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A Story for children age 4 to 6.
The Four Dragons
Once upon a time, there were no rivers and lakes on earth, but only the Eastern Sea, in which lived four dragons: the Long Dragon, the Yellow Dragon, the Black Dragon and the Pearl Dragon. One day the four dragons flew from the sea into the sky. They soared and dived, playing at hide-and-seek in the clouds.
"Come over here quickly!" the Pearl Dragon cried out suddenly.
"What's up?" asked the other three, looking down in the direction where the Pearl Dragon pointed.
On the earth they saw many people putting out fruits and cakes, and burning incense sticks. They were praying! A white-haired woman, kneeling on the ground with a thin boy on her back, murmured,
"Please send rain quickly, God of Heaven, to give our children rice to eat."
For there had been no rain for a long time. The crops withered, the grass turned yellow and fields cracked under the scorching sun.
"How poor the people are!" said the Yellow Dragon. "And they will die if it doesn't rain soon."
The Long Dragon nodded. Then he suggested, "Let's go and beg the Jade Emperor for rain."
So saying, he leapt into the clouds. The others followed closely and flew towards the Heavenly Palace.
Being in charge of all the affairs in heaven on earth and in the sea, the Jade Emperor was very powerful. He was not pleased to see the dragons rushing in.
"Why do you come here instead of staying in the sea and behaving yourselves?"
The Long Dragon stepped forward and said, "The crops on earth are withering and dying, Your Majesty. I beg you to send rain down quickly!"
"All right. You go back first, I'll send some rain down tomorrow." The Jade Emperor pretended to agree while listening to the songs of the fairies.
The four dragons responded, "Thanks, Your Majesty!"
The four dragons went happily back. But ten days passed, and not a drop of rain came down. The people suffered more, some eating bark, some grass roots, some forced to eat white clay when they ran out of bark and grass roots. Seeing all this, the four dragons felt very sorry, for they knew the Jade Emperor only cared about pleasure, and never took the people to heart. They could only rely on themselves to relieve the people of their miseries. But how to do it? Seeing the vast sea, the Long Dragon said that he had an idea.
"What is it? Out with it, quickly!" the other three demanded.