keep him waiting.
I could see the fatigue in his face as he invited me to sit down in the worn leather armchair, next to which awaited a steaming cup of excellent Kopi Luwak.

Ever considerate.

- The time has come for me to tell you about a special object whose existence you must have suspected for some time now.

He pointed to a Chinese rosewood box, the lid of which was decorated with a jade disk. It was accompanied by a cylindrical black cloisonné box, around which was wrapped a magnificent huanglong (Yellow Dragon). Curiously, the dragons feet each had five talons, whereas usually the Chinese huanglong was depicted with three or four (*1).

- Around 1870, a truly astonishing document was added to my collection: the manuscript of a French witch written in 1792. The booklet mainly contains old wives' remedies like those found in the Petit Albert and other traditional grimoires. However, in the middle of the book I discovered, on a loose page, the recipe for a Long Life Powder. As I knew something about chemistry, I soon realised that by significantly improving the formula described, I could obtain a substance with 'invigorating' effects. However, the substance had its limitations, even though it meant that I was rarely ill, it had only a slight effect on slowing down the ageing process and the side-effects were rather unpleasant. After researching other elixirs of life - such as Amrita, Aab-i-Hayat, Dancing Water, Soma Ras and other Fountains of Youth - I concluded that this formula was merely the fragment of something rare and more precious, whose secret must be hidden elsewhere.
I ascertained that I should be able to find more answers in China, in the Huangdi jiuding shendan jingjue (Instructions on the Book of the Divine Elixirs of the Nine Tripods of the Yellow Emperor).
In 1900, I decided that the time had come to organise a trip to the inscrutable Orient and so I travelled to Peking - right in the middle of the Boxer Rebellion.
I won't bore you with the details of the events taking place in that turbulent city, but I ended up contacting Uncle Xuanzi, nicknamed the Mysterious Master, a Chinese alchemist working for visitors to the Forbidden City.
In the end, it was a precious object from my collection that opened up certain doors rather easily. A dragon's tooth, actually a fine specimen of a tooth from a Carcharodon megalodon, that could only enhance its owner's prestige.
The venerable Xuanzi received me with some curiosity tinged with a hint of reticence, and agreed to hear my request. You know how persuasive I can be, but I had rarely met an individual capable of so easily resisting my 'influence'. It seemed that nothing could make him yield.
That was when fate sent a sign.
The old man's most precious possession was a singing cricket he called Shu-Ling. He adored the little creature so much that he spent most of his time with it, and nothing pleased him more than to listen to it chirr. When the cricket started singing in my presence the old master finally agreed to teach me the rules governing the Tao of the Immortal.
This is not true immortality, but rather a particular healthy approach to life combined with philosophy and specific physical exercises that make it possible to extend one's life to an advanced age of around 125. But there was something else, a precious elixir (*2) - designed to be used exclusively by the emperor and known as the 'Mud of the Six and One' - that could massively lengthen one's life.
This golden elixir was poured onto a round stone. The elixir itself consisted of six elements; the stone was the seventh. Without this stone, the elixir only had limited powers. Unfortunately, it took nearly 20 years of distilling an incredibly rare series of products to obtain a tiny quantity of this substance and the slightest mistake in the recipe would kill anyone who tasted it. The secret formula engraved on the plastron of a turtle had been handed down from one alchemist to another since the reign of Emperor Huang Di, the Yellow Emperor. In other words, for thousands of years.
The potion itself helped develop certain capacities, greater strength, greater speed and a sort of refined sixth sense. It could increase a sensitive's natural capabilities tenfold, enough to drive insane anyone who was not properly prepared to absorb it. Just imagine an empath suddenly receiving every emotion emanating from everyone within a 1-mile radius and you will have an idea of what I mean.
At the end of the year I spent with him, learning the basics of Qi Qong, he gave me a tiny phial of the elixir, but he never explained how to make it. You're supposed to place one drop on the round stone and suck it all day. You do that every five years.
After leaving him, I spent a year in Canton learning the secrets of Chinese boxing with the Ten Tigers of Canton (Guangdong Sahp Fu). The fighting method I taught you is a synthesis based on their teachings. Following a minor difference of opinion with members of a secret society whose spectre overshadowed the entire Middle Kingdom, I found myself forced to return to Europe.

