Peach Blossom Springs
(translated by 杨宪益)
In the reign of Taiyuan of Jin Dynasty, there was a man of Wuling who was a fisherman by trade. One day he was fishing up a stream in his boat, heedless of how far he had gone, when suddenly he came upon a forest of peach trees.
On either bank for several hundred yards there were no other kinds of tree. The fragrant grass was beautiful to look at, all patterned with fallen blossoms. The fisherman was extremely surprised and went on further, determined to get to the end of this wood. At the end of the wood he found the source of the stream and, at the foot of a cliff, there was a small cave in which there seemed to be a faint light. He left his boat and went into themouth of the cave.
At first it was very narrow, only wide enough for a man, but after forty or fifty yards he suddenly found himself in the open. The place he had come to was level and spacious. There were houses and cottages arranged in a planned order; there were fine fields and beautiful pools; there were mulberry trees, bamboo groves, and many other kinds of trees as well.
There were raised pathways round the fields; and he heard the fowls crowing and dogs barking. Going to and froin all this, and busied in working and planting, were people, both men and women. Their dress was not unlike that of people outside, and all of them, whether old people with while hair or children with their hair tied in a knot, were happy and content with themselves.
Seeing the fisherman, they were greatly amazed and asked him where he had come from. He answered all theirquestions, and then they invited him to their homes, where they put wine beforehim, killed chickens and prepared food in his honor. When the other people inthe village heard about the visitor, they too all came to ask questions.
They themselves told him thattheir ancestors had escaped from the wars and confusion in the time of QinDynasty. Bring their wives and children, the people of their area had reached this isolated place, and had stayed here ever since. Thus they had lost all contact with the outside world.
They asked what dynasty it was now. The Han they had never heard of, let alone the Wei and the Jin. Point by point the fisherman explained all he could of the world that he knew, and they all sighed in deep sorrow.
Afterwards all the rest invitedhim to their homes, and all feasted him with wine and food. He stayed there several days and then bade them goodbye; before he departed these people said to him: “Never speak to anyone outside about this!” so he went out, found his boat and went back by the same route as he had come, all along the way leaving marks.
When he got to the provincial town he called on the prefect and told him all about his experience. The prefect at once sent men to go with him and follow up the marks he had left. But they became completely confused over the marks and never found the place.
Liu Ziji, a scholar of high reputation from Nanyang, heard of this and enthusiastically offered to go out with the fisherman to try again. But he fell ill and died before realizing hisplan. After that on one went any more to look for the way.
The Peach Colony
(translated by 林语堂)
During the reign of Taiyuan of Chin, there was a fisherman of Wuling. One day he was walking along a bank. After having gone a certain distance, he suddenly came upon a peach grove which extended along the bank for about a hundred yards. He noticed with surprise that the grove had a magic effect, so singularly free from the usual mingling of brushwood, while the beautifully grassy ground was covered with its rose petals. He went further to explore, and when he came to the end of the grove, he saw a spring which came from a cave in the hill. Having noticed that there seemed to be a weak light in the cave, he tied up his boat and decided to go inand explore. At first the opening was very narrow, barely wide enough for one person to go in. After a dozen steps, it opened into a flood of light. He saw before his eyes a wide, level valley, with houses and fields and farms. There were bamboos and mulberries; farmers were working and dogs and chickens were running about. The dresses of the men and women were like those of the outside world, and the old men and children appeared very happy and contented. They were greatly astonished to see the fisherman and asked him where he had come from. The fisherman told them and was invited to their homes, where wine was served and chicken was killed for dinner to entertain him. The villagers hearing of his coming all came to see him and to talk. They said that their ancestors had come here as refugees to escape from the tyranny of Tsin Shih-huang (builder of Great Wall) some six hundred years ago, and they had never left it. They were thus completely cut off from the world, and asked what was the ruling dynasty now. They had not even heard of the Han Dynasty (two centuries before to two centuries after Christ), not to speak of the Wei (third century A.D.)and the Chin (third and fourth centuries). The fisherman told them, which they heard with great amazement. Many of the other villagers then began to invite him to their homes by turn and feed him dinner and wine. After a few days, he took leave of them and left. The villagers begged him not to tell the people outside about their colony. The man found his boat and came back, marking with signs the route he had followed. He went to the magistrate’s office and told the magistrate about it. The latter sent someone to go with him and find the place. They looked for the signs but got lost and could never find it again.Liu Tsechi of Nanyang was a great idealist. He heard of this story, and planned to go and find it, but was taken ill and died before he could fulfill his wish. Since then, no one has gone in search of this place.
