Mythical Monsters, by Charles Gould, , at sacred-texts.com
THE KIAO-LUNG. (The four-footed coiled Dragon. The Iguanodon.
This animal, according to Shi Chan, belongs to the dragon family. Its eye-brows are crossed, hence its name signifies "the crossed reptile." The scaled variety is called the Kiao-Lung, the winged the Ying-Lung. The horned kind are called Kiu, the hornless kind Li. In Indian books it is called Kwan-Pi-Lo.
Shi Chan, quoting from the Kwan Cheu Ki, says: The Iguanodon (?) is more than twelve feet long; it resembles a snake, it has four feet, and is broad like a shield. It has a small head and a slender neck, the latter being covered with numerous protuberances. The front of its breast is of a red colour, its back is variegated with green, and its sides as if embroidered. Its tail is composed of fleshy rings; the larger ones are several. Its eggs are also large. It can induce fish to fly, but if a turtle is present they will not do so.
The Emperor Chao, of the Han, when fishing in the river Wéi, caught a white Iguanodon. It resembled a snake, but was without scales. Its head was composed of soft flesh, and tusks issued from the mouth. The Emperor ordered his ministers to get it preserved. its flesh is delicious; bones green, flesh red.
From the above it may be seen the Iguanodon is edible.
"The To Fish, we call it the Earth Dragon, and have correctly written the character. It resembles the dragon, its voice is terrible,
and its length is a chang (a hundred and forty-one English inches). When it breathes it forms clouds, which condense into rain. Being a dragon, the term 'fish' should be done away with."
Shi Chan says the To character in appearance resembles the head, the belly, and the tail. One author says that an animal, which is identified with the crocodile, is found in the lagoons and marshes of the Southern Sea, at no fixed time. Its skin is made into drums. It is very tenacious of life. Before it can be flayed quantities of boiling water have to be poured down its throat. Another author states that the crocodile is of a sleepy disposition, with the eyes (nearly) always shut. It is of immense strength. It frequently dashes itself against the river bank. Men dig them out of their caves. If a hundred men dig them out, a hundred men will be required to pull them out; but if one man dig, one man may pull them out; but the event in either case is very uncertain. Another author states that recently there were found in the lakes and estuaries many animals resembling lizards and pangolins in appearance, which utter dreadful cries during the night, to the great terror of sailors. Shi Chan says crocodiles dens are very deep, and that bamboo ropes are baited in order to catch him; after he has swallowed the bait he is gradually pulled out. He flies zigzag, but cannot fly upwards. His roar is like a drum's, and he responds to the striking of the watches of the night, which is called the crocodile drum, or the crocodile watch. The common people, when they hear it, predict rain. The nape of the neck is bright and glistening, more brilliant than those of fish. It lays a large number of eggs, as many as a hundred, which it sometimes eats. The people of the South appreciate the flesh, and use it at marriage festivities. One author states that the crocodile has twelve different varieties of delicious flesh; but the tail, like serpent's flesh, is very poisonous. The crocodile's flesh cures quite a host of diseases.
Shi Chan says: "This snake is a reptile (having a wriggling motion). Its body is immense, and its motion is wrig-wriggling (jăn-jăn) * and slow; hence its name, Jăn-Shé. Another author says its scales have hair like moustaches (jăn). It lives in Kwangtung and Kwangsi (literally, South of the Hills). Those that do not lift their head are the true kind; in this way they were called the 'Concealed Head Snake.'"
Sung quotes Tao Hung King to the effect that its habitat is in Tsinngan (Fukien), and also Su Kung, who says that it is found in Kwéicheu and Kwangcheu, towards the south, at Kaocheu and Hoün. At several places in the south of the Hills they are still found. Hung King says the large ones (in their coils?) are several fathoms in circumference. Those that walk without raising their heads are the genuine ones. Those that conceal their heads are not genuine. Its fat and gall can be mixed together. The large ones are more than a foot in diameter and more than twelve feet long. It is a snake, but it is short and bulky. Su Kung remarks that its form resembles a mullet's and its head a crocodile's. Its tail is round and without scales. It is very tenacious of life. The natives cut up its flesh into slices, and esteem it as a great delicacy. Another says: When steeped in vinegar the slices curl round the chop-sticks, and cannot be released; but when the chop-sticks are made of grass stems (mongtso), then it is practicable.
Another says: "This snake is a hundred and forty-four feet long; it often swallows a deer. When the deer is completely digested, then it coils round a tree, when the bones of the deer in the stomach protrude through the interstices of the scales. . . . If a woman's dress is thrown towards it, it will coil round and will not stir."
Shi Chan, quoting " The Wonderful Records," says: "The boa is sixty to seventy feet long, and four to five feet in circumference; the smaller ones from thirty-six to forty-eight feet long. Their bodies are striped like a piece of embroidery. In spring and summer it frequents the recesses of forests, waiting for the deer, to devour them. When the deer is digested the boa becomes fat. Someone says that it will eat a deer every year."
Another author says: "The boa, when it devours a deer or wild boar, begins with the hind legs. The poisonous breath of the boa comes in contact with the horns; these fall off. The galls, the smaller they are the better they are." Another says: "Boas abound in Wang Cheu (Kwangsi). The large ones are more than a hundred and forty feet long. They devour deer, reducing the horns and bones to a pulp. The natives use the dolishos and rattans to fill up the entrance to its den. The snake, when it smells them, becomes torpid. They then dig him out. Its flesh is a great delicacy. Its skin may be made into a drum, and for ornamenting swords, and for making musical instruments."
The Yü Hăng Chi says: "Rustic soldiers in Kwangsi, when capturing boas, stick flowers in their heads, which when the snake observes, it cannot move. They then come up to it and cut off its head. They then wait till it exhausts itself by its jumping about and dies. They then take it home and feast on it." Compare Ælian [De Naturâ Animalium, lib. vi, chap. xxi.]: "They hung before the mouth of the Dragon's den a
piece of stuff flowered with gold, which attracted the eyes of the beast, till by the sound of soft music they lulled him to sleep, and then cut off his head."
The Shan Hai Sing says: "The Pa snake can eat an elephant, the bones of which, after three years, are got rid of. Gentlemen that eat of this snake will be proof against consumption." Kwoh Poh, in his commentary, says the boa of to-day is identical with the Pa snake.
395:* Jăn-jăn means a gradual but imperceptible advance.