In 1920, we organised an expedition(*3) that once again took us back to China. I contacted Uncle Xuanzi and the Golden Dragon Sect. The old alchemist had retired to a monastery on Mount Hua Shan reachable only via a narrow but not uncomfortable path. He had reached the extreme age limit that alchemy could offer him. Our reunion was simple, but warm. He told me that Shu-Ling, the little cricket he adored so much, had recently rejoined the tao and that it was time for him to take the same journey. Knowing that his country was no longer governed by an emperor, he handed me the rosewood box that was the subject of our meeting. It contained his smoked quartz glasses in a shagreen case, the cricket box, the turtle plastron on which was engraved the formula for the yellow dragon elixir and even the Chinese cap that I had worn in 1900 and accidentally left behind. There was also a cloisonné box containing the seventh ingredient, the pill for the emperor.
He asked one last favour of me. To take the tiniest possible drop of the golden elixir and to place it on the head of the dried remains of Shu-Ling. This I duly did before placing the cricket back in his box. Suddenly, just for an instant, we could hear the insect's melodious song. When it had stopped, the old master had joined his friend on the other side.

Epilogue

The Collector gave me the last bottle of Yellow Dragon elixir and a set of shichifukujin, the Japanese deities. Each of them represents one element in the elixir. If placed correctly on the secret key located in the parchments and talismans section, they can be used to determine the exact dose for each element. But take care: one small mistake will result in poisoning.
And if one day we need to contact the members of the Yellow Dragon Sect, he gave me a cigar case decorated with a dragon. This can be used as a kind of 'passport' and is capable of opening doors that normally remain tightly locked.


*1 "Another interpretation: according to several sources, including historical official documents, ordinary Chinese dragons had four toes - but the Imperial Dragon had five. It was a capital offence for anyone - other than the emperor, his blood relatives, and the very few officials who were granted such an extraordinary privilege by the emperor - to use the five-clawed dragon motif." - Wikipedia

*2 "The emperor died while on one of his tours to Eastern China. Reportedly, he died of swallowing mercury pills, made by his court scientists and doctors, which contained too much of the liquid metal. The theory, devised by alchemists, was that if mercury could even absorb gold, then if eaten, it would give that person its own powers, making him immortal. Mercury compounds were mixed with some food so as to make it edible. Ironically, these pills were meant to make Qin Shi Huang immortal." - Wikipedia

*3 http://www.surnateum.org/English/surnate......vrir.htm
http://www.surnateum.org/french/surnateu......tion.htm

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Harlequin
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Like I said, on http://www.bizarremagic.net/ this is a wonderful tale and a great example of storytelling magic. Bravo and thanks for sharing this!
The Curator
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On bizarremagic.net you have the start and the development of the routine and many others. It also shows how team works on a forum, especially with Cold Case Closer or Bissat Al'Rih.
fraughton
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Lovely and brilliant.
Beware of this and that.
Andre Hagen
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Fascinating! Another reason why I read and re-read "Capricornian Tales" and "Hauntiques" and hope for another addition. A trilogy perhaps?
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein
KOTAH
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Simply marvelous !

You are indeed THE Curator.

THanks so much for the experience.

Kotah
Rosemary
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What can I add ? I've been a fan since I read "hauntiques". I would never be able to perform your routines, but that doesn't matter... They give me a feeling of real magic, which is very, very rare in this "magic" community.
Dr Spektor
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Another work of art!

Bravo!
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
fishwasher
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Amazing!


Thank you Curator.....
Sayn lay narn, marli?

http://www.bizarremagic.net
coupcoupdaddy
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Exquisite. Thank you.
foreign correspondent, z and lt



inner being worker
Doriangray
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Pure Art!
Bill Ligon
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Yes, thank you! It is exquisite!

Bill
Author of THE HOLY ART: Bizarre Magick From Naljorpa's Cave. NOW IN HARDCOVER! VIEW: <BR>www.lulu.com/content/1399405 ORDER: http://stores.lulu.com/naljorpa
<BR>A TASSEL ON THE LUNATIC FRINGE
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