Peach Blossom Shangri-la
（translated and proofed by Rick Davis and David Steelman）
During the Taiyuan era of the Jin Dynasty there was a man of Wuling who made his living as a fisherman. Once while following a stream he forgot how far he had gone. He suddenly came to a grove of blossoming peach trees. It lined both banks for several hundred paces and included not a single other kind of tree. Petals of the dazzling and fragrant blossoms were falling everywhere in profusion. Thinking this place highly unusual, the fisherman advanced once again in wanting to see how far it went.
The peach trees stopped at the stream’s source, where the fisherman came to a mountain with a small opening through which it seemed he could see light. Leaving his boat, he entered the opening. At first it was so narrow that he could barely pass, but after advancing a short distance it suddenly opened up to reveal a broad, flat area with imposing houses, good fields, beautiful ponds, mulberry trees, bamboo, and the like. The fisherman saw paths extending among the fields in all directions, and could hear the sounds of chickens and dogs. Men and women working in the fields all wore clothing that looked like that of foreign lands. The elderly and children all seemed to be happy and enjoying themselves.
The people were amazed to see the fisherman, and they asked him from where he had come. He told them in detail, then the people invited him to their home, set out wine, butchered a chicken, and prepared a meal. Other villagers heard about the fisherman, and they all came to ask him questions. Then the villagers told him, “To avoid the chaos of war during the Qin Dynasty, our ancestors brought their families and villagers to this isolated place and never left it, so we’ve had no contact with the outside world.” They asked the fisherman what the present reign was. They were not even aware of the Han Dynasty, let alone the Wei and Jin.The fisherman told them everything he knew in great detail, and the villagers were amazed and heaved sighs. Then other villagers also invited the fisherman to their homes, where they gave him food and drink. After several days there,the fisherman bid farewell, at which time some villagers told him, “It’s not worth telling people on the outside about us.”
The fisherman exited through the opening, found his boat, and retraced his route while leaving markers to find this place again. Upon his arrival at the prefecture town he went to the prefect and told him what had happened. The prefect immediately sent a person to follow the fisherman and look for the trail markers, but they got lost and never found the way.
Liu Ziji of Nanyang was a person of noble character. When he heard this story he was happy and planned to visit the Shangri-la, but he died of illness before he could accomplish it. After that no one else ever looked for the place.
The Peach Blossom Spring
Tr. by James Robert Hightower
During the Tai-yuan period of the China dynasty a fisherman of Wu-ling once rowed upstream, unmindful of the distance he had gone, when he suddenly came to a grove of peach trees in bloom. For several hundred paces on both banks of the stream there was no other kind of tree. The wild flowers growing under them were fresh and lovely, and fallen petals covered the ground———it made a great impression on the fisher-man. He went on for away with the idea of finding out how far the grove extended.
It came to an end at the foot of a mountain whence issued the spring that supplied the streams. There was a small opening in the mountain and it seemed as though light was coming through it. The fisherman left his boat and entered the cave, which at first was extremely narrow, barely admitting his body, after a few dozen steps it suddenly opened out onto a broad and level plain where well-built houses were surrounded by rich fields and pretty ponds. Mulberry, bamboo and other trees and plants grew there, and criss-cross paths skirted the fields. The sounds of cocks crowing and dogs barking could be heard from one courtyard to the next. Men and women were coming and going about their work in the fields. The clothes they wore were like those of ordinary people. Old men and boys were carefree and happy.
When they caught sight of the fisherman, they asked in surprise how he had got there. The fisherman told the whole story, and was invited to go to their house, Where he was served wine while they killed a chicken for a feast. When the other villagers heard about the fisherman’s arrival, they all came to pay him a visit. They told him that their ancestors had fled the disorders of Ch’in times and, having taken refugee here with wives and children and neighbours, had never ventured out again consequently they had lost all contact with the out-side world. They asked what the present ruling dynasty was, for they had never heard of the Han, Let alone the Wei and the Jin. They sighed unhappily as the fisherman enumerated the dynasties one by one and recounted the vicissitudes of each.
The visitors all asked him to come to their houses in turn, and at every house he had wine and food. He stayed several days. As he was about to go away, the people said, “There’s’ no need to mention our existence to outsiders.” After the fisherman had gone out and recovered his boat, he carefully marked the route. On reaching the city, he reported what he had found to the magistrate, who at once sent a man to follow him back to the place. They proceed according to the marks he had made, but went astray and were unable to find the cave again.
A high-minded gentleman of Nan-yang named LiuTzu-chi heard the story and happily made preparations to go there, but before he could leave he fell sick and died. Since then there has been no one interested in trying to find such a place.
