The Legend of the Double Ninth Festival
Legend has it that there was once a plague in Runan County, many people died. There was a man called Huan Jing, who heard people say that the plague was caused by a plague demon who lived in the River Ru. To rid his townsfolk of the demon, Heng Jing decided to set off for Dongnan Mountain, to find an immortal called Fei Chang-Fang, to learn how to kill the demon.
Heng Jing traveled far and wide, but he could not find the immortal. One day, he suddenly saw a white pigeon who kept nodding at him. He approached the pigeon, but it flew a few steps away. The pigeon landed and continued to nod at Heng Jing. Heng Jing continued to follow the pigeon, which led him to the immortal’s house. Heng Jing knocked on the door but no one answered. So, Heng Jing knelt in front of the door and waited patiently. the door finally opened on the third day. A white-haired old man came out and said,“You prove determined to help your people to get rid of the demon, come with me.”
Upon entering the immortal’s house, Heng Jing was given a demon-subduing Green Dragon Sword, and the immortal taught him how to use the sword to subdue demons. As Heng Jing was practicing with the sword one day, the immortal told him,“The plague demon will appear again on the Double Ninth (ninth of September) this year. Hurry home and save your people. Here are some Dogwood leaves and a bottle of chrysanthemum wine. Give each person a Dogwood leaf and a sip of the wine, and ask everyone to bring their families up the mountain to avoid harm.” After that, the immortal called a magic crane to fly Heng Jing back to Runan.
After getting back to his hometown, Heng Jing told his people what the immortal said, and made sure they did what was told. Then, he drew his sword and waited for the demon to appear. After a while, strong winds howled over River Ru, and the plague demon came out of the water. It saw everyone up in the mountain, and tried to rush up the mountain, but it was terrified of the scent of the Dogwood leaves and the Chrysanthemum wine and did not dare to come a step further. Heng Jing quickly took his sword, pierced the plague demon, and killed it.
The plague was finally gone forever. This is why people climb mountains on the Double Ninth Festival to keep themselves safe from harm.