Nine-coloured Deer 九色鹿 – Mystery Revealed

Lost in a desert in the midst of a fearsome storm, a merchant despaired. When his hope of survival was slipping away, he saw nine beautiful colours shining through the sands.

Out of the storm emerged a radiant deer with colours gleaming from her coat and antlers. She guided the merchant to safety. In exchange, the man promised not to reveal the deer’s whereabouts.

In the meantime, the Queen dreamed of a deer with nine colours. When she woke up the next morning, her eyes were shiny with greed. She wanted a cloak made of a deerskin of nine colours so desperately that she fell sick because of her morbid obsession.

The King was concerned about the Queen’s illness and made an announcement to the country that whoever captured the nine-coloured deer would be rewarded with a big prize.

When the merchant heard this, he gave in to his greed and led the King and his soldiers to the place where he saw the deer.

When the soldiers were about to kill the deer, the deer asked the King how they knew her location. The King said it was the merchant who led the way. Feeling betrayed, the deer of nine colours told the King the whole story about her saving the man and him breaking the promise.

The King was ashamed that there was such a despicable man in his country. He exiled the merchant and proclaimed that all the people in his kingdom should protect the deer from then on. The nine- coloured deer remained a spiritual creature and a beacon of hope for all those who feel lost.

This nine-coloured deer story is based on the Buddhish Jataka tale and the tale was discovered in cave paintings from the west wall in 257 cave of the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, China.

Learn more amazing stories of Chinese mythical creatures at the Confucius Institute for Scotland website…