The Peach Blossom Visionary Land
During the Tai-yuan years of the dynasty Jin, a fisherman from the county of Wuling strolled on the bank of a stream, forgetting the distance of his track, into a grove of blossoming peach trees all at once. For several hundred steps along the bank side, there were no other trees; the sward was freshly green and fallen petals of the peach blooms were scattered on the grass verdure. The fisherman, surprised by the sight, walked on to see where the grove would end. It ended at the source of the stream, where there was a mountain. An aperture opened on the mount, from which light seemed to be emitted.
The man abandoned his boat and entered the opening. It was narrow at first, just enough to pass through. After several tens of steps, the way led to vast spaciousness. The land was level and expanded, houses were spread out in good order; goodly farms, fair ponds and mulberry and bamboo thickets were to be seen everywhere. The ways and cross roads were stretched out far and wide. Cocks’ crew and dogs’ barking were heard here and there. The men and women coming and going in their tilling and handicraft work were dressed all like people outside. The aged with hair of light beige and children with cut hair fringing their foreheads all looked gay and contented. Seeing the fisherman, people were greatly surprised, asking him whence he came from and being replied to. They then invited him to their homes, offering wine and killing chickens for entertainment. When it was generally known in the village that there was this man, more people came to see and ask questions of him. They all said that their forefathers, fleeing from turmoils during the Qin Dynasty, led their families and villagers hither to this isolated district to stay, and so being separated from the outside world. They asked what time it was then, knowing not there was any dynasty Han, to say nothing of those of Wei and Jin. The man answered them all in details, whereon they heaved sighs and exclamations. All the others also invited him severally to their homes for hospitality. After many a day, he made his departure. They told him not to publicize his sojourn there.
When out, he sought out his boat and noted closely the way leading to the aperture of the mount. After his return to the chief town of the county, he went to the alderman and made a report of his outlandish excursion. The county official dispatched a man to follow him whereto he would lead. But he could not find the spots he had noted on his way back and so lost the whereabouts of the grove of blossoming peach trees.
Liu Ziji of Nanyang, a scholar of high repute, hearing of the story sought to find out the place. He fell sick and died, before his attempted trial. Thereafter, no one ever ventured the visionary deed.
The Peach Blossom Source
Tr. by 谢百魁
One day in the Taiyuan period of the Jin Dynasty, a native of Wuling Prefecture, being a fisherman by trade, was boating in a stream. Oblivious of the distance that he had covered, he came upon a peach grove, which lined the banks of the stream for several hundred paces. The grove was unmixed with any other trees and was carpeted with fragrant and tender grass, while the newly opened blossom was a riot of pink. The fisherman much wondered and proceeded further, hoping to reach the end of the grove, which turned out to be the head of the stream. There he was confronted with a crag, which had a small orifice looking as if it were lit by a dim light. Then he abandoned the boat and entered the opening.
At first the cave was very narrow, only passable for one person. After a further walk of several dozen paces, a broad view burst upon his sight. He saw an even and wide tract of land, on which some houses were arranged in good order, with fertile lands, beautiful ponds, mulberry trees and bamboos all around them. The fields were crisscrossed with ridged paths. The cocks and dogs heard and echoed each other. The clothes worn by the men and women tilling the land were identical with those of the outsiders. The aged and the adolescent all enjoyed themselves in blissful ease.
At sight of the fisherman, they were dumbfounded. Then they asked whence he came, and he answered their questions one by one. He was soon invited to their homes, treated to a dinner with wine and chicken. Hearing of the stranger, the villagers all came to see him and made him inquiries. By their own account their ancestors, in order to escape from the tumults of war during the Qin Dynasty, led their wives, children and townsmen to this secluded place, and never went out again. Thus they were isolated from the outside world. Their inquiries about the present times showed that they had no idea of the Han, let alone the Wei and Jin dynasties. The fisherman told them everything he knew, and they were all surprised and regretted their ignorance. The remaining folks also invited him to their homes, entertaining him with wine and food. The fisherman, having stayed for several days, bade them farewell. The people said to him, “There is no need to tell the outside world about us.”
Having left the cave, the fisherman found his boat and rowed along the former route, making marks all the way. Upon his return in the prefecture he visited the prefect and gave him a detailed account. The latter immediately sent some people as his escort, tracing the marks in search of the place. But they went astray and lost their way.
Liu Ziji of Nanyang, a high-minded recluse, having been informed of it, set out gladly for this unknown village, but to no purpose. Later he died of illness. Afterwards, no one went to search for